Category Archives: K9ZW Operations

Some Further FT8 Thoughts

Okay what is FT8 like after a bunch of QSOs?

Personally I cannot see FT8 being “my radio experience” by itself. The QSOs are fairly soulless and while technically fulfilling every aspect of a recordable QSO they lack the gravitas of a human-to-human QSO.

As we all use some aids to our radio efforts, whether Spots, Keyers, Memories, Macros and other QSO-flow-aids there is no point in getting self righteous about the highly automated FT8 QSO experience.

The hobby and regulatory consensus of what is a “true QSO” is easily met by FT8.

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Assembling a Receive Preamp for a Yaesu DR-1X Repeater

Yaesu DR-1X repeater installations I’ve been able to look at have mostly had an added Receive Preamp added to help the RX side of the DR-1X better match the TX side.

Dave N9JDZ assembled the Preamp in use at the Washington Island WI9DX 2m repeater, and pointed me in the right direction to assemble one for the 2m repeater I am sponsoring.

The preamp module

 

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Winter Station Casualty and Preparations for another K9ZW Back-Up Station, and my new 2m Repeater

Seems the weather has done some damage to the remote station at my old home.  Once the weather breaks I’ll have a chance to dig out the snow around the tower connection box and see if I can jumper past what appears to be a dysfunctional remote Antenna Switch.

I’ve had this particular Array Solutions RatPAK6N switch in use for years, but from the in the shack testing it isn’t working correctly.  With weather that have been everything from -25F to 50F, raining, sleeting and now snowing again it may have nothing more than a connection problem.

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Okay, FT8 is a notch above watching paint dry after all…

After sorting Windows 10 update induced DAX troubles I ran the home station running FT8 QSOs for a bit.

Not the best use for a 4K 40 inch monitor and a Flex-6700

Not super exciting but was a way to make QSOs while doing other shack chores.

Without the computer helping facilitate FT8 QSOs the reality is my QSO count for this period of time would be exactly Zero.

In several instances their was nothing to be seen on the waterfall but WJST-X pulled out minimalistic QSOs from the seemingly empty ether.

I cant help thinking FT8 isn’t much more than what happens when one fax machine negotiates a connection with another fax machine, excepting of course that FT8 does it on the air.

Heard that MacLoggerDX will have FT8 integration in the next release which could mean that I could run FT8 QSOs while I’m doing other work on my iMac at home.

I’ll also take a look at how to run QSOs from my work PC.  Might be a way to log more QSOs by doing someth8ng with some of those dead moments during the day.

Can sure say the radio gear isn’t exactly overtasked doing FT8.

Almost bordering on embarrassing the level of investment behind my FT8 efforts.

73

Steve
K9ZW

My Flex-6000 Software – a Dynamic Listing

Created another Page for this bog at Flex-6000 Software where I will be listing what software I am using with my Flex Radios, the current version, and how to get your own copy.

I won’t be listing anything that isn’t General Release, so you will see the latest SmartSDR products rather than any Alpha Team versions I may be testing for FlexRadio.

Hope you find this a useful reference.

73

Steve
K9ZW

A bit of FT8 – first runs

At my Island QTH I set up a Flex-6700 to run FT8 and ran about 30 QSOs.

My first FT8 QSO was W3BZT

My first FT8 DX QSO was F1RUK

Wasn’t exactly wowed by the experience.

Software setup was fiddly. Like really fiddly.

In many ways the GUI was a 1980’s dial-up modem connection sort of thing, and the experience was somewhat the same as dialing into a BBS to do an email exchange & run routine.

Seemed my operator’s input was pretty much limited to confirming completed QSOs for logging and then re-enabling TX.

I’m not quite certain whether the experience was productive or not.

In the past I’ve always held back making my mind up until I have a couple hundred QSOs in a new digital mode.

I’ll wait until the same couple hundred QSO point to solidify my thoughts on FT8.

But again I can relate it sure wasn’t “Wowzy, how did I miss out doing FT8 until now” as my response to the first 30 QSOs.

73

Steve
K9ZW