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Re: [dxatlas] "Skimmer Server" with QS1R Receiver

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  • Wes Cosand
    Jeffrey: The QS1R has a large FPGA chip on the board. Alex has written code that runs on the FPGA chip and creates the seven receivers. The signals are then
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 9, 2010
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      Jeffrey:

      The QS1R has a large FPGA chip on the board. Alex has written code that
      runs on the FPGA chip and creates the seven receivers. The signals are then
      sent by USB to the computer where they are processed. So you have seven
      continuous streams of data of up to 192 kHz each.

      In my hands the system has been pretty robust. The QS1R runs the rf from
      the antenna almost directly into the ADC chip so there is no RF
      pre-amplification. Consequently, it is a little insensitive, especially on
      the higher bands. Since the front end is wide open, if you add lots of
      pre-amplification and you are near broadcast transmitters, you get into IMD
      problems. Some of us are using an 11 db preamp from Clifton Laboratories
      which seems pretty good. Others are using pre-amps with a little more gain.
      Clifton Laboratories also has a high pass filter for receivers with
      broadcast band issues.

      I put the system on a Intel I7 computer running Windows 7 64 bit despite the
      fact that this is not an officially supported OS. For reasons I do not
      understand, the Skimmer Server application begins to report "CPU Overload"
      and starts to decode only a fraction of the signals when I reach about 1100
      simultaneous decoders. This is despite the fact that the machine and the
      application are reporting only about 6 to 8% CPU load. I do not know where
      the bottleneck is. This issue may be unique to my machine. Perhaps a 32 bit
      machine would be better.

      Email me if I can be of further help.

      Wes, WZ7I


      Wes Cosand
      6299 Route 413
      PO Box 349
      Pipersville, PA 18947
      267-864-6161
      www.wz7i.com
      CW Skimmer CQ spots: ve7cc.net:7333


      On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 9:16 AM, jmaass_moose <jmaass@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      >
      > How does the QS1R receiver with "Skimmer Server" provide up to seven bands
      > at a time?
      >
      > Does it hop from band-to-band in sequence, or does it cover seven bands
      > simultaneously?
      >
      > Who is using "Skimmer Server" with a QS1R? Good experience? Reliable
      > hardware?
      >
      > We are planning an unattended installation of a Skimmer site on Curacao.
      > We've been leaning towards what we've used before (multiple SDR-IQ
      > receivers), but the QS1R is a more economical solution.
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Phil N8VB
      I would recommend using the Clifton Laboratories preamp if you find the sensitivity lacking with your particular antenna above 14-18 MHz. As long as you are
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 9, 2010
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        I would recommend using the Clifton Laboratories preamp if you find the sensitivity lacking with your particular antenna above 14-18 MHz. As long as you are not reaching the clipping level of the QS1R's ADC (+9 dBm), you do not need any bandpass filtering in front of the QS1R. The QS1R has more than enough sensitivity below 14 MHz with any reasonable antenna. If you find that when you add the preamp you are having trouble with clipping caused by broadcast stations, you will probably need to add some bandpass filtering or a high pass filter.

        A quick/inexpensive solution that works pretty well is to construct a 3 pole high pass filter with a cutoff of approx. 18 MHz and place it in front of the Clifton Laboratories preamp (I can provide the component values and part numbers). The HPF provides enough attenuation at the lower end of the bands to counteract the gain provided by the preamp.

        I have noticed some unusual behavior when I run Skimmer Server on Windows 7 64 bit - I'd recommend a system with XP if possible. Maybe Alex can say more about Windows 7 and Skimmer Server.

        Regards,
        Phil N8VB

        --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Wes Cosand <wes.cosand@...> wrote:
        >
        > Jeffrey:
        >
        > The QS1R has a large FPGA chip on the board. Alex has written code that
        > runs on the FPGA chip and creates the seven receivers. The signals are then
        > sent by USB to the computer where they are processed. So you have seven
        > continuous streams of data of up to 192 kHz each.
        >
        > In my hands the system has been pretty robust. The QS1R runs the rf from
        > the antenna almost directly into the ADC chip so there is no RF
        > pre-amplification. Consequently, it is a little insensitive, especially on
        > the higher bands. Since the front end is wide open, if you add lots of
        > pre-amplification and you are near broadcast transmitters, you get into IMD
        > problems. Some of us are using an 11 db preamp from Clifton Laboratories
        > which seems pretty good. Others are using pre-amps with a little more gain.
        > Clifton Laboratories also has a high pass filter for receivers with
        > broadcast band issues.
        >
        > I put the system on a Intel I7 computer running Windows 7 64 bit despite the
        > fact that this is not an officially supported OS. For reasons I do not
        > understand, the Skimmer Server application begins to report "CPU Overload"
        > and starts to decode only a fraction of the signals when I reach about 1100
        > simultaneous decoders. This is despite the fact that the machine and the
        > application are reporting only about 6 to 8% CPU load. I do not know where
        > the bottleneck is. This issue may be unique to my machine. Perhaps a 32 bit
        > machine would be better.
        >
        > Email me if I can be of further help.
        >
        > Wes, WZ7I
        >
        >
        > Wes Cosand
        > 6299 Route 413
        > PO Box 349
        > Pipersville, PA 18947
        > 267-864-6161
        > www.wz7i.com
        > CW Skimmer CQ spots: ve7cc.net:7333
        >
        >
        > On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 9:16 AM, jmaass_moose <jmaass@...> wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > How does the QS1R receiver with "Skimmer Server" provide up to seven bands
        > > at a time?
        > >
        > > Does it hop from band-to-band in sequence, or does it cover seven bands
        > > simultaneously?
        > >
        > > Who is using "Skimmer Server" with a QS1R? Good experience? Reliable
        > > hardware?
        > >
        > > We are planning an unattended installation of a Skimmer site on Curacao.
        > > We've been leaning towards what we've used before (multiple SDR-IQ
        > > receivers), but the QS1R is a more economical solution.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Pete Smith
        HGi Jeff - I have gone this route now myself. I heartily endorse everything that Phil and Wes said. One consideration that may be Curacao-relevant is that
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 9, 2010
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          HGi Jeff - I have gone this route now myself. I heartily endorse
          everything that Phil and Wes said. One consideration that may be
          Curacao-relevant is that the QS1R runs pretty warm with Skimmer Server,
          so you'd want to make sure that it is in a room whose ambient
          temperature isn't terribly high.

          73, Pete N4ZR

          The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com
          The Reverse Beacon Network at http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com


          On 4/9/2010 9:16 AM, jmaass_moose wrote:
          > How does the QS1R receiver with "Skimmer Server" provide up to seven bands at a time?
          >
          > Does it hop from band-to-band in sequence, or does it cover seven bands simultaneously?
          >
          > Who is using "Skimmer Server" with a QS1R? Good experience? Reliable hardware?
          >
          > We are planning an unattended installation of a Skimmer site on Curacao. We've been leaning towards what we've used before (multiple SDR-IQ receivers), but the QS1R is a more economical solution.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • jmaass_moose
          Thanks Wes, Phil and Pete! We are planning to install at a location away from the PJ2T contest station, and the Skimmer Server will be open to all. We d like
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 11, 2010
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            Thanks Wes, Phil and Pete!

            We are planning to install at a location away from the PJ2T contest station, and the Skimmer Server will be open to all. We'd like to cover the 160-10 contest bands (non-WARC), and 6m would be a plus.

            It will be unattended in a non-air-conditioned room, which means very warm ambient temperatures on Curacao. Phil, would clamping a heat sink and adding a fan be helpful to keeping the FPGA from buring up?

            I see reference to the SRL RFFE1 Bandpass Filter & RF Attenuator add-on board, but I haven't found a description of what it will do. Is there a description somewhere, and is the target 3Q10 completion date looking firm?

            We hope to have Our Curacao Skimmer Server up and running for CQWW CW in November, which means installing it in mid-November.

            73, Jeff K8ND


            --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith <n4zr@...> wrote:
            >
            > HGi Jeff - I have gone this route now myself. I heartily endorse
            > everything that Phil and Wes said. One consideration that may be
            > Curacao-relevant is that the QS1R runs pretty warm with Skimmer Server,
            > so you'd want to make sure that it is in a room whose ambient
            > temperature isn't terribly high.
            >
            > 73, Pete N4ZR
          • W0MU Mike Fatchett
            It appears you need a 2000mah supply if you plan to run all bands too. CC Packet Cluster W0MU-1 W0MU.NET or 67.40.148.194 A slip of the foot you may soon
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 11, 2010
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              It appears you need a 2000mah supply if you plan to run all bands too.


              CC Packet Cluster W0MU-1
              W0MU.NET or 67.40.148.194

              "A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may
              never get over." Ben Franklin



              -----Original Message-----
              From: dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com]
              On Behalf Of jmaass_moose
              Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 12:07 PM
              To: dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [dxatlas] "Skimmer Server" with QS1R Receiver

              Thanks Wes, Phil and Pete!

              We are planning to install at a location away from the PJ2T contest station,
              and the Skimmer Server will be open to all. We'd like to cover the 160-10
              contest bands (non-WARC), and 6m would be a plus.

              It will be unattended in a non-air-conditioned room, which means very warm
              ambient temperatures on Curacao. Phil, would clamping a heat sink and adding
              a fan be helpful to keeping the FPGA from buring up?

              I see reference to the SRL RFFE1 Bandpass Filter & RF Attenuator add-on
              board, but I haven't found a description of what it will do. Is there a
              description somewhere, and is the target 3Q10 completion date looking firm?

              We hope to have Our Curacao Skimmer Server up and running for CQWW CW in
              November, which means installing it in mid-November.

              73, Jeff K8ND


              --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith <n4zr@...> wrote:
              >
              > HGi Jeff - I have gone this route now myself. I heartily endorse
              > everything that Phil and Wes said. One consideration that may be
              > Curacao-relevant is that the QS1R runs pretty warm with Skimmer
              > Server, so you'd want to make sure that it is in a room whose ambient
              > temperature isn't terribly high.
              >
              > 73, Pete N4ZR




              ------------------------------------

              Yahoo! Groups Links
            • Pete Smith
              The QS1R is available without an enclosure, and it strikes me that it would not be much of a challenge to build a box for it that has lots of air moving over
              Message 6 of 14 , Apr 11, 2010
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                The QS1R is available without an enclosure, and it strikes me that it
                would not be much of a challenge to build a box for it that has lots of
                air moving over the electronics.

                73, Pete N4ZR

                The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com
                The Reverse Beacon Network at http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com


                On 4/11/2010 2:07 PM, jmaass_moose wrote:
                > Thanks Wes, Phil and Pete!
                >
                > We are planning to install at a location away from the PJ2T contest station, and the Skimmer Server will be open to all. We'd like to cover the 160-10 contest bands (non-WARC), and 6m would be a plus.
                >
                > It will be unattended in a non-air-conditioned room, which means very warm ambient temperatures on Curacao. Phil, would clamping a heat sink and adding a fan be helpful to keeping the FPGA from buring up?
                >
                > I see reference to the SRL RFFE1 Bandpass Filter& RF Attenuator add-on board, but I haven't found a description of what it will do. Is there a description somewhere, and is the target 3Q10 completion date looking firm?
                >
                > We hope to have Our Curacao Skimmer Server up and running for CQWW CW in November, which means installing it in mid-November.
                >
                > 73, Jeff K8ND
                >
                >
                > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith<n4zr@...> wrote:
                >
                >> HGi Jeff - I have gone this route now myself. I heartily endorse
                >> everything that Phil and Wes said. One consideration that may be
                >> Curacao-relevant is that the QS1R runs pretty warm with Skimmer Server,
                >> so you'd want to make sure that it is in a room whose ambient
                >> temperature isn't terribly high.
                >>
                >> 73, Pete N4ZR
                >>
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Pete Smith
                Yes, that s right. Moving a lot of electrons. 73, Pete N4ZR The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com The Reverse Beacon
                Message 7 of 14 , Apr 11, 2010
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                  Yes, that's right. Moving a lot of electrons.

                  73, Pete N4ZR

                  The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com
                  The Reverse Beacon Network at http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com


                  On 4/11/2010 2:16 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett wrote:
                  > It appears you need a 2000mah supply if you plan to run all bands too.
                  >
                  >
                  > CC Packet Cluster W0MU-1
                  > W0MU.NET or 67.40.148.194
                  >
                  > "A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may
                  > never get over." Ben Franklin
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com]
                  > On Behalf Of jmaass_moose
                  > Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 12:07 PM
                  > To: dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [dxatlas] "Skimmer Server" with QS1R Receiver
                  >
                  > Thanks Wes, Phil and Pete!
                  >
                  > We are planning to install at a location away from the PJ2T contest station,
                  > and the Skimmer Server will be open to all. We'd like to cover the 160-10
                  > contest bands (non-WARC), and 6m would be a plus.
                  >
                  > It will be unattended in a non-air-conditioned room, which means very warm
                  > ambient temperatures on Curacao. Phil, would clamping a heat sink and adding
                  > a fan be helpful to keeping the FPGA from buring up?
                  >
                  > I see reference to the SRL RFFE1 Bandpass Filter& RF Attenuator add-on
                  > board, but I haven't found a description of what it will do. Is there a
                  > description somewhere, and is the target 3Q10 completion date looking firm?
                  >
                  > We hope to have Our Curacao Skimmer Server up and running for CQWW CW in
                  > November, which means installing it in mid-November.
                  >
                  > 73, Jeff K8ND
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith<n4zr@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >> HGi Jeff - I have gone this route now myself. I heartily endorse
                  >> everything that Phil and Wes said. One consideration that may be
                  >> Curacao-relevant is that the QS1R runs pretty warm with Skimmer
                  >> Server, so you'd want to make sure that it is in a room whose ambient
                  >> temperature isn't terribly high.
                  >>
                  >> 73, Pete N4ZR
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • jmaass_moose
                  Yes, I ve seen that. The SRL 2 Amp supply is in the plans. Here s a link to my first-cut block diagram of our proposed installation:
                  Message 8 of 14 , Apr 11, 2010
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                    Yes, I've seen that. The SRL 2 Amp supply is in the plans.

                    Here's a link to my first-cut block diagram of our proposed installation:

                    http://www.k8nd.com/Radio/Curacao_Skimmer_Server_Proposed.pdf

                    73, Jeff K8ND



                    --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith <n4zr@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Yes, that's right. Moving a lot of electrons.
                    >
                    > 73, Pete N4ZR
                    >
                    > On 4/11/2010 2:16 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett wrote:
                    > > It appears you need a 2000mah supply if you plan to run all bands too.
                    > > CC Packet Cluster W0MU-1
                    > > W0MU.NET or 67.40.148.194
                    > >
                  • W0MU Mike Fatchett
                    I just ordered the QS1R. I am going to try it with the DX eng active rcv antenna. I will test it in Montana this summer and may either leave it there or
                    Message 9 of 14 , Apr 11, 2010
                    • 0 Attachment
                      I just ordered the QS1R. I am going to try it with the DX eng active rcv
                      antenna. I will test it in Montana this summer and may either leave it
                      there or bring it back to Denver. I plan to use a broadcast filter and DX
                      Eng wideband preamp initially with a homebrew protection circuit until the
                      add-ons are available.

                      I see great value for the RBN especially on 6m with all the beacons and the
                      goofy openings.
                    • Jeff Blaine AC0C
                      Very nice layout Jeff. The Clifton Labs stuff is top notch and complement your layout very nicely. Good luck! 73/jeff/ac0c From: jmaass_moose Sent: Sunday,
                      Message 10 of 14 , Apr 12, 2010
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                        Very nice layout Jeff.

                        The Clifton Labs stuff is top notch and complement your layout very nicely.

                        Good luck!

                        73/jeff/ac0c



                        From: jmaass_moose
                        Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 1:52 PM
                        To: dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [dxatlas] "Skimmer Server" with QS1R Receiver




                        Yes, I've seen that. The SRL 2 Amp supply is in the plans.

                        Here's a link to my first-cut block diagram of our proposed installation:

                        http://www.k8nd.com/Radio/Curacao_Skimmer_Server_Proposed.pdf

                        73, Jeff K8ND

                        --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith <n4zr@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Yes, that's right. Moving a lot of electrons.
                        >
                        > 73, Pete N4ZR
                        >
                        > On 4/11/2010 2:16 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett wrote:
                        > > It appears you need a 2000mah supply if you plan to run all bands too.
                        > > CC Packet Cluster W0MU-1
                        > > W0MU.NET or 67.40.148.194
                        > >





                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Pete Smith
                        Looks first-class, Jeff. The only thing I would suggest is to build a different case for the QS1R and put a small 12V muffin fan on one end and a grille on the
                        Message 11 of 14 , Apr 12, 2010
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                          Looks first-class, Jeff. The only thing I would suggest is to build a
                          different case for the QS1R and put a small 12V muffin fan on one end
                          and a grille on the other. The heat is being generated by ICs and
                          regulators, Phil says, and it will be much more effective if you can
                          direct the moving air right at the ICs instead of relying on transfer
                          from the outside of the case.

                          73, Pete N4ZR

                          The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com
                          The Reverse Beacon Network at http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com


                          On 4/12/2010 3:27 AM, Jeff Blaine AC0C wrote:
                          > Very nice layout Jeff.
                          >
                          > The Clifton Labs stuff is top notch and complement your layout very nicely.
                          >
                          > Good luck!
                          >
                          > 73/jeff/ac0c
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > From: jmaass_moose
                          > Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 1:52 PM
                          > To: dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com
                          > Subject: Re: [dxatlas] "Skimmer Server" with QS1R Receiver
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Yes, I've seen that. The SRL 2 Amp supply is in the plans.
                          >
                          > Here's a link to my first-cut block diagram of our proposed installation:
                          >
                          > http://www.k8nd.com/Radio/Curacao_Skimmer_Server_Proposed.pdf
                          >
                          > 73, Jeff K8ND
                          >
                          > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith<n4zr@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >> Yes, that's right. Moving a lot of electrons.
                          >>
                          >> 73, Pete N4ZR
                          >>
                          >> On 4/11/2010 2:16 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett wrote:
                          >>
                          >>> It appears you need a 2000mah supply if you plan to run all bands too.
                          >>> CC Packet Cluster W0MU-1
                          >>> W0MU.NET or 67.40.148.194
                          >>>
                          >>>
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ------------------------------------
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • Pete Smith
                          Jeff, can I reference this in an upcoming column in NCJ (or maybe even run a copy of it there? It s a very effective how-to. 73, Pete N4ZR The World Contest
                          Message 12 of 14 , Apr 12, 2010
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Jeff, can I reference this in an upcoming column in NCJ (or maybe even
                            run a copy of it there? It's a very effective how-to.

                            73, Pete N4ZR

                            The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com
                            The Reverse Beacon Network at http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com


                            On 4/11/2010 2:52 PM, jmaass_moose wrote:
                            > Yes, I've seen that. The SRL 2 Amp supply is in the plans.
                            >
                            > Here's a link to my first-cut block diagram of our proposed installation:
                            >
                            > http://www.k8nd.com/Radio/Curacao_Skimmer_Server_Proposed.pdf
                            >
                            > 73, Jeff K8ND
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith<n4zr@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >> Yes, that's right. Moving a lot of electrons.
                            >>
                            >> 73, Pete N4ZR
                            >>
                            >> On 4/11/2010 2:16 PM, W0MU Mike Fatchett wrote:
                            >>
                            >>> It appears you need a 2000mah supply if you plan to run all bands too.
                            >>> CC Packet Cluster W0MU-1
                            >>> W0MU.NET or 67.40.148.194
                            >>>
                            >>>
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ------------------------------------
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • jmaass_moose
                            Pete: Feel free to grab and use it. The version of the diagram currently online is subject to change as we move forward, either due to budget reasons or as we
                            Message 13 of 14 , Apr 12, 2010
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Pete:

                              Feel free to grab and use it.

                              The version of the diagram currently online is subject to change as we move forward, either due to budget reasons or as we do more research and experimentation.

                              73, Jeff K8ND

                              --- In dxatlas_group@yahoogroups.com, Pete Smith <n4zr@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Jeff, can I reference this in an upcoming column in NCJ (or maybe even
                              > run a copy of it there? It's a very effective how-to.
                              >
                              > 73, Pete N4ZR
                              >
                              > On 4/11/2010 2:52 PM, jmaass_moose wrote:
                              > > Yes, I've seen that. The SRL 2 Amp supply is in the plans.
                              > >
                              > > Here's a link to my first-cut block diagram of our proposed installation:
                              > >
                              > > http://www.k8nd.com/Radio/Curacao_Skimmer_Server_Proposed.pdf
                              > >
                              > > 73, Jeff K8ND
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