Restarting the blog, one more time

It’s been nearly two years since my last post to this blog, so it’s time to re-awaken it.

In that time period I’ve stayed active as a ham, and really put the station together here in Little Rock. I’ve gone through a couple contest seasons, and discovered that I living on top of a hill really does make an antenna work better. I’ve done personal best scores in multiple contests, and have a couple of certificates on my wall to show for the effort, but more on that in future posts.

Let’s get back to the basics of the station.  In the two years I’ve continued to experiment and try different radios. In addition to the trusty Elecraft K-line — K3, P3, and KPA500 — I was operating a Flex 3000 as by backup radio.  The Flex had some nice features, but it wasn’t a great CW radio. There was a lag between when you keyed the radio and when it sent a tone, which in high-speed Morse code will drive you nuts.  So I saw an opportunity to trade the Flex 3000 for a Ten-Tec Eagle last year, and I took it. I’m happy I did.

This was my second Ten-Tec Eagle. I purchased one when they first came out, and liked a lot about it, but had problems integrating it with my computer for use as a second receiver. For that reason I sold it, and purchased the Flex.  After using the Flex, I’m happy to be back to the Eagle. I’ll worry about getting the Eagle to work with computer, when the time comes.

The second major change was with my antennas.  I had a Steppir Big IR vertical, that I had been using since 2008. It had seen some hard times — being blown over twice and moved between states — and had quit working. My attempts to repair it didn’t work, so I made the decision to replace it with a new Steppir Big IR, with 80 meter coil.  I also added more radials, and I’ve seen a big improvement in performance. Again, more on that in future posts.

The third upgrade was I painted the shack.  A shack is hamspeak for the room with the radios in it.  It went from an icky yellow to a nice blue.  That was a big improvement.

I’ll round out this post with a photo of the repainted shack.

The repainted shack. Much nicer in blue.