Category Archives: K9ZW Uses

Remoting via SmartSDR and SmartLink v2.0 – in Daily Use

 

Travels so often put a person in a hotel somewhere with idle time to fill.  My last appointment of the day in Milwaukee finished at 5:30pm and after taking my youngest two university students out for dinner, Winston KC9FVR and Vic KC9NWB, I’d decided to stay in town.  A morning appointment at 7 am made running home and then hitting the road by 5 am seem a waste.

A Speedtest showed that this Art Deco hotel, The Ambassador, has a guest internet that can support remoting my Flex-6700, so it was a no-brainer to run QSOs from the hotel room.

K9ZW portable SmartSDR setup

My setup is super simple   An older 2013 era iPad Air with and even older AblePlanet noise-canceling headset with a boom microphone adapter.

I think the AblePlanet setup is almost ten years old and had made many overseas flights over the years.  I’d bought the boom microphone  to do some of the earlier voip programs.  I’d bought five of the headsets so everyone had one for a U.K. Trip, but I was the only one with a microphone as the option was a silly price back then.

Some folk didn’t like the headsets or found then fragile, and when they were being sold off cheap I should have bought more.

On the iPad I’m using “SmartSDR for iOS” which is truly an elegant implementation.

Logging is handled with the in-App purchase Logger add-in for SmartSDR for iOS.  Simple but elegant.

Now I have to admit I played radio only for an hour or so, but it sure was a blast.

I’ll talk more about putting this all together in a further installment.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Remoting via SmartSDR and SmartLink v2.0 – Both my Stations are UP!!

One of my “Dreams” I contemplated when the Flex-6000 (Deep Impact, right?) was announced was the idea that I could control more than one of my own stations remotely.

I forgot to shoot a screen shot, as I was able to sit in the W9EVT Mega-Shack receiving the stations I worked, while alternatingly working them from my North and South Stations!

When I got back to the North Station I did shoot this screen shot the next morning:

SmartLink doing both of my Stations

Let’s walk through the four entries:

  1. K9ZW Home (South) QTH via SmartLink – this is in Manitowoc, Wisconsin running a Flex-6700 Limited Edition (#11) barefoot to a Tennadyne T-8 at 60ft.
  2. K9ZW Island (North) QTH via SmartLink – this is on Washington Island, Wisconsin (hence the WI-001L) running a later Flex-6700 barefoot to a SteppIR CrankIR portable antenna.
  3. K9ZW Island (North) QTH via Local Area Network is the same station and shows because I within the wireless router’s coverage.
  4. Demo Flex-6700 is built into SmartSDR for iOS, and I keep it enabled to do quick show-and-tell sessions where I don’t have good internet set up.

So what I was doing was using George W9EVT’s Maestro and Flex-6300 to listen as I switch back-and forth from the North and South stations.  I was also monitoring via those stations as well.

The North and South stations are roughly 190 km/118 miles apart in a largely north(NNE)-south(SSW) displacement.  The roads are slow and a ferry ride make this a 3+ hour trip each way.

K9ZW South to K9ZW North – 24 degrees

Very interesting experiment which I hope to repeat!

Next step may come in the future, as I would love to combine the two stations in one virtual-station!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Remoting via SmartSDR and SmartLink v2.0 – First Impressions

Working DX stations on my iPhone with SmartSDR for iOS from the local airport cafe….
Monitoring the band via SmartLink using a Maestro from my work desk….
Working DX from the doctor’s waiting room via SmartSDR for iOS on that iPhone (I went the cellphone area to keep the quiet)….
Then working lots of Parks on the Air and iota stations from SmartSDR for iOS on an iPad but locally (LAN connection) while doing bills….

What an awesome product! Okay there are some things the initial v2.0 isn’t ready to do yet: No native digital (DAX digital streams are perhaps down the road), No remote control of other station equipment, No built-in standby/start control, the 4o3a gear integration didn’t make this release. Stuff that can come later.

What is awesome is that lickty split one can remote into their setup Flex-6000 station without a PhD in networking!

Nothing on the net is truely always plug-and-play so you might need some help getting through the initial setup. And of course you need enough low latency, low jitter and modestly bufferless limited (like satellite internet doesn’t seem to work) to make the connection. Would seem as a good rule of thumb if your connection will support a good grade of gamer’s connection with voice and all that, you may be in the right direction.

Setup is a ready the manual and follow the steps sort of thing. Makes sense.

Good stuff!

73

Steve
K9ZW

PowerPoles can really suck – why not CliffCon Power Connectors instead?

Who has not had a Powerpole disconnect inadvertently?

If you notice high end gear eschews Powerpoles for high performance positive-interface connectors.

The military ones are pretty pricey and hard to source.

Following the leadership of high end radios like the Hilberling PT-8000A, I’ve instead brought in a supply of Cliff CliffCon Power Connectors, and will be slowly implementing them in my shack.

Here is what they look like:

CliffCon Connectors – “Blue” Four-Pole Series

 

UK Website

http://www.cliffuk.co.uk/products/cliffcon/pole4.htm

USA Website

http://www.cliffinc.com/products/cliffcon/pole4.htm

A PDF datasheet

http://www.cliffuk.co.uk/products/cliffcon/cliffcon.pdf

Additional information from my order:

 

Stock No: Manufacturer Part No: UOM: Quantity: Price: Extended Price:
23T0887 FCR2068 Each 1
Customer Part Number:
Description: SOCKET, 4POLE, 4PC/S/LV, LOW VOLTAGE; Product Range:Cliffcon Series; Gender:Receptacle; Voltage Rating:120V; Current Rating:20A; Connector Mounting:Panel Mount; Contact Termination Type:Through Hole; SVHC:No SVHC (17-Dec-2015);

 

Stock No: Manufacturer Part No: UOM: Quantity: Price: Extended Price:
23T0883 FCR2066 Each 1
Customer Part Number:
Description: PLUG, 4POLE, 4PC/P/LV, LOW VOLTAGE; Product Range:Cliffcon Series; Gender:Plug; Voltage Rating:120V; Current Rating:20A; Connector Mounting:Cable Mount; Contact Termination Type:Clamp; SVHC:No SVHC (17-Dec-2015); Colour:Blue; Contact

 

Stock No: Manufacturer Part No: UOM: Quantity: Price: Extended Price:
23T0884 FCR20663 Each 1
Customer Part Number:
Description: PLUG, 4POLE, R/A, 4PC/P90/LV, LV; Product Range:Cliffcon Series; Gender:Plug; Voltage Rating:120V; Current Rating:20A; Connector Mounting:Cable Mount; Contact Termination Type:Clamp; SVHC:No SVHC (17-Dec-2015); Colour:Blue; Contact

Okay in comparison they are a bit spendy compared to Powerpoles, but they are positive-interface and will not pull out shutting your station down.  They are also vibration resistant making the selection for field use even more appropriate.  They have redundancy (four wire) which in the interest of standardization within my equipment I will keep to a set pattern.

Yet they allow disconnection quickly.

More on this over the next few months as they are put to use.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Adding 4o3a Genius Gear to the Shack

Adding some very cool station automation gear to the shack – all from 4o3a in Montenegro.

4O3A MADE IN MONTENEGROThe 4o3a Station Genius is basically an ethernet addressable highly configurable shack multi-switch. Ranks 4o3a jokes that it WILL even do your coffee, and technically that is an affirmative!

For the moment the Station Genius is home shack only.

The each QTH has gotten a 4o3a Antenna Genius 8×2 ethernet addressable Antenna Switch. These switches are especially sweet when using a dual-SCU Flex-6700 in SO2R configuration.

4o3a has his Rotor Genius out, which will be next implementation. A not so secret bit of news is 4o3a is tightly collaborating with FlexRadio Systems and a RF Amp is somewhere in the works.

You can read a lot about Ranko 4o3a at his website http://www.4o3a.com

Force12 has been awesome in sourcing this great gear for the USA based ham. See http://www.force12inc.com/categories/4o3a-devices.html?sort=pricedesc for their listing of 4o3a devices.

 

FORCE12 LOGO

Did I mention the end goal is all this gear works with SmartSDR and hopefully with a Maestro soon afterwards?

Much more to follow!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Upgraded Amp Installed – Alpha-9500

Finally, i mean FINALLY, got around to putting the Alpha-9500 Amp I bought during one of their specials summer of 2014 online.

The amp and transformer boxes had sat unopened for 15 months.  Seems every time I thought to put the Amp online I was more interested in just getting on the air.

I’ve wanted to pull the Expert 1KW amp out to move it to my Northern QTH on Washington Island, and the “blah” band conditions tonight seemed to offer a perfect opportunity to get the Alpha unboxed and in operation.

Putting the amp together was easy, and the quality of the build shows well.  Both in case any troubleshooting and because of the Amp’s size, for now it is on my main operating bench.

I’m spoken with a friend who builds furniture about doing a shelf unit once I decide what goes where.

Adjusting DDUTIL to control the Alpha was easy and it works slick.  Biggest deal I had was I had asked for the wrong 240v plug type, and had to change it out.

Everything ran well from the get-go, and I banged out a couple QSOs with great reports.  Really like the way it tracks bands and does nudge-tuning to adjust as one QSYs.

One thing I did lose in the change, is the Expert being solid state is an “instant on” amp, where the Alpha has a countdown as it warms up the tube.

And the best part of all is despite the reticence to miss out on-the-air time that led to the Alpha being left in the box while I kept operating, the downtime was trivial.  Should have done it months ago!

73

Steve
K9ZW