MixW Help Files for version 3.x

MixW Main window

MixW Main display screen

Here you will find the current MixW help files for inclusion within the MixW software package.  These files are in Windows Help Format, .chm, and replace all other help files for MixW.  If you install them as per the instructions below, they will be available from within MixW, by selecting HELP.

Download the file(s) below, and then expand them.  MixW help files were last updated for V2.19. However the latest version is V3.1 and some of the data in the help files is out of date. These files have been updated to reflect the changes in V3.1 and other, hopefully useful, information added.  For more information on MixW, see either the Yahoo Support Group, or the review on this site. Read more »

Categories: Info, MixW Contest Setup, Setups, Software information | 2 Comments

Review of the iMate by BetterRF

iMate for Icom

iMate for Icom

This review of the iMate by BetterRF was prompted by my entering the last SS contest, and getting really, really tired of saying my call sign over and over…  This device allows for remote triggering of the four memories in my Icom 756 Pro 3.  Triggering is accomplished by simply pressing a button on the iMate, which is labeled for which memory you wish to trigger.  The iMate does not allow for programming, only triggering the playback of a previously recorded message.  It also does not store the messages, you only get four messages, four for CW and four for voice.  The iMate inserts between your Microphone, and your radio, after any level conversion hardware for digital.  This allows for an easy install, without re-wiring your entire station audio chain.  The device is a small plastic box, with controls mounted on the top of it.  This allows for easy placement on your working surface.  Once installed, you just press a button leaving the Icom radio controls set as you normally would.  I leave my Band scope up at all times, and after the last SS, (first phone contest for me, I normally do RTTY and CW), I realized that I could not live without the band scope, (the 756 PRO 3 will not show the band scope if you are in memory playback mode without the iMate), hence the purchase of the iMate. Read more »

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

Review of Hamlog by Pignology

Hamlog and Pignology logoThis review of Hamlog by Pignology was prompted after a three week trip to Arizona, and one heck of a lot of QSO’s all kept on paper.  The entry time involved, and the possible loss of the little scraps of paper which I kept the log on convinced me that I needed a better mobile logging program.  I looked for a decent logging program for mobile use.  It had to be able to run on my phone. (Android Bionic),  and my iPad, as well as be able to export the contacts via an ADIF file.  I tried a few progrmas, then found “Hamlog” by Pignology LLC.  Hamlog, runs on pretty much all platforms, (IOS, Android, and web interface), and generates the needed ADIF file.  It is easy to use, and seems to work fine for my mobile uses.  The user interface was important to me, it had to be easy to use, and have large type.  Hamlog is simple enough to use, my wife will fill it in for me while driving, all I need to do is to tell her what to put in what field.  During our trip I used an iPad 1 as the input device.  When the battery on the iPad ran down, I used my Android phone…  That feature is what sold me on Hamlog, the ability to have a cross platform logging program.  Having the same log on iDevices, and on Android devices is wonderful.  Best of all it is free! Read more »

Categories: Info, Pignology: Hamlog, Reviews, Software information, Software reviews | 5 Comments

Review of W8WWV’s S-Meter Lite

S-Meter Lite

S-Meter Lite display window

I have a very bad RFI problem at my home QTH.  This necessitated my looking at S-Meter values across time in order to quantify when the start and end times for my RFI issues were taking place.  After looking around for software, I discovered S-Meter Lite by W8WWV.  This software is installed under Windows XP on my home setup and does exactly what I needed, plus a lot more…  After taking a look at this software I thought I would provide a review of W8WWV’s S-Meter Lite.  S-Meter Lite will graph S-Meter readings in real time, save spreadsheet ready files over very long time frames of your S meter values, assist in generating a pattern for your beam antenna, show RF levels in S units or in dB, and show signal level differences in dB between one signal and another on the same graph.  In short S-Meter Lite does a lot of things, some of which I have not tested yet, but look forward to testing.  See RFI at my Home QTH, every graph of S meter values there was made using S-Meter Lite.

S-Meter Lite talks to your radio using a data connection to your radio provided by the manufacturer.  In some cases the radios do not provide data connections, so S-Meter Lite is unable to talk to those radios.  If you are set up with radio control using your computer, you are probably already set up to use S-Meter Lite.

Read more »

Categories: Cleanup, Info, Propagation, Reviews, RFI Mitigation, Software information, Software reviews, Tools, W8VVV: S-meter Lite | 10 Comments

Review of the MFJ-856 Directional Noise Finder W/ 3 El. Beam

MFJ-856 Directional Noise Finder with beam

MFJ-856 Directional Noise Finder with beam

As those of you who have been reading the RFI blog know I have been tracking down RFI issues for the past year.  I have also recently rebuilt the shack, and that removed a lot of little RFI sources.  About four months ago I decided to get serious about this, as winter is coming, and in the Pacific Northwest, this means rain for the next six months…  Not wanting to wander about in the rain I decided to purchase a few items to assist in hunting down RFI.  One was an Ultrasonic Spark detector, and the other was the MFJ-856 Directional Noise Finder W/3 El. beam.  What the MFJ-856  device is, is a wide band receiver in the 135 MHz. range, tied to a three element Yagi which has a handle on the end.  It makes for a pretty nice hand held unit for sniffing out RFI.

Overall it was useful to me in locating  sources of RFI, I would point it in the general direction of a noise source and wave it around until I got a peak in the meter.  Once I had that, I would walk towards the source, waving the antenna around, following the peaks.

The device is reasonably well constructed, MFJ quality control seems to be good, as the unit I got has no defects in it.  It came boxed nicely, all parts were included, the instructions were clear, and it was simple to construct.   There were however a few items to note: Read more »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Antenna Reviews, Cleanup, Direction Finding, MFJ: MFJ-856, Reviews, RFI Mitigation, Station, Tools | 1 Comment

Review of Ameritron’s AWM-30 Wattmeter

AWM-30 Watt/SWR meter

AWM-30 Watt/SWR meter

Overview: This review of Ameritron’s AWM-30 Wattmeter is short, as this device is designed to do one thing, measure output power and SWR; and it does it well.  I use the AWM-30 in my shack between the AL-82, (Ameritron amplifier), and the AT-1000 tuner made by LDG.  That way I see what the Amplifier sees with regards to SWR, if I kill the tuner, I see what the real SWR is on the antenna as well.  I do not bother to power up the AWM-30 Meter often, as my Ham Shack is in a lighted environment  and I don’t need the back lights. The meter is constructed of heavy gauge metal, painted Ameritron Black, to match the rest of the product line.  It has a removable SWR sensor, so you do not have to run your RG-8 coax to the meter, you can just add it where it is most convenient.  This allows the control head of the unit to be placed in the shack and not a pair of heavy coax cables around the back wiring of your shack. Read more »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Info, Reviews, Station | 3 Comments

Review of the eQSL QSL Service

eQSL QSL Service

eQSL Logo


This is a Review of the eQSL QSL Service.  I previously did a review of ARRL LOTW, and in order to be fair to eQSL, (which I use as well as LOTW), I decided to do an eQSL review.  The eQSL service is currently running a QSL exchange service, in which one Amateur Operator , SWLers, and others, can swap a digital QSL card.  It and the ARRL LOTW program both perform essentially the same function.  The major difference is that the ARRL has the awards that most people want, and the eQSL folks do not.  eQSL however allows direct exchange of graphic art, so you get to send a QSL card via eQSL, something which is in the design spec for the ARRL LOTW, but so far, I have not found it implemented…  eQSL was first to provide an electronic QSL service, with the ARRL right behind them.  That gave eQSL an advantage to the technology starved Amateur community, many hams, including myself, ran to eQSL to get signed up.  I believe this gives eQSL the edge in total user count at this time.  The eQSL signup process is quite simple and fast.  It is almost impossible to not compare both eQSL, and LOTW in a review, so here goes… Read more »

Categories: eQSL QSL Service, Info, Reviews, Service reviews | 39 Comments

Review of Afreet Software: HamCap


HamCap Map View


Afreet Software has a suite of programs out for the Amateur Radio Operator, which are very useful, and in some cases work together swapping data between themselves, I have a few of them and will review them all over the next few months.  The second program in this series of reviews is HamCap.

HamCap is a very simple front end for a very complex piece of backend software called VOCAP.  What VOCAP does would be a paper in and of itself, so just click here to see an overview of VOCAP, if you don’t want to read the nine sections on VOCAP, just assume it is one of the best pieces of software available for prediction of current propagation conditions.  In any case, HamCap uses the VOCAP engine to make propagation predictions, and then presents it to the user in a very simple view.  It populates ALL of the VOCAP setup, and operational items which VOCAP would need, and allows the operator to put in the Sunspot numbers, and the K index, (it will get these automatically, but more on that later), and you get a map of the world showing the current predicted propagation S/N ratios, or a point to point chart showing the best times on all ham bands between two points.  I have used HamCap for several years, and all in all it seems to be pretty accurate.

Read more »

Categories: Afreet: HamCap, Info, Propagation, Reviews, Software reviews, Station | Leave a comment

Review of Afreet Software: FAROS


Main Screen FAROS


Afreet Software has a suite of programs out for the Amateur Radio Operator, which are very useful, and in some cases work together swapping data between themselves, I have a few of them and will review them all over the next few months.  I will start with FAROS.

I like to see when the bands are open and have been using a program called HamCap, that program provides a nice little map of the predicted propagation, and it is free!  I wanted real time data, not predictions, so I researched the available options for this, and found two programs which looked promising, FAROS, and BeaconSee.  After downloading BeaconSee, and FAROS, I set about to see which one was best for my purposes of seeing real-time propagation.  It soon became apparent that FAROS was superior in many ways for my use.  BeaconSee while working, is a bit of a pain to set up, while FAROS is literally install, select your radio, and hit the go button.  I don’t want to turn this into a FAROS vs. BeaconSee review, so I will not mention BeaconSee again.   Read more »

Categories: Afreet: FAROS, Info, Propagation, Reviews, Software reviews, Station | Leave a comment

Generating a Dopplergram of the Ionosphere

DopplergramThere exists a way of generating a dopplergram of the Ionosphere, using a radio and soundcard software, which allow you to look at the Ionosphere, with nothing more than a computer, radio….  You can see the various changes to the Ionosphere, and learn things!  A fun combination.  A Dopplergram uses an existing radio transmitter, (like WWV), and then monitors very small Doppler shifts in the signal.  Shifts as low a .25 Hz, can be seen and graphed.

For a general overview of Dopplergrams visit ZL1PBU’s page.  You will need a piece of software to chart the received frequency vs. time.  A good place to discuss your Dopplergrams and get the software SBSpectrum is on the Yahoo group for Dopplergrams.

Below you will find a Dopplergram showing two solar flares

WWV 05/09/12

Dopplergram of the Ionosphere

Dopplergram of the Ionosphere

Note the two Solar flares at 1958, and 2105.  This was taken using WWV 10 MHz., as the source, and watching the Doppler shift of the Ionosphere.  At 2150, you can see an E/F layer split begin, this is as evening approaches at my QTH, so it is to be expected.  On other Dopplergrams, I have seen both E and F layer propagation continue all night.  All in all, this is a fairly useful tool for propagation study.


Categories: Info, Propagation, Software information | 3 Comments