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W1KOK USA flag USA

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As of September 2014 we no longer issue QSLs of any kind.


I got my first license when I was 14 in January 1959. Over the years, this hobby has provided untold hours of pleasure. It also influenced my career, leading ultimately to being an owner/operator of a pair of small market radio stations in Randolph, Vermont. After 20 years as a local broadcaster, I sold these stations and retired in 2000. They now operate as WCVR-AM and WVXR-FM.

My amateur radio station is located at my home QTH in Randolph Center, Vermont. It is operated via computer from any location, including home, using client/server software of my own design and Skype.

(operating position -- FTdx-5000MP, KAM, auxilliary equipmnet -- As seen via Skype webcam)

At present my amateur radio station is built around the Yaesu FTdx-5000MP transceiver and its companion VL-1000 Quadra linear amplifier. W1KOK can transmit with 1250 watts of power in the 160, 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 and 6 meter bands using SSB and CW, as well as 200 watts on 30 CW. Each of these bands is connected to a simple vertical antenna except 160, which uses an inverted V up 50 feet.

(VL-1000 Quadra linear amplifier-- As seen via Skype webcam)

The server runs on a Macintosh Mac Mini computer in the shack which has RS-232 serial connections to the radio, the KAM, and a USB connection to an Arduino. The server is a fairly simple piece of software written in Xojo (formerly RealBasic). Whatever it hears on one of the ports (radio, KAM or Arduino) the server passes on to the client. Whatever it hears from the client, it passes on to the appropriate device. Virtually no processing is done by the server. The Arduino automatically selects the right antenna for each band, and the pans the webcams.

(The client application - functionality trumps beauty!)

The client, a Xojo application running on the user's Macintosh, reflects the current state of the radio on the user's screen and, in response to user input sends commands to the radio and the Arduino via the server.

The audio/video circuit is provided by a Skype connection. All audio from the radio is channeled via the Mac Mini audio input to Skype. All audio from the Mac Mini audio output goes thru an optoisolator into the radio. There are 5 webcams: main operating position, VL-1000 Quadra, Outdoors 1, Outdoors 2, and Outdoors 3. Using these webcams I can monitor the operational and environmental conditions of the station in real time video as well as through my software.

Feel free to place a Skype call to "W1KOK_Server" if you like. If I am using my station, your connection will be refused. Otherwise, it will automatically answer your call and you will see video from whichever camera may be active. If it is turned on, you will also hear audio from the radio.

Failsafe power control is achieved by means of a Web Power Switch 7. This inexpensive device features 8 independently switched power outlets which can be controlled remotely, allowing me to reboot each device in the shack, whether it be the server, the transceiver, the KAM or anything else.

Using the client/server since winter 2008 has been very satisfying. I have had quite a few excellent QSOs. Using a Macintosh computer and my homebrew client software, operating the station from Montana and from California has all been exactly the same as if I were at home in the shack.

The remote supports SSB and digital modes as well as CW, but 99% of my operating time is spent on CW.

I operate the station via the same software whether I am in the shack, in Los Angeles, or wherever.

(View outdoors, Dec. 19, 2013 -- As seen via Skype webcam - This camera pans left/right 180°)

 

Previous call signs: WN6JBZ, WA6JBZ, WN6KOK, WB6KOK, W6KOK


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1268404 Last modified: 2014-09-17 10:53:26, 8082 bytes

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