Category Archives: K9ZW Shack

What is there not to like about Maps? They are even more fun when free!

Came across a neat link to topographical maps:

Using these maps can certainly help your station antenna layout.



Island QTH Door Replacement

The Washington Island QTH station is in the basement of our island home, an area which should be safe, mostly vermin-free and warm.

I’ve documented how mice came in to nest in my Collins station, but hadn’t mentioned that the ad hoc door let the cold in and provided close to zero security.

Original door – top

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(Re)Building Firewalls, Gateways and LAN

All started with two issues:

  • First the prior OpnSense Qotom Router destroyed its internal SSD and appears to be generally suspect. A new device was ordered.
  • Second our ISP decided our Gateway/Modem was approaching EOL and needed replacement with a newer 1 Gbps class device.

The replacement Modem arrived between the Holidays and I wasted several hours with the ISP repeatedly updating and provisioning the new device on Monday January 2nd. Basic parts came up but truly the information, APP and online help were subpar. Only when I captured an agent and got the issues escalated upwards twice was progress made.

In the process my SmartLink Remote station is again down, but as I can see the station from outside it will be be configurations that need manually updating.

The replacement Qotom Router (actually a mini-pc with enough NICS to serve as a router) arrived late Tuesday (January 3rd) and I I will be starting the process to load & configure it, perhaps on the weekend. Rather worried that my 2-3 hour time budget could be inadequate to get it ready, installed and troubleshoot.

I’ve downloaded a fresh copy of OpnSense

And already built a bootable USB stick using Rufus

I also have the old configuration file ready to load into the new device.

If all this works well it should get me 98% of the way, but the worried that the learning curve may be a vertical wall for that last 2%. Mostly because network configuration is a rare task as I may go a year or more without touching network workings.

Upside to the time investment is we are seeing solid gigabyte throughput on the wired portion of our LAN, and a wireless device limited 600 Mbps on the wireless side.  That is more than triple where we were at before.



Third Owner – Original 1958 Collins S-Line Station

32S1 – Case Off for Testing

75S1 – Case Off for Testing

516F2 Power Supply

312B4 Station Control/Meter

312B3 Speaker

32S-1 and 75S-1 Transmitter/Receiver set were purchased new and kept together until becoming part of the Dexter K5WDW collection.

Dexter K5WDW has added a similar vintage and quality Power Supply, VFO, and Speaker. Everything is Winged Emblem (WE) because of the early vintage.

I started taking to Dexter K5WDW as the 32S-1 transmitter from my ad hoc set started acting up and was being troublesome on the Chuck W9KR repair bench. I had not really expected to end up buying a complete station, but when I realized Dexter’s 32S-1 and 75S-1 had such a great history together, and that the remaining components had been assembled with great care many decades ago, I dug deeper into my radio funds to acquire the complete setup.

As an explanation my buddy George W9EVT (SK) started my S-1 station building with a 75S-1 that had come in a lot of radios he had acquired, with his challenge to “build out the station.”

For the time being my ad-hoc S-Line “S-1” vintage station will be kept as backups and spares to the wonderful setup purchased from Dexter K5WDW.  I will use the 30L1 amplifier with the new to me setup.



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Collins Ruminations – Forward Station(s) Design(s)

Collins S-Line Gear in Temporary Storage

Pickup up the freshened benched and aligned Collins S-Line S-1 Winged Emblem  (WE) station from Chuck W9KR at the end of November 2022. Hats off to Chuck W9KR for all his fine work and taking the time to educate me on many “things Collins.”

My original S-1 gear was a station assembled with each component having a different history. Most were workable, the 75S-1 Receiver, the first Collins unit I was given by George W9EVT to start my Collins Station building off, responded great to W9KR’s attentions. However the 32S-1 I acquired from Northwestern Wisconsin simply wouldn’t respond to W9KR’s best efforts and in the end is now relegated as a parts unit.

So in mass purchase I was able to purchase a 32S-1/75S-1 setup in near museum-grade condition.  These radios and accessories have stayed together since produced some 60+ years ago!  It appears that I am only the third owner to boot!

Chuck W9KR previously went through my Round Emblem (RE) Transceiver KWM-2/A setup.

So refreshed and ready to put on the air, I now have two complete Collins S-Line Stations – the early WE 32/75S-1 setup and the late RE KWM-2/A setup, plus my KWM-380 rack setup.

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CAD Systems around the Ham Radio Shack

Wanted to dust off my CAD chops to do some station layout sketches.

I’ve use Generic CAD from way back when – roughly about 1988. I know I had a program that used prior but neither the program or the name made enough impression that I can recall it now.

Upgraded from Generic CADD 1.x to v 5.04, including the bit of time under Autocad. Bought an Autocad LT license, which soon bacame useless, and quietly have been running the old version of Generic renamed & upgraded as VisualCADD/VCADD by TriTools, ever since.

Haven’t updated further as most new features (they are on VCADD v8.04 and a v9.0 beta is also available) have been 3D tools or advanced tools I haven’t yet needed.

Unfortunately VCADD is a bit pricey for a Station Sketching Tool (currently $460 new user/$160 upgrade fees). I’ll have to decide if I want to upgrade I guess.



Some alternatives that may work and a donation or free:



And a recommendation by Dale N6JSX, who uses it in his 3D printing/machining setup.



Or maybe my take-off drawing kit comes out and I just hand sketch for the time being?



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