Posts Tagged ‘iPad’
Last week I created a YouTube video to document some experimentation I had completed with the KX3, my iPad and the iOS PSK-31 app called PSKer. This week I made some modifications to my setup. This included adding a USB extension cable and I experimented with the VOX settings of the KX3.
Thank you for watching!
73 de KD0BIK
As I briefly mentioned in my blog post titled KX3 – The First 24 Hours. I spent a little bit of time experimenting with the iOS App titled PSKer. This experimentation included operating it in an over the air method. Meaning I have no audio cables running between the iPad and the KX3. I’m simply relying on the iPad built-in microphone to pick up the audio signal from the KX3 speaker for receive and using the iPad speakers and the KX3 microphone for transmit. The image below is a snapshot from the PSKReporter website. I’m running 5 watts into a ground mounted Hustler 6BTV. My transmitted audio IMD is –34 as recorded by my KK7UQ IMD Meter in the shack.
Of course, an optimum setup would include some sort of audio interface to directly connect the KX3 and the iPad. While I’m still looking into these options, I’m fairly pleased with the performance in the testing. Also, while I had always envisioned this process to be a bit awkward by having to hold in the PTT mic switch and fumble with typing on the iPad. The KX3 makes this much easier with an XMIT button. I can press the XMIT button on the front of the KX3 and the rig will switch into transmit mode until I press it again. I think this is better than using VOX. All I need to worry about is making sure the microphone is positioned near the iPad speakers and the iPad is near the KX3 speaker. More about the KX3 speaker in just a bit.
While I would not opt to use this setup in the ham shack. I’m thinking this will be perfect for SOTA activations. Again, I think a direct cable solution is optimum, I’ve not seen any schematics or plans anyone has designed to date. At a minimum I believe the iPad needs to receive audio from the KX3 via a cable. During the maiden SOTA activation for the KX3, I realized just how weak the KX3 speaker is in an outdoor environment.
With a light breeze and the KX3 sitting on a foam pad on the ground, I had difficulty hearing stations on SSB. I had to use my ear buds and even those proved to lack the quality when connected to the KX3 (as compared to my 817). Of course, what do you expect with a $2 pair of cheap ear buds. I will look into other alternatives before the next activation.
Final comment on the KX3 speaker. I don’t fault Elecraft. As I mentioned in my blog post titled KX3 – The first 24 hours, Elecraft has stated from the beginning that the quality of the built-in speaker will be compromised due to size and recommended either external speakers or earphones/headphones when using in a noisy environment. I’ve done a little research on the Chill Pill mobile speakers. These have been discussed on the Elecraft Yahoo reflector with mostly positive reviews. Weighing in at a mere 7 ounces, they won’t break my back or take up much room in my pack.
I did some testing earlier to see if I could feed audio from the KX3 into the iPad and the PSKer app. The picture below is the setup I used. The white piece is the iPad Camera Connection kit. This connects to the bottom port on the iPad and provides a standard USB connection. Connected to this (via USB) is a Plantronics USB soundcard adapter. I plugged a short stereo patch cable into the KX3 headphone jack and the other end into the microphone input of the Plantronics USB adapter. I connected a second stereo cable from the KX3 mic jack and the other end to the headphone jack on the USB adapter.This does work. But….
The weak link in this is the connection at the iPad. The iPad Camera Connection kit (the white piece) with the added length (approx. 3 inches) of the Plantronics USB soundcard device makes it hard to keep it all plugged into the iPad. On a SOTA activation I am sitting on the ground and will have the iPad in my lap. I can easily see where the connector will get unplugged. But as you can tell it does work. In the picture below I have my iPad running the PSKer App connected to the Elecraft KX3 via the Apple iPad Camera kit and the Plantronics USB sound card device.
I recently created a YouTube video where I discussed this setup and the items I used to connect the iPad to the KX3. I’m going to continue to experiment with other options and will blog about these findings at a later date. You can watch the video below.
Until next time…
73 de KD0BIK
I would like to use an iPhone app to learn CW. I think that most of my learning and practice will take place on the train each day, so listening to live CW is out of the question. For those of you that may have already done this, I was wondering if you have a favorite CW app. Post your recommendations in the comments.
I’ve blogged about iOS apps before, but I can’t remember if I’ve previously mentioned anything about HamLog. I’ve owned HamLog for a few years now. I’ll honestly say for the record I don’t currently use it, but feel that will soon change.
HamLog is an iOS and Android application developed by Nick Garner, N3WG. Nick has developed over a dozen different apps. One I mentioned briefly in another blog post is his Pocket SOTA app. You can view Nick’s listing of Apps from his website.
As I mentioned, I’ve owned HamLog for a few years. I believe Nick developed and released it in 2009. I’ve watched Nick make many changes to the HamLog app over the years. While I’ve tried using it to log contacts, I found I could log via pen and paper much faster. Especially with operating SOTA, you can easily find yourself generating a large pileup. The extra time it takes to manually key in all the info was just something I wasn’t interested in for my own operational setup. Until now…
Please take a few minutes to watch this video. Nick introduces some new enhancements to the HamLog App as well as a new piece of hardware called Pigtail Air. Pigtail air will allow for true rig control through the HamLog app and of course will speed up the logging process.
I believe the Pigtail Air device, coupled with my new KX3 (when it arrives) and my iPad will make a fantastic SOTA or portable logging setup. I’ll now have an excuse to buy that Otterbox Defender iPad case.
Until next time…
73 de KD0BIK
This is something pretty cool. CQ Communications, the publisher of CQ Amateur Radio (CQ magazine), CQ VHF, Popular Communications and WorldRadio Online will begin publishing electornic versions of their magazine starting this coming October.
Richard Ross, K2MGA, made the announcement a couple days ago and Editorial Director Rich Moseson, W2VU, explained how the digital editions would be supplimental and not replace the print versions. He said they would also have added features to the digital versions as well.
“Versions will be available for a variety of online and mobile platforms and will be hosted by Zinio, one of the top names in the e-magazine hosting business. This will assure that our magazines will always be able to take advantage of new technology when it becomes available.”
Some of the added features will be links to websites, as well as audio and photo albums as well as video and software. He also added that with the continuation of the print magazines, readers will still have the tactile experience we are all familiar with.
This is a good thing in my opinion. It’s melding the two worlds and laying the ground work for the next generation to discover this magazine. In 20 years, I predict that most publications will be digital, while print slowly fades from the foreground. I’m sure they will still make printed versions, but not as much. It’s also better for the environment.
According to the article over at Southgate’s website, “The digital launch will begin in late October with the November issue of an enhanced, multi-platform, version of WorldRadio Online, which will again become a paid-subscription publication; followed by November CQ, which, appropriately, is the magazine’s first annual Technology Special. The fall issue of CQ VHF and the December issue of Popular Communications will round out the introductions. Digital editions will be available by single copy and by subscription.”
No word though on pricing for digital versions though. I would suspect, it’ll be much cheaper compared with the print version.
Rich also writes a Tech blog and posts stories every Tuesday and Thursday on Q103, Albany’s #1 Rock Station website, as well as Amateur Radio stories every Monday thru Friday on AmiZed Studios and hosts a podcast called The Kim & Rich Show with his fiance’ Kim Dunne.