Tag Archives: WI-001L

Start of limited Island Operations

In the last few trips to Washington Island I’ve had the chance to starting making QSOs from the new QTH on a limited basis.

I’ve also operated a bit from George W9EVT’s shack, with both my gear and his.

Put the trustworthy SteppIR CrankIR into the antenna slot while a new base for my tower is fabricated.  Running from Indian Point has been a Swan 350 and now my Flex-6300.  From Greegate Farm, Goerge W9EVT’s QTH I’ve used my Collins KWM-2A and George’s Icom IC-7800.

Contacts have been SSB and PSK

The strong winds had the CrankIR tipped over twice, and I caught a third push over, so something has to be sorted out there.  I’d used the speaker stand base, and need to sort out a better situation.  At Indian Point there is an old dish from satellite internet (these folk wanted $100/month to do basically dialup with buffer burst!) which has a suitable pole concreted in.  Next visit I will clear the old dish and set the CrankIR on the bare pole.  Unfortunately the buried coax is actually Twinax 72 Ohm stuff, and while the install was first rate and attractive, a protective sleeve was used rather than a conduit, so no pulling new in the same sleeve.

i will  bring up the TDR and Megaohmer to see if perhaps I can still use the cables, though I doubt they are QRO rated.  Even if they can be used for control wiring that is better than throwing them away.

Doing a lot of thinking about how I want to set up this QTH.  Should the operating station be in the main house or a separate workshop?  What does the LAN Remote of Maestro mean to the design for those operations?  Am I better to put the station gear in the house now, rather than wait for an unbuilt workshop?  Or should I buy a trailer to use as the workshop until it is built?

I am leaning towards putting whole station in the house, and consider the eventual outside workshop a more rough and ready workshop rather than a ham shack sort of place.  The cost savings of keeping everything in the house are significant, that is if I want water and heat, not to mention a toilet near the work station, as these services would need to be brought to a new workshop.  That is a lot of rock to hammer out to put in services Is I go the second building with heat and plumbing route.

Rather I am thinking to keep the house shack area and the former woodworking workshop clean enough to do electronics, the ham shack and some musical instrument repair, relegating the heavy/dirty workshop tasks to the outside building.

Lots to think about!


Steve K9ZW

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K9ZW Northern Station – The Tower and the Antennas

K9ZW Northern Station – The Tower and the Antennas

The Tri-EX/Tashjian TM-370HD Skyneedle is here at a friend’s trailer yard, where we will do some light refurbishment (scrape and paint some light tin parts that are showing surface rust) and fit the Alfa-SPID RAK Rotor, while we wait for the new base and a few added accessories to arrive.

Here are a few pictures of the tower being removed from storage and transported to my friend’s trucking yard:

Crane lift of the TM-370HD

Crane lift of the TM-370HD



A bit about the TM-370HD – this is a motorized 70 foot tubular tower that has some pretty impressive numbers.

I have a full set of engineering calculations and the wind loading they cite is roughly five times what my array will be, and perhaps 35 times the weight load is available.

Not certain if the numbers they provided are after application of the designer’s safety factor (would presume so, as they were done for code compliance rather than product engineering) so the ultimate wind loading and weight bearing is truly impressive.

Initially going up is a SP7IDX Hexbeam HD Mark II antenna currently in production, and a W9INN Half-Sloper which I had on the ready.

The Hexbeam will cover 6m to 20m and the Half-Sloper will carry onwards 20m to 160m.

I thought I had another Tennadyne T-8 antenna locally sourced, but the present owner decided he didn’t want to sell it even though he’d just advertised it. I’d been interested in having both the LPDA and Hexbeam up to do some A/B comparisons.

Karl and Norman at Tashjian Towers Corporation have been super as usual.

They have in production a new base for me, and I am adding the work platform (tower already has the ladder) which will allow me to do 98% of service work without a lift.

That the work platform will make an awesome birdwatching and other outdoor pursuit platform hasn’t escaped me either! It is quite likely that it will also open up a way for my getting very high speed internet to this QTH, as aDSL isn’t going to quite cut it for remoting a full Flex-6000 based station.

There are a lot of logistics to go – I have verbals from the professional help to get the base in and the tower up, and I have access to a DitchWitch to bury the conduits needed. ( want to run the power separately from the coax feeds and other control wiring.)

I even have some nice touches to add features, like a set of industrial/maritime intercom units so one will be at the tower and the other in the shack.



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A Northern Station for K9ZW

Having secured a long term QTH on Washington Island, Wisconsin (US Island WI-001L), I’ve started putting together a station.

Here is what is planned:

• Transceiver – Main – FlexRadio Systems Flex-6300 w/ATU
• Transceiver – Back-Up Unit – TenTec Paragon II
• Transceiver – Vintage Net – Collins KWM-2A
• Amplifier – Expert 1Kw Solid State
• Tuner – Palstar AT-Auto fully upgraded by Kessler Engineering
• Radio Computer – Custom Built Win7 “blade” (or possibly a Neal Campbell PC)
• Audio Gear – full set W2IHY gear
• Frequency Reference – Homebrew Rb-Source
• Tower – Tasjian TM370HD SkyNeedle
• Main Antenna – 20m through 6m – SP7IDX Hexbeam II HD
• Main Antenna – 160m through 20m – W9INN Half-Sloper
• Vertical Antenna – 80m through 10m – Gap Titan DX
• Rotor & Control – Alfa-SPID RAK with Prog1 Controller
• Antenna Switch – 4O3A Signature/Sky Sat 1A2R Switcher with PTT Router (TBD – under review)

I’ll use my usual BuryFlex Coax as supplied by DavisRF with N-Connectors as usual where possible.

The only items to acquire are the Antenna Switch, a Watt/SWR Meter, possibly a station microphone for the Flex-6300 and possibly a Neal Campbell FlexReady PC if I decide not to use the customer server style one I have.

The SkyNeedle, the HexBeam, the Collins Transceiver (with all the extra bits) and a second Palstar AT-Auto tuner were acquired for the new station; everything else came from my back up unit collection. The Expert Amp is coming out of my main shack as I will finally put in the Alpha-9500 that has been sitting in the box for a while.

I have power supplies and lightening arrestors to match my home QTH gear.

Down the road I will most likely add a 4O3A Signature Station Genius SSC-XL and replace the Flex-6300 with another Flex-6700 GPSDO/ATU transceiver to make the Northern QTH and Home QTH closer in design.

Eventually I would hope to share SmartSDR Radio “Slices” between the two QTH’s, with a long term goal of being able to remote one or both stations.

Now to get the Island QTH on the air while everything is put together, my SteppIR CrankIR Antenna with Flex-6300 setup, as used at Rocky Ridge Farm last year, will be pressed into action.



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May 2015 Operation from Washington Island WI-001L – Trying for DXCC in one session

For a good part of last week I was on Washington Island, Wisconsin – US Island WI-001L – operating from my friend George W9EVT’s shack.

I had informally set myself a DXCC in a visit goal.  Despite poor weather I didn’t come too far short.

The first 16 QSOs I used George W9EVT’s Icom IC-7800 and then for the remaining 174 QSOs moved over to the Hilberling PT-8000A Transceiver.

Here is the country list for the visit:

  1. Aruba
  2. Andorra
  3. Austria
  4. Azores
  5. Argentina
  6. Algeria
  7. Balearic Islands
  8. Bahamas
  9. Bahrain
  10. Bonaire
  11. Brazil
  12. Belarus
  13. Belgium
  14. Bulgaria
  15. Bosnia-Herzegovina
  16. Croatia
  17. Chile
  18. Cuba
  19. Canada
  20. Canary Islands
  21. Cayman Islands
  22. Crete
  23. Denmark
  24. England
  25. Estonia
  26. Falkland Islands
  27. France
  28. Georgia
  29. Greece
  30. Germany
  31. Guinea
  32. Guayana
  33. Grenada
  34. Hawaii
  35. Hungary
  36. India
  37. Iceland
  38. Israel
  39. Ireland
  40. Italy
  41. Kyrgyzstan
  42. Kuwait
  43. Kenya
  44. Latvia
  45. Liberia
  46. Lithuania
  47. Lebanon
  48. Luxembourg
  49. Macedonia
  50. Malta
  51. Netherlands
  52. New Zealand
  53. Norway
  54. Northern Ireland
  55. Oman
  56. Portugal
  57. Panama
  58. Paraguay
  59. Philippines
  60. Poland
  61. Qatar
  62. Romania
  63. Russia – Asiatic
  64. Russia – European
  65. Sardinia
  66. Saudi Arabia
  67. Spain
  68. South Cook Islands
  69. St. Martin
  70. St. Barthelemy
  71. St. Lucia
  72. San Marino
  73. Slovenia
  74. Slovak Republic
  75. Switzerland
  76. Svalbard
  77. Scotland
  78. Sweden
  79. Turkey
  80. United Arab Emirates
  81. Uruguay
  82. Ukraine
  83. USA
  84. Wales

I’m rather sure that without the storms and lightening, that 100 DXCC entities wouldn’t have been much more work.

In addition to the DX, I also worked a “Clean Sweep” on the Ham Nation special event and a handful of special event stations that caught my interest.

I did fudge and organize one sked – I had called and arranged to work my good friend Paul AE5JU as my final QSO for the visit.  Nothing finer to “close the logs” with working a good friend about 1000 miles away!

While I only added two DXCC entities to my all time list, the exercise was a lot of fun for both myself and George W9EVT.



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More Washington Island portable operations

This weekend is my 4th working the CrankIR and the Flex-6300 from Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island, and my first running some digital mode from the farm.

I also brought two laptops , though I think one good one with dual screens would have been more effective.

Did a basic Ham Radio Deluxe setup and with DM780 worked a handful of PSK31 contacts.

Here is the two machines:

And here is closer look at the Toshiba running PSK31 via DM780:

I was able to work our local club president Scott W9JSB on 40m and again had some nice 12m contacts.

PSK31 operations were easy once I figured out the HRD/DM780 set up with SmartCAT and DAX. I will add in DDUTIL later.

My QSO count was down this weekend as I first arrived Saturday morning after catching the musical “Always.. Patsy Cline” at the Peninsula Players Theater in Fish Creek Friday evening (the XYL came to the mainland by private boat to make our theater date). Also I needed to be on my way noon Sunday, with a dinner out at The Sailor’s Pub and a morning coffee at The Red Cup Cafe .. and an a la fresco lunch at Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm’s bistro all squeezed into the 30 hours on Island.

It will be a couple weekends before I get back to Island operations and then end of October our lease at Rocky Ridge Farm ends.



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Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island, WI – Third Radio Activation

This weekend is my third working the CrankIR and the Flex-6300 from Rocky Ridge Farm on Washington Island.

Getting past the  learning curve.

Was too chilly to comfortably operate outside, so set up the radio inside one the kitchen table.

K9ZW at Rocky Ridge

K9ZW at Rocky Ridge


Easy DX this time and I’ve figured out the band change process pretty well.  Worked on 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, 20m, and 40m.

Great fun!




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