Tag Archives: 4o3a

Imposed EUA – Do you actually own your IoT Hardware?

Sonos Speaker Examples

Sonos forced EUA (End User Agreement) update 09NOV22 presumed that as an established Sonos owner I could be forced to renegotiate the terms & conditions of my purchase & usage of their IoT Speaker/Stereo system.

No way to use the gear without agreeing to whatever they mandated. Quick counting I have 22 active Sonos speakers between our home, my radio room/workshop, my work office, and our Island home.

If I set out to replace everything at current Amazon level pricing we have a $7700 investment in Sonos.  That is not counting the $1400 worth of gear that Sonos orphaned by declaring them at EOL (End of Life) and removing them from hardware supported by the Sonos software.

A significant investment but given the number of rooms the setup covers – roughly 12 rooms/areas in four distinct buildings – not all that bad per room/area for fairly decent music capabilities.

Have no idea what is in the forced agreement, as at 10:30 pm at night ready to put on a few songs played from my central server, I had neither the patience or discernment to deal with a “stick you hands up” level of interaction.  So I clicked through.  Of course I cannot find now a way to actually review the changes forced upon me.

Big resentment was their claim that I had no right to use my purchased Sonos Hardware and the Sonos Software under previous EUAs.

This touches on the blended situation of dedicated hardware, proprietary software and mothership server/cloud interactions being sold and then unilaterally terms & conditions being forced through a change.

Went through this with Canary.io security cameras – read: https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2022/07/15/when-a-technology-product-walks-back-their-products-purchase-commitments/

Canary.io Camera Examples

And of course have a stable and agreeable situation in my Ham Shacks with the FlexRadio and FlexRadio/4o3a gear.

FlexRadio Flex-67600

One of my technology purchases that bit the dust with an undeclared EOL and unresolved incompatibilities with current Operating Systems were my Drobo units.  Junk now.  https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2022/09/13/another-one-bites-the-dust-drobo-reaches-eol/

drobo NAS

So where does this put IoT equipment owners?

Do these owners really “own” their purchases when the company unilaterally demands actions be taken to use the equipment?

The K9ZW take on IoT ownership is IoT devices range from temporary possessions to fairly solid possessions that you can consider that you own, to the reverse situation of ephemeral/transitory possession of the moment.

None of these three classes are as solid as true “you own it, lock, stock and barrel” grade possessions.

The Ephemeral/Transitory are the highest risk, you can expect they will become untenable rather quickly, and accordingly your investment should be very modest.  Some Ephemeral/Transitory IoT devices are enough of liability and risk, that even if obtained free they would be a bad value.  Some indicators that an IoT device is likely in this category are:  Public Complaints, Periods of Downtime, Single Owner/Engineer shops, recent Venture Capital buyout, noise that fees will be added soon.

Solid Possessions are certainly not 100% truly “yours,” rather you are co-owners with rational sane people/organizations.  In this category there often is a prominent public commitment that no matter what you will be able to run your IoT with the software you possess.

Temporary Possessions are in  the stuff in-between the other two categories, and basically includes most IoT where you really do not know how secure your forward operation is, but you also have no indicators of elevated risk.

The Benefit vs Risk ratio has to more solidly favor Benefits to even consider Ephemeral/Transitory at all.  Any investment in money and time needs real benefits within the “likely to run window” or you are wasting your time.

Temporary Possessions open up the time window to recover your investment.

One could argue that Solid Possessions could be treated as wholly owned property, as in most cases the characteristics are not distinguishable.  I prefer to consider them separately as the differences matter in the provision of backups, as it suggests that any backup to a Solid Possession IoT would not duplicate the same product or IoT provider.




[Photos of example IoT items added at Dale N6JSX’s suggestion]

Tagged , , ,

FlexRadio SmartSDR for iOS adds 4o3a Genius Support

The TGXL 4o3a Tuner Genius and PGXL Power Genius amplifier gained remote control access in the newest release of SmartSDR for iPad, as an in-app purchase.

Something really welcomed happened – SmartSDR for Mac gained user control over both the FlexRadio/4o3a Amplifier and now the Tuner.  (Note only if you are using an iPad at the moment).

Some of this control exists in SmartSDR for Windows, but rather than being gather together as a selectable page, it is spread out in the SmartSDR for Windows GUI.

Here is what the two configuration pages look like:

The TGXL (Tuner) page

The PGXL (Amplifier) page

Like other SmartSDR for Mac tools, the feature is a nominal extra cost in-app purchase (as a write this the extra cost is $10)

Again presently basic controls and settings are implemented, and just for the Tuner and Amplifier on the iPad platform.  I am hoping that more will included down the road, and perhaps the antenna switch would be added.



Tagged , , , , ,

Alpha 4040 Automatic Antenna Tuner, Kessler AT-AUTO, and 4o3a Tuner Genius – A Group of Stillborn Projects?

Alpha 4040 QRO Antenna Tuner Rendition (Exterior)

Alpha 4040 QRO Antenna Tuner Rendition (Exterior)

The original Alpha was working on a new Mega-Antenna Tuner, and the various successor owners of the Alpha IP (Intellectual Property) have occasionally mentioned the tuner online, but it has been years since any updates or a prototype was shown.  Last update in 2017 said the unit’s development was too immature to make it to even Beta-Testing.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

FlexRadio Systems Flex-6600M Transceiver and Power Genius XL Amplifier in early use

FlexRadio Systems extended me an opportunity to acquire one of the first production run Flex-6600M Transceivers and a few weeks back a PowerGenius XL Amplifier both early as a “Beta Team” participant.  (I’ll be abbreviate Flex-6600M as just “6600M”, Flex-6700 as just “6700” and the PowerGenius XL Amplifier as “PGXL.”)

As mentioned, I’d participated in a similar program when the Flex-6700 launched.

The “Beta Team” really couple be considered “Late Addition Alpha Team” or “Temporary Alpha Team” or “Little Alpha Team” team members, as to handle the information flow.

Quick disclaimer FRS is still working on parts of the product package for the new Radios, so while I will receive production hardware, the configuration and software parts are not in the final general release form. This again parallels the Flex-6700 program I had participated in.

In my case this new Flex-6600M it will temporarily displace a Flex-6700 at my main home QTH.   I’m definitely planning to retain that Flex-6700.  I have configured the station temporarily to allow fairly quick A/B switching from the 6600M to the 6700.  I have enough W2IHY switchgear to potentially hardwire the A/B setup, but for now the intent is to do plug and play.

My shack is compact – and is especially compact as the sanctity of my radio shack in the old wine cellar room has been encroached  upon severely by buying too much wine in Italy and from a long time Alpha team’s family’s California Vineyard, all arriving as I decided that personal health triumphs.  So those cases have filled what extra area the shack had.

To make room, after my personal testing of the PGXL I’ve decided to remove the Alpha 9500 Amplifier and the Expert SPE 1KW backup Amplifier physically from the operating area, putting them on my “shack reserve shelving” for the moment where they join my fail-safe Alpha 78 Amplifier and a 6M King Conversion Amplifier.  Actually I enlisted some help from my youngest son, Victor KC9NWB, as any college kid home for winter break should get a chance to lug his Dad’s ham shack gear around, right?

I still need to figure out where to move a few items to, especially the audio-amplifier that was going to help tweak my main Shure SM5B microphone’s voice signal but has ended up set so flat that it is really just isolation and audio signal gain.   That said, here is the 6600M/PGXL as of January 6th 2018:

K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Overview

K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Overview


I’ve found the 6600M/PGXL combination really awesome to use.  Reports “out of the box” have been so good that I’ve not spent much time optimizing settings yet.

My station is pretty simple, smaller scale, and gets ends up effective.  The6600M/PGXL combination have in two simple pieces of gear have noticeably improved my station.

I was having so much fun working DX on 20m, that I forgot to snap a photo to share until propagation changed enough that 80m was the lively band.  My present home antenna situation is limiting on 40/80/160m bands compared to 20/17/15/12/10 and the UHF/VHF bands.  So I turned things back on a shot a quick snap will running 80m figuring you all have seen a full panadapter screen before!

So here a quick “station selfie” snap:


K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Up Close

K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Up Close

As previously mention that like both of my Flex-6700’s, this new Flex-6600M was ordered with the GPSDO option.  If software eventually allows I hope to use the accurate time stamping on a station-mixing basis.  If that doesn’t happen the extra accuracy never hurts.


My “Late Addition Alpha Team” status came with my agreeing to not speculate and to not detail the exact Alpha Team’s progress & problem solving details, but I am pretty sure it didn’t have any agreement preventing my speaking to how absolutely engaged the FlexRadio Systems, 4o3a Team, and the Alpha Testers really are.  The efforts, feedback/update speed is truly impressive!!

More later this week, and as a teaser I’m going to add two more photos that I will explain in-depth in a later posting – with the SmartSDR versions improving I’ve run into a band situation where 160m was unworkable until I engaged the FlexRadio Systems exclusive WNB (Wide Noise Blocker).


SmartSDR no filters and a bad 160m band

SmartSDR no filters and a bad 160m band


SmartSDR with WNB making the 160m band okay

SmartSDR with WNB making the 160m band okay

Pay attention to the waterfall difference – the noise is gone I was in business, if RX a bit faint (55 to 53 – clear but weak).  As for the source of the noise, I’ll have to see if it reappears and track it down.

Much much more to follow!



Tagged , , , ,

K9ZW Shacks Evolve – Proper Dummy Loads, Additional Metering, New Power Distribution, Specialized Headsets and more…

I knew that doing a new station build wasn’t for the faint of heart, and as usual I am loath to miss a chance for upgrading the home QTH station.

Here are a few of the recents adds:

Item                                                                       Home/Island

Alpha-9500 Amps                                                     X X
Rigrunner-4007U Metered Strips                         X X
4o3a Station Genius                                                 X
SP7IDX Hexbeam                                                         X
LMR-400DB Below Grade Feed                                X
LMR-400 Jumpers                                                       X
LMR-400UF Up Tower Feed                                     X
Polyphasers incl two custom multi-units                X
Collins DL-1 Dummy Load                                     X
Station Monitor                                                        X
Bengali Intrepid                                                       X
Alpha-4510                                                                X
Palstar AT-Auto w/Kessler Upgrades                     X
4o3a Antenna Genius Switches                            X X
Nueman BCM705 Microphone                                X
Shure SM5B Microphone                                     X
Behringer MX402A                                               X
Behringer MX602A                                                   X
Recording Grade Audio Shapers                        X X
Collins SM-2 Microphone                                        X
W7FG True Ladder Line Dipole                             X
Alpha-2000 Dummy Load                                  X
RadioSport RS22CR Classic                                   X
KD9SV BOG Beverage Amp & Switch                  X
WD1A Cable – BOG wire                                          X
K1FZ RBOG Reversible Beverage on Ground     X
Zero-Five Custom HD Flagpole Antennas       X X
CAT6eDB below grade control                               X
Radial Wire                                                             X X
Waters 334 Dummy Load                                        X
Helix 1/2 Prepared                                                    X
RG6DB for RBOG Feed                                            X
Tashjian TM-370 SkyNeedle                                   X
New Tower Base, Platform and Coax Arms         X
AlfaSpid Rotor                                                           X

On Order
Flex Maestro                                                            X X

There have also been massive deliveries of the needed connectors and other parts – whew!  I am sure glad I’ve not seen the costs all tallied in one spot – ouch!

All in all the order and assemble is fun other than the bills.  Now in spring the read work begins!




Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.



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

Much more to follow!



Tagged , , , , ,