Category Archives: K9ZW Uses

Imposed EUA – Do you actually own your IoT Hardware?

Sonos Speaker Examples

Sonos forced EUA (End User Agreement) update 09NOV22 presumed that as an established Sonos owner I could be forced to renegotiate the terms & conditions of my purchase & usage of their IoT Speaker/Stereo system.

No way to use the gear without agreeing to whatever they mandated. Quick counting I have 22 active Sonos speakers between our home, my radio room/workshop, my work office, and our Island home.

If I set out to replace everything at current Amazon level pricing we have a $7700 investment in Sonos.  That is not counting the $1400 worth of gear that Sonos orphaned by declaring them at EOL (End of Life) and removing them from hardware supported by the Sonos software.

A significant investment but given the number of rooms the setup covers – roughly 12 rooms/areas in four distinct buildings – not all that bad per room/area for fairly decent music capabilities.

Have no idea what is in the forced agreement, as at 10:30 pm at night ready to put on a few songs played from my central server, I had neither the patience or discernment to deal with a “stick you hands up” level of interaction.  So I clicked through.  Of course I cannot find now a way to actually review the changes forced upon me.

Big resentment was their claim that I had no right to use my purchased Sonos Hardware and the Sonos Software under previous EUAs.

This touches on the blended situation of dedicated hardware, proprietary software and mothership server/cloud interactions being sold and then unilaterally terms & conditions being forced through a change.

Went through this with security cameras – read: Camera Examples

And of course have a stable and agreeable situation in my Ham Shacks with the FlexRadio and FlexRadio/4o3a gear.

FlexRadio Flex-67600

One of my technology purchases that bit the dust with an undeclared EOL and unresolved incompatibilities with current Operating Systems were my Drobo units.  Junk now.

drobo NAS

So where does this put IoT equipment owners?

Do these owners really “own” their purchases when the company unilaterally demands actions be taken to use the equipment?

The K9ZW take on IoT ownership is IoT devices range from temporary possessions to fairly solid possessions that you can consider that you own, to the reverse situation of ephemeral/transitory possession of the moment.

None of these three classes are as solid as true “you own it, lock, stock and barrel” grade possessions.

The Ephemeral/Transitory are the highest risk, you can expect they will become untenable rather quickly, and accordingly your investment should be very modest.  Some Ephemeral/Transitory IoT devices are enough of liability and risk, that even if obtained free they would be a bad value.  Some indicators that an IoT device is likely in this category are:  Public Complaints, Periods of Downtime, Single Owner/Engineer shops, recent Venture Capital buyout, noise that fees will be added soon.

Solid Possessions are certainly not 100% truly “yours,” rather you are co-owners with rational sane people/organizations.  In this category there often is a prominent public commitment that no matter what you will be able to run your IoT with the software you possess.

Temporary Possessions are in  the stuff in-between the other two categories, and basically includes most IoT where you really do not know how secure your forward operation is, but you also have no indicators of elevated risk.

The Benefit vs Risk ratio has to more solidly favor Benefits to even consider Ephemeral/Transitory at all.  Any investment in money and time needs real benefits within the “likely to run window” or you are wasting your time.

Temporary Possessions open up the time window to recover your investment.

One could argue that Solid Possessions could be treated as wholly owned property, as in most cases the characteristics are not distinguishable.  I prefer to consider them separately as the differences matter in the provision of backups, as it suggests that any backup to a Solid Possession IoT would not duplicate the same product or IoT provider.




[Photos of example IoT items added at Dale N6JSX’s suggestion]

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Elgato Stream Deck XL – Usage Details

Speaking of my Eglato Stream Deck XL in an earlier post ( ) several comments, emails and a phone call came in asking for more detail on what I am doing with the unit.

Please remember that a Stream Deck is configurable on many axis. So what I have done is at best a tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can do with your own Stream Deck after a bit of scripting.

On your desktop the Stream Deck App looks like this:

Stream Deck App (Win10) showing the graphics side of my default configuration


Which ends up looking like this on your unit:


My Stream Deck then displays a really creditable representation of the configuration


I have this particular configuration setup to somewhat mimic the Icons used to:

  • Start My Radio/Amp/Tuner
  • Select Loggers/Digital Mode Programs
  • Setup my Remote Work Process
  • Setup Remote Access on this Machine
  • Kick Off my Programing Environment
  • Testing a Keyer/Macro Experiment (the one with the big “T” in the Icon behind K9ZW 73) which works but needs polishing
  • Do some Audio Programs
  • Do some Basic PC-level Tasks

I’d experimented with controlling the radio, working in NodeRed, and some advanced Audio Functions in additional configuration files.  Some worked fine and some I didn’t quite get sorted out.

Tom K0TTC is working on GIF-based Icons for some of the common FlexRadio Flex-6000 functions.  I’ve not taken the time to animate any of mine.

The empty four lower buttons often are configured to start the latest test version of SmartSDR or other FlexRadio software.  Version number that show on the regular buttons have been obscured, basically because I lost track if the version displayed is General Release or just a stable test version from my Alpha-Team participation.

To date I have not gotten much joy out of cascading profiles, mostly because remembering where command sets are – much less the separate commands – would require a lot more time in front of the Stream Deck equipped PC.  I can see where a operator is solidly using the same PC how the cascade and context aware configuration sets would really work out.  Because I work my station remotely so much from several other devices, including iOS devices, I’m only experimenting with the deeper features.

For some program/application calls it is possible to include Stream Deck set parameters, which can be useful.  Some programs/apps ignore what your have scripted in though.

There is a lot more one could do with a Stream Deck than what I have done, for sure!



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RiserBond 1270 Repair and Calibration

An example plot (right of cursor 2 is the electrical effect of the antenna)

My RiserBond 1270 TDR came back from DigiTrace repaired and freshly calibrated. (DigiTrace is at )

Great people to work with and excellent turn-around.

I put the returned TDR to work right away at both my island QTH and Tom K0TTC’s island home station.

A great device to have available, though not certain I could recommend every ham have one. With three stations and lots of ham friends who have opportunities to explore with a TDR, I’ve found having one useful.  If I had one feedline to inspect it would be silly to have this gear around.

In one recent inspection it found a pulled coax that didn’t test very well. I am thinking that one of the ends needs rework. Swapping to feedline pull #2 was the short term solution and put the station effectiveness back to norms.

I do not believe my RiserBond 1270a was “officially” calibrated for a very long time, even when I acquired it in 2006.

So it is wonderful to put any worries about being out of spec aside as well as the return-to-duty service that was absolutely needed.

As the repairs and calibration process use several hours of bench time, the costs reflect that service investment.



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Controlling the Ham Computer – Elgato Stream Deck XL

Upper Left Hand Corner is the Stream Deck

It wasn’t until a friend told me that he just bought an Elgato Stream Deck, asking me what did I think about them? That I realized I bought the larger one three years ago and have been using it in my hamshack, but hadn’t mentioned it much here.

Firs the link:

So what we have is 32 key keypad, with each key’s led face fully customizable to match the resulting key action you assigned.

I have mine set up to do normal station chores, and if left long enough to default to a multikey display of my callsign.

The minor scripting is simple and the results are fabulous.

There are 6-key, 15-key and 32-ley versions of the Stream Deck (Sept 2022 street prices were $80, $120 and $210 respectively.)



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EZNEC Antenna Modeling for All of Us

I missed this while it was happening. I was looking to update my old software to model my new antenna configurations and found out about the change.

As Roy W7EL decided to retire, he made public his EZNEC antenna modeling software (compiled form only).

There is also some neat stuff on NEC-5 end, where there is a collaborative update to the latest version (NEC5 X11) thanks to some great ham inputs!

The AC6LA add-on AutoEZ is something I plan to check out. and

AutoEZ is interesting as it an an Add-On to EZNEC which in also in essence an Add-On to NEC.  AutoEZ appears Excel-based, EZNEC is Visual Basic 6 (obsolete version) with some Fortran modules,  and the core NEC compiled Fortran (Intel Visual Fortran with the mkl math libraries).

Below the “–” line I will include some background from either Roy W7EL (website archived copy or or a QSO Today Podcast interview he did with Eric 4Z1UG.

Well worth checking out all of these programs.

Also a series of dedicated books by ON5AU that should be considered if you are going to put EZNEC to work:

GL and 73


Continue reading

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Bespoke Morse Code Key Cover from Pete G0PNM

Morse Code Cover by Pete G0PNM with protective film

Wanting a dust cover for my key, I had been recommended those made by Pete G0PNM.

Took just a quick web search to get us in contact and get the ball rolling.

  • I inquired on February 1st 2022
  • Ordered, was customized with my call sign, and shipped airmail on February 2nd !!
  • Royal Post Air Mail, though a bit pricey, is often not very swift, and delivered to my PO Box on February 9th (Royal Post Costs added 34% to the all up cost of the cover)
  • Assembled any now protecting my key on February 11th.

Pete lives in a lovely part of Cornwall. I had the fortune to spend a month nearby on a work assignment, many years ago.

Here is a link to his YouTube on the covers and assembly:

Pete G0PNM’s website link: