Saturday, December 25, 2010

WinradHD becomes HDSDR

I have been using WinradHD with my Softrock Ensemble RX since my build, today I checked the download web site and found a new update along with a name change.

The new WinradHD name is HDSDR


Monday, December 20, 2010


Tonight after midnight (PST), which is actually Dec 21, 2010 at 08:17 UT, there will be a Total Lunar Eclipse.


As normal, with clear weather and assuming it is dark at 08:17 UT at your location, it should be easily seen by all.

Next year, 2011, there will be two Total Lunar Eclipse events, but my location will be on the wrong side of the earth for each.

I was just thinking and wondering;
  • Is the background noise for moon bounce communication minimized during an eclipse?
  • Can a Glint of light be detected from the reflectors left on the moon, where the eclipsing moon appears on our horizon? - Now, that would be QRP signal from a QRO source!


Saturday, December 18, 2010


As of today, I have a few more frequencies to explore, as:

I think this is now one of the world longest calls, . . well. maybe depending on font width :-)

Note: for those that do not know, the "/AE" suffix means that I just passed the "Amateur Radio Extra Exam" and now awaiting official acknowledgement from the FCC. After acknowledgement, the suffix can again be removed.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FT-817ND - My First Modification

OK, I have had my FT-817ND for a few days, and I just love the Rig.

Now it is time for my first modification (yeah, right!) - my fat fingers and thumbs do not fit the knobs very well. That is OK, I knew that was going to be a problem before ordering.

I like the idea and feel of VFO Tuning and Menu Selection with my right hand thumb, but the little depression on the tuning knob is; far too small, and too close to the axis of the knob, to provide the leverage necessary to be effective.

A Google search provided links to the "Kranker Knob" and other accessories - but, I did not want the additional expense and did not (really) want to modify my new FT-817.

What is needed; is a crank (nib) for the original stock knob.

The solution was found in the sewing kit. A hat pin, cut to about 3/8 inch, was carefully pushed between the original plastic knob-center and the outer rubber knob band - a tight fit keeps it in place.

The results:  the "Knib Knob" (c) was invented.

FT-817ND - VFO Tuning via the -  Knib Knob

And, They Come in Designer Colours
Note: only the red pin has been cut to the required length

The modification looks and feels very natural. With your right thumb-pad resting on the Knib Knob, it is easy to spin the knob, pick a menu item, or do fine tuning of the VFO, with very little effort.

The Knib Knob is a QRP size modification for a QRP size Rig.

Note: Thinking about it, a "U" shaped bent pin may provide even more Knib Knob stability - something I may try.  Also, a more permanent installation could include a small hole in the edge of the knob to press fit the pin.

Orders for the Knib Knob will soon be accepted on this Site
Return here for details
( and, I also have a large bridge for sale :-)

All Knib Knob product reviews will be published.

Seriously, this simple little thing, just works Great! - Talk to the (x)YL, and try it!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

FT-817ND Received

I received my new FT-817ND yesterday (it could not wait for Christmas to be opened) and I have been reading, listening and playing with it since.

The menu system and operation is going to take a while to appreciate. So far I have mostly been listening and practice receiving code.  I did make one SSB QSO with Ryan - KI6SHE in San Diego 59.


Ham Logging

With my FT-817ND radio I want to do a better job of Logging OSO's, I decided to explore the use of "on-line logging", the two potential methods that I found are:
I think HRDLOG requires Ham Radio Deluxe to be installed amd running to do the logging, while a normal web page form can be used with HAMLOG.

My goal is to find something that works with an obituary computer and/or my HTC Droid Phone. I have concidered Google Docs with a Form, but that would not have the additional nice web links to QRZ and other logs.

I need something that is more flexable than a special program would require - for now my main activity will be working with HAMLOG.

But, over the next few days, I will try them both (and any others that I find).

I now have a new TAB Link at the top of this blog, for my Online Ham Log.

With this radio, there is still a lot to be learned.

Dang!  I just noticed that is now running a Ham LogBook, with a web interface. But for others to see my log they have to "login", this will not be a problem for most Hams, but I don't see a way to publish excerpts (or the last few entries) of the log on this blog (or any other web page) - I need to do more research.

Reading the QRZ forums suggest that users are have difficulties with this LogBook, the free access has; limits on lookups, lost log entries, etc.

It looks like most of the problems with the QRZ LogBook is associated with not Subscribing to full service. I think I will continue to look elsewhere.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Move Over SA612, for a Newcomer

There may be a newcomer on the direct conversion receiver block, check it out.

LTM9004 - 14-Bit Direct Conversion Receiver Subsystem
  • Integrated Dual 14-Bit, High-Speed ADC, Lowpass
  • Filter, Differential Gain Stages and I/Q Demodulator
  • Lowpass Filter for Each ADC Channel
  • RF Input Frequency Range: 0.8GHz to 2.7GHz
  • 50Ω Single-Ended RF and LO Ports
  • I/Q Gain Mismatch: 0.2dB Typical
  • I/Q Phase Mismatch: 1.5 Deg Typical

  • if we can only figure out how to use this at lower frequencies, 
  • if the price and availability is right, 
  • if we Homebrewers can figure out how to solder this thing


Saturday, December 4, 2010

New DipTrace PCB Tutorial

The good news:
Recently the DipTrace PCB Design Software group has created their first of (hopefully) many tutorials.

This far, I have struggled with just written complex documentation or mute tutorials for my learning process. This new tutorial is easy to follow, with voice over, and the ability to expand to full screen makes for easy viewing. See:

I have been using DipTrace for several years, all of my projects contained within this blog have be created with DipTrace, with this new tutorial, I found several new things that will make my PCB Design Projects much easier.

Now the bad news:
I like DipTrace, but because the software appeared to have stalled in development, I have lately been looking for other software packages that may promise better use. But, yet nothing I have found works as well for my Projects ( details are a long list ).

There are still a few things that I think DipTrace needs to address in future releases, all of which I have provided feedback to the software design group:
  1. Better Library Management, Access and Browsing
  2. Easier Selection of items from the Design area - you must click on the unseen boarder of a object to move or modify (for example a VIA)
  3. Clicking on the Copper Pour is problematic (again you can only select it via its boarder).
  4. Automatic Mode Switching while routine always seems to get my intentions wrong.
  5. Move to modern practices, include interactive 3D output within PCB layout.
  6. Provide Hot key Management and Scripting.
I am looking forward to any New DipTrace PCB Software Updates ( but, will continue to explore others).

My difficulty with selecting/picking parts within the design window may be because of timing and the method used, the Tutorial implies that "hover" on a desired pick point changes modes as necessary for most tasks - I may have not been waiting long enough to effect the "hover" mode change! I will be working on this idea!

I am continually amazed of the effectiveness of watching someone for 10 minutes doing something vs hours of reading the manual - technique are best communicated via observation, details are best communicated via reading the manual.


Friday, December 3, 2010


Well, finally after 6 months of wrangling around, head scratching, talking about, and trying to decide to (or NOT) buy a FT-817ND with Z-817 ATU - I did it, it is on order!

This is my second impulse buy of the year, and it only took 6 months!!

Now, I only have to wait the required few days for the postal service for delivery,  .  .  but, do I have to wait even longer to open it on Christmas day?  .  .  .  -  Nah!

I'll soon be calling CQ

Now, where was that 817 yahoo group??