MacLoggerDX – Steppir control

MacLoggerDX – Steppir control

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.

dpsdrEnter 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!

mldx_v555

Radio Ranch antenna Upgrade – 3 Ele Steppir

Radio Ranch antenna Upgrade – 3 Ele Steppir

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:

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Steppir needs to rethink their assembly documentation

KIO Hex beam

KIO Hex beam.

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Steppir element tubes

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Steppir boom and EHU (stepper motor).

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The entire boom assembly

 

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40m driven element

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a 60ft lift was used to retrieve the Hex antenna and replace it with the 3 ele Steppir

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the completed Steppir is visible in the foreground

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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.

 

US Islands Special Event

US Islands Special Event

I will be using the call: K4I on Saturday May 9 (Friday night – Saturday afternoon) as part of the US Islands program.  I’ll be operating from Merritt Island Florida, FL043S.

k4iHere’s more info:

Hams Hit the Water for the new US Islands Awards Program’s “One-Day Getaway” – Saturday, May 9, 2015

February 19, 2015

Fans of portable ham radio are encouraged to grab their equipment and head for the water as part of the new “One-Day Getaway,” sponsored by the US Islands awards program. The annual event will make its debut on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC (Friday evening to Saturday evening in the continental US).

Founded in 1994, US Islands promotes portable ham radio operations from islands found in all bodies of water: lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and coastal islands in US territorial waters. The One-Day Getaway is an on-air activity, not a contest: no scores are tallied and no prizes are awarded. Participation from all radio amateurs, regardless of experience level, is encouraged.

“US Islands is a great way to go on a mini-DXpedition without spending a lot of money,” said US Islands Awards Manager Jay Chamberlain, NS4J. “Discovering islands in your own back yard and setting up a station outdoors is always a good time. If hams have only operated outdoors during Field Day, we offer another route to get outside and enjoy portable ham radio in a different way.”

Contacts can be made with any station; US Islands offers achievement awards for both island activators and island chasers, including a certificate for your first US Islands activation.

While there are over 2,800 islands on the US Islands list, there are more than 17,000 islands within the United States. Participants can use Google Earth to locate new islands and be the first to operate ham radio from that location!

Complete information on the US Islands Program, a how-to guide for One-Day Getaway participants and a list of currently qualified islands is available at www.usislands.org.

Florida QSO Party 2015

I’m participating with the PCARS club in Melbourne Florda in the Florida QSO party. We will be operating the club station with the call K4E.

Here’s the info from the Florida Contest Group web site:

Florida QSO Party 2015 – April 25 & 26

2015 FQP 18th Anniversary Special Event

We’re having a party, and you’re invited! Be sure to mark your calendar and join in the fun of the next Florida QSO Party. Visit the other pages on this Web site for rules, results, records, and more information.
Since the re-introduction of the Florida QSO Party to the contest scene in 1998, the Florida QSO Party has become one of the fastest growing and most popular State QSO Parties around today. This is due, in part, to the tremendous effort by the mobile teams to activate as many counties as they can in order to allow those participating from out-of-state, to achieve a county “Sweep” (working all 67 Florida Counties). Florida stations operating from home are also valuable, since that increases the chances that stations will work all counties!
Regardless if you are a serious or casual participant … from Florida, or from outside of Florida … the Florida QSO Party was designed to be a FUN operating event. Why not give it a try?
A reminder for Home stations (both in and outside Florida), please do not call CQ or “run” stations in the “Mobile window”. This window is for mobile stations only. Home stations operate above or below the “Mobile window”. Frequencies to avoid, are:
CW 7.025-7.035, 14.040-14.050, 21.040-21.050, 28.040-28.050 MHZ
SSB 7.180-7.190, 14.265-14.275, 21.340-21.350, 28.480-28.490 MHz

More info click HERE

W1AW/4

W1AW/4

300 contacts in two hours? The power of that call: W1AW. I was lucky to get some mic time today at the PCARS Club station, W4MLB (Melbourne Florida) as we became W1AW/4 in honor of the ARRL’s 100th anniversary. Here’s an explanation of the program from the ARRL site:

The ARRL Centennial “W1AW WAS” operations that are taking place throughout 2014 from each of the 50 states will relocate at 0000 UTC, January 8 (the evening of January 7 in US time zones) from North Carolina and West Virginia to Utah (W1AW/7) and South Carolina (W1AW/4). In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ARRL, the ARRL Centennial QSO Party the kicked off January 1 for a year-long operating event in which participants can accumulate points and win awards. During 2014 W1AW will be on the air from every state (at least twice) and most US territories, and it will be easy to work all states solely by contacting W1AW portable operations. The event is open to all, although only ARRL members and appointees, elected officials, HQ staff and W1AW are worth points. Working W1AW/x from each state is worth 5 points per contact.

To earn the “Worked all States with W1AW Award,” work W1AW operating portable from all 50 states. (Working W1AW or W100AW in Connecticut does not count for Connecticut, however. For award credit, participants must work W1AW/1 in Connecticut.) A W1AW WAS certificate and plaque will be available (pricing not yet available). For an extra challenge, work all 100 W1AW portable operations — essentially a double WAS with W1AW!

Thanks Jan (K4QD) Heise for the invite. Really enjoyed the opportunity.

K2ADA – Florida USA

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.[9][10] 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.