Q&A With Ken Buser – RXAssistant

2020-07-15T12:51:23-04:00July 7th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Ken Buser, W9IE isn’t a professional software developer, according to him. His extremely handy application for FlexRadio called RXAssistant, suggests differently. Ken has been a builder his entire life. He’s built computers, inventory systems, entire businesses and of course, his fair share of shacks, systems, towers, you name it. Ken knows that today, the “building” in ham radio, is the building of applications. So as a ham radio veteran at 80 years old, he taught himself how to code in C#, and continued to build. His application RXAssistant, for FlexRadio, let’s you switch between Receive  antennas without needing the touch screen. That is a long way from the cake pan transmitters he used to build as a kid. Learn more about Ken Buser and how he continues to add to the world. You can go to w9az.com for the link to download RXAssistant and take a gander at the club newsletter while you’re there.   Q: Tell me briefly about yourself and your connection to ham radio.  I’ve been a ham since 1955. 65 years now, and I’ve enjoyed it every day. It’s been a great hobby. I was just a kid when I got into it. Ham radio then, was like the Internet now for the younger generation. We’d borrow a cake pan from our mother’s kitchen, put some holes in it, mount some tubes and a few other parts and you had a transmitter. I built a lot of things over the years. I’ve owned a service bureau [...]

Do Good – A letter from our founder Gerald Youngblood

2020-04-28T09:22:04-04:00April 28th, 2020|Uncategorized|

A couple of weeks ago, as FlexRadio implemented Covid-19 social distancing and work from home across the company, I wrote a letter to our team. It began with the famous quote from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” These truly are the best of times and the worst of times around the entire world in the midst of such sudden and rampant disease and economic uncertainty. For so many this is and will be a time of foolishness, incredulity, darkness and despair. For others this is and will be a time of wisdom, belief, light and hope. What makes the difference? Maybe we are given a clue from a line from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” One question we all must ask ourselves is do I turn inward or do I turn outward? Do I live in self pity or do I live in compassion and caring for others? Do I personally live in fear or in hope? Even if I am locked in quarantine, how can I turn outward and [...]

Using External Amplifiers with a FLEX-6000 Transceiver – Part 1

2020-03-13T20:12:00-04:00March 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|

By Dan Quigley, N7HQ The purpose of this article is to address some common conceptual errors amateur radio operators make when interfacing transceivers and external RF power amplifiers.  We will illustrate three of those misconceptions and provide basic amplifier interface guidance when the transceiver is a FLEX-6000 product. Interfaces to band data, ALC, matching, or antenna switching systems, and a discussion of power-backoff settings for splatter-free amplitude modulated digital signals like PSK-31 and CODEC2 are planned for Part 2. Improperly interfaced external RF amplifiers can (and usually will): Damage the keying circuit in the transceiver. Damage the keying circuit in the amplifier or T/R relay contacts. Damage amplifier electronics, filters, tube(s) or transistor(s). Cause unwanted distortion products (IMD) and/or splatter. Cause key clicks (when working CW). Any combination of the above and more. First Common Misconception: You can drive any amplifier directly with a 100W transceiver.  Second Common Misconception: There is an amplifier interface standard.  Third Common Misconception: You are done interfacing when you can key your amplifier and transmit. FlexRadio SmartSDRTM software provides features that simplify managing amplifier switching interface requirements effectively, so you can quickly and efficiently change them on the fly - fine-tuning your system to match how you are currently operating.  The Basic Amplifier Interface Getting the basic interface - the drive, amplifier TX-keying, and timing, right is the first step, no matter the complexity of the system.  PGXL owners using FLEX-6000 transceivers need not worry about any of this since it is integrated and keyed [...]

A Review of the Power Genius XL – By Mack McCormick, W4AX

2020-03-13T20:01:41-04:00March 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Are you searching for the highest performing solid state linear amplifier on the market today? If so, then the Power Genius XL (PGXL) amplifier is exactly what you need. It has no equal. It is the only amplifier on the market that enables fully integrated single operator two radio (SO2R or Multi-1) operation using a single amplifier; and it works equally well in single operator mode.  The Power Genius XL seamlessly transforms your FlexRadio FLEX-6X00 series radio into a legal limit beast. Imagine working your favorite two bands, 160 meters through 6 meters, and effortlessly switching between them while working a contest, DX, or FT8. The PGXL will deliver 1,500 watts of power without a sweat thanks to employing two NXP MRF1K50H LDMOS transistors each rated at  1.5 kW dissipation. Because the design utilizes a special unalloyed aluminum heat sink it is capable of 1500 watts at full ICAS duty cycle on any amateur mode .  Also unique to the PGXL is a technology called MEffATM (Maximum Efficiency Algorithm) which controls the DC voltage and bias levels on the PA to match the envelope of the signal to yield the highest efficiency and lowest intermodulation distortion. The PGXL amplifier is built to broadcast industry standards using complimentary low pass and high pass band switched RF output filter networks.  This directs all signal harmonic energy to an internal resistor load therefore, eliminating the reflection of this harmonic energy back into the amplifier. This significantly improves amplifier stability, distortion, and efficiency. An [...]

Love At First Byte – An Interview with Don Beaudry

2020-01-27T18:11:26-05:00January 27th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Interview with Don Beaudry   Don Beaudry, K1DBO, has had a passion for tech solutions his entire life. As a developer, engineer and the creator of Slice Master, Don understands the need and the power of simple, common-sense applications. Like the need to bridge the configuration gap between third-party applications. And the power to make one FlexRadio appear as eight different conventional ones. For Don, his major motivation was a little frustration. Check out the interview with Don Beaudry, DK1DBO, creator of Slice Master.    Q: Tell us briefly about your career and what led you into ham radio. A: I'm a software developer with over 20 years experience and hold a BS and MS in Computer Science. 10 years ago I gave up development professionally, and have been working as an IT infrastructure engineer. Technology and electronics were an interest for as far back as I can remember. In 6th grade (1976) I dusted off an old KnightKit R100A™ that my father had built years before and started studying for the novice exam.  I couldn't quite get the hang of CW so that really put some limits on my expectations. About the same time computers were making their way into the school system. I was hooked immediately and radios took a back seat. Fast forward to 2013. I wasn't looking for a new hobby, but one found me. By chance, I read the FCC had lowered the code requirement to get an amateur license.  I took an online test [...]

Pitcairn followup with Glenn Johnson

2020-01-28T09:01:26-05:00January 27th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Interview with Glenn Johnson, W0GJ  The Pitcairn DXpedition team has returned from their epic journey all in one piece. Core team member, and leader of the expedition, Glenn Johnson, W0GJ, said it perfectly when asked about the experience. He said, not too many people go there more than once. He was not only speaking to the arduous travel and logistics to get there and back, but to the logistics of even existing there. Long hours, cyclones (known as hurricanes in this hemisphere) and very rough terrain. The island is only two miles wide and a thousand feet up. It’s hard to find a spot that’s not steep. And their equipment? Well they won’t see that again for eight to nine months because of the trip it takes to get home. Fortunately, no one accidentaly packed their house keys into one of the Pelican Cases™.  In spite of all the adversity, Glenn wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. The connections, friends and experiences made over such a short period of time will last a lifetime. Read the post Pitcairn interview with Glenn Johnson, W0GJ and get a taste of what it was like.   Q: How did you get involved in ham radio? A: I started listening to my grandfather’s Philco™ radio back in the day, and listening to the hams and that’s really what got me interested. I ended up getting my license when I was 15. Years later, I discovered my grandfather’s [...]

D4C with Marco

2020-01-27T18:00:06-05:00January 27th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Marco Rinaldi IK2LFF The D4C team has found much success contesting from a remote shack, sitting on a rugged mountain in 35mph sustained winds, on a small island off the coast of West Africa.You’ve gotta be good to pull that off. So when they decided to upgrade their equipment at their Sao Vincente station, they needed the best in performance and the best in possibility. High quality with high scalability. Then add in the physical demands of working in a remote shack on an island mountain top.  It was a clear choice according to Marco Rinaldi, IK2LFF, a core member of the D4C team. Their equipment was outdated and their possibilities limited. FlexRadio was the perfect solution. They chose to upgrade for CQWW SSB 19. After a small learning curve, a lot of great support from the FlexRadio team and some strong leadership, the contest was a huge success. The team is planning on adding more Flex technology to their arsenal in the future. Check out the interview with Marco Rinaldi, IK2LFF, a core member of the unbelievably cool D4C Monteverde contest team. Q: How did you get into ham radio?  A: I got my license as IK2LFF in 1987 at age 17. My uncle passed this passion onto me and it’s remained in my blood ever since. I’m addicted to contesting and always looking for the best in class solution, in ham radio and in life.    Q: What made the D4C team decide to switch technology and why [...]

The Original Maestro: An Interview with Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR, CEO of FlexRadio

2019-12-20T11:22:02-05:00December 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|

There is a specific set of tenets that guide the ham radio community of operators. According to one very special ham operator, two of these tenets stand out. In fact, he even defined an entire company based on them. Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR, believes these two tenets give amateur radio operators, not only the freedom to advance ham radio, but the duty to.  Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art. Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art. Gerald Youngblood also happens to be the president, CEO and founder of FlexRadio. The company took a technologically archaic industry and flipped it on its tuner, in a good way. Gerald built and introduced the first true software defined radio (SDR) for the amateur market making it seem as if anything is now possible in the world of ham radio. And the rest of the industry is now following his lead. Gerald Youngblood is, humbly, in the conductor's seat.  Gerald sat down for a FlexInsider interview this week to discuss the successes of the past year, his life and the future of ham radio.    Q: How has ham radio, in a way, been your life sherpa? A: I didn’t set out to get into the ham radio industry. I love radio and I love building businesses. So they overlapped. But one thing is for sure, many [...]

IP Addresses: Static vs. DHCP vs. DHCP Reservations

2020-01-28T09:52:19-05:00December 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|

By Dan Qiugley, N7HQ Especially when you don’t want to be tethered to your shack, wired or wireless networks are now an indispensable element of Ham Radio. To function, every network device must be uniquely addressable so it can send and receive information. So when it comes to providing unique addresses to your equipment, which is better? A static IP address or dynamic address?  Static IP Addresses Static IP addresses are assigned manually at the device, as the name implies. Once set, they never change.  Since the addresses are assigned manually, each must be unique to avoid collisions. It’s always a good idea to document the address on a spreadsheet or another document to help keep track.  When assigning a static IP address, you must also provide the correct subnet mask, the default gateway for the logical network you want it to use, and the DNS server(s). Printing all that information on a label affixed to the device is a best-practice. If you understood all of that, then you probably have the skills and knowledge necessary to manage IP addresses on a network. If not, then you are likely to be more comfortable using DHCP.  One other caveat to using static IP addresses with the FLEX-6000.  If the radio is reset to factory defaults, the static IP address is deleted and the radio reverts to using DHCP which may interfere with configurations that rely on using a static IP address, such as a SmartLink configuration that utilizes manual port forwarding. [...]

Interview with Mark Hanson – FRStack

2019-12-13T17:21:51-05:00December 11th, 2019|Uncategorized|

It’s Radioing, Enhanced The point of a nice car is all the bells and whistles. That’s how Mark Hanson, W3II, feels when it comes to ham radio. An electronics aficionado from birth, Mark is a recognized ham radio operator and now, a recognized radio enhancement guru. He made operating a FlexRadio with SmartSDR even easier. That’s saying a lot. His product, FRStack, utilizes the Flex API and delivers many efficiency bolstering features for your radioing pleasure. Check out the interview with Mark Hanson, W3II. Q: Please give me a brief history of your career and your draw to ham radio. A: I was introduced to amateur radio by my high school electronics program teachers; Ernie Banks and Jim Strauss. Jim owned JRS Electronics, an amateur radio store in York, PA, where one of my duties was to repair Kenwood™ and ICOM™ radios. I obtained a Technician Class Ham Ticket and 1st Class RadioTelephone Certificate while in high school. I continued my electronics education at Ohio Institute of Technology, graduating with a BS in Electronics Engineering Technology. In my career I have held many engineering and business roles that include Design Engineer, Architect, Manager, Director and General Manager at companies like Memorex Telex™, Honeywell™ and EMC™. Q: Were there any major moments in your life that you recognize as guiding you to where you are today? A: I realized early on that if you are not growing and learning you will fall behind. I had the good fortune to have many [...]

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