Radio W4KAZ

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VHS or Beta?

WIRED has a riff on one of my favorite premises. “Good enough” is good enough.Usually.

Engineer the Possible! If you wait until it is perfect, you may never get the thumb out…. 😮

WIRED has a slightly different take on the theme, examining the trend towards simpler user interfaces that provide less than top of the line performance. Which is why the “Beta” format lost out to VHS, and why MP3’s are more common than higher quality digital formats.

Everything is a trade off. There will always be a market at the bleeding edge of performance, but it is seldom required to fulfill the purpose for a person looking for value.

But those priority trade-offs are highly subjective, aina?

W4KAZ SO2R Collection – Engineer The Possible -SO2R part 2

At the bottom of this page is an accumulation of some of the SO2R resource materials I used in developing my own custom SO2R solution. My first SO2R post hashes out the thought process involved in choosing the homebrew methodology for hacking together a workable SO2R set up via home brew components.

The big issues for customizing an SO2R capability appear to me to be philosophical. It is possible to wear two sets of headphones and manually switch everything, praying you don’t transmit from radio A into radio B. That is a bit TOO minimal, even for me. A minimum SO2R set up for my purpose came down to an audio switch box, a switch for the CW, microphone, and PTT, as well as band pass filters and filter switching(manual and/or automatic). And something like the Array Solutions SixPak to “keep ’em separated”[cue “The Offspring”].

It turns out none of those components are out of reach for home-brewing – if you are willing to compromise. The audio and radio input functions can coexist, but they could also easily be separated into two discrete units. One unit to handle headphone audio and the second for CW/MIC/PTT switching and route band data(if used). Likewise, the filters, switching, and band decoder for automatic antenna/filter switching can all be discrete units.

The crucial decision is whether to use USB(New Hotness) versus serial/parallel(old-n-Busted) interfacing. It didn’t take very long to determine that Old-N-Busted was going to be much easier to twist up in the KazShack. […]

Continue reading W4KAZ SO2R Collection – Engineer The Possible -SO2R part 2

Foney NAQP

This past 2008 NAQP SSBa week ago was a blast. This is the second year to operate NAQP SSB as part of a multi-2 effort from N1LN, using the NC4KW call. We were able to improve the score over our August effort last year, and I feel really good about that. The NAQP group was N1LN, N1YXU, KA1ARB, NT4D, N4YDU and me. It’s a mix of some really good people who are also good operators.

I started the contest on 15m, with N4YDU over on the 20m rig. I had a quick start, but the string of QSO’s on 15m died out rapidly. N4YDU had a much better first hour. I didn’t really keep track of the band changes after that, but laterwhen I returned to the rig for aanother stint at the controls, we used the operator change to put 40m over on the left side of N1LN’s shack to be closer to the control box for the 40m antenna.

N4YDU had taken the left chairand 40m, so I did a quick sweep of the other bands from the right radio. NT4D had been trying to get a run started on 80m, but the action had been slow there. After scaning 10m and 15m, I did a quick check on 20m. There seemed to still be some activity there. Since 80m had seemed slow for NT4D, I figured to give 20m another try, at least for ten minutes worth.

That ten minutesturned out to be one of the better […]

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2009 August NAQP’s

Tomorrow is NAQP SSB, and I’m going to get a chance to operate as part of the NC4KW multi over at N1LN. Sweet. Except the WX may be terrible. Not so sweet.

Only a partial part-time effort for the CW NAQP two weeks ago. After re-assembling most of the station following its dis-assembly for Field Day and IOTA, the NAQP CW was a bit of a non-event. A low motivation level and family plans also interdicted what is normally a favorite contest. There’s a bit of August thunderstorm induced shyness at work too, but that part bypassed the KazShack QTH his year.

Running was never seriously attempted, and the one short run showed a slow rate. I was happy enough to bail on running – low motivation. On the other hand, two radio Search and Pounce shows a lot of promise, and will be especially fun if propagation conditions improve to the point where there are good solid openings on multiple bands. Even so, the SO2R S&P showed rates that are better than my normal run rates. I easily had a 40 QSO hour, and the 10 minute rate hit 61/hr once, and was in the 50’s several times. Nothing great, but a substaial improvement for emanations of the KazShack. My previous best CW S&P rate with a single radio seldom climbed above the 45/hr 10 minute rate.

Interesting. The conclusion I draw is that SO2R is a genuine advantage, even to a mediocre unmotivated operator. It is easy to […]

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