K1RA SDR online

As of June 2022 all K1RA SDRs are offline due to wind and tree damage after a storm that brought 80 mph straight line winds through my Warrenton, VA QTH.  All my wire antennas were destroyed. See news article about other damage in town.  I’m in the process of getting something temporary back online soon.  Check out latest info.

My KiwiSDRs are back on the air! Back during early 2016 I invested in a Kickstater project called KiwiSDR. This project was the development of an add-on cape to a small form factor, Linux computer known and the Beaglebone Black. This hardware allows for up to 4 simultaneous online users to tune in any part of the HF radio spectrum from 0-30 MHz, using several different modes, as well as providing visual feedback of signals and some demodulation of digital modes. The software employed in known as OpenWebRX and was originally written by HA7LIM (now maintained by Jakob DD5JFK here), but was modified by KiwiSDR founder KF6VO to support some specific features of the new hardware. If there is an available slot on my SDR, located in Warrenton, VA grid FM18cr, you may tune in and listen for yourself by clicking on this link or picture below. If it is full you may try one of the many other KiwiSDR’s found listed at the KiwiSDR Receiver List. There is also an OpenWebRX Receiver List.

K1RA OpenWebRX KiwiSDR

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KW4VA/M in VaQP 2022

Some photos of our contest operation can be seen click here

Look for Terry W8ZN and I as we go mobile as a 2-op, 2-TX 80m thru 23cm CW, SSB & FM station this weekend running as KW4VA/M during the Virginia QSO Party 2022.  Our tentative stops and times can be seen at the Day # links below.  We will run from Staunton (STX) and north along Skyline Drive Sat.  hitting 14 counties and then No. VA (PRW) east and south on Sun. hitting another 14 counties.

Click Day 1

Click Day 2

You can track us in real-time as KW4VA-9 over the weekend on my VaQP APRS Tracker map here.  Read more about that map here.


73 and hope to work you many on many bands and modes from our many counties visited during the QSO Party!

VaQP 2022 APRS Mobile Tracker

I’ve activated my VaQP APRS Tracker map for 2022. It’ll run thru contest weekend. I’ll only track the call signs (-SSID) of VaQP participants who email me ( before 10A contest morning with their full APRS call sign (ex: K1RA-4). You can check out the map link below. During the competition it automatically updates station locations every 60 seconds and reloads the entire map page every 10 minutes. The map is now displaying all active APRS mobile and portable call signs who’ve registered with me for VaQP 2022.  See:

Click on a blue push pin (single call), or colored circle number (cluster of calls) to expand for more information about the VaQP mobile or portable station’s details for a given area. Every 10 minutes the tracker will automatically re-focus and zoom in on the map to only show the active VaQP APRS call signs within the last 60 minutes. You can also click on any colored county or independent city for its 3-letter VaQP abbreviation and name.

Email me (Andy K1RA with your call and -SSID if you wish to participate in this experiment! I’m hoping that any stations who will be going mobile or portable during this year’s VaQP contest will consider running APRS either on 2m FM on 144.390 MHz or better yet via internet on their smart phones.


Stations using Android phone, grab APRSDroid (free and tested) or other APRS-IS compatible Android apps. iPhone users purchase the APRS TX IOS app which seems to be the least expensive app and supports APRS-IS.  NOTE APRS.FI app does NOT work directly with the APRS-IS network so it will not work with my VaQP map. Apps MUST be able to send packets to APRS-IS server network for my map to detect and plot a call sign.

Once you have the smartphone app, be sure to get your APRS pass code at by entering just your call sign and retrieving the 4-5 digit code.  Enter into the smart phone APRS app so your location is sent through the internet for my server to detect and plot you on the VaQP APRS map.

Note, if your APRS app or TNC allows for a comment or message field in your APRS GPS broadcast, please enter something useful like “VAQP”, “CQ VQP”, etc. as I will catch it and display it when someone clicks on your call sign marker on the map. Other text might be your status, i.e. on-the-air, in route, current county, off-air, ETA to next QTH, bands, etc. but no specific frequency as that may violate the contest self spotting rules.

If you know of any mobile or portable VaQP stations who will have or can take APRS, encourage them to do so and contact me ASAP. Also, please email the APRS Map Tracker URL above and this post’s URL to your clubs and local groups so they can watch and track stations as they travel.

By the way, the difference between my map and or is that I’m overlaying the VA counties and independent cities so we can see when a particular mobile station reaches a new C&IC.

Email any comments, questions or suggestions to


andyz – K1RA (KW4VA/M in VaQP 2022 running 2-ops 2-TX on 80m thru 23cm SSB, CW & FM)

TS-930 Mode Switch Repair

My friend Oliver WB3KLI had a Kenwood TS-930 in which the mode switch had failed.  Although it appears the mode switch is a rotary knob switch, it really turns a linkage that in turn pushes and pulls a slide switch.  Since the slide switch and the linkage failed and is no longer available I converted it to use a standard wafer, rotary switch.  I found several on eBay, but none had enough contact points.  I needed a 6P6T switch.  I ended up building my own switch from a combination of wafers from 2 separate switches.  You can see the photo album of my rebuild project here.  Or click on the picture below.

K8GP Rover June VHF 2016

Please check out an article I posted on my time spent with Terry W8ZN as we roved in the ARRL June contest.  There you will find pictures, audio and video of our operations from various grids square in western PA and VA.  I have also published numerous maps and stats of the stations we contacted across the 50 MHz – 10 GHz bands.  Please click K1RA @ K8GP Rover ARRL June VHF 2016 to read more.

KW4VA VaQP 2015

I organized a few fellow hams to help participate this year’s Virginia QSO Party. With the help of Terry W8ZN, Craig N4OHE and the gracious host of Jim W4RX we put the KW4VA VaQP call on the air from Jim’s shack for the weekend of Mar. 21-22. We set up a small multi-multi station with 2 HF (80-10m) stations running Elecraft K3’s and an Alpha and Heathkit amps and one V/UHF 146/223/446 FM station running a Kenwood TM-742A. Our antennas ranged from some low dipoles for 40 & 80m, to a tribander for 10/15/20m and several monobanders. An 80m wire beam, a 40m 3L rotatable beam, a 5L 20m beam, stacked 5L 15m beams and a 6L 10m beam. For the V/UHF station we ran a triband vertical antenna up 50′. Full time op’s included Terry W8ZN, Jason KJ4EOO and myself Andy K1RA as well as part time ops Bill N4SV, Rich N3UW and Mike N2NAR.

Check out my photo album or a video collage with some pictures and video snippets from over the weekend below.

Our final contest breakdown for stations and multipliers contacted is as follows:

Total QSOs = 2408

Mobile QSOs = 323 (3pts each) = 969 pts
CW QSOs = 404 (2pts each) = 808 pts
Digital QSOs = 0 (2pts each) = 0 pts
Phone QSOs = 1681 (1pt each) = 1681 pts

Bonus Pts = 500 (K4NVA QSO)

Total Points = 3458

Multipliers = 266

DX = 89
VA Counties/Cities = 119 (of 133)
States = 48 (of 49)
VE = 10 (of 13)

Final Score = 920,328 points

73 and thanks for all the contacts!



With the solar flux rising again in the winter of 2014/15 I’ve finally got my Raspberry Pi microcontroller based WSPR beacon on the air. I’m generating RF on 160m, 80m, 40m, 30m at night and 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m during the day every 2 minutes using my club call sign KW4VA. The controller generates ~10 milliwatts of power to either a 40m horizontal full wave loop in my attic up ~25′ or ZS6BKW @ 50′ or 400+’ long wire in the back yard. I’d developed a script awhile back to pull data from WSPRnet and display who has been copying my 10mw signal. Below you will see an OpenStreetMap on which I plot some of the most distant stations who have received my signal over the last few months. The blue 0 icon is my home beacon station QTH. The red icon #’s are placed over the 6 digit grid square or approximate latitude and longitude of the receiving station. Those red # icons represent what band (in meters) my signal was received. Click on the icons to read more information about the receiving stations to include their call sign, grid, distance, beam heading, average signal to noise ratio, # of reports posted, frequency and first and last times I was spotted. Click on the View Larger Map links below this map to see a larger interactive map with more specific band data for my running total of unique DX country spots.

View Large Map for all time unique DX countries

My beacon is running Jamesp6000 WsprryPi C++ code on a RPi microcontroller board.

K1RA @ K8GP Rover June VHF 2014

This past June I again had the opportunity to rove with Terry W8ZN. We had last roved in the ARRL Jan. VHF SS contest and had a great time and scored very well. Since the K8GP Grid Pirates Contest Group were unable to host an operation from their multi-op, multi-trasnmitter contest site in FM19bb, the two of us opted to pull together another plan to enter the Classic Rover category. Rich N3UW was kind enough to allow us to again borrow his rover for this event. Terry and I spent some additional time improving and re-engineering the rover given what we learned in Jan. Read more about our preparations, route planning, contest weekend experience and post contest analysis by clicking here.

K1RA @ W4VA Field Day 2014

I had the opportunity to participate in the ARRL Field Day 2014 event this past June. I joined members of the Fauquier Amateur Radio Assoc. to enter in the 2A emergency power category. We operated from Crockett Park in the county, near Germantown Lake. We provided a GOTA (Get-On-The-Air) station for the public to participate, as well as established V/UHF station, a Voice station and a CW station for our club members to operate. We had great weather and a good turnout. I took a number of pictures, video and even some aerial shots from my quadcopter. To see a photo collage and some video excerpts of the weekend event, please see my Youtube video by clicking here, or below.

You can also view the static photo album.

K1RA @ K8GP Rover Jan VHF SS 2014

I’m celebrating 35 yrs since I made my first SSB/CW VHF contest QSOs back as a young WB1ALW and KA1GD back in CT.  This year I was fortunate enough to be able to rove with Terry W8ZN in this past ARRL January VHF SS contest. I assisted Terry in rebuilding the rover of Rich N3UW who graciously allowed us to take it out on a maiden voyage. I wrote an in depth article covering the preparation and contest weekend experience. I put together pictures, audio, video and some graphics and analysis maps covering our various grid stops. Check out the full article for more or click the picture below.

N3UW Rover used by K8GP Rover in the ARRL January VHF SS

N3UW Rover used by K8GP Rover in the ARRL January VHF SS