Monday, April 25, 2011


I've been off the radio for a few weeks and flipped on 80M and there was FJ/OH2YL Anne is on DX pedition on St Barts operating 160-10 CW

She was an easy chip shot from FL

When I first heard her she was working the gray line across EU and Russia. According to the web site she is running a pair of phased HF-2V butternut verticals. She was probably beaming EU as her strength was such that I probably worked her off the side of her array

She was in direct competition with the storms over Louisiana. The storms are about -95dBm, summer time cdx are certainly here.

I flipped on diversity and was able to null the static down to about -102 dBm making the listening much more pleasant.

I listened to her knock off station after station as I wrote this post. She is one fine operator. Wish she would QSY to 40 :)


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Amazing World of Ham Radio

So no sooner did I write about the "Knob Project" than did I start to receive email from others who have been involved in developing similar ideas.

James KS4JU editor of HamRadioScience wrote about development of computer cases with built in screens

His comment is that some of these cases also contain remote controllers

I can see the brain flashes going off all over radio land!!!

This morning before I even got my Latte I got a note from Tobias DH1TW about his project

This guy has developed a complete control surface for PSDR using a DJ console that is in Beta testing!!

I haven't had the chance to review either of these developments in detail, but I think its GREAT!! It shows the versitility of a plastic radio, that is a radio that can be molded by the user to fit the user's needs. In my case I wanted a radio station that was highly integrated. I wanted a radio station that would do my will and follow my needs without my having to do much in the way of knob twisting and button pushing. I wanted a radio station with a high degree of efficiency and I had a blast creating that all based around PSDR and DDUTIL. To acheive my goal I needed this

A 19 dollar board from Unified Microsystems and the support of K5FR and DDUTIL

I also wanted to try to bring to ham radio the promise of SO2R based in software as an extension of the automated station, and to a very large extent we have created this also using N1MM as the contest interface.

James is interested in a radio in a box kind of approach YET the radio looses none of its flexibility. It gives up nothing but gains in its individual expression of character. On the other end I have seen PSDR displayed on 40 inch TV screens at the Orlando hamfest

A few of us got together and built a Knob

as a foray into a different means of control for use in contesting and DXing, and the Knob was turned into a commercial product

And now other hams from around the world are revealing their own additions and variations and ingenuity!! What fun this hobby is!!


Friday, April 8, 2011

The Knob becomes a FlexControl

Flex is announcing a commercial version of the Knob by K6TU and K6TD. Here is a recap on Stu's website regarding bringing this product to market

Contest Knob – Announcing the Product

I didn't really have anything to do with bringing this concept to market except for my input in helping design how the Knob does its "Control" thing, which I think it does VERY WELL. For $129.95 the "Flexibility" this device brings to the radio is well worth it. It is much much more than a contest controler, but makes a whole panoply of features readily available to the finger tips.

The argument has always been either/or. EITHER it's point and shoot OR it's a Knob that is needed. This device makes it BOTH/AND since it is seamlessly integrated into the operation of the radio. Its presence brings a whole new level of integration to managing the radio, and in my operation it has become indispensable. It was a lot of fun being involved in this project, and it shows once again the ingenuity of hams in solving their own problems and in coming together to devise a "corporate" solution. Corporate comes from the Latin: corporātus which means to "form into a body" and that is what happened. Many came together to create something useful for all involved.

I haven't had the chance to give the commercial version a whirl, but given what I know of the prototype, I would not hesitate for a second to recommend it to anyone who is interested.