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W1KOK USA flag USA

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QSL: As of Sept. 2014 we no longer issue QSLs of any kind.

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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 a Mac Mini as a server with software of my own design and Skype.  For the most part, remote operations take place from our second home in Malibu, California.

  

(Equipment Rack -- FTdx-5000MP, Quadra, KAM, server, auxilliary equipmnet -- all tucked away in a closet)

The station is built around a Yaesu FTdx-5000MP transceiver and its companion VL-1000 Quadra linear amplifier. W1KOK can transmit with up to 1.2 KW in the 160, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 and 6 meter bands using SSB and CW. We are also active on FT8 mode.  Each of these bands is connected to a simple vertical or dipole antenna.

(VL-1000 Quadra linear amplifier, with solenoids to activate buttons-- 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 is currently used to activate solenoids which push the ANT, TUNER, and TUNE buttons of the linear.

(The client applications which can control virtually every function of the station - functionality trumps beauty!)

Our software, a Xojo application running on the Macintosh Mini in the equipment room, controls the radio through its serial port.  Another homebrew application controls the Arduino.  A third controls an old KAM-PLUS, which we use for keyboarding CW.

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. Using these webcams I can monitor the operational and environmental conditions of the station in real time video as well as through my software.

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 modem, the server, the transceiver, the KAM or anything else.

Using the remote since winter 2008 has been very satisfying. I have had thousands of excellent QSOs. Using a Macintosh laptop computer and my homebrew software, operating the station from Montana and from California has all been exactly the same as if I were at home in the shack.  I've even worked DX on sideband while driving on the interstate highway.

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

(Screenshot from my laptop during operation, skype window )

(Winter, Vermont QTH )

 

(WINTER, Malibu QTH )

 

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


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8318726 Last modified: 2017-09-07 17:53:44, 7569 bytes

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