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Amateur Radio Projects and Software Defined Radio

Upgrading the PC inside the Flex 5000 C

This is an article submitted by Ken W9YNI on installing a upgrade PC motherboard inside his FLEX 5000 C

 

First I want to say there was nothing wrong with my Flex 5000 C. It worked just great, and I have never been more pleased with the Radio or with the Team at FlexRadio.

I just wanted to go to Windows 7 64 bit, stay up to date with the current OS and get some more head room for future Software. The computer in the 5000 C is a 2 Core Processor running Windows XP, and just adding more memory did not seem to be the answer. I started looking at Mother Boards and CPU’s and Disk Drives both Hard and Solid State. This sort of gets over whelming with all that is on the market. So I took a short cut and called NEAL CAMPBELL K3NC. Neal had also been working down the same line and after 20 or so Emails and a few Phone calls, I bit the bullet and ordered parts. Neal is a wealth of information and goes over backward to help. I can’t give him enough credit for all he does not just for this …

More Ham Shack Case Alternatives

A lot of you liked the idea of having a custom computer case for dressing up your ham shack. These cases give you PC the appearance of a high end piece of Amateur Radio gear. It is a easy project to do if you are familiar with building your own pc. If you aren’t give it a try, it is fun and quite rewarding. It is actually easier to do than you might think. The Zalman HD-160XT was a heck of a deal, but they can not be had right know for the super close out price they were going for. I suggested some alternatives that were far more expensive. I thought I would suggest some cases that were close to the Zalman HD-160XT in price or less. The best deal right now for a case with a color LCD screen is the SilverStone GD02S-MT. This case has a 4.3 inch color touch screen, aluminum construction, remote, and comes in silver or black. The remote is controlled with the included Imon software and remote. The good news is that the GD02S-MT in silver sells for slightly less than the Zalman HD-160XT on sale. The black model goes for slightly more. …

SDRPC demo video is now up

Here is a short demo video of the SDRPC in action running PowerSDR. However, it can be used for other Amateur software applications. Unfortunately this particular case has sold out almost immediately after the first article was written. I did list some good alternatives to the original case the Zalman HD-160XT with the built in screen. Unfortunately they are a good bit more expensive.…

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.…

The SDRPC

Introduction

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 …