Chasers: Show us your station
During Covid-19 lockdown I had some spare time, so decided to upgrade my home station with unexpensive Panadapter based on NaP3 software. I wanted to try NaP3 ver.5.0 to run on my existing Linux Mint computer. It runs well in Wine, but there is a problem with Wine – it was impossible (at least to me) to use USB serial ports!! So I had to install NaP3 in a separate Win10 computer, in my case a 10 inch CHUWI Hi10 tablet. Setup was simple: just connect I/Q port of KX3 to LineIN port of external 24-bit USB sound card (AUREONXFIRE8.0) and connect USB serial port to CAT serial port on KX3. But there was a problem – KX3 was already connected to my Linux computer. So I had to find a solution:
My KX3 is controled by rigctld program, connection goes by USB serial cable.
My logger (CQRLOG) and WSJTX are connected to rigctld over TCP/IP connection. So it was obvious that NaP3 should also communicate with KX3 over TCP/IP connection. Unfortunately NaP3 can communicate only with COM ports. To overcome this limitation, I had to write a short perl script which is running in my Linux computer.
Script takes serial communication from NaP3 and converts NaP3 (i.e. KX3) commands into rigctl commands and sends them over TCP connection to rigctld, and viceversa.
Result is quite good – bandwidth span is up to 180 kHz. KX3 can be controlled from NaP3 screen as well as from CQRLOG and WSJTX. Also interesting feature for SOTA chasers is SOTA spots on NaP3 screen. I can just click on screen spot to get tuned to SOTA activator. Not bad
To those interested: link to NaP3
Not even worth a picture for me, just an IC706MKIIG and an end fed long wire at 20 feet, which I put up on Friday night and take down on Sunday night. No computer, I get spots form my phone. I did manage 34 points this weekend, which is an accomplishment for me!
Yaesu 450D, home-brew 40 meter delta loop, 85 watts or less, usually.
Homemade Hacksaw cootie key, cwmorse.us paddle.
Very nice ! Ilike that homebrew key!
My station is a two-part setup, the first picture is the “afternoon” desk, second is the “morning” desk. I switch off just about every day just to give things a workout.
Antennas are a 3 element tri-bander and wire dipoles.
When looking under the desk, I can confirm that “wireless” is quite over-rated :troll:
Licensed in 78, extra class achieved in 85. CW is probably 95 percent of what I do. Not much to show, but it works. FT817nD with Z11 Pro2 on the left, FT857D and AT100 Pro 2 in the middle. TMV71A and Samlex supply on the right. The 857 setup is mounted on a base so I can grab it and go portable. I just unplug the antenna, power, and ground and go. The “kickstand” is mounted to the base with a couple of spring loaded cabinet hinges so I can flip it down for a good viewing angle of the display, or flip it up to set the thing on the dash of the car. I also have a stack of batteries I can switch the station to. Not shown in the picture is a Hendricks PFR3B I built a few years back that I use (or the 817) for the occasional activation. The paddles are the Dirt Cheap Paddle Kit from Pacific Antenna, but Im trying to get back to using the straight key more. Im usually chasing with the 857 dialed back to 50 watts. Because Im getting old haha, all of my antennas are serviceable from the ground. No towers etc. On HF just two home brew fan dipoles only up about 25 to 30 feet. One for 80/40/15 and the other for 20/30. Other bands tune on them easily. On V/U I just have a diamond 510 up at 20 feet. SOTA is a ton of fun, and in my humble opinion, the best thing thats happened to ham radio in a long time for many reasons, but I wont blather on about that here. Thank you activators!
when I started HAM radio in 1964 (56 years ago) there were no computers nor cell phones , just scanning the bands and tuning TX to received signal, and paper logging. No SOTA at that time .
Right ! I was going to mention, “Why do they call this ‘wireless’”…
And for you Mirko, it was the same when I started in 1957, we tuned
around and found stations to work. Didn’t even know what a computer was. And I still have every logbook since I started.
Here is my modest station in Mount Carmel, Tennessee. Outside I have a hex beam at 40’ for 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 and 6 meters. A G5RV which is mainly for 80, 60, 40 and 30 meters. Also an EFHW which I also use mainly on 40 meters.
Very nice & neat, Walt! Unlike my rats nest under the desk!
Here is mine
FT-.2000 plus ACOM 1000 , MKII , EA4TX automatic antenna rotator control.
Ant: OB 7-3 from optibeam plus home made dipoles for 40 an 80 meters.
Headset is Radiosports.
I also have a Satellites setup
2x FT-817 and Arrow antenna.
73’s de Rick EA4M
I bought a desk to get my station organized. It arrived just after the coronavirus shelter-in-place, so now it is a home office with a shack.
Looking good, Wunder! Nice & neat. I found these corner “computer desks” in one of my customer’s office about 25 years ago, he told me where he got it, so I got one. It worked out so well, I got another one!
One in each corner and as you can see in my photos they can hold
an amazing amount of weight without caving in! I added the upper shelves on the right & left. The middle shelves are monitor shelves that came with the desks. I also added shelves below the desktop to hold items that I don’t have to touch, power supplies, radio bodies, small VHF amps, etc.
Nice setup! I also use the same model Pyle speakers and am quite pleased with them.
Lots of fun to see other folks setups. Mirko and John… I had to giggle at your comments about wireless and computers. The other day I kicked on the radio and just tuned around 30 meters and found a SOTA station calling and worked him. At that time I thought how spoiled Ive become with SOTA spots haha. I remember DXing back in the 70s. No computers, no bandscopes, just tuning the bands and listening with mark 1 ears. 73 all. Thanks for sharing all the great station pictures.
My station is pretty simple. I go chasing SOTA with the same equipment I would use to activate, so if anyone is doing the “heavy lifting” it’s the activators, since they have a height advantage.
Patrick - ac0sr
Which of those two radios do you like the most? I’ve been looking at both for a while now.
That’s a tough question. I used the HB-1B for field day because it’s a little easier for me to QSY since I do mostly search-and-pounce. The MTR-5 fits right in top of the Z-817 autotuner with room for batteries to boot, so I would be more likely to use it in the field, and actually did for FD 2019 as a 1B. And if you use the 11.1 Volt lipos there is only a negligable difference in power. I think the MTR pulls less current on standby, but neither one pulls a lot (30 vs 60 mA).
I couldn’t decide either, so I ended up getting both.
Patrick - ac0sr
I run a Ten Tec Argonaut 5, Argonaut 6 and ocasionally a Heathkit HW-9 at 5W levels.
Since the summit operator is likely to be QRP, I figure 2XQRP is twice as good.
72/73 (= 0.9863013698630137?)
Carl WB0CFF Scott County MN
A Chaser Station update from G4OBK since I started this thread in November 2017:
This last year I have sold on the Yaesu FTDX5000 and Icom 7400 I had - to replace them I got a new Yaesu FTDX101MP and a secondhand Yaesu FT-991A, The FTDX5000 and Icom IC-7400 went to a good homes in Gateshead and York. Since getting a Gemini DX1200 LDMOS linear amplifier in late 2019 I can now run the legal limit of 400 watts - although this unit was acquired principally for DX operation and is rarely switched on for the daily SOTA Chasing session - 200 watts is plenty enough for SOTA Chasing. I have two Hewlett Packard ex-corporate PCs with SSDs. Twin 19 inch screens are used on one PC and a single 22" widecreen to the other. Both transceivers are CAT driven from the computer and I have a permanent connection to the MM0FMF SOTA Cluster and VE7CC DX Cluster via CC User software. This provides me with a filtered DX Spot feed for any needed DXCC countries on HF from 160 up to 4 metres. All this software is configured to my station management programme, which is Logger32 by Bob Furzer, K4CY.
I continue to use a Hexbeam for HF (From MW0JZE in 2018) and a 5+5 element dual band yagi for 4m and 6m. This array is turned using a Yaesu G-1000DXC rotator. My 2m antenna is a Wimo 7+7 XYagi fixed to my house wall. This is rotated with a Yaesu 450D rotator. See video with sound
During the course of 2020 some neighbours in an adjoining road to ours lobbied the council about my Hexbeam, saying it differed in appearance to what I was original granted planning permission for. I had to therefore apply for a minor material change to my original planning application for the Hexbeam, and this was passed unanimously by the Council Planning Committee at a virtual meeting in May.
A Palstar HF Auto ATU is used on the 80m and 30m bands where my 80/60/40/30m OCF Dipole and 160m/80m/30m Inverted L tree mounted aerials are not a perfect match to 50 ohm feed. On 160m the inverted L and on 40m the OCF Dipole are well matched. See video with sound
Two Bencher Paddle keys and Microham Keyer for Morse, an SCU-17 interface for datamodes and Radiosport and Heil boom mic headsets complete my station.
73 Phil G4OBK