Dedicated FTx Rig

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Dedicated FTx Rig

David Gilbert

I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody will
ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable rig
for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find it
interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is turn
it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my
computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X had
a button to make band changes.

Possibly such a unit might look like:

1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use

2.  large enough screen to be practical

3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down
arrow keys for:

     a.  band selection
     b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
     c.  mode selection
     d.  contact selection from activity window
     e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
     f.   transmit enable/disable

4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog

5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade
and log transfer

6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)

7.  etc.

Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I
suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low power
SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side advantage is
that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd see less
overdrive situations.  ;)

Anybody know if there is already something like this out there?  I can
find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still
require a separate computer.

Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...

73,
Dave   AB7E

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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

Dave Fugleberg
WSJT-X does, in fact, provide a way to do band changes without touching the
radio.
There's a pull down menu on the main window just to the left of the
frequency.  Click the little down arrow on that box, select the band, and
the radio will follow. The Frequencies tab under Files..Settings menu must
be configured with the  frequencies you plan to use on each band.

Regarding the idea of a dedicated, all-in-one rig for FT modes, I suspect
the reason that such single-purpose radios have never caught on is that
radio and computer technology often evolve at different rates. For
instance, you might wind up in a couple years with a box that contains a
perfectly good radio, but is stuck with a computer that's not suitable for
digital mode flavor of the month.  Keeping them separate is far more
flexible,at the expense of some integration and configuration work.

Maybe there's a market for such a device...maybe not. I can't imagine there
would be enough demand to justify it, but then again, maybe that's why I'm
not in the ham radio manufacturing business :)

73 de W0ZF


On Sat, Aug 10, 2019 at 3:41 PM David Gilbert <[hidden email]>
wrote:

>
> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody will
> ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable rig
> for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find it
> interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is turn
> it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my
> computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X had
> a button to make band changes.
>
> Possibly such a unit might look like:
>
> 1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use
>
> 2.  large enough screen to be practical
>
> 3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down
> arrow keys for:
>
>      a.  band selection
>      b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
>      c.  mode selection
>      d.  contact selection from activity window
>      e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
>      f.   transmit enable/disable
>
> 4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog
>
> 5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade
> and log transfer
>
> 6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)
>
> 7.  etc.
>
> Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I
> suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low power
> SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side advantage is
> that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd see less
> overdrive situations.  ;)
>
> Anybody know if there is already something like this out there?  I can
> find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still
> require a separate computer.
>
> Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...
>
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
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> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

Victor Rosenthal 4X6GP
In reply to this post by David Gilbert
You’d probably end up with a computer anyway (except perhaps for portable operations) to do all the functions other than the ones that WSJT handles. For example, I check propagation, point my antenna, receive cluster and RBN spots, maintain a log of tens of thousands of QSOs in various modes and keep track of award progress, upload QSO data to Clublog in real time, upload to LOTW after each session and update my log with results, receive WhatsApp messages, and more.
If you had an onboard computer, you would still end up dumping data to an external one on a regular basis anyway. I think the division of labor between a rig and external computer is just about right.
Now if you are backpacking and just making a few QSOs for fun, that’s another story.

Victor 4X6GP

> On 10 Aug 2019, at 23:40, David Gilbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody will ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable rig for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find it interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is turn it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X had a button to make band changes.
>
> Possibly such a unit might look like:
>
> 1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use
>
> 2.  large enough screen to be practical
>
> 3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down arrow keys for:
>
>     a.  band selection
>     b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
>     c.  mode selection
>     d.  contact selection from activity window
>     e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
>     f.   transmit enable/disable
>
> 4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog
>
> 5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade and log transfer
>
> 6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)
>
> 7.  etc.
>
> Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low power SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side advantage is that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd see less overdrive situations.  ;)
>
> Anybody know if there is already something like this out there?  I can find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still require a separate computer.
>
> Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...
>
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]
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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

Brian Hunt
In reply to this post by David Gilbert


> On Aug 10, 2019, at 13:40, David Gilbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody will ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable rig for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find it interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is turn it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X had a button to make band changes.
>
> Possibly such a unit might look like:
>
> 1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use
>
> 2.  large enough screen to be practical
>
> 3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down arrow keys for:
>
>     a.  band selection
>     b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
>     c.  mode selection
>     d.  contact selection from activity window
>     e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
>     f.   transmit enable/disable
>
> 4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog
>
> 5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade and log transfer
>
> 6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)
>
> 7.  etc.
>
> Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low power SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side advantage is that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd see less overdrive situations.  ;)
>
> Anybody know if there is already something like this out there?  I can find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still require a separate computer.
>
> Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...
>
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]

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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

Brian Hunt
In reply to this post by David Gilbert
Sorry, try again.  

There was a fellow on the Facebook KX2 group who described an WSJT setup consisting of a KX2, RPi3 and an iPad. Pretty slick and light weight and with a little repackaging could be an all-in-one.

73,
Brian, K0DTJ

> On Aug 10, 2019, at 13:40, David Gilbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody will ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable rig for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find it interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is turn it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X had a button to make band changes.
>
>

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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

kevinr@coho.net
In reply to this post by Brian Hunt
Another way to connect the two worlds of computers and radio would be to
add the radio to the computer as a card on the motherboard.  Or plug it
into a USB port on a laptop like a flash drive.  It is not quite a
dedicated machine to do one thing but you will be able to upgrade the
two parts separately.  You have the advantage of the power of the
computer you choose while the radio does not need to be that complex.

    GL,

      Kevin.  KD5ONS

-

On 8/10/19 9:40 PM, Brian Hunt wrote:

>
>> On Aug 10, 2019, at 13:40, David Gilbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>
>> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody will ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable rig for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find it interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is turn it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X had a button to make band changes.
>>
>> Possibly such a unit might look like:
>>
>> 1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use
>>
>> 2.  large enough screen to be practical
>>
>> 3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down arrow keys for:
>>
>>      a.  band selection
>>      b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
>>      c.  mode selection
>>      d.  contact selection from activity window
>>      e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
>>      f.   transmit enable/disable
>>
>> 4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog
>>
>> 5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade and log transfer
>>
>> 6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)
>>
>> 7.  etc.
>>
>> Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low power SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side advantage is that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd see less overdrive situations.  ;)
>>
>> Anybody know if there is already something like this out there?  I can find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still require a separate computer.
>>
>> Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...
>>
>> 73,
>> Dave   AB7E
>>
>> ______________________________________________________________
>> Elecraft mailing list
>> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>>
>> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
>> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>> Message delivered to [hidden email]
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]
>
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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

David Gilbert
In reply to this post by Victor Rosenthal 4X6GP

"Now if you are backpacking and just making a few QSOs for fun, that’s
another story."

That was my hypothetical intent.  For vacation and portable operation,
I'd probably be using a non-directive antenna, I'd settle for whatever
propagation there was, I'd be making FAR less than tens of thousands of
QSOs, and I already suggested transferring logs to my desktop computer
via a USB flash drive.

The idea would be to avoid dragging along a computer and hassle with all
the cabling.  There all kinds of folks here on this reflector using
KX2's and KX3's interfaced with laptops and iPads for portable
operation.  That just seems like a sloppy way to do it when a rather
simple all-in-one unit with a much simpler radio could handle the same
task less expensively.

Dave   AB7E



On 8/10/2019 9:30 PM, Vic Rosenthal wrote:

> You’d probably end up with a computer anyway (except perhaps for portable operations) to do all the functions other than the ones that WSJT handles. For example, I check propagation, point my antenna, receive cluster and RBN spots, maintain a log of tens of thousands of QSOs in various modes and keep track of award progress, upload QSO data to Clublog in real time, upload to LOTW after each session and update my log with results, receive WhatsApp messages, and more.
> If you had an onboard computer, you would still end up dumping data to an external one on a regular basis anyway. I think the division of labor between a rig and external computer is just about right.
> Now if you are backpacking and just making a few QSOs for fun, that’s another story.
>
> Victor 4X6GP
>
>> On 10 Aug 2019, at 23:40, David Gilbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>
>> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody will ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable rig for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find it interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is turn it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X had a button to make band changes.
>>
>> Possibly such a unit might look like:
>>
>> 1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use
>>
>> 2.  large enough screen to be practical
>>
>> 3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down arrow keys for:
>>
>>      a.  band selection
>>      b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
>>      c.  mode selection
>>      d.  contact selection from activity window
>>      e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
>>      f.   transmit enable/disable
>>
>> 4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog
>>
>> 5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade and log transfer
>>
>> 6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)
>>
>> 7.  etc.
>>
>> Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low power SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side advantage is that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd see less overdrive situations.  ;)
>>
>> Anybody know if there is already something like this out there?  I can find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still require a separate computer.
>>
>> Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...
>>
>> 73,
>> Dave   AB7E
>>
>> ______________________________________________________________
>> Elecraft mailing list
>> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>>
>> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
>> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>> Message delivered to [hidden email]

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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

Barry
Whoever designs such a radio could save a few bucks by not putting a speaker
in it.

Barry W2UP



--
Sent from: http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/
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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

Bill Frantz
In reply to this post by David Gilbert
I see a wonderful building project here. Lets start out with a
Raspberry Pi -- for me the latest version with plenty of compute
power for FT8 It draws about 2-3A @ 12V. Add in a HDMI display
(from Adafruit) at about 0.8A @ 12V, some kind of sound card (if
the display doesn't have sound), and a USB keyboard. (I would go
with a separate keyboard for its typing advantages. YMMV) We now
have a functioning computer.

The next question is what we do about a radio and here comes the
camel's nose into the tent. The simplest solution is a
single-mode, single-band dedicated radio. One of my favorite
radios is the Small Wonders Labs PSK-20. (Unfortunately the kit
is SK.) It tuned the PSK subband at 14.070 and nothing else. It
had no UI, everything was done on the computer. It should be
simple to retune it for 14.074 and run FT8.

But suppose we want more than that. There are any number of QRP
radio kits around that might do. Or even a KX2. But the KX2
wouldn't be enough for my friend Jim, K6EI who likes to go into
the woods of Washington state and run QRP 160M. He'd need at
least a KX3.

Regardless of what radio is chosen, it would be easy to leave
enough space around the computer board to allow for future
computer upgrades. (I assume the computer will become obsolete
faster than the radio.)

Have fun building.

73 Bill AE6JV

On 8/11/19 at 1:11 AM, [hidden email] (David Gilbert) wrote:

>"Now if you are backpacking and just making a few QSOs for fun, that’s another story."
>
>That was my hypothetical intent.  For vacation and portable
>operation, I'd probably be using a non-directive antenna, I'd
>settle for whatever propagation there was, I'd be making FAR
>less than tens of thousands of QSOs, and I already suggested
>transferring logs to my desktop computer via a USB flash drive.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Frantz        | Since the IBM Selectric, keyboards have gotten
408-356-8506       | steadily worse. Now we have touchscreen keyboards.
www.pwpconsult.com | Can we make something even worse?

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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

John Seboldt K0JD
In reply to this post by David Gilbert
First off, since when does WSJT-X not have a band change function?

Your idea is fun to think about, but you can get darn close with a
Raspberry Pi hooked up to your K3 or KX3 or whatever, remote controlled
from your smart phone via VNC.

John K0JD

On 8/10/2019 15:40, David Gilbert wrote:

>
> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody
> will ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized portable
> rig for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4 but I find
> it interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do with my K3 is
> turn it on and make band changes since everything else is done on my
> computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the K3 if WSJT-X
> had a button to make band changes.
>
> Possibly such a unit might look like:
>
> 1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use
>
> 2.  large enough screen to be practical
>
> 3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down
> arrow keys for:
>
>     a.  band selection
>     b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
>     c.  mode selection
>     d.  contact selection from activity window
>     e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
>     f.   transmit enable/disable
>
> 4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog
>
> 5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade
> and log transfer
>
> 6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)
>
> 7.  etc.
>
> Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I
> suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low
> power SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side
> advantage is that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd
> see less overdrive situations.  ;)
>
> Anybody know if there is already something like this out there?  I can
> find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still
> require a separate computer.
>
> Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...
>
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]
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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

David Gilbert

Yeah, I had never noticed that button over to the far left.  My mistake.

And I've received probably a dozen similar suggestions on how to
accomplish the same thing with multiple pieces of gear, which wasn't my
thought at all.  I'm sorry I brought it up.

Dave   AB7E



On 8/11/2019 6:09 PM, John Seboldt K0JD wrote:

> First off, since when does WSJT-X not have a band change function?
>
> Your idea is fun to think about, but you can get darn close with a
> Raspberry Pi hooked up to your K3 or KX3 or whatever, remote
> controlled from your smart phone via VNC.
>
> John K0JD
>
> On 8/10/2019 15:40, David Gilbert wrote:
>>
>> I'm certain this is not an original idea, but I wonder if somebody
>> will ever come out with a dedicated all-in-one notebook-sized
>> portable rig for the FT-type digital modes.  I'm pretty new to FT8/4
>> but I find it interesting that when I'm operating it all I ever do
>> with my K3 is turn it on and make band changes since everything else
>> is done on my computer.  I wouldn't even need to do that much on the
>> K3 if WSJT-X had a button to make band changes.
>>
>> Possibly such a unit might look like:
>>
>> 1.  12 volt operation (10 watts output) for portable use
>>
>> 2.  large enough screen to be practical
>>
>> 3.  running modified (mouseless) version of WSJT-X  to allow up/down
>> arrow keys for:
>>
>>     a.  band selection
>>     b.  frequency change in 2 KHz increments
>>     c.  mode selection
>>     d.  contact selection from activity window
>>     e.  TX1-TX6 sequence override
>>     f.   transmit enable/disable
>>
>> 4.  a button to momentarily press for log, press/hold to autolog
>>
>> 5.  USB port to run modified WSJT-X from flash drive for easy upgrade
>> and log transfer
>>
>> 6.  internal antenna tuner (could be manual)
>>
>> 7.  etc.
>>
>> Rigs dedicated to specific modes have never been very popular, but I
>> suspect that FTx might change that and I suspect an integrated low
>> power SDR version could end up being fairly inexpensive.  A side
>> advantage is that audio levels would be preset in hardware and we'd
>> see less overdrive situations.  ;)
>>
>> Anybody know if there is already something like this out there? I can
>> find small inexpensive transceivers designed for FT8, but they still
>> require a separate computer.
>>
>> Just some ramblings on a rainy day ...
>>
>> 73,
>> Dave   AB7E
>>
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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

MaverickNH
http://crkits.com/ D4D DSB and a Raspberry Pi 4B maybe? Just got mine to
build. Might need a LP filter addition to keep it right.

Bret/N4SRN



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Re: Dedicated FTx Rig

Elecraft mailing list
If someone needs a PSK 20 or 80 Jon, [hidden email] told me last night he has both unbuilt kits.  He may be willing to part with them.  We were discussing the unbuilt kits we have stuck away in drawers and cupboards.  

Dave K8WPE

David J. Wilcox K8WPE’s iPad

> On Aug 12, 2019, at 4:07 AM, MaverickNH <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> http://crkits.com/ D4D DSB and a Raspberry Pi 4B maybe? Just got mine to
> build. Might need a LP filter addition to keep it right.
>
> Bret/N4SRN
>
>
>
> --
> Sent from: http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/
> ______________________________________________________________
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