Category Archives: K9ZW

What does an Amateur Radio Rating or Review really mean?

What does an Amateur Radio Rating or Review really mean?

The annual pre-Hamvention “who is rated highest” games has started it 2019 round with yet another new rig be trumpeted as “the bee’s knees.”

As I write this radio hasn’t been on the market for a month, but the campaign is lauding the rig as so exceptional that you just have to buy one. (The FCC approval for one version was achieved April 12th 2019 despite a Hamvention 2018 May debut, and the higher power version is still waiting for FCC approval.)

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FlexRadio Systems Announced SmartSDR 2.5 and a SmartSDR 3.0 Update at Dayton 2019

The announcement was made at the Banquet Dinner Thursday evening.

Photo of the PowerPoint slide was shared with me.

v2.5 and v3.0.x slide

As a reminder v2 licensed radios are eligible to update to v2.5 at no additional cost.

Likewise v3 licensed radios are eligible to update to the newest v3.0.x with no additional cost, and technically are eligible to use v2.5 as well.

Release date is promised for Monday May 20th.



Check out Dustin N8RMA’s 2019 State of the Hobby Survey Results

Dustin N8RMA did a great job again putting together a survey and using Microsoft’s “Sway” to present results.

Definitely worth spend a few minutes checking the results.

(Click on the SWAY button once you have his article up in your browser to access the report):

I’m going to hold my comments so as to not bias your reading of the results. I think much speaks for itself as it is.

And again a reach out & thank you to Duston N8RMA for the fine work!



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REPOST: The K9YA Telegraph, a PDF based Amateur Newsletter

Here some twelve years after I first wrote about the K9YA Telegraph I still look forward to each issue.  Perhaps you might enjoy reading it too!

Original post January 2007 –


I simply look forward to each copy!

The K9YA Telegraph is a wonderful read.

The editors’ positive attitudes really show and I find myself printing out, reading and sharing each issue.

There isn’t much more that I say, other than this pdf based periodical deserves your attention!




Internet by Fiber Ethernet to the Radio Room

Thanks to an empty conduit put in several years ago when a directional boring machine was on site, 110m of fiber is serving as an Ethernet Backhaul to my radio room.

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REPOST: Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain – Cause & Effect of Non-Elmers

A repost from January 2007 that still rings true today.  This morning I was reading various forum posts by amateurs who couldn’t see anything positive and missed the point that by Elmering we better ourselves as well.

Original publication


A wonderful aspect of Amateur Radio is the on going opportunity to share what we learn, or in “Ham Speak” to be an “Elmer” by teaching & mentoring.

There is something so special about encouraging someone to get on the air, or work their first contest, or to try digital modes, or to take a turn as net control, or any of the 100’s of other operating experiences.

I’ve been lucky and met some very fine people who have taken time to explain what to do, shared their experiences on what worked well for them, and have offered both encouragement and advice.

A puzzling side of the hobby is those of us who purposely miss out the chance to share, rather holding-close their knowledge & never passing on what they have learned.

One wonders if they are taken with the mystique of the hobby – puffing up & making a display for effect and not disposed to explaining how they pulled off that DX contact or Managed that Net. Sort of the thing like in the Wizard of Oz where the great Oz was really just a clever man who’s nature was to not share his understanding of technology, hiding behind it as something greater than he actually was.

Or is it the more likely situation that not everyone can Elmer and those who might need to be learn how just like they learned all their other radio skills?

The few of us to who instructing & mentoring comes with great difficulty because the strengths of our personalities are different than the needs of the tasks of an Elmer are rare.

But those of use who haven’t yet discovered a Elmering pattern, a set of methods that work for us, are common.

When given confidence that they know the material, the situation is under control, and with the knowledge that what they are doing is important & special, many an Amateur would do just great at Elmering.

Not everyone takes well to the “toss them in and see if they swim” introduction to Elmering – the Radio equivalent where without much preparation you are pushed off the end of the dock and told to “just swim.”

Most of us like to be prepared to do something we’ve not done & might find difficult.

In my industry there are several “Train the Trainer” programs, where specific skills are taught to people who will instead of just using the skills (Technical or Safety) are expected to teach those skills to others.

Maybe it is time for clubs & organizations to look at doing “Train the Trainer” Amateur Radio education?

Every opportunity to help another Radio Amateur should be a natural call to action to share, teach and encourage, or we’ll be no better than that “Man Behind the Curtain” pretending to be “The Great Oz.”