Category Archives: Elecraft K3

Updated photo of “Radio K9OZ”

Here’s an updated photo of the station, and this is how it’s going to stay for a while. From Bottom right, Elecraft K3, P3, and KPA 500; Yaesu FT-101B — my vintage AM station. Top row from left, Icom 756 Pro III — I don’t need it, but can’t bear to sell it, and Elecraft K2/100 that I built about 10 years ago. I also have an old Dentron MT 3000A tuner — all the tuner I’ll ever need.

As for the paddles on the desk, the left is a Begalli, the center a Kent, and on the right¬† a Spider, that I bought as a $50 kit at Dayton a couple years ago. If you wonder why I need three paddles, you aren’t a CW operator.

I had hoped to get on the air this weekend, but some things came up and I had to miss the North American QSO party, which is one of my favorite contests. Oh well, it’s a hobby.



Reawakening the blog

It’s time to get the blog going again. I’ve had several other things going on in my life that I won’t go into on this blog, and it cut into my ham radio time and pretty much stopped my blogging this year. As we start into 2012, I’ll make one of my resolutions to try to blog weekly.

In the past year I’ve added several pieces of equipment. Last spring I bought a Ten Tec Eagle just out of curiosity. I’d read the ads, and wondered if the receiver was a good as they said. My take is it does have a very nice receiver, but they worked hard at making it a simple radio, and in my opinion it is a little too simple. It has too few controls for my daily operating on cw, so I’ve found I’m not using it much and it will probably go onto eBay soon.
My other two acquisitions this year are the Elecraft KPA 500 amplifier to round out my Elecraft K-line station and a Yaesu FT 101 E that now makes up my vintage/AM station. I’m sitting here listening to the Midwest Classic AM net on Saturday morning on the old Yaesu, and it sound great on AM. That is the weekly extent of my phone operating.

Great weekend on 160 meters

This weekend was the ARRL 160 meter contest, which is always one of my favorites. I operated for a few hours Friday night, had a couple of long runs going, and ran for a few hours in the early evening on Saturday. The result was over 600 contests, and I had a great time. Next weekend is the ARRL 10 meter contest, which is really almost the opposite as far a propogation and hours of operation goes. With the low sunspot numbers, I’m not expecting much, but I’ll be on.

I am learning more and more on contesting. My lesson from this one is, “If you’re running a frequency and getting a high rate of hourly contacts, don’t quit to go watch a football game or something. When you come back, the contest and conditions will have changed, so don’t expect to pick up where you left off. I’ve read that advice before, but I saw it first-hand Saturday night. If I’d kept operating Saturday night, I could have added another 200 contacts or so, but I went to watch Nebraska-Texas game (hey I grew up in Nebraska so I’m allowed.)
Oh well, it’s a contest, and I still had a great time.

Sprint, and good weekend

I ran about an hour and a half of the NA Sprint last night — a very fast-paced contest — and wound up with about 60 contacts. Nothing to write home about, but I had fun.

The good news is the line noise that is generated by the electrical system in this neighborhood disappeared last night, about the same time the snow melted. It had been steady s5 noise since December. It’s great to hear a quiet band again.

This morning I was down enjoying the quiet band, and had three great contacts. They were Joe, N4YG in Huntsvuille, AL, who I’ve talked to a couple times before; John, K3MD, who I’ve worked in many contests but never had a long contact with; and Mike, VE3GFN, in Toronto who had a new K3 and we talked K3s for a while. Good morning on the air.

More on LP-PAN

Here’s a screen shot of the setup, ready to rock and roll. You can see N1MM logger ready to control either radio, and the PowerSDR is showing the bandscope from the K3. If I see a strong signal on the bandscope I can click on it and the radio will move to that spot.

And I’m just getting started with this.

Getting the station set up

With new radios, it always seems to take a while to get the software, the wiring, the station set up correctly. I’ve got the K3 now running throught the ICOM PW-1 amplifier, along with the 756 Pro. I’ve got both radios interaced withe the computer logging program, and a different computer set up as the contest station.

There are still a couple bugs to work out, but I’m getting close.

I tried testing things this weekend running the Texas QSO party, but propagation seemed to be against me. On both 20 and 40 meters, I could barely hear anyond from Texas this afternoon.

Oh well, it’s almost contest season. I’ll be trying to update my contest activity more regularly as the season progresses.

I’m now feeding the RSS feed of this blog to my twitter account. So if you’re a twitterer, you can follow this at twitter/bplantz.

K3 on the air

Last weekend we had 12″ of rain, so it a good one to stay inside and play with the new radio. All I can say is I agree with the reviews, this is a very, very nice radio. The receiver is great, the noise blanker and noise reduction can take out my horrific line noise and it’s a very nice CW rig. There isn’t much more I could ask for.

Here’s the K3, with my K2/100 and KX1. I like Elecraft.