Category Archives: K9ZW

First look at the Flexradio Maestro at Dayton Hamvention 2015 – YouTube

I would really like to be able to credit this video, but no call sign anywhere.

Like to YouTube video of the Maestro: First look at the Flexradio Maestro at Dayton Hamvention 2015 – YouTube.

Also a photo of Howard KY6LA holding a unit:

KY6LA with a FRS Maestro Prototype

KY6LA with a FRS Maestro Prototype

And a concept for station design by Beppe IK3VIG:

IK3VIG's Maestro Station Concept

IK3VIG’s Maestro Station Concept

A link to the FRS Maestro Page:  http://www.flexradio.com/amateur-products/flex-6000-signature-series/maestro/

(Please follow the link there for the latest pdf specification sheet on the Maestro).

Here is another shot courtesy of Jeff KE9V:

FRS Maestro - photo by Jeff KE9V

FRS Maestro – photo by Jeff KE9V

I have mine on order.  Will be VERY useful the way I operate.

73

Steve
K9ZW

May 2015 US Island Program One Day Getaway Island Activation Plans

Of course our friend George W9EVT will be operating for the day from Washington Island WI001L

Here further south in Wisconsin the team is myself and Scott W9JSB.  We may add one or two more hams, but they haven’t confirmed as I wrote.

Plan is The Friday evening part (May 9th 0000Z to dark)  to operate from Step-In Island WI039R.  This is a second time activation of an Island in Shoto Wisconsin.

Saturday will start with “The Flats” WI041R – an Island in Appleton Wisconsin in the Fox River – with myself running solo, and Scott W9JSB will join after he is done coaching his kids soccer team to do a first time ever activation for Banta Island WI057R.   Banta Island is further downstream in the Fox River, still in Appleton.

Equipment will be a bit different for the One Day Getaway than my past Island operations:

  • Transceiver – FlexRadio Systems Flex-6300, running SmartSDR 1.4.3 and a Toshiba Laptop
  • Antenna – SteppIR CrankIR antenna

I used this FlexRadio/CrankIR set up with great success for Washington Island WI001L weekends at Rocky Ridge Farm – a place we leased last season about 2 miles from George W9EVT’s QTH. As most folk refused to believe I wasn’t running an Amp and a Beam when I ran the setup from Rocky Ridge Farm, I am hoping the same performance will work for the team for the One Day Getaway.

Appreciate some help for the first time activation!  We need at least 25 confirmed QSOs with a minimum of one DX QSO to make the activation of Banta Island WI057R official.  Hoping we can catch many of you on the air that day!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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US Islands Awards Program’s “One-Day Getaway” – Saturday, May 9, 2015

Don’t miss this:

 http://www.usislands.org/USI-1DG-PressRelease.pdf

Contact: Jay Chamberlain, NS4J US Islands Awards Manager ns4j@usislands.org

For Immediate Release

Hams Hit the Water for the new US Islands Awards Program’s “One-Day Getaway” – Saturday, May 9, 2015

February 19, 2015

Fans of portable ham radio are encouraged to grab their equipment and head for the water as part of the new “One-Day Getaway,” sponsored by the US Islands awards program. The annual event will make its debut on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC (Friday evening to Saturday evening in the continental US).

Founded in 1994, US Islands promotes portable ham radio operations from islands found in all bodies of water: lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and coastal islands in US territorial waters. The One-Day Getaway is an on-air activity, not a contest: no scores are tallied and no prizes are awarded. Participation from all radio amateurs, regardless of experience level, is encouraged.

“US Islands is a great way to go on a mini-DXpedition without spending a lot of money,” said US Islands Awards Manager Jay Chamberlain, NS4J. “Discovering islands in your own back yard and setting up a station outdoors is always a good time. If hams have only operated outdoors during Field Day, we offer another route to get outside and enjoy portable ham radio in a different way.”

Contacts can be made with any station; US Islands offers achievement awards for both island activators and island chasers, including a certificate for your first US Islands activation.

While there are over 2,800 islands on the US Islands list, there are more than 17,000 islands within the United States. Participants can use Google Earth to locate new islands and be the first to operate ham radio from that location! Complete information on the US Islands Program, a how-to guide for One-Day Getaway participants and a list of currently qualified islands is available at http://www.usislands.org.

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Working on doing an activation myself for the event! Details to follow!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Running Flex-6300 SmartSDR 1.4.0 QSOs from a Winbook with an AblePlanet Linx Audio Boomset

The WinBook runs Win8.1 and ran me a huge $60.00 on special.

The Boomset is a nice noise canceling AblePlanet Linx Audio unit I had bought one for each of in the house for traveling (mine has the optional Boomset plug-in microphone).

Would be easier if I added a FlexControl and a Mouse, but that would be cheating, right?

Some latency issues in commands issued to the touch screen having a moment lag to action at the Flex-6300.

I did cut back the Frames Per Second and Waterfall motion rate to improve the ability of the WinBook to run SmartSDR 1.4.0

Adding a second slice is possible, but receive only as this whole setup is at the limit of the WinBook’s brain power.

My wife wasn’t happy at my sitting at my office desk call things like “India Romeo Four Mike – Kilo Niner Zulu Whiskey 59 59 001 001 QSL?” though she could see my point that I could be outside working QSOs once the weather allows.

I’m very impressed that SmartSDR has so improved that this is even possible!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now from FlexRadio Systems – Or How I Downloaded New Radios Tonight

Today FlexRadio Systems launched the long await LAN enabled SmartSDR v1.40

Here is my iMac running Parallels 9 with Windows 7.1 doing my first LAN enabled QSOs:

Working DX from my home office desk!  Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

Working DX from my home office desk! Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

More later – too much fun playing with the radio right now!! (BTW it happened to be the Flex-6300 I had in the operating slot in the shack.

FlexRadio Systems is pleased to announce the availability of SmartSDR v1.4.   SmartSDR v1.4 represents several months of intensive work on both new and existing features by our software team.  SmartSDR v1.4 is for all FLEX-6000 Signature Series radios.  Key features of v1.4 include:

LAN Remote: SmartSDR for Windows can now be operationally “decoupled” from the radio hardware by providing the ability to play slice receiver audio through the default PC speakers and use the default PC microphone to make phone QSOs. This new feature streams compressed audio over the IP connection between the radio and the SmartSDR client on the PC, eliminating the need for the speakers and microphone to be directly connected to the radio hardware. In order to provide diagnostic capabilities for the LAN Remote feature there are two new features. The Network Quality Monitor and Audio Streaming Monitor provide a visual indication of a network’s link capability to adequately stream audio to the PC, which is essential when using a wireless link between the client PC and the radio hardware.

via SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now | FlexRadio Systems Community.

73

Steve
K9ZW

RF Concepts (Alpha) has a major update on the 4040 Tuner Project

RF Concepts (Alpha) has a major update on the 4040 Tuner Project:

alpha_4040

 

 

 

NOVEMBER TUNER UPDATE

In the last 45 days, we’ve made a lot of progress on the Alpha 4040 DreamTuner. As you know, when we tested the tuner under full power, we discovered that the switches weren’t delivering the performance we needed. Dissatisfied with the test results, and knowing it would push the delivery out, we undertook a massive redesign including a new, commercial pad cap, custom antenna switches, and a new layout. The fruit of our labors is a very efficient tuner that is an industry leader in both matching range and power handling.

We ARE shipping beta units this month.  Our first unit already shipped to the owner of RF Concepts, Michael Seedman, AA6DY and he was pleased with the changes and overall design of the tuner.  This is a different tuner than we showed at Dayton last May.  Here’s a picture of the insides.  We’re planning on posting a new section in the website with lots of photos and details.

Thanks for sticking with us over this insanely long period of time.  We’re almost there…

73,
Ken N0QO
President and CEO
RF Concepts

P.S. We are accepting pre-orders. These orders are non-binding, with no deposit necessary.  Click HERE to learn more.

A4040_inaction_10-3-14

 

Whole Unit

Here’s the unit with redesigned exterior sheet metal, up and running. The Alpha 4040’s enclosure is designed to support the weight of an 80 pound plus amplifier. There are no protruding screw heads, this allows for easy stacking and placement of a whole variety of gear atop the tuner.

A4040_interior10-3-14

 

Interior

  • Capacitor mounts and shaft couplers redesigned to limit stray capacitance. Inductor design changed and resonance breaker added to reduce stay inductance.
  • Coupler design changed to improve overall Vector Network Analyzer performance.
  • Antenna and bypass switch changed to handle the voltage and current they will be subject to at high VSWR. Another benefit of the new switch design is that the bypass VSWR, even at 6m, is excellent. This design will also allow you to combine two of the antenna ports.
  • Capacitors were moved towards the back to decrease stay inductance and reduce overall length.
  • The new design allows for easier assembly and repair along with a much lower weight.
  • New mounting of stepper motors designed to simplify sheet metal and improve electrical shielding.
  • Computer upgraded to newer higher performance 1GHz model. All software was ported to utilize the new PC.
  • Printed circuit board assemblies were changed to fit into new metal design.
  • The reduction in minimum capacitance and inductance has dramatically improved the matching range of the tuner, especially at higher frequencies.

A4040_back_panel_10-3-14

 

Back Panel

  • The back panel redesign was driven by the new switch design. It accommodates Bird type QC connectors. If the A4040 is used to transform high SWR at high power different connectors will be required, e.g. 7/16 DIN. You can easily destroy SO239, PL259 connectors with the voltages that could be present at the connector location with this tuner.
  • The repositioned LAN port allows for convenient wired connectivity. The Alpha 4040 is fully network enabled for remote control and online software updates.

 

A4040_front_panel_10-3-14

Front Panel

  • Front panel display has been moved to the left to allow for reducing the overall length.
  • Bezel depth decreased to facilitate greater viewing angles.
  • Tuning knob moved down to facilitate length reduction.

Check out the RF Concepts Website at http://www.rfconcepts.com/ for further details!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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