The KEØVH Hamshack for October 2015
The latest (and to last for awhile I hope) layout of the KEØVH Hamshack!
As mentioned last month, the Hamshack hasundergone a transformation with the addition of the Yaesu FT-897D, the FlexRadio3000, Windows 10 Dell OptiPlex computer, Flex Controller and the like. The Heathkit SB-200 amp and Icom 746 have gone to a new home in Laramie Wyoming, to Shane Toven, KØSDT and so room opened up for the new additions. I have been wheeling and dealing and trading lately getting to what I think is PROBABLY my “dream shack”. I am really thrilled with the addition of the FlexRadio 3000. It is everything you read about with its DSP and filtering taken care of in the software level. This particular model uses Firewire to connect to the computer and interface the radio. The software is the FREE Power SDR available on the Flex website. The latest version takes care of all the driver software and interface controller installation and is super easy to seup. I have now run Power SDR on both my Windows 7 and 10 computers now and there were no problems setting up and running. My Windows 10 Dell OptiPlex has twice the memory of the Windows 7 machine and can run the software in the “normal” mode instead of the lower running modes and really works great.
The FlexRadio 3000 screen, Dell Computer on the right, the the corner of the FlexRadio 3000 in the upper right
The radio/software combination is really unbeatable for the ability to move the passband and notch out interference to a desired signal. A really good demo of the radio can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8A8oyu9hQ8. I have to say that so far, I haven’t had a radio that allows you to really get rid of strong signal adjacent frequency interference, notch out offending signals or noise, or improve the audio of the signal you want with such ease. AND, the receiver in this radio is very good, outperforming others I have had in the past. And for those of you who like knobs on the radio, you can get the outboard flex controller, (seen in the picture below right of the keyboard) with which you can set many different settings of what you want to control, including the VFO and radio audio volume! One thing I like too is that you can put one VFO in one speaker, and the other VFO in the other (using a set of stereo speakers). Really cool for monitoring another frequency. You do need a fairly robust computer and video capability to run the software, but most of today’s machines are well within the operating needs of this software, plus even a decent older machine may work well, and of course more memory is always a good thing. My Windows 7 machine as I mentioned earlier performs just fine with 4 gig of ram and an Nvidea 256 Meg of ram video card. Now this radio when new was around $1700, is a full 100 watts and has an onboard antenna tuner, which is REALLY cool. I have kind of gotten used to the auto antenna tuners on the Icom 746 and the Yaesu FT-897D and really like being able to tune out that last bit of antenna non resonance.
The Flex Controller is to the right of the keyboard
Another great feature of the FlexRadio is that you can really tailor both your monitoring audio and transmitted audio to your microphone, voice characteristics, or simply whatever your taste may be. The FlexRadio has monitoring capabilities for in your headphones, speakers, and visually too. The metering can show you not only Forward power, SWR, S meter but many other features too including mic levels and much more. Really impressive!
The FlexRadio 3000 isn’t manufactured anymore, but the tech support folks are very happy to help with any answers you may need. There is a great knowledge base available on the internet, and I have had no problems with anything I needed to know. All of the newer models including the Flex 1500 5 watt radio and now using USB and Firewire units aren’t made, but drivers, cables, and interface cards are still readily available if you find a 3000 for sale. And, the nice thing is there are radios for sale on the ham radio sites and eBay. You can get them for around half of what they were new or less. That is how I got mine! Keep an eye on the classified sections of www.qth.com, www.qrz.com, www.eham.net and others.
Next month, I will tell you about the new Truckzilla radio, the Yaesu FT-857D!
Fresh out of the box!
Don’t you just love PL259 connectors? I don’t, never have. Doubt I ever will. Ever shorted the inner conductor with just one little wire, only to have to take the thing apart (a journey in itself) and redo it, or melted the inner dielectric, or thought you had a good connection between the shield and inner body? They are generally a pain to deal with, and as I read only really a 35 ohm connection instead of a 50? Wish the radio manufacturers would use N connectors instead, but that would be too costly huh? Well I found a new way I am going to try the next time that I have the need. This was seen in the November 2012 edition of QST magazine, and is the so called “K3LR Method”. Take a look at his webpage: http://www.k3lr.com/engineering/pl259/ for the details. I am going to try this next time I need to deal with a PL-259 connector.
As you have seen in previous articles here in “The KEØVH Hamshack”, you know that I and my friend Greg, WB7AHO have worked together to restore many old radio’s and get them beautiful and fully working again. If you really dig projects from the past, check out this website: http://www.pastimeprojects.com/. They offer many kits that will entertain and challenge you with some really great projects, easy to not so. I really want to try some of these sometime, when I can get the time. Man that is the real key huh?
Speaking of kits, I got an email the other day from HEATHKIT! That’s right; a group has reformed the old Heathkit idea and is coming out with new kits, even with the old logo and ideas! This is really exciting, and I encourage you to check out the information at: https://www.heathkit.com/heathkit.html. They even have an E-bay store and will be offering more kits as time goes on. All the old equipment manuals are available thru them too. This is REALLY COOL! Sign up to be a Heathkit insider (as I did) and you will be among the first to see new product announcements. Their E-bay store has many old parts for the old lines and equipment. Plus, as of this writing they say “in a few days we’ll connect www.heathkit.com to our new website where our NEW products are listed!” This could be really cool, STAND BY!!!!
Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering
IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING
At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both
Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and
3rd Mondays are also SBE NET nights. Details on how to
Join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. I hope
You will be able to join us and share your engineering and
73’ & God be with you. See you next time! de KEØVH