Tag Archives: Griffin Technology PowerMate

A photo tour of the 2015 WCARS hamfest

IMG_20150725_083926547 A few weeks ago, on July 25th, I made my way to Waynesville, NC, to the WCARS hamfest. This is a much smaller hamfest than, say, the Shelby Hamfest I recently attended.

In the past, however, I’ve found some real gems among the tables of this small hamfest.

I took a few photos but should note they’re not at all a representation of what was available at the hamfest, rather the things I found of interest (ahem…vintage gear).


This Hallicrafters SX-100 was on one of the first tables I noticed in the main building. I have an SX-99 and have always thought about “upgrading” to an SX-100. The seller was asking $150.


My buddy, Mike (K8RAT) believes the Omni D is one of the best CW rigs ever made. He purchased one–in excellent condition–with matching power supply at a hamfest in Ohio for $200. I believe this one, and another OMNI D at the WCARS hamfest were selling for $300+. IMG_20150725_111501657 IMG_20150725_110153073 IMG_20150725_110033935_HDR IMG_20150725_105119120

I would have loved a little radio/TV combo like this when I was in middle school. The two inch black and white CRT screen reminds me of the devices everyone carried to open doors  and communicate on Space 1999.IMG_20150725_104953461 IMG_20150725_104945038

I still find the IC-R70 and IC-R71 appealing. Maybe it’s that classic Icom green.

IMG_20150725_101701021 IMG_20150725_101039828_HDR IMG_20150725_101034509_HDR

This National NC-173 really caught my attention. The seller had kept this radio in excellent cosmetic condition.IMG_20150725_120447122

Indeed, the temptation was too much! I purchased the NC-173 and took it home. After turning it on, though, I felt voltage on the chassis (50V, in fact) and no audio. I contacted the seller, who lives locally, and took it to his home work bench. He happily refunded my money and then began looking for the fault. My life has been so hectic, I haven’t gotten back to him yet, but he was holding it for me should I want to purchase again. I may very well go back and purchase it. Hey, if it’s good enough for Thor Heyerdahl, it’s good enough for me!


While none in working order necessarily, these ARCs were being sold for about $25 each. I probably should’ve gotten at least one.

IMG_20150725_084257424 IMG_20150725_084301058_TOP

The seller wanted over $700 for this Clansman manpack transceiver and accessories, if memory serves. Someday, I’ll snag one of these.

Phillips Model 46-350 AM radioI did come home with this beautiful 1946 Phillips Model 46-350 with roll-top dial cover. The 46-350 was a very popular model for Phillips after WWII; over 220,000 were produced. Original sales price? $49.95


The seller–an avid antique radio collector–sold this 46-350 to me for $25. I feel like I got a deal, too: the receiver is amazing and the audio is beautiful. The chassis shows wear, but I like that (gives some chronological context–!). The inside is in great shape for a radio that’s almost 70 years old.


This Model 46-350 has become my bedside radio; one my sweet wife didn’t object to at all. When not listening to a local AM station, or one of the night time clear channel stations, I tune to my (very) locally transmitted 1570 kHz which typically relays the UK 1940s Radio Station.

I also brought the following items home from the WCARS hamfest:

All in all, a good haul! I’ll certainly visit the WCARS hamfest again next year if my schedule allows.

Spread the radio love

A very simple mod for your PowerMate controller

My Powermate USB sporting a white rubber band grip.

My Powermate USB sporting a white rubber band grip.

After publishing the post about my PowerMate USB controller, Mike Ladd replied on Facebook:

“Do what I did a couple of years ago and add a lobster claw rubber band to the [PowerMate] tuning wheel.”

In case you’re not familiar, Mike is referring to the thick, wide rubber bands that are placed on lobster claws to hold them shut. Mike included the following video; you can see that the rubber band fits perfectly around the top of the tuning knob, giving it a little extra grip.

This same type of rubber band can often be found in the produce department of grocery stores as it’s used to hold bunches of broccoli, asparagus and other produce together.

Many thanks for the tip, Mike!

Spread the radio love

Hamfest find: Griffin Technology PowerMate Controller


A few weeks ago, I attended the WCARS hamfest in near Waynesville, North Carolina. I walked out of that hamfest carrying way more goods than I had intended to purchase (more on that in a future post–!).

One of the best bargains I found was a Griffin Technology NA16029 PowerMate USB Multimedia Controller. The seller is a friend; he was trying (and succeeding) to push off a lot of his gear on me. We were actually in reverse price negotiations at one point–as he kept discounting prices, I was trying to raise them.

Knowing I’m an avid SDR guy, he insisted I give this Griffin Powermate controller a go.  I purchased it for $5 after I believe he had offered it for free (yes, the results of reverse negotiations).

I took the controller home assuming it would be cumbersome to interface with my SDRs–what a poor assumption I had made! It was a breeze: simply install the driver, and launch its associated application. The software makes it very easy to associate PowerMate controller actions with keystrokes and other PC functions.

PowerMate 8132015 54232 PM

There are a surprising amount of functions this simple knob performs:

  • Rotate clockwise and counter clockwise
  • Press down and rotate clockwise and counter clockwise
  • Press down once
  • Press down and hold

I set up the PowerMate to control my WinRadio Excalibur as follows:

  • Press and hold launches the WinRadio Excalibur application
  • Rotating the knob tunes up and down
  • Pressing down and rotating increases and decreases bandwidth
  • Pressing once toggles the volume mute

PowerMate-ExcaliburThe PowerMate is a brilliant piece of kit!

It has enhanced my user experience with the Excalibur. Soon, I’ll set it up to work with my Elad FDM-S2, and SDRplay RSP.

The PowerMate software allows you to set up multiple configurations, so it’s easy to call up a configuration based on the SDR being used (since mine have unique hotkeys).

The good news is a new PowerMate is only about $32 via Amazon.com.

I’m quite tempted, in fact, to buy a second unit to use with my laptop and to serve as a spare.

While looking up PowerMate pricing, I noticed more complex multimedia controllers on Amazon; I’m curious if any Post readers have experience with other models.

Seems to be a very affordable way to enhance your SDR user experience.

Click here to view the PowerMate on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MmyxkC

Spread the radio love