Planning incorporating the Game Changer technologies of the Flex-6000, Maestro and SmartSDR

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It is really interesting what the Flex-6000, Maestro and LAN (and eventually WAN) versions of SmartSDR do to allow for significant differences in station design.

As I've mentioned I've been putting together the design and gear for a second summer home QTH that happens to be out on an Island. 

Initially the concept was to put a heated ham shack space in the end of the new garage/workshop project.  Several generations of drawings and three sets of proper architectural renderings & plans (part of the packet eventually to pull the permit and for the builders).

The Maestro led to a rethink where the main operating point could be separate from the radio room, and the result was thoughts moved to the idea of to place all the radios in the main house's lower level utility room (a room basically blasted out of bedrock and concrete lined) and my where the Maestro & Laptop set operating point to a desk in the main living space.  The lower area would get the non-Flex gear and might be where I would contest from.

That seemed a decent idea and drawings showing the numerous feedlines, other wiring to a multi-antenna layout were completed.

Enter the potential to seamlessly use the 4O3A Antenna Genius for 8x2 remote switching and the 4O3A Station Genius to automate a couple loose ends and there suddenly is no reason to bring all the feedlines to the main house - rather a star configuration for HF TX/RX antennas to a Shed - a true "Ham Shack" - would reduce the feedlines to two HF, one VHF and a special 72 Ohm set of lines for the Reversible Beverage On Ground RX-only Antennas. 

Potential is there to further move the Flex-6000 itself and the Amp (though this would be simpler once the 4O3A Flex-Ready Amplifier launches) also to the Heated Shed, basically tethering back to operating desk by internet (Cat6e or Wireless)! 

Certainly if we build a larger retirement home on the property the infrastructure increases, switching gear needed and all the headaches could be simply putting in a solid internet link between the retirement home and existing summer house and/or Ham Shack Shed.  The anticipated distance will be 1200-1600 feet, so internet can replace expensive ultra-low loss feedlines.

Very attractive compared to trenching into rock to lay heavy duty conduit for hundreds of feet. 

It is simply boggling the differences in designs that are now possible, and the increases the next couple hardware and software launches will bring.

On another area the potential improvements in ergonomics may be huge.  I have one of those treadmill/desktop "walking desks" that I enjoy, but never got any radio time when at it.  That can change!  The contesters several ducks in a row counter with shelf above might metamorphose into a different configuration. 

Truly a series of Game Changers! 

73

Steve K9ZW 

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Posted 3 years ago

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W7NGA

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you are so lucky ... my dad said if I cleared away the black widow spiders and their webs out of one corner of the garage I could put a piece of plywood across two saw-horses for a table and take the old extension cord we usually use for the Christmas tree lights for power. I can't use my Weller Soldering Iron on High-Power without blowing the fuse for the freezer, but my Hammarlund HQ-110 and DX-20 are doing swell if I unplug the freezer first. Ham radio is so much fun. Mom and Dad get really mad if I don't remember to plug the freezer back in.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Walt,
Here is a Weller flashback.  I have several Weller guns --  two of them are in the picture below.  The one on the left was a gift from my dad in 1964 when I got my novice license at age 14.  Shortly after getting it, I dropped it and chipped the case.  I thought it was ruined -- it was a sad day.  But here it is  52 years later and still going strong.

Great product!

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10

You can see the chipped case on the left.  .
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I still have one like the one on the right, but it doesn't seem to get hot enough, fast enough to solder the center pin on a pl259. I need to get a 60 watt insert for my old Archer soldering iron handle and have a large chisel tip.....I need to do about 12 connectors for my final stage of the antenna tower project. Several runs of LMR-400 Ultraflex equivalent to break in order to add lightning arresters, grounding and move my dipole and remote antenna switch to the tower.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ken,
Here is a pic of my other Weller gun for coax.  Counting my soldering station and a few pencil irons that make 6 soldering irons total -- one for every occasion (hi hi).  

Anyway this is a 200/300 watt INDUSTRIAL model.




Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Jim Best

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I have one of these also. Memory is fading a bit but I believe I obtained it in 1957. Wow! That was 58 years ago! The rear portion of the case has broken off from being dropped to many times but it's still going strong. Anybody know if the cas is still available?
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W7NGA

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You can buy the entire iron, still, from Amazon for $54
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KF4HR

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Steve - As long as you have 120/240vac service and internet service pulled to your remote location 1200-1600' from your house everything you mentioned seems perfectly feasible.  A direct run of Cat6e would need some inline boost since that cable has a maximum working length of 328 feet.   
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I was looking at Amazon the other day and noticed a source had a 65 ft. twin fiber optic cable for about $29 US. I didn't know if it was compatible with the optic switch/router stuff that NN4ZZ was discussing, but it intrigued me. That is about the length I would need to do optic from my Asus router in the den to my ham shack.

At first, when Al brought this up, it seemed too expensive for me. But the prices keep dropping on this stuff. I may try it some day. It might take some more noise out of my system, too.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Ken,
As long as it is the "multi-mode' cable which is typically orange, it should work fine.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Duane N9DG

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If doing outdoor runs I would buy fiber cable meant for direct burial. Even then I'd be inclined to pull it through a conduit to better protect it from mechanical hazards.

Fiber cables meant for indoor use may have problems with moisture ingress through the protective jacket over time. Certainly so if exposed to the elements.

It has been awhile since I researched it, but there are cable houses that will make custom length cables as well. Or I suppose you can buy the terminating tools and put the connectors on yourself. Though that is where the cost of the fiber aproach will jump up because those tools aren't cheap.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Thank you. On Washington Island you really have to put things in conduits even if burial rated. There is not very much soil, and it is stoney and contains sharps.

I could do with some Fiber termination lessons, as I'd be better served to be able to roll my own runs than deal withe the logistics of measure, order, wait and then return to install.

The short six miles of water may as well be across a sea at times.

Suggestions on tools and how to pick up the skills?

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Duane N9DG

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The geologic conditions there on Washington Island sound quite similar to what I have to deal with here on the Baraboo Range's Precambrian quartzite covered with a thin layer of rocky clay.

So far I have not needed to deal with doing fiber runs. So haven't actually worked with it yet. But I have made up mind that when or if I need to, that is the approach that I would take.
(Edited)
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Don-KB6TSQ

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I own two of those soldering guns too...They have to be about 30 to 35 years old now...wow...both still work.
Time flys

As for the radios...they are a leap
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Have been thinking more about where the FRS product line is moving and I think it is reasonable to expect continued superior connectivity via Ethernet between major radio shack components.

Right now I have a mix, with some USB, some RS-232 and a few Ethernet connected components, and a similar kludge of software patching most of it together.

Some items like my present tuner are only partially interconnected.

It is reasonable to expect to have the Flex-6x00 as the "radio server" and then similar Internet-Aware and Maestro/SmartSDR integrated Switches, Amps, Tuners and metering. 

I do appreciate the reminders on the benefits on using Fiber for distance and to reduce undesired issues with wired Ethernet. 

Perhaps someday all of the components will have built in Fiber Ethernet Ports?

Sure would be slick!

What are you dreaming of in station design?

73

Steve K9ZW

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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I'd forgotten to mention that Ranko 4O3A's Rotor Genius is intended to eventually be Maestro and SmartSDR integrated, making this control aspect much easier.

In recent emails Ranko said that the Station Genius (the do-all box) will have a version 2 software/firmware upgrade before Dayton.  I am uncertain if this version will be more SmartSDR aware or if that will be in a later version.

73

Steve K9ZW

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Kevin Va3KGS

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Hi Steve

Here is my current remote set up.  The trees do knock my signal around.  If you have clear line of sight there will be no issues with going Wifi.  You need someone that's good with Networking. (Not Me!!)

http://www.va3kgs.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Va3KGS-Station-Setup.pdf

Regards

Kevin, Va3KGS



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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Thanks! 

Wish I had more experience in some of these ways to extend a net.

As I need to trench in power, it isn't such a big deal to drop Fiber Ethernet in the conduit, but I like what you've done to work around a gap!

73

Steve K9ZW

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Kevin Va3KGS

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Morning Steve

Check out this website on Mesh Networking.  As amateurs we can operate just below the public Wifi Band.  We have gone 80Km with this (Omni to Omni).

http://www.aredn.org/

The only catch with our Flex 6xxx radio's is we need to be on the same subnet.  That's where you need to understand tunneling via Wifi (not through internet).

Good Luck

Kevin, Va3KGS

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Lee, Elmer

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I just bought a Raspberry Pi 3, which runs Windows 10 IOT (internet of things) core.  I'm  fooling around implementing some of this custom functionality for controlling peripherals (switches rotors etc. (i.e robot radio)).  It has Ethernet built in with its own IP (and wifi but I don't have that running yet) and is dead simple to SSH into for remote control and easy to write and run C# programs using Visual Studio to control the I/O.  Eventually it will have camera support as well but I don't think it's implemented yet.  If you have any interest in making something custom like this for your station Windows 10 is the correct O/S to choose, as remoting into the IOT device with that OS is designed in.   If I were doing the station design I would go with Ethernet, maybe even with a backup cable, since that will be the backbone of your station.  10 years ago I fooled around with extending a wifi circuit for a couple blocks and while it worked, and was very interesting to experiment with, it wasn't super reliable.  

73  W9OY
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