lake travis, tx

Youtube Channel

I have a YouTube channel where I post stuff that is interesting to me. I can't say anyone else would be interested, but check it out if you like.

Most of the videos demonstrate various features of the N4PY Pegasus Plus software that I use with my OMNI VII transceiver but there are a few videos on other topics.


The station as of December 26 2016

Station photo May 2017 - click photo to see a larger image.

My main station transceiver is a Ten Tec OMNI VII which I operate using the N4PY control software.

Other equipment includes an Elecraft KPA500 amplifier and KAT500 automatic antenna tuner, a Telepost LP-100A wattmeter, a SignaLink USB digital mode interface, and a Ham IV rotator for turning the beam antennas. An SDRPlay RSP is used as a second receiver and panadapter for the OMNI VII.

A Begali paddle and the Winkeyer USB are used for CW, along with a Kent straight key.

My antennas are a Tennadyne T6 log periodic for 10 through 20 meters, a Diamond A502HB 2 element beam for six meters, and a double bazooka for 40 meters. All are supported by 40 feet of Rohn 25G tower. A Hazer is installed on the tower for raising and lowering the antennas.


N4PY Control Panel

Elecraft KAT500 Automatic Antenna Tuner and Antenna Switch

KPA500 and KAT500

The KAT500 replaces three pieces of equipment. I had been using an LDG AT-1000Pro II tuner, an Ameritron RCS 8V antenna switch, and a serial relay board connected to the computer and wired to the terminals on the rear of the RCS-8V control box to provide automatic antenna selection for each band.

The LDG tuner works fine but when I bought it I didn't read the fine print. It only handles 250 watts on six meters so I always had to be careful not to exceed this when the amplifier was on.

The KAT500 will handle 500 watts on six meters. It has three antenna connectors, and it can be configured through its utility program to select the correct antenna for each band. Replacing the three devices with only one device really simplified the station wiring and reduced the clutter on the radio table.

Ten Tec Model 302R Remote Tuning Encoder

Model 302R Remote Encoder Keypad

I use a Model 302 remote tuning encoder for tuning the Omni VII and for performing other functions. The encoder has the tuning knob, 3 function keys, and a numeric keypad. Radio controls can be assigned to the three function keys and all of the keypad keys except the E key.

You can almost operate the radio entirely from the tuning encoder if you assign the button functions according to the way you operate. You almost never have to use the mouse to work the software.

Computer Software

I use three pieces of software to run the station. I use the N4PY software for controlling the Omni VII and the amplifier. I use HDSDR for controlling the SDRPlay software defined radio. I use Logic version 9 as my logging software.

My computer has four 9-pin serial ports. The radio, the KPA500 amplifier, and the KAT500 tuner are plugged into three of the ports. The N4PY software talks to the Omni VII and the amplifier so that the amplifier automatically changes bands when the radio changes bands. The proper antenna for each band is automatically selected through the KAT500 which is configured using its utility program.

The logging software reads the frequency and mode from the Omni VII when I make a new log entry so that I don't have to remember to do it.

The amplifier can be operated through the N4PY software. The amp can be turned on or off, put into operate or standby mode, and the current operating temperature and any fault codes will be displayed in the software. Faults can also be cleared from the software by cyling the amp between standby and operate modes.

The N4PY software talks to the HDSDR software that controls the SDRPlay software defined receiver. The SDR provides a second receiver and panadapter up through six meters for the Omni VII. When the radio is tuned the SDR follows and when a signal is mouse-clicked in the SDR panadapter display the Omni VII is tuned to that frequency.

Early Ham Years

I got my Novice license in 1971 and call sign WN4UPI. I kept my Novice license for the entire 2-year term then upgraded to Technician class, then General class. My dad was always trading stuff so I had several different radios as a Novice but my favorite station was the Heathkit DX-60 transmitter and the RME-6900 receiver. Everyone knows what the DX-60 is but maybe are not familiar with the RME-6900. Here's a YouTube video that demonstrates the radio. I always loved that huge slide rule dial.

Professional Career

IBM 370 Model 138, around 1980

IBM 370 Model 138, around 1980 at General Computer Services in Huntsville, AL

Professionally I have worked in the computer software industry since 1975, almost exclusively in the IBM mainframe world. I started on an IBM 360 Model 50, then a 370 Model 138, 3031, 3033, and so on up to the current generation of mainframes. I've beem a computer operator, CICS systems programmer, production support manager, applications programmer, and have had several other jobs on the mainframe along the way.

I've worked for a bank, an insurance company, and a couple of contract companies but for most of my career I have worked for software companies.

Currently I do software development and support for SAS (formerly SAS Institute). When I started at SAS in 1996 I provided technical support for the SYSTEM 2000 Database Management Software but now I do development and support for SAS Fraud Management.

I used to write software for my own use but I don't really do that any more. I wrote a packet radio terminal program (remember packet radio?) for the Atari 800 and I wrote a control program for my Ten Tec RX-320 receiver that ran on Palm OS PDAs. My favorite programming language is REXX which started out as a scripting language for VM/CMS. Now it runs under z/OS as well as DOS, Windows, Linux, and I think even on Apple computers.

The extent of my software coding for personal use these days limited to writing small SAS programs to produce various reports from the Logic 9 software log database. I also write utility software on the mainframe for my own use using ISPF, REXX, COBOL, and SAS and sometimes a little assembler language code where needed.