Category Archives: K9ZW Uses

Elgato Stream Deck XL – Usage Details

Speaking of my Eglato Stream Deck XL in an earlier post ( https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2022/09/14/controlling-the-ham-computer-elgato-stream-deck-xl/ ) 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!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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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 http://www.digitrace.com/ )

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.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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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: https://www.elgato.com/en/stream-deck-xl

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.)

73

Steve
K9ZW

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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).

https://eznec.com/

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! https://eznec.com/NEC-5.htm

The AC6LA add-on AutoEZ is something I plan to check out. https://eznec.com/AutoEZ.htm and https://ac6la.com/

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 QRZ.com) 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:

http://www.on5au.be/EZNECPro7.html

http://www.on5au.be/advanced_modeling_book.html

GL and 73

Steve
K9ZW

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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: https://youtu.be/5BbVcqfjTFw

Pete G0PNM’s website link: http://www.g0pnm.uk/

Recommended!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Little touches make a big different – Das Keyboard and KeyChron

Old enough to learn to type on some nondescript Smith-Corona in school. Then later Army trained on an IBM Selectric that I typed so many reports on that I can still feel the IBM keyboard under my fingers.

Computer keyboards I used were initially part of the machine or pretty much paired with a particular setup. The teletype keyboards of the first terminals, to various chunky keyboards designed by unemployed torture instrument designers, to various chicklet/membrane keyboards perhaps never intended for more than two minutes of steady typing when they were conceived.

Thinking who more than gamers to harshly evaluate keyboards? Informally surveyed several hams and several family who were gamers for their suggestions.

Lots of differing suggestions – learn Dvorak, go for an ergonomic design that looks like it came from Star Trek, try one of the battleship vintage keyboards, or have the early IBM unobtanium model xyz123 restored for me… lots of differing suggestions.

Commonality was found in looking for keyboards that use superior switches, as the switch is where much of the feel comes from, get one that is heavy enough to not move while typing, possibly remappable to allow PC/MAC & QWERTY/DVORAK changes, and has low latency, in many of the suggestions I received.

A few keyboards came an went, including a “Das Keyboard 4C TKL Wired Tenkeyless” which had such low contrast key labeling that it was exchanged.

Das Keyboard 4 Pro

Main keyboards both work and home, where I wanted the ten-key numeric pads ended up “Das Keyboard 4 Professional Wired Mechanical Keyboard, Cherry MX Brown Mechanical Switches, 2-Port USB 3.0 Hub, Volume Knob, Aluminum Top (104 Keys, Black)” and where I wanted the smaller ten-key less format (at the iMac mostly) as “Keychron K8 Tenkeyless Wireless Mechanical Keyboard for Mac, Hot-swappable RGB Backlight, Bluetooth, Multitasking, Type-C Wired Gaming Keyboard for Windows with Optical Brown Switch, Aluminum Frame.”

Keychron K8 TKL

The transition has been marvelous. These keyboards type like the Selectric I am used to, though with a slightly less of a key stroke. Having an extra USB hub on some of the keyboards is also a plus.

Good Stuff and Recommended!

(For links you can check Amazon, the direct Manufacturer’s Website or do a net search.)

73

Steve
K9ZW

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