Summertime blues

It’s finally spring, and while that means warmer weather and May flowers, it also means thunderstorms, poor band conditions and less activity on the radio, at least in my case. Last weekend was a beautiful weekend, so a couple of quick contacts early Saturday morning was the end of my activity.

I did buy another radio during the last two weeks. Ever since the Dayton Hamvention last year — the world’s largest gathering of hams — I’ve been thinking about ordering an Elecraft K3. I’ve held off, thinking that I’d wait until the new radio was in full production and there wasn’t a six-month wait.

Then I talked the N4LQ, Steve in Louisville, KY, on his K3 the other night. When I asked about the K3, he told me he had replaced his Icom 7800 — a $8,000 radio — with the $2,000 K3, and was hapy he did. That sold me and I went to the Elecraft web site and ordered my K3. I won’t see it until September or October, but that’s ok. I’ll have it ready for contest season next year.

Speaking of contests, the biggest ham radio even for me of the summer is Field Day. Held in June, it’s where hams set up “in the field” using emergency power and operate for 24 hours. It’s often done with local clubs or groups, so it’s a nice chance to get out of the basement and out in the open air and do things with fellow hams.

The last eight years I’ve operated 40 cw with the Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs, the local club I belong to. This summer I’m trying something different. I have a cousin who is a ham in Lincoln, Nebraska, so he and I are going to do a two-man, two station portable operation from his mother’s farm. His call is KG0GY and Brad and I are both CW ops, have both been active in our respective clubs, and are both ready to try a Field Day on our own, so to speak. If it works out, it could turn into a new tradition for us.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll detail my Field Day plans and results.