This journal is a record of my building, and operating an amateur radio station capable of world wide communications from Central Florida.
The Radio Ranch: A small 5 acre hobby farm just north of Ocala Florida. Marion County is a major world thoroughbred center with over 1200 horse farms, including about 900 thoroughbred farms, totaling some 77,000 acres (310 km2). Ocala is well known as a “horse capital of the world.” “Postime Farms” and Ocala serve as host to one of the largest horse shows in the country: H.I.T.S or “Horses in the Sun”, a Dressage/Jumper event lasting about two months which generates some 6 to 7 million dollars for local Marion County economy each year. The show features classes for over 100 different breeds, including Tennessee Walker, Paso Fino, Morgan horse, SaddleBred, Draft horse and the American Quarter Horse. Other equine events in the area include cowboy mounted shooting by the Florida Outlaws, as well as endurance rides, barrel races, “extreme” cowboy events, jumper shows, trick shows, parades, draft pulls, rodeo events and more. The nearby community of Silver Springs developed around the Silver Springs, a group of artesian springs on the Silver River. In the 19th century, this site became Florida’s first tourist destination. Today well known for glass bottom boat tours of the area, Silver Springs is owned by the state of Florida and incorporated into Silver Springs State Park in 2013. Other nearby natural attractions include the Ocala National Forest and the Florida Trail. Manmade local attractions include Wild Waters water park; the western-themed Six Gun Territory operated in the area until 1984.
We have moved full time to the Ranch property and, as a result, have consolidated two ham shacks into one. The following items are For Sale:
Ameritron ALS-600s (switching power supply included)
NEW $1975 – For Sale $1200
–Includes Ameritrons no tune FET Amplifier and a 120/220 VAC, 50/60 Hz AC power supply for home operation.
–Instant bandswitching, no tuning, no warm up
–Output Power – 600 Watts PEP, 500 Watts CW
–Continuous Coverage – 1.5 to 22 MHz Plus 10/12 Meters
–SWR Protection – prevents amplifier damage if you switch to wrong band, use wrong antenna or have high SWR
–Over Power Protection – if output forward power or reflected power exceeds safe level, output power is automatically reduced to prevent amplifier damage by controlling ALC to exciter.
–Extremely quiet – low speed, low volume fan is so quiet you’ll hardly know its there, unlike noisy blowers used in other amps.
–Very Compact – 6 x 9 1/2 x 12 inch amplifier takes up less desktop space than your transceiver and weighs 12 1/2 pounds.
–Illuminated Cross-Needle SWR/Wattmeter – lets you read SWR, forward and reflected peak power simultaneously
–Operate/Standby Switch – lets you run “barefoot”, but you can instantly switch to full power if you need it.
–Front Panel ALC Control – exclusive Ameritron feature – convenient front panel control lets you adjust your output power.
–Transmit, ALC SWR LED indicators – keeps you informed.
–12 VDC output jack – lets you power low current accessories.
–Separate ALS-600PS power supply (included) can be placed conveniently out of the way and plugged into your nearest 120 VAC outlet – no special wiring needed. Made in USA.
–enjoy 600 Watts of no tune solid state power. Call your favorite dealer for your best price, order ALS-600 with power supply.
–Massive choke input filter greatly improves voltage regulations nd reduces peak AC line current.
–Ameritrons exclusive Multi-Voltage Power Transformer lets you compensate for stressful high line voltage and performance robbing low line voltage.
–Step Start Inrush Protection stops damaging inrush currents and extends life of power supply components.
–Illuminated Cross-Needle Meter monitors voltage and current of 50 VDC line.
–Extremely quiet fan.
–Very Compact 6″ x 9 ” x 12″ – can be placed conveniently out-of-way.
–Wired for 120 VAC, supplies 50 VDC at 25 amps to ALS-600 amplifier.
–Also use on 100-130 VAC and 220-250 VAC, 50/60 Hz.
–Draws less than 12 amps at 100 VAC and less than 6 amps at 230 VAC.
I have always been a “Mac” guy, but it has been difficult to do all the things you want to do in amatuer radio and stay in the Mac environment. Running a FlexRadio 6300 has meant a windows computer needs to be the centerpiece of the shack, until recently. I have the Maestro control head and that makes it possible to run the Flex without a pc. However, if using a logging program with rig control, a pc is back in the picture. Now – with the addition of a dynamic antenna that needs band data info to model the elements, additional pc programs are needed (ddUtil) to send band data from the Flex to the Steppir control head.
Enter MacLoggerDx and dogparkSDR. Don Agro, VE3VRW, has now created a complete solution for the Mac user that wants to run a FlexRadio, Steppir dynamic antenna and stay in the Mac environment. Logging and station control, including rotor control, all seamless. No PC (windows), no driver nonsense, no windows port configuration, no intermediate virtual software to facilitate comunication. It all works over ethernet.
Ham Radio Mac/Flexradio/Steppir users Rejoice!
The KIO hex beam has worked well here at the K2ADA Radio Ranch. Now that we are here most days, I began thinking about an upgrade. Since my primary rig here is a Flex 6300, a multi band yagi or log periodic interested me. Both would “listen” to all bands with a single coax run and I could open multiple slices on the Flex. However, both also have compromises. A mono band antenna for every band would of course be the ultimate, but I didn’t want the multiple towers and switching that would be required.
A dynamic antenna. The Steppir has been around for awhile now. The 3 element (w/ 40m option) will not pose a problem for my Universal 50ft tower and Hygain rotor, and after several months of thinking and rethinking, I pulled the trigger.
Assembly is really straight forward but the instructions could use some attention. Steppir has updated the documentation of each option and sends each as an addendum to the basic build. This is a little confusing and requires a lot of extra work to assemble the antenna correctly. A phone call to one of the Steppir techs cleared everything up and the build took me about 3 days. Working several hours a day.
Here are some photos (thanks Annie) of the assembly, and the removal of the hex and raising of the Steppir:
Steppir needs to rethink their assembly documentation
KIO Hex beam.
Steppir element tubes
Steppir boom and EHU (stepper motor).
The entire boom assembly
40m driven element
a 60ft lift was used to retrieve the Hex antenna and replace it with the 3 ele Steppir
the completed Steppir is visible in the foreground
Thanks to help from a neighbor, we raised the Steppir, and attached it to the existing mast
I’m getting use to the time it takes the Steppir to “remodel” itself for each frequency change. Signals have been strong and reports have also been good.