Category Archives: K9ZW Uses

Preparing an FT8 Linux Laptop from a Chromebook

UPDATE – “It’s Alive! It talks!”  Using some hints from https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=303867 I got the audio working.  I’m also editing in a few hints.  See the Sat Oct 19,2019 1:04 pm post for the step-by-step.  Basically seemed to be a driver issue with this particular Chromebook model.   

4A292416-16F9-4CCB-8D00-074F5869383D

The Audio Fix

[Edited 08FEB2020]

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CAUTION [SEE ABOVE – Resolved with some research and work!] – I’m struggling to get the Audio I/O working.  Some users are reporting that the Dell 3120 (Candy) Chromebook running GalliumOS ends up with the audio inoperative, and few say they have it working.  I’ve undone the whole process and repeated with the same problem.  Might be better to pick a different Chromebook in the end.  More to follow!  [Edited 08FEB2020]

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With some help from Vic KC9NWB I’ve mostly prepared a very inexpensive laptop to run WSJT-X with my soon to be built Midnight Design Solutions Phaser FT8 transceiver Kit.

I started with a Dell 3120 Chromebook which was a scratch-n-dent sale item at Amazon’s Woot.  With the larger memory Amazon usually gets $100 plus tax for one of these, but catching it on a short Woot offer saved about $30 in my case.  So with taxing delivered I’ve added $71 to my FT8 Phaser project for a dedicated computer.  At the time of my writing Amazon does have some on offer (again S&D/renewed) for the $75 range.

Rugged Chromebook

I followed the conversion to Linux Joshua Woehlke wrote up at https://joshuawoehlke.com/galliumos-dell-chromebook-3120/

Some notes: Backup the firmware to a separate flashdrive, and do make a set of backup media to restore ChromeOS just in case you have to revert to solve problems like I did. https://wiki.galliumos.org/Installing is also another good reference. You can make a new ChromeOS restoration media drive through the chrome browser app plug-in as well.  But having the right stuff handy is helpful and saves time if you do have to go back.  [Edited 08FEB2020]

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SteppIR SARK-110 Antenna Analyzer – Rejuvenated

Back in September I bought from SteppIR a SARK-110 Antenna Analyzer – promoted as a combination SWR Meter, TDR, and Antenna Analyzer.

Actually a sort of pocket single-port Vector Network Analyzer.

SARK-110 Stock Photo

As mention the unit I purchased wasn’t working for me. And I initially had some troubles getting SteppIR’s attention, though they came on like the professionals our hobby recognizes them as when I did catch their attention.

Out of the box the device lighted up, and after a charge basically did nothing.
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Using your Mac with SmartSDR v3.0 – Another Great Option

I work back and forth between Windows and MacOS machines, and appreciate Don’s work to create clients for my Flex-6000 I can use from my iMac.

dogparkSDR Version 1.16 Beta 2 and MacLoggerDX Version 6.23 Beta 62 have been posted.

Both program include support for Flex radios with SmartSDR V1 and V2 firmware, and preliminary support for radios loaded with V3 (multiFLEX ) firmware.

Both programs should run as before with V1 and V2 radios.

Support for V3 (multiFLEX) in both programs is preliminary – so – expect bugs :)

Thanks to Ed Gonzalez, Eric Wachsmann (and others) at FlexRadio for their support!

While we are waiting for xDAX for V3, you can still interface dogparkSDR to WSJT-X and other digital programs directly through Loopback

See the dogparkSDR online help for details.

73 de VE3VRW Don Agro

I’ll be looking to download his latest shortly!

 

Link to Don’s website where you can download both packages is:  https://dogparksoftware.com/home.html

73

Steve
K9ZW

K9ZW’s Mid-February Flex-6000 Software List Update

My list of Flex-6000 software has been updated to reflect what I presently using.

Added a list of what I am testing as well.

Hope you find this useful!

https://k9zw.wordpress.com/flex-6000-software/

73

Steve
K9ZW

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

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