Just a quick note. I posted an article on my other blog about the new PX3 Panadapter for the KX3. You can seen the quick notes and a link to the Elecraft PX3 Companion Datasheet here.
After being told by a fellow QRP’er that 15 CW has been up recently, I managed to drag my KX3 out of its Pelican case this morning.
Its been awhile since it has seen the light of day. Didn’t see much point to powering it on since my main antenna has been down for some time and the amazing Par End Fedz that I jury rigged in the yard some time ago has been beat to hell by the lousy winter and the high winds here in the Northeast.
After being very surprised by the fact that the auto-tuner was able to tune without moaning and groaning, I thought what the hell.
I tuned down to 21.025 and started hearing Europe. What was even more of a surprise is that I was able to work stations @ 5 watts on the first attempt.
That doesn’t say much about my skills but it says a HELL OF A LOT about that Par End Fedz antenna.
Received my EF 10-20-40 PAR End FedZ Antenna in the mail yesterday. Hoping to get it in the air to start testing later today. Used N2JFD’s at a recent Scout event and had to have my own. I am like that!
The design of the PAR END FEDZ is unique and if you trim it properly, you can take the autotuner out of line.
As we all know when running QRP, you need the RF to enter the airwaves, not spin around inside the autotuner!
Find out more about this amazing design: .http://bit.ly/HL2az1
Some people complain about eBay for various reasons. But one of eBay’s assets is that it offers buyer protection. In addition, there are some Ham Radio parts which are hard to find through the normal channels.
The eHamStore covers the usual Ham Radio and Scanner gear but also includes a vintage section as well as pages for items like tubes. Why not take a spin over to The eHamStore and browse around, check out prices or maybe find that rare piece of gear you are after. Hey, you never know.
Best of all, no signups are ever required. Why not visit The eHamStore today!
Over at the eHamStore, statistics are showing that there is a lot of traffic steadily hitting the kit building pages. Among Ham Radio operators, kit building is definitely on the rise again! As anyone who has built a kit knows, Ham Radio kit building brings a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.
Imagine purchasing a kit, cobbling the parts together and sending out a CQ! When you hear another station coming back to you, it has to be a thrill. QRP or low power (5 watts or less) is a rather amazing and sometimes challenging way to work local and DX stations. But hey, we all live for the challenge, don’t we?
After building my first QRP kit (NORCAL 40) somewhere around 1985, I was hooked. One day, I brought that first kit over to a friend’s house and connected it to his Cushcraft A4S with the 40 meter add-on kit. We were both laughing hard each time I got a 599+ signal report from a stateside station. There’s nothing like a beam antenna to build up some ERP.
QRP continues to fun and challenging today. My latest Ham Radio kit is the Elecraft KX3. Now this kit requires no soldering; it’s designed as a modular kit which takes about 2.5 hours to put together. The end result is a truly amazing piece of Ham Radio gear. If you are not familiar with the KX3, take a spin over to the Elecraft site (see below). I am sure you will be rather surprised at its huge list of features.
There are a number of great sites to visit to find Ham Radio Kits. Here are a few to get your electrons flowing!The eHamStore Kits A Variety Of Kits To Review CanaKit Canada – High quality electronic kits & modules Carl’s Electronics electronic kits, robotic kits, test equipment & more Communication Concepts HF/VHF/UHF amps, LP filters, broadband RF transformers Crystal Radio Kits and Parts Elecraft Innovative Electronic Kits EMTECH QRP kits and more Etherkit Devoted to open source hardware Fox Delta Amateur Radio Projects & Kits Excellent website by Dinesh, VU2FD Hendricks QRP Kits NorCal 40A by Wilderness Radio Oak Hills Research Ramsey Kits – Headquarters Small Wonder Kits (NN1G) Ten-Tec Worldwide reputation for excellent radios and kits The ‘Rock-Mite’ Simple CW transceiver for 40 or 20 meters YouKits Technology Quality, well designed kits … check them out!
Which kits have you built? Do you work QRP? Why not tell us about your experiences!
Getting back into blogging after a long layoff is starting to be fun again. Remembering how to spell and finding all the keys is another story. As you can see above I finally updated the Special Events and Hamfest Pages. Whoopee!
In addition, here’s a quickie about a local (to me) Hamfest to get your 2013 Ham Radio Juice flowing.
LIMARC is having its Next (2013) Hamfest on March 3rd. The Hamfest is located at the Levittown Hall in Hicksville, NY.
For detailed information click here.
Hope to see you there!
As an old time QRPer, one of my occasional stops is the TEN-TEC website. This time around I happened to find two new QRP radios they offer. Here is a bit of information and an excerpt from a review that I read.
Ten-Tec has released two new dual band QRP radios for the fun of QRP operation. Both the R4020 and R4030 are of a simple design and light weight. They can be a friendly companion for camping and hiking or any time the mood strikes you.
Ten-Tec has provided QRP radios since their founding in 1968. Unlike the upper class of TEN-TEC radios, the R4020 and R4030 radios and not manufactured at the TEN-TEC plant Sevierville, TN.
As one reviewer wrote; who owns both the R4020 and R4030:
“both work well and I use an external keyer with both. But as another poster noted, you must have your straight key/external keyer plugged in before you turn on the radios. When you do, they work fine. The instructions leave something to be desired.
Performance-wise, for the price, I’m pleased. They are feature-rich for the price. I’m blessed to have good antennas at my QTH and running both rigs on my antennas have produced excellent results. A week after getting the R4020 and connecting it to my 3 element beam for 20 meters, I had worked 20 countries and a dozen and a half states. I just roamed up and down the band and pretty much worked most stations I heard at will. At that rate, no need to even sign QRP! The radios are stable from a cold start, have reasonable selectivity with the built-in filtering, are not overloaded even though mine are connected to good antennas which might overload some lesser QRP rigs. I am told often they sound great on the air. Many ops are not familiar with these rigs since Ten-Tec has done no outside advertising — just on its own website. For the money, they are good values. Loads of fun. Someday I will take them out in the field with my Buddistick antenna.”
I think my favorite feature of all are the LCD readouts which display the full frequency, as well as other info. Some other radios only display the last 2 digits of the frequency you’re on. I don’t like that at all. I know some lament the lack of a built-in ATU that doesn’t doesn’t bother me one.”
For futher information: http://www.tentec.com/index.php?id=193
Happy New year everyone! One of the first events out of the gate at the top of the year on Long Island is Ham Radio University. HRU is a day of learning for Ham Radio operators. This year will also be a day for scanner enthusiasts as well.
Located about 40 miles east of New York City, HRU is accessible from all the points on the compass. Come on, you do remember that analog device don’t you? Find the address and directions here: http://www.hamradiouniversity.org
This year looks like it’s going to be the best schedule of guest speakers to date. Guest speakers are there for you to learn from and to “pick their brains” for that info you just can’t seem to find elsewhere.
So here’s the line up as I received it. Look it over and make up your schedule for the day. Each moderator is well versed in the area of interest and I am sure all questions will be answered. Imagine, all of this learning and more for only 3 bucks! How can you go wrong?
9:00 – 9:50am
-Scanner Forum: Phil Lichtenberger W2LIE
-Intro to EMCOMM in NYC/LI: Mike Lisenco N2YBB and Jim Mezey W2KFV
-Operating Six Meters during Cycle 24: Ken Neubeck WB2AMU
-Transmitter Hunting – locating hidden transmitters: Larry Berger
WA2SUH and Andy Kirschenbaum WA2CDL
-Remote Station Operation: Rick Bressler K2RB
10:00 – 10:50am
-Dealing with RF Interference during reception: Bill Lynch AB2UW
-The EMCOMM experience in Haiti: Ron Tom KE2UK
-Intro to DX’ing and contacting distant stations: Long Island DX
-QRP – low power fun: John Meade W2XS
-Ham Radio Deluxe: Bill Dahl W2ANQ
11:00 – 11:50am
-Grounding for the Ham Station: Don Kane WB2BEZ
-Intro to the National Traffic System: Mike Patino N2BMU and Jim
-DX and Ham Radio from Kuwait: Steve Hass N2AJ
-Working Satellites with your handheld transceiver: Peter Portanova
-HF Digital Modes: Neil Heft KC2KY
-Keynote Speaker: ARRL President Kay Craigie N3KN
1:30 – 2:20pm
-Antennas – how they work and how to build them: Walter Wenzel KA2RGI
-Wireless History – Friends of Long Island Wireless: Connie Currie
-Contesting: All your questions answered: Mel Granick KS2G
-Emergency Power for your home: Jeff Schneller N2HPO
-D-STAR – digital Amateur Radio operating: Randy Gutentag WA2RMZ
-Volunteer Exam Session – Amateur License testing: VE Team
2:30 – 3:20pm
-Antenna Building Workshop ($10 additional fee): Joe Mielko N2IMF
-Young Ham Forum: Lew Malchick N2RQ
-World Radiosport Team Championship (The Ham Radio Olympics): George
-Software Defined Radios: Dr. Jeffrey Katz AC2BQ
-Internet Linking for Amateur Radio: Jonathan Taylor K1RFD
Here is the list of participating organizations at this year’s event:
ARRL NYC/LI Section
American Red Cross ECS
Central Jersey D-Star Group
Civil Air Patrol
Friends of L.I. Wireless
Grumman Amateur Radio Club
Great South Bay ARC
Hall of Science ARC
Kings County Radio Club
Kings County Repeater Association (HRU 2011 Sponsor)
Long Island DX Assoc.
Long Island QRP Club
Long Island Mobile ARC
MetroCor Repeater Coord.
Nassau County ARES
Nassau County CERT
Nassau Amateur Radio Club
Nassau County Police ARC
National Weather Service
New York City ARES
Peconic Amateur Radio Club
Radio Central ARC
Staten Island Digital Group
Suffolk County Radio Club
Tri-State SKYWARN Group
Wantagh Amateur Radio Club
US Coast Guard Auxiliary
Briarcliffe College ARC
There are plenty of door prizes provided by:
And lots of literature provided by:
Amateur Electronics Supply
Ham Radio Outlet
Kenwood USA Corporation
Be certain to put this on your 2011 calendar! Don’t miss this event! I expect that this year will top all previous attendance records.
So search around the Ham Shack and gather your loose change together. We all know Ham’s are among the cheapest individuals on the planet but 3 bucks won’t break you, promise!
73 and see you there – ke2yk!
The Weekly “Rag Chew’” Net:
My radio club has a weekly 2 meter “Rag Chew” Net where we BS about anything and everything related to Ham Radio and Emergency Communication. During the past few Wednesday nights, two topics have come up in conversation which are of particular interest to me.
Through The Years:
Over the years as a true Ham (whatever that means), among other Hamming adventures, I have messed around building antennas, ran a TCP/IP (over ax25) packet node and had a blast working CW/QRP/M. There’s another article somewhere on my blog which goes into a bit more detail about the CW/QRP/M adventures.
A1A – Know What It Is?
Working CW (A1A) has always been special to me. I just find it to be an amazing way to communicate using very simple gear. Build or buy an inexpensive 40 meter radio, roll up some wire, grab a straight key, virtually throw the wire out of the window or drive to a quiet spot, connect the radio up to the cigarette lighter, throw the wire into a tree and presto! You are on the air.
Soldering For Fun:
Another aspect of the hobby which is close to my heart is kit building. Unfortunately, I just missed the days when getting a complete “mail order” radio kit (Heathkit) was possible. It must have been a fun challenge to learn radio fundamentals (a home science lab of sorts) while in the construction phase. Finally you end up with the finished product and something that you could proudly use each time you tuned it up and called CQ. There aren’t too many hobbies where you can build your own equipment and then use it to communicate with people that you will most likely never meet.
The Thrill Of Victory:
When it comes to kits, I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination (either yours or mine) but have built a few low cost QRP kits and receivers. Winding toroids by hand and learning how to solder parts together without causing a meltdown was a bit challenging at first. I do have to admit, the end result really justifies the means (what?). Think about it for a second, you take a bunch of parts that someone came up with, remove them from their plastic bags and carefully put them into some “logical order”. Then comes the moment of truth! Time to fire it up (a big 9 volt battery whoa!) and hammer away on the straight key calling CQ, I don’t know about you but when that other station comes back with a 5X9… WOW! Readability 5 and tone 9 (who cares what the signal value is) hey, at that moment it really all comes together.
Surfing For Great Ideas:
While surfing this morning, I ran across a very interesting transmitter kit. No I have not built it. Why is it interesting and different? Because there are no toroids to wind. This guy built them into the PC board. That’s especially good for those who may be squeamish about winding toroids during the construction of their first kit.
The article goes on to talk about how that is unique to an HF design. Visit the Web page for more information about the amazing NS-40.
“The NS-40 Transmitter is an upgraded version of the overall winner in the FDIM 2008 Homebrew Contest. It is a truly unique QRP transmitter design. NS stands for No Simpler, so this is the No Simpler 40 Meter Transmitter. Why is it called the No Simpler? Because there are only 14 electronic components, and NO TOROIDS or COILS of any kind to wind – NONE! All inductors are incorporated directly on the PC board as etched spirals. This is an ideal first kit for budding homebrewers and will also appeal to the seasoned QRP’r due to it’s innovative design.”
More QRP Stuff:
Wilderness SST, NorCal-40, Sierra and EleCraft K2 “Stack”
The Famous NORCAL Kits: http://www.w0ch.net/nc40a/nc40a.htm
Wantit all? Build an Elecraft Kit: http://www.elecraft.com/
Ten Tec 1254 Kit Receiver Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R25VI3NqY_k
MFJ 9040 (not in kit form): http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-9040
Comments Questions Criticisms:
I always ask for feedback but rarely get any but here goes.
Which kits have you built?
What was your experience?
Why not write a review and have it posted here?
N8ZYA’s recent Blog post about working QRP and making a 2000+ mile contact brought back great memories of the last solar cycle and the fun time I had when I worked a lot of CW / QRP / M. You can find the link to N8ZYA’s Blog on the sidebar.
It was always a lot of fun and a real challenge to make contacts into Europe and many other places on my old Ten-Tec Argosy 525 while driving down the highway at 55+ MPH with the 40 Meter Hamstick flapping around. I made so many contacts with this rugged old timer that I do miss it from time to time. One of it’s best features was the fact that it could be easily switched from 5 to 50 watts when band conditions began to deteriorate. Hey! Got one for sale? Contact me, I’d be interested. I am still kicking myself today for being dumb enough to part with this little gem.
Some years ago, a friend of mine was going to take a trip to central New Jersey to pick up some Collins gear. He was also a CW / QRP / M nut like myself. I had some free time that day and took the ride. We were just getting onto the Belt Parkway and I was tuning around on his HW9 when I heard an OM3 calling from Western Slovakia. He was blasting in. Yep, we worked him and got a 539 signal report. Talk about ways to become hooked on a hobby. WOW!
My Ham friend in East Moriches was always the “bah humbug type” when it came to CW and he thought QRP was a total joke. One day I went over for a visit and brought my MFJ 9040 with me. He just “happened to have” a Tri-Band beam up about 20 feet in his back yard. He lived so close to the Atlantic Ocean that he didn’t need much height on the antenna. I asked him if I could connect the 9040 to his beam. With all that hardware in front of this peanut rig, I knew it would be a blast. It reminded me of David and Goliath. Anyway, I remember making a bunch of contacts without having to call CQ over and over and good signal reports were of course real easy to get. All of a sudden I got a guy from PA coming back to me. Man, he was hammering the front end of that toy radio. We got into a QSO and he gave me a 599 report. I asked him what I was actually showing on his meter and he told me it was 20 over. My friend and I were both laughing so hard our sides were splitting. I then told the op in PA that I was running 5 watts. There was dead silence for a moment. Then he proceeded to go on and on about my signal from the little old 9040. (I never told him that I was operating through the beam antenna!) I bet he will always remember that contact.
Yesterday I was tuning my Ten-Tec Triton IV Model 544 and heard a guy (not QRP) calling CQ around 7010 from his mobile in Alabama. He worked a GB4 station (Special Event – Isle of Man). That did it, it gave me the bug again! Now I want to start pulling more mobile stuff out of storage. ( I guess I am too easy to encourage!)
There seems to be some signs of life in the low bands again. It appears that the low bands are coming around for more DXing fun. After hearing that QSO I am getting the itch to pick up some more QRP gear and start banging the paddles again from the mobile.
However, I am older (any maybe a little wiser now) and will park my butt before starting a QSO. Copying a QSO in my head at 55+ is best left to someone younger and more daring than I care to be these days. After hearing news stories about young men and women dying behind the wheel due to text messaging, becoming a statistic is not what I have in mind. There is no DX in the great beyond!
Ever worked CW or SSB / QRP/ M?
If so, why not comment on your best contact or a challenging contact?
Not into CW? Why not comment about your SSB mobile experiences.