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Reviews

Various reviews of amateur radio items

MixW Telnet DX Cluster Setup

MixW is an old, and unsupported program, save for the Yahoo MixW group. MixW is also the best program I have ever used for RTTY contesting, bar none, and around 4000 other users agree if the membership of the Yahoo MixW support group is any indicator. I moderate that group, and of late (2014), DX Summit changed it’s format and has broken some functionality of MixW for using DX clusters. I thought it might be good to put together a guide for how to set up MixW to use Telnet, as opposed to web based DX cluster population of the cluster selection window thus freeing the MixW user from external web page changes breaking the MixW software in the future. Continue reading »

Categories: Info, MixW Contest Setup, Reviews, Setups, Software information | Leave a comment

Review of the 30 Meter MonoGAP

The first thing I did was to start WSPR off using the new antenna… All the usual suspects came in all a bit better than before! Next I decided to see what one watt could do using JT65 and PSK Reporter… The photo at the left shows what happened, I am transmitting from Oregon… Continue reading »

Categories: Antenna Reviews, Construction, GAP: MONOGAP 30, Info, Reviews | 1 Comment

NI4L’s 7 Band OCF Dipole

This review of NI4L’s 7 band OCF dipole was prompted by my needing a quick deploy multiband antenna for both field day, and for RVing. Having looked over his antenna I decided on the 7 band version, as that would cover most of my needs while in the field. Last year on Field Day I was able to use an OCF dipole, and enjoyed the quick bandswitching it allowed, so I thought I’d try and find a good OCF dipole and give one an extended try. After looking around the net I found NI4L’s site. Interestingly enough I found it while on eBay, not with Google. His site is very difficult to locate on Google for some reason so here is the link to NI4L’s web site. But if you buy an antenna from NI4L, do it on eBay, it is a few dollars cheaper at this time. In any case, what caught my eye was that he is using Flex-Weave cable for the antenna. Others are, but for some reason NI4L’s site made it more apparent. Another reason is that NI4L is also using an off the shelf W2AU Balun. I have had good luck with that balun so that was enough for me. The W2AU is an all stainless steel hardware balun as well, so it will not be corroding off the antenna anytime soon. The W2AU balun also is good for 2 KW PEP, or 1000 at 100% duty cycle. I would not run it more than 500 Watts, but that is because I am very conservative. I would have liked to have it be good to 2 KW at 100% duty cycle, but alas, it is not. I called and ordered the antenna. It arrived a few days later in the package you see on the left and above. Continue reading »

Categories: Antenna Reviews, Construction, Info, NI4L: 7 Band OCF, Reviews, Station | 4 Comments

Review of West Mountain Radio’s RIGrunner

What this means is that the device has the Powerpole connectors pointing horizontally out of the side, as opposed to pointing up out of the device. I was going to mount my RIGrunner 4008H on the side of a vertical desk support, and I wanted the power cables pointing downwards, and not out towards the wall behind the desk, so the H model was the model of choice for me. As can be seen from the photo at the left, the H version did exactly what I needed. I wanted to move the desk as close to eh wall as possible. I also wanted a pigtail so I could add ferrite snap on cores for RFI suppression to each 12 VDC lead.. All of this just screamed downward pointing cables. Hence the choice of the H version, so I ordered it and it arrived a few days later. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Construction, Reviews, Station, WMR: RigRunner 4008H | Leave a comment

Rebuilding the Shack– from scratch

In 2014 I decided to upgrade the station, I became retired in 2013, and my use of the station was no longer weekends, and holidays. I could use it anytime I wanted, day or night. I decided I needed a better radio, and a bit more desk space. After a lot of looking, the Elecraft K3 popped up on my radar. The K3 provided me with a better radio, and a bit more desk space, exactly what I wanted. At the time of purchase for the K3, I decided it was about time to do a station rebuild, starting with the station grounding , and working my way to the Coax, and finally the control lines. Continue reading »

Categories: Cleanup, Construction, Info, Reviews, Shack Rebuild, Station | 1 Comment

Review of Ameritron’s AL-82 Amplifier

After several years of use, this review of Ameritron’s AL-82 amplifier seems in order! I have owned the AL-82 for three years now, and it has given me incredible performance on all bands. This review will not be a technical review, it will be a general observation, and usage review… Does the amp hold up, does the amp work, does it run hot, etc., that sort of review… Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Ameritron: AL-82, Info, Reviews, Station | 1 Comment

Review of ‘The Daily DX’

DX News is just what it says, news about current DX activities. Bernie McClenny, (owner of The Daily DX, and W3UR), combs the internet looking for DX news. He then aggregates that news into this section. I suspect he has contacts into the DX world mortal men do not, as I sometimes see info there I see no where else… Bernie does edit the ARRL’s How’s DX column for QST, so he is in the know about DX. Here is a short cut from the News Section of The Daily DX: Continue reading »

Categories: Daily DX, DX, Info, Reviews, Service reviews | Leave a comment

Review of N3FJP’s AC Log 4.x

One of the best logging program available just got better! Scott Davis, (N3FJP), has announced his completion of the rewrite of the popular logging program called “Amateur Contact Log”, version 4.0 from Visual Basic to the C# language, moving the version number from ACL3.4x to ACL4.x. See my review of ACL3.4 here. Continue reading »

Categories: Info, N3FJP: AC Log 4.x, Reviews, Software information, Software reviews, Station | Leave a comment

Phased arrays for 40 and 30 Meters

As you can see, even though it would fit, the compromises would be too much for 40 Meters… The radials in the North/South direction would be compromised, to say nothing about being up againset a chain link fence on the south side, and an eight foot metal fence my neighbor to the North put up… So… Change of plans! Continue reading »

Categories: Antenna Reviews, Construction, Info, Reviews, Setups, Station | Leave a comment

Review of DX Engineering’s Radial Plate

This review of DX Engineering’s Radial Plate was prompted by the installation of a Four Square array, and a two element 40 Meter vertical array at NK7Z. I decided to evaluate each item in the building of the arrays separably, then review the entire system as a whole later. Years ago I had promised myself I would never spend fifty bucks on a piece of metal with holes in it. After making the decision to build a Four Square for 30 meters, and a two element phased array for 40 meters, I decided to revisit that decision, as I had a lot of ground radials to lay and connect to antenna bases.

My plan was to buy the needed parts for a single monopole, construct it as perfectly as I possibly could, and then duplicate that process for the other five antenna. Part of that process was to buy a radial plate for the ground radial system so I could keep all of the wire under control… I bit the bullet and bought one! I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived, it is so pretty… So perfectly built… So heavy… I actually didn’t feel so bad about spending fifty bucks on a piece of metal with holes in it! Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Antenna Reviews, Info, Reviews, Station | Leave a comment