Wednesday, December 08, 2021

How I use Stream Deck and Node-Red tools at my Station KG5VK

Stream Deck and Node-Red tools at KG5VK

 A buddy of mine (K8KI) recently said 

"He had heard of both tools but was unsure how he would benefit from their use"

I decided to document my answer here...

Stream Deck (Manufactured by Elgato)

I use the Stream Deck tool for two things:

  • Allow quick access to buttons which launch Aps
  • Allow use of Macros via other Software on my Desktop 
The first is the Aps, which I could easily navigate to on my Computer Desktop via mouse movements, but I find much easier with a one button click are pictured below on the Main Stream Deck profile I use

From Top left to Bottom right, I have the "Next Profile button, SDR, DAX, CAT, Tune etc.
SDR launched my FlexRadio SDR software, Dax and Cat are launchable if I have terminated them for some reason (They normally launch when Smart SDR is launched)
Tune allows quick access to Enable/Disable of the SDR Tune button versus movement of the mouse
TQSL simply launches that app versus mouse usage and the same with N1MM+, Antenna Genius Software, DxLabs, FRStack and Slice-Master are there for less mouse use as well.

The CQ Test button takes me to another profile set within within my Stream Deck
allowing use of buttons to send Voice keyer messages, The FlexRadio Power button keys the shut shutdown of my radio locally in the shack.
Pressing the Commander button allows me one button selection of tools within the DxLabs Commander control of my radio allowing one button selection of keys like A=B VFO, A/B VFO, etc. which would other wise require mouse movement and mouse clicks.

I find pressing a button or even two or three buttons easier 
than dragging a mouse and clicking several times
much easier especially under contest or working a needed DX entity much less stressful.

My Stream Deck is the smaller 15 key version, however keep in my 
we can have many different profiles for different page sets of keys and what they do for us
Some of my keys launch a new page profile, some of the keys simply launch an App versus dragging the Mouse, the key is you setup your Stream Deck for your needs.


First off what the heck is Node-Red......

Node-RED is a programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways.

It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using the wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click.

IOW it is a Browser based tool for building a Program to do something with Hardware or other software, without the requirement to get a degree in C# Computer programming or even have a basic understanding of C#

Want to learn more there is a fantastic Groups dot IO email reflector with lots of 
Flows (Scripts) on Node-Red for use in Ham Radio here is a link to it.....

So how do I use Node-Red tools:

Mainly for both local and remote control of equipment with my Ham Radio shack

I mainly built this to use when I am on the road and want to use my station remotely and be able to select different antennas, rotate an antenna etc.
My display layout is a bit rough, but it works for me
You will note two exact columns of beam heading on the right side

The Left column is for my 40m beam and the right one is for my HF Log periodic

I do not have a Flow installed on my Raspberry Pi that holds my Node-Red software and Scripts
which would show the Radio's different meters, I do have two other Node Display pages, which are available by clicking on the ICON to the Top Left of My Callsign on the page shown.

They look like this....

The Top one controls relays to a Receive antenna , changing the direction it is favoring
The lower screen controls a board with eight different relays mounted to my Raspberry Pi
for other tools in the shack, such as selecting an entirely different Receive antenna.

There are more than a few different tutorials on YouTube of getting started with use of Node-Red
my recommendation is just jump in and play with it
Start with small sketches and build-up from there.
I am far from a programmer, having only learned a bit of basic programming in the 70's in high school with Basic and punch cards.

I barely know what C Sharp (C #) is  :)

Node-Red Flows are built using Sketches versus writing Scripts or Code

I will tell you building Stream Deck profiles is supper easy



Saturday, November 06, 2021

Presentation of the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award to ARRL North Texan

 The First North Texan

and the first Young lady in Texas

to receive the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial

youth award. 

Ms. Katherine M. Forson KT5KMF, amateur radio Extra class Licensee, was presented the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Youth Award. The presentation was orchestrated by Sean Kelly W5SPK President of the Plano Amateur Radio Klub (PARK) at a gathering of fellow amateur radio operators and dignitaries on the 20th of September in Plano, Texas

(Seated Left-Right, John Robert Stratton N5AUS The ARRL West Gulf Division Director,
Steven Lott Smith KG5VK ARRL North Texas SM, and Deputy Mayor Maria Tu of  Plano, Texas)

John Robert Stratton N5AUS ARRL West Gulf Division Director
Presents Katherine Forson KT5KMF the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial plaque

Attendees included friends and family members of the award recipient, as well as officers and members of more than a few ARRL affiliated clubs from North Texas and the former ARRL North Texas Section Manager Jay Urish W5GM

The Check accompanying the award is presented by
West Gulf Division Director John Robert Stratton N5AUS and ARRL NTX SM Steven Lott Smith KG5VK, while the honorable Deputy Mayor Maria Tu of Plano, Texas looks on.

While Katherine is the first ever North Texas amateur Radio op and the first YL in Texas to receive this prestigious award, she is far from a stranger to receiving awards and making milestones. Having received her first Amateur Radio license at the young age of 15, in 2018 she was the recipient of the First place award in the Plano, Texas District Science Fair and went on that same year to secure second place in the Dallas Texas Science and Engineering Fair.

In early 2019 while campaigning to become the ARRL North Texas Section Manager (SM), I was afforded the opportunity to see a Ms. Forson do a rehearsal presentation for her third science fair competition, I was so impressed I decided that if I became the new SM  I would waste little time asking her and her parents if she could be our Section Youth Coordinator.

In May of 2019, I appointed Ms. Forson KT5KMF as  the ARRL North Texas Section Youth Coordinator, She has of course excelled at her position being one our most active and engaged ARRLNTX Section Staff Members. It is a great honor to have come to know her and her parents. (Steve KG5VK)





Monday, August 30, 2021

Thursday, April 01, 2021

KG5VK updated Bio as of 2021


Steven Lott Smith

Born Miami Florida September 1955
First Licensed in 1972 as WN0FOI
Graduate of Parkway High School Manchester Missouri 1974 (But I am class of 75)
Entered Active Duty with The United States Air Force September 1974 where I trained as an Aircraft Electrician.
Met my Wife who is from North Texas, while we were both stationed in California.

Next tour was at Spangdahlem AFB in West Germany for three years.
We lived in West Texas from 1981 - 1985 (Dyess AFB)
During that time, I was twice president of the Key City Amateur Radio Club in Abilene, Texas.

From Abilene we went to Grissom AFB in Indiana.
Following that assignment we were at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, where I was the President of the Shreveport Amateur Radio Association for 3 years consecutively and two more years later.
I served in Desert Shield / Storm from December of 1990, through March of 1991 with the 801 Bomb Wing (B-52's)

August of 1993 I served as the Electro-Environmental NCOIC on the KC-135 maintenance team at Riyadh Saudi Arabia during Operation No Fly.
Retired from the USAF October 1st 1993 and started a Professional Photography Business (Lott's Photo), continued that line of work and also began teaching photography at Bossier Parish Community College in 2001 to late 2014
In 2015 My wife and I moved from Louisiana to North Texas
In 2016 I started work at Main Trading Co. Paris, Texas.
In 2018 I retired from working a day job and ran for election as the ARRL North Texas Section Manager.

In 2021 I ran as the ARRL NTX Section Manager again, this time unopposed.
I greatly look forward to hearing your concerns and accolades on what the league can and has done, for you my fellow ARRL members as well as recruiting new ARRL members.

A member of the Dallas Fort Worth Contest Club,
Lone Star DX Association, CW OPS (#1806),  A-1 Operator Club and of course The ARRL.

DXCC awards:
5 Band DXCC Award,
DXCC CW with 298 entities
DXCC Phone with 283 entities
DXCC Digital with 127 entities
Early 2021 Attained confirmation of entity 331 (mixed)
and was accepted in to The DXCC Honor Roll

I pledge to be Transparent and available to your communications
KG5VK at ARRL dot ORG  


Thursday, January 21, 2021

This morning January 21, 2021
I officially became a proud member of the DXCC Honor Roll

I started this journey back in 1981, when my DXCC mentor
Tom Blackley KR5D told me "Steve,  Just submit your cards, you have plenty for Mixed and Phone DXCC certificates" Of course since I started my Ham Radio journey in 1972 he was very correct.

About a week ago I worked my 331st Current DXCC Entity
Leaving me in need of nine more countries to have all 340 confirmed  

I thank Tom KR5D for getting me started on this journey
and Marshall KA5M for the continued encouragement to stay in pursuit of our goal.

The Nine I still need are: 

North Korea
Bouvet Island
Crozet Island
Johnston Island
Kerguelen Island
Pratas Island
San Felix Islands

My Journey to get all current entities continues
And I also start focusing on Top Band (160m) DXCC
If I live long enough, after that maybe Moon Bounce.



Sunday, October 04, 2020

I am Seeking a Second Term as your ARRL North Texas Section Manager Steve KG5VK

From the Desk of your ARRL North Texas Section Manager
Steven Lott Smith
Steve KG5VK

Greetings fellow ARRL North Texas Amateur Radio OPS
I am seeking a second term as your ARRL North Texas Section Manager

I have proudly served 17 Months as of this writing
I am asking for your continued confidence in me
by way of nominations for SM for the period of 2021/2022

I took office on April the 1st, 2019

During my Campaign to be your Section Manager
I pledged I would be a visible Section Manager,
I hope you feel I have done that and much more.
I am now seeking a second term.

Before taking office, I gladly took many phone calls, and emails with questions and comments, I continue to talk with fellow ARRL members on a weekly sometimes daily basis.
While I have not solved everyone's concerns. I have always listened and followed up with answers to questions that I may not have had at the time of initial contact.
I have been publishing a Monthly Newsletter since my appointment as your Section Manager, this is a small part of the process of staying in touch with the members I serve.

Some highlights of specific accomplishments:

  • Appointed a Section Youth Coordinator, which is one of Youth.
    Katherine Forson KT5KMF should, by now be well known to any ARRL NTX member.
    She was highlighted in QST the same year she was appointed with a full page article
    and continues to serve us proudly by sharing what Ham Radio is with both young and old.
  • Asked and Received Nominees for an ARRL North Texas Ham Radio Operator of the Year 2019/2020.  Appointed an award committee from the Section Management team to vote on the nominees.  I presented the Award to Jim Erickson KB0DBJ president of MJARS at their September 2019 club meeting. (I will soon be forming another Team to vote on ARRL NTX Ham of the Year 2020/2021 Nominees)

  • Within the First Seven months of taking office as your Section Manager
    I attended Nine Ham Fests, Seventeen Different Club Meetings, Two JOTA events and a visit to the EOC at the Plano Balloon fest. I also appeared at Eleven different ARRL FD sites.

  • I have attended the Belton Ham fest 3 times since taking Office, this is significant because the ARRL members from that area had for several years been in pursuit of being realigned by the ARRL with South Texas, until I showed them the support they deserve.

  • Began Monthly ARRL NTX Section Management Team Staff meetings, held virtually with Teleconferencing tools.
  • As of October 2020 we now have Quarterly Zoom conferences with ARRL NTX Affiliated Club officers and the ARRL NTX Section Staff members.  These meetings came from a suggestion received by one of the club officers during a recent round table conference with myself and John Robert Stratton N5AUS our ARRL West Gulf Division Director.

  • I continue to attend club meetings on a Virtual basis with those clubs that are having Virtual Meetings during this time of COVID19 Social Distancing

  • Built a strong working relationship with Section Managers and their Staff near and far from our Section, doing so betters our readiness to respond to neighboring Sections that need our assistance with ECOM and allows them willingness to assist us in times of need.  I feel we can always learn from others and therefore maintain contact with all the fellow Section Managers within the ARRL West Gulf, and Delta Divisions, as well as several Section Managers beyond those borders.

  • I have assembled an outstanding team of assistants, from Greg Evans K5GTX our Section Emergency Coordinator, to all the other Assistants on the Section Management team. Our team works as a cohesive unit for the betterment of our fellow ARRL members which we serve.
    Our complete Team may be viewed at

    In summary, I would appreciate your Nomination for another term as your Section Manager. This will allow myself and the ARRL North Texas Section Management team to continue the progress which will benefit all North Texas Amateur Radio OPS.

    News Flash !!!
    Thanks to Greg Evans K5GTX and Aaron Hulett K8AMH for many hours of work and planning,  our team has just unveiled our new ARRL North Texas website

    The ARRL has announced that prospective Nominees may solicit Nominations with electronic signatures during this continued time of COVID19 Social Distancing.
    I can email anyone that request it, one of these Electronic Nomination forms,
    just drop me an email with the request KG5VK@ARRL.NET

    Thank you for your time and your service as an ARRL member!

    Steve KG5VK
    Please call or Email me any time

Thursday, September 03, 2020

ARRL NTX Section September 2020 Newsletter

 Greetings fellow North Texans!

Since the ARRL North Texas Website Update
Now contains all of my newsletters, including the current one

I no longer duplicate those posts here.

So Please visit

*** Many of you are already aware that the ARRL Now has a new CEO

You may not know that he is a very active On The air amateur Radio operator
He is a Life Time member of CWOPS group and a fellow DXER and Contest OP
He received over 2/3rds of the Votes by the Board of Directors, which to me shows
the over whelming majority of our Board Members at ARRL have confidence in him
He is David Minster NA2AA

*** The Board also seated a member to a brand new position at Headquarters....

The ARRL ECOM Director is Paul Gilbert KE5ZW

We can all be proud that Paul Gilbert KE5ZW is a fellow Texan
Paul is the current South Texas Section Manager, he has a wealth of background in Federal, State and Section Level ECOM and will be a valued asset to all of us. A new Section Manager will be elected for South Texas, watch ARRL News for more info.

*** The Second West Gulf Director Round Table meeting with ARRL NTX Club Officers and myself was held on the 29th of this past month (August). Due to COVID19 this round table was held virtually
by way of Zoom conferencing. We had over 24 club officers represented and I feel it was a very progressive meeting. Your Club officers gave Director John Stratton and myself more than a few issues we could work on.
Per the request I have formed an On-Line discussion area where club officers can have a working dialogue with myself and the rest of the North Texas Section Management Staff on any topics that their members wish addressed.
A couple of your officers mentioned what happen to the ARRL Club Coordinator position that the Board of Directors were working on. This position was not seated before we found the need to find a new CEO.  Now that Mr. Minster NA2AA has been appointed as the CEO and once he has found his way around the inner working of Headquarters, we hope to see some momentum on this new position.
The Club Coordinator at Headquarters will allow greater attention towards affiliated club needs.

*** Once again I make my plea for Safer Tower Climbing to everyone.

If you think Free climbing, or climbing with a Climbing Belt is Safe
You are only kidding yourself.
Every Ham Radio Club should take time out to present a video or two on Safe Tower Climbing
Every amateur radio OP owes it to their family and loved ones and them self to learn the right way to climb and work on towers. By the way Climbing Belts have not been OSHA approved for many years.
The right Gear begins with Boots and a Climbing Harness that has two Fall arrest lanyards and a positioning lanyard as well as the knowledge of when it is safe and unsafe to climb.

The recent fatality was from only a 50 foot tower!

Here is a link to an Excellent Video
If you are unable to view the Video,  please email me for another link.
I implore Clubs to help promote Tower Safety, maybe even an OSHA approved climbing kit for member use, everything but the Boots.

*** ARES and ECOM

Please never self  Deploy, you will only burden resources that are not prepared for your arrival.
Greg Evans K5GTX and I work closely with all neighboring Section Leaders and we would love for everyone to take heed of the following message he and I have created on this subject.....

"If you are considering volunteering as an ECOM resource during any emergency
Please make sure you first notify Section Management (SM & SEC) within your Section before
expressing your willingness and readiness to any served agencies and/or other Sections.
We appreciate willingness, however we need to do our part as a Team.
Please, allow us to do so by communicating with us first.
Steven Lott Smith KG5VK
ARRL NTX Section Manager
Greg Evans K5GTX
ARRL NTX Section Emergency Coordinator"
One should also consult their respective County ARES EC and if your an EC up channel to the District (DEC)

*** ARRL North Texas Ham of The Year 2020/2021

As of Today (September 3,2020)  I have received only one Nomination !!!
I am again accepting nomination packages for the ARRL North Texas
Amateur of the Year award
Please title the email with the Nomination "ARRLNTX 2020 HOY"
The Nominee must be an ARRL member and Reside in North Texas
Deadline for nominations is 1 October 2020
Nomination packages emailed to myself should include the full name and call sign of the Nominee
and Bullet statements of accomplishments with short paragraphs or a few sentences of justification under each bullet statement.  Again the Deadline for nominations is the First of October.

Please remember I am available to attend any Virtual Club Meetings while we all continue to Social Distance, my last announcement of this last month netted only Two invites to attend meetings.
Most important I still come bearing a Door Prize or two, dependent on how many attendees are in the meeting. I can bring a presentation that last about 15 minutes or just be on had for questions your group may have. Of course you can always drop me a line any time, email is preferred but I am welcome to phone calls as long as you are willing to leave a message if I do not answer with the topic.

No sign of Fall weather, yet.  So please stay safe in this heat.
Hydrate, Hydrate, and take cool breaks away from the heat.


Steve KG5VK
Tele 318-470-9806