Too active

I’ve been too busy with the new radio to get on the air much. I’ll try to catch up this weekend with some updates. It’s funny, but about half of the people I’ve worked — okay, maybe one fourth — seemed to be running K3s as well. Having a good time with it.

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.

The K3 is here




I ordered my K3 from Elecraft on May 12, trying to get ahead of the orders placed at Dayton. It arrived September 9. The first picture shows the boxes unpacked and unopened about 7 p.m. After a quick trip to pick up an anti-static mat, I started assembling.

The second photo shows my stopping point the first night, after a couple hours. The third photo my ending point on Wednesday night. The fourth is late Thursday night, where I had it together and on the air. All in all, it was maybe a 6 hour process.
The result is a very sweet little radio. More on that later.

QRP contesting

Monday night I participated in the Michigan QRP Club Labor Day Sprint. In two hours, I worked 35 stations in 25 states, two Canadian provinces and from Maine to Washington. I had a great time with it. I plan on doing more QRP contesting over the winter.

One thing I learned, QRP contesting takes a good, no great, receiver. I started out with a different rig, but soon switched the the Elecraft K2. Running a frequency in a QRP contest is easy, but you have to listen carefully. Look for me on further QRP contensts this winter.

More radios


My biggest problem is I enjoy messing with different radios. Every now and then, I run out of room and sell some off, then I start buying again. Today, here’s the lineup.

Icom 756 Pro — love this radio. I had a 756PROIII I sold a few months ago and was really having buyers remorse. I’m glad I found the Pro at a nice price locally.

Elecraft K2/100. It’s my baby. I built it. I love it. I’ll never sell it.

Icom 765. I bought this used a couple years ago for $500. A big rig, big knobs, lots of controls, great receiver, great sound. It’s showing its age by making some funny noises every now and then, but still a great radio. I use it a lot.

Patcomm 16000A. Anotehr $500 find on e-bay. A strange radio, you don’t hear many, or hardly any of them, but a very nice cw rig. Great QSK. I won’t say I love it, but well worth the $500.

Orion I. I really tried to love this radio, but it’s currently for sale on E-bay. I just never got comfortable with it, and it had way to many menus for my taste. I’ll let someone else own it who will enjoy it more than me.

My dog

Second op Buffy

Contesting

Last weekend was the North American QSO Party — cw. I always enjoy this contest, it’s fast, only lasting 12 hours, and simple. I messed around on 15 and 20 meters for a while in the afternoon, and racked up about 50 contacts, but didn’t really sit down and operate.

Then Saturday night I went downstairs and 9:30 and started out on 20 meters, quickly switching to 40 and 80 meters. By 12:30 a.m. I was closing in on 250 contacts, so I shut it down. I had a good, high run rate for those 3 hours and ran a frequency on 40 for the last hour. I seem to have passed a milestone in my contesting skill, where I can now sit and run a frequency for an hour or two. That’s a new one for me.

On the radio side, I picked up a used Icom 756 Pro. I had sold a Pro III a few months ago, and had a serious case of seller’s remorse. I’m really happy to have the Pro, and I can live with the minor downgrade from the Pro III with the extra $$$ I have in my savings account.

Slow summer



I’ve been remiss in keeping the blog up, but the month of July isn’t a great one for Ham radio. Too much band noise from thunderstorms, too little time, and too many other things to do.

The only exception for that was the IARU contest a couple weekends ago. This is a short, simple contest, with a very simple, fast exchange. I went downstairs Saturday night, and managed to rack up neary 400 contacts. I acheived a high QSO rate running a frequency for a couple hours. That got my contesting juices flowing, and I’m looking forward to next fall’s contest season. More on that as we get closer.

I have other interests and hobbies, one of which is cars. My daily commuter car is a 2007 Mini Cooper, and as a friend told me “Minis aren’t a car, they are a cult.” I participated in the cult this weekend at an event titled Mini Takes The States. It was a Mini rally, with several hundred Mini Coopers at the Road America race track in Elkhorn Lake, WI, about 150 miles north of Chicago. Despite some horrific traffic on the way up, it was a fun day.

Field Day results


Well, I made it to Nebraska to operate Field Day with my cousin Brad, KG0GY. Despite breaking both of our antenna supports, we managed to get low antennas on 20 and 40 meters and make about 370 contacts — 368 of them on CW.

We both learned a good lesson — you can’t have too many antenna plans for Field Day. When the first support broke, we joked about going to Plan B. By Saturday afternoon we were on Plan D, but luckily, that one held up.
Next year, we’ll do more antenna preparation.

For me, it was a kick to operate from Nebraska, and send NE as the section. It had been 30 years or so since I had done that.

The photo above is Brad, hard at work. We ran my K2/100 and his Icom 746Pro.

Field Day is coming


Field Day, where Hams all around the country spend a weekend “in the field” operating under emergency conditions is coming. Next weekend I’m travelling to Nebraska to mount an operation with my cousin Brad, KG0GY, from Juniata, Nebraska.

Brad and I have similar operating interests, and we’ve been talking about doing this for years, so it should be fun. He’s been active with the Lincoln Amateur Radio Club for years, and I’ve been active with the Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs. We’ve both been active in Field Day with those clubs, and have both been very active in those clubs. We also share the view that we’re tired of clubs, but like Field Day, so this is our solution.

We’ll be operating 80, 40, 20, and 15 meters, primarily on CW, but may run a little SSB, if we’re bored. We’ll be running my Elecraft K2/100 and his Icom 746Pro. I’ve got a small Honda EU2000 generator that will provide our power.

My Field Day philosophy has always been “if I have to spend more than a couple hours in preparation and more than 30 minutes in setup, it’s too complex.” For the 20 and 15 meter antenna I’m using my Force 12 vertical dipole. I’ve used it past Field Days, and it meets my antenna raising criteria: “If the antenna is too big for my wife to put up, it’s too big.” I’ve included a shot of the antenna broken down and ready for transport. The base is the biggest part of the package.

I’ll post more details from the Field Day site next week, and more photos and summary after the event.

Look for us on 80, 40 and 20 CW as KG0GY, 2A NE.