Category Archives: K9ZW Operations

US Islands Awards Program’s “One-Day Getaway” – Saturday, May 9, 2015

Don’t miss this:

 http://www.usislands.org/USI-1DG-PressRelease.pdf

Contact: Jay Chamberlain, NS4J US Islands Awards Manager ns4j@usislands.org

For Immediate Release

Hams Hit the Water for the new US Islands Awards Program’s “One-Day Getaway” – Saturday, May 9, 2015

February 19, 2015

Fans of portable ham radio are encouraged to grab their equipment and head for the water as part of the new “One-Day Getaway,” sponsored by the US Islands awards program. The annual event will make its debut on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC (Friday evening to Saturday evening in the continental US).

Founded in 1994, US Islands promotes portable ham radio operations from islands found in all bodies of water: lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and coastal islands in US territorial waters. The One-Day Getaway is an on-air activity, not a contest: no scores are tallied and no prizes are awarded. Participation from all radio amateurs, regardless of experience level, is encouraged.

“US Islands is a great way to go on a mini-DXpedition without spending a lot of money,” said US Islands Awards Manager Jay Chamberlain, NS4J. “Discovering islands in your own back yard and setting up a station outdoors is always a good time. If hams have only operated outdoors during Field Day, we offer another route to get outside and enjoy portable ham radio in a different way.”

Contacts can be made with any station; US Islands offers achievement awards for both island activators and island chasers, including a certificate for your first US Islands activation.

While there are over 2,800 islands on the US Islands list, there are more than 17,000 islands within the United States. Participants can use Google Earth to locate new islands and be the first to operate ham radio from that location! Complete information on the US Islands Program, a how-to guide for One-Day Getaway participants and a list of currently qualified islands is available at http://www.usislands.org.

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Working on doing an activation myself for the event! Details to follow!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Running Flex-6300 SmartSDR 1.4.0 QSOs from a Winbook with an AblePlanet Linx Audio Boomset

The WinBook runs Win8.1 and ran me a huge $60.00 on special.

The Boomset is a nice noise canceling AblePlanet Linx Audio unit I had bought one for each of in the house for traveling (mine has the optional Boomset plug-in microphone).

Would be easier if I added a FlexControl and a Mouse, but that would be cheating, right?

Some latency issues in commands issued to the touch screen having a moment lag to action at the Flex-6300.

I did cut back the Frames Per Second and Waterfall motion rate to improve the ability of the WinBook to run SmartSDR 1.4.0

Adding a second slice is possible, but receive only as this whole setup is at the limit of the WinBook’s brain power.

My wife wasn’t happy at my sitting at my office desk call things like “India Romeo Four Mike – Kilo Niner Zulu Whiskey 59 59 001 001 QSL?” though she could see my point that I could be outside working QSOs once the weather allows.

I’m very impressed that SmartSDR has so improved that this is even possible!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now from FlexRadio Systems – Or How I Downloaded New Radios Tonight

Today FlexRadio Systems launched the long await LAN enabled SmartSDR v1.40

Here is my iMac running Parallels 9 with Windows 7.1 doing my first LAN enabled QSOs:

Working DX from my home office desk!  Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

Working DX from my home office desk! Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

More later – too much fun playing with the radio right now!! (BTW it happened to be the Flex-6300 I had in the operating slot in the shack.

FlexRadio Systems is pleased to announce the availability of SmartSDR v1.4.   SmartSDR v1.4 represents several months of intensive work on both new and existing features by our software team.  SmartSDR v1.4 is for all FLEX-6000 Signature Series radios.  Key features of v1.4 include:

LAN Remote: SmartSDR for Windows can now be operationally “decoupled” from the radio hardware by providing the ability to play slice receiver audio through the default PC speakers and use the default PC microphone to make phone QSOs. This new feature streams compressed audio over the IP connection between the radio and the SmartSDR client on the PC, eliminating the need for the speakers and microphone to be directly connected to the radio hardware. In order to provide diagnostic capabilities for the LAN Remote feature there are two new features. The Network Quality Monitor and Audio Streaming Monitor provide a visual indication of a network’s link capability to adequately stream audio to the PC, which is essential when using a wireless link between the client PC and the radio hardware.

via SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now | FlexRadio Systems Community.

73

Steve
K9ZW

More Washington Island portable operations

This weekend is my 4th working the CrankIR and the Flex-6300 from Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island, and my first running some digital mode from the farm.

I also brought two laptops , though I think one good one with dual screens would have been more effective.

Did a basic Ham Radio Deluxe setup and with DM780 worked a handful of PSK31 contacts.

Here is the two machines:

And here is closer look at the Toshiba running PSK31 via DM780:

I was able to work our local club president Scott W9JSB on 40m and again had some nice 12m contacts.

PSK31 operations were easy once I figured out the HRD/DM780 set up with SmartCAT and DAX. I will add in DDUTIL later.

My QSO count was down this weekend as I first arrived Saturday morning after catching the musical “Always.. Patsy Cline” at the Peninsula Players Theater in Fish Creek Friday evening (the XYL came to the mainland by private boat to make our theater date). Also I needed to be on my way noon Sunday, with a dinner out at The Sailor’s Pub and a morning coffee at The Red Cup Cafe .. and an a la fresco lunch at Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm’s bistro all squeezed into the 30 hours on Island.

It will be a couple weekends before I get back to Island operations and then end of October our lease at Rocky Ridge Farm ends.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island, WI – Third Radio Activation

This weekend is my third working the CrankIR and the Flex-6300 from Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island.

Getting past the  learning curve.

Was too chilly to comfortably operate outside, so set up the radio inside one the kitchen table.

K9ZW at Rocky Ridge

K9ZW at Rocky Ridge

 

Easy DX this time and I’ve figured out the band change process pretty well.  Worked on 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, 20m, and 40m.

Great fun!

 

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island, WI – First Radio Activation

Even though we have leased the farm for months, I first got around to setting up a portable station this weekend.  Usually when I am on Washington Island I have the luxury of guest operating from George W9EVT’s mega-shack, and even in this attempt George W9EVT saved the day helping me get on the air.

Equipment used was:

  • SteppIR CrankIR antenna with radial and 80m kits
  • FlexRadio System Flex-6300 transceiver
  • A Toshiba Laptop running Win7-Pro I borrowed from work
  • Power supply from my spares shelf
  • Cisco gigabit router
  • cables and power cords/distribution from my spares

This was our first use of the CrankIR and the Flex-6300, so we had a bit of a learning curve.  It was also a fresh install of SmartSDR, SmartCAT, DAX, and fldigi on the Toshiba which all had to be configured.

 

The SteppIR CrankIR Antenna

The SteppIR CrankIR Antenna


The working end

The working end


The Wires side of things

The Wires side of things


Logging on Cardboard

Logging on Cardboard


CrankIR Main Unit up close

CrankIR Main Unit up close


Rocky Ridge Farm Activated

Rocky Ridge Farm Activated

 

 

W9EVT saved the day...

W9EVT saved the day…

Pictures cannot convey the experience of doing a first time setup of the CrankIR – an easy task once you’ve done it, but a dickens the first time.  Winston KC9FVR helped the first setup and I don’t think I could have done it first time without my son’s participation.

I quickly discovered I had no audio out – I forgot to bring a headset or speakers, and ten Flex-6300 does not have an internal speaker, so my initial efforts were digital mode.

No joy there as my signal apparently wasn’t readable on PSK31 and without audio out the portable stup wasn’t going anywhere.

So the next day, hat in hand, I borrowed a headset from George W9EVT and switched to SSB.

Fairly quickly I was able to work a good number of stations on 20m and 15m phone, including several DX stations.

Found that the software juggling on the laptop was a pain, and ended up doing all the logging on the cardboard tabletop cover I used to have a mouse-ready surface.  Later I entered the QSOs into eQSL and I’ll import the adi log file into my main log later.

Mother Nature ended my activation early as it started to rain and the winds started whipping.  Knocking everything down went smoothly and with Labor Day still windy & rainy, further Rocky Ridge Farm activation will wait for another day.

Of course I have updated my gear checklist to include headphones and speakers for the next activation.

73

Steve

K9ZW

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