Amateur Radio Projects and Software Defined Radio

Zalman HD-160XT Sold Out

It appears due to the popularity of this article  in-part or in-full has caused the Zalman HD-160XT to be sold out from Newegg. As I mentioned, I doubt they will come back due to it being a close out item. You can certainly find some around on the web, but not at the close out price Newegg was offering. If you want to build something like this the next best deal is the Thermaltake  DH102 VH2001BNS. Probably a slightly better looking case and offers the same functionality of the Zalman HD-160XT. The only thing I can’t tell you is if you can remap the volume control for tuning purposes. If someone decides to try it drop me an email or comment on how it worked out for you. Now the bad news. You are going to have to pay a bit more than the Zalman HD-160 XT sale price. Another possible alternative is the Moneual LAB Black Aluminum MonCaso 932B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case. This one is similar to the Thermaltake case, but you have a choice of silver or black. I suggest you browse over to Newegg and decide for yourself.…



I am officially declaring a new category of PC and I shall call it the “SDRPC”. Now some of you may think that ole KS4JU has way too much
time on his hands, but I think the SDRPC wind up adding additional aesthetics and function to your Ham Shack. It also adds a little extra “flair” for Software Defined Radio users. It really does give you that “feel” of an old school rig and looks darn good doing it.

The PC Case
I was in the process of doing some upgrades to my old PC and decided to give it a facelift in the process. I had built several HTPCs in the past and thought the principles behind the HTPC would transfer pretty nicely to a dedicated Ham Radio PC. If you are not familiar with the HTPC (Home Theater PC), this was category of hi-end PCs that were designed to be integrated into a Home Theater environment. The HTPC was typically a high-end PC used as a DVR, Audio Server, or Video Processor. As an offshoot of this, a series of PC cases were designed to look like high-end audio components. The nicer HTPC cases were typically built …

Blackbox Station Operators the “Bad Boys” of Amateur Radio?

According to some Amateur Radio operators SDR station operators are the “Bad Boys” of Amateur Radio. We don’t use knobs to operate our radios and heaven forbid we use computers to control and operate our radios. Blasphemy!


This is my “Blackbox” Amateur Radio Station. I know, I know, this is apparently terrible and frightening sight to some Amateur Radio operators. If this image disturbs you avert your eyes. I know there aren’t very many knobs to play with and not many pretty flashing lights or buttons to push. Its not a pretty picture. However, I feel that the “Blackbox” station offers far more flexibility, features, challenge, and fun than conventional Amateur Radio stations. That’s just my opinion, and it is not one shared by some Amateur Radio operators and that’s ok with me. I will address this a little later in the article, but for now here is the equipment that I am using listed from left to right.…

Using the 3D Connexion Space Pilot with PowerSDR

PowerSDR supports 3D Connexion devices such as the Space Navigator for control of tuning your SDR radio. If you are not familiar with 3D Connexion devices, they are basically a large knob that sits on your desktop. The Space Navigator series is primarily the knob surrounded by a cool blue lighted ring with 2 buttons on the side. The Space Pilot series is the knob mounted in a larger case with more buttons that can be mapped and a display that shows the mappings. The knob twists (does not turn), can be pushed up, down, left, right, pulled up, and pushed down to control objects in 3D environments. The devices purpose is primarily to be used with 3D drawing programs. They are a lot of fun with applications such as Google Earth. The thing to remember is that unlike a lot of desktop controllers it can’t be mapped to work with just any old Windows or Mac program. The applications have to have a plugin from the software developer installed to allow the knob to be used to control the program. However, you can map the buttons for your own use to most any program. Hopefully 3d Connexion will make …

Flex 1500

I am sure that you have read all the great reviews for this little radio, but I thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth. This is one of the most FUN little QRP radios that I have had the pleasure of owning over the past years. The audio quality is extremely good and is a real pleasure to listen to. I have had a great deal of difficulty in the past enjoying HF radio while living in a high RF environment and restricted to a very crappy attic dipole. The Flex doesn’t seem to mind any of this.  With the various noise reduction tools and filters, it makes HF a real pleasure to use. The 5 watts output seems to be plenty for most applications. I have had no trouble getting heard around the world on WSPR. Overall, this is an excellent little radio for the money!…