Category Archives: K9ZW Operations

What Big Ears you have! – Being Heard – the All-FlexRadio (AFR) Station

I mentioned the great reports I was receiving with the AFR station (All-FlexRadio), and as being heard is the the easy part of making QSO’s, it seemed a good time to talk about the “Ears” of the AFR station.

There are two parts of most aspects of reception – hearing the raw signals and having a method to reduce the signal to a particular station which you want to make a QSO.

Across the panadaper SSB signal traces crowd the screen.  Use of the various signal processing settings mitigates some of the crowd, but there remains a lot of signals to pick through.

Think of this like going to a crowded party where everyone is talking.  There are so many simultaneous conversations that one has to concentrate and focus to pick out just one.  A hard of hearing person may hear only a fraction of the conversations, and because of their lower ability to hear also misses much of the general “conversation buzz” that good ears need to work to pick through.

The AFR station is good ears for sure.  And I need to carefully use the software tools and my own hearing processing to pick out stations.  The challenge is to focus in on just one station.

FlexRadio has a number of videos on how to manipulate SmartSDR to achieve optimal QSO rates.  As fair warning, if you want to simulate the deafness of legacy radios you will need to work harder at tweaking settings in SmartSDR.  Conversely if you want to have run rate with the leaders in the pack, your SmartSDR settings will be less intrusive.

One obvious factor in this listening part of the equation, is the great performance of the Tennadyne T-12 Log Periodic Antenna.

I can hear you now!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Hearing and Being Heard – the All-FlexRadio (AFR) Station

I have been running the All-FlexRadio (AFR) setup on phone (SSB) with the new T-12 Log Periodic, and very pleased with the balance between Reception (RX) and Transmission (TX)!

Audio to Radio Frequency Chain of the AFR setup (All-FlexRadio) is:

  • Sure SM5B Microphone
  • Behringer Audio Amp
  • Flex-6700 with SmartSDR Software
  • Flex-PGXL Amp
  • Flex-TGXL Tuner
  • AS302N Lightning Arrestor
  • Tennadyne T-12 Antenna at 76ft

All cables are hardline, Belden 9913F7 (drops) or LMR400 (jumpers).

Presently I don’t have the rotator wired at the tower base and shack ends, so the Log Periodic has been stationary. The connectors I needed to repurchase as I put them someplace so very safe when first ordered that they haven’t been found since, just arrived.

Rather enjoying reports when running barefoot of “I have you K9ZW 5-9 plus 15” and then turning on the “heater” but loafing at 500 watts, to receive 5-9 plus 30 reports!

Happy camper here!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Hard not to be excited about the new Tennadyne T-12Log Periodic Antenna

Tennadyne T-12 Antenna up at 76 ft on Skyneedle at K9ZW Main QTH

The Tennadyne T-12 is up at about 76 ft (23m) but I don’t have the rotator controller set up yet, so it is essential fixed.

Yet the performance already has me enthused!

First day running FT8 in the background (I was pretty busy, so I missed a lot of DX opportunities) netting a bunch of DX – over 40 DXCC entities in 165 QSOs!

In no particular order:

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Tidying up is Important – K9ZW Island Rack

Sometimes the small things matter a lot.

The Island Rack basically has been put together piecemeal, and now that it is settling into an all-FlexRadio setup it was time to tidy things up.

Here is the backside of the rack:

K9ZW Island Rack – Backside View

Kind of a “So What?!” picture as I forgot to capture before tidy-up shots.

Changes made include:

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A bit of Solo Field Day – Island Operations from WI-001L

While doing other Island Shack chores, ran a bit of FT8 Field Day just to say I did something for 2021’s Field Day.

Took me a bit to remember how to set up WSJT for Field Day. Worked the treat once I remembered that in Settings–> Advanced is where the Field Day mode setting is hiding.

A rainy weekend on the island, which dashed my interest in trying some different antenna setups.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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A bit of Island (WI-001L) Operations

Been out operating FT8 from our Washington Island (Wisconsin) QTH. Antenna is a DX Engineering Hexbeam at 6 ft (yes just six feet).

“Armstrong rotator” to manually point the antenna the way I’d like it, Flex-6700 running barefoot, controlled by the little HP EliteDesk computer with the latest SmartSDR 3.2.39 software release.

I am cleaning the basement radio room, so FT8 is kind of nice as I only have to poke at the keyboard here and there. That lets me get some cleaning done at the same time as doing QSOs.

During 2020 we were seldom at our Island QTH – most just visited to do chores and left once the chores were complete.

This year we are hoping for a bit more “island time” in the mix. Having a son doing his remote grad school work from our main QTH makes leaving that QTH behind easier. If something needs rebooting he is all over it for us.

Station upgrades are in the works, with some serious antenna improvements a priority.

73

Steve
K9ZW