Friday, February 16, 2018

Video: The KX2 goes for a ride and activates KFF-4415

Yesterday was tailor made for outdoor QRP and motorcycling - partly sunny and 75F (23C). I had been wanting to try an antenna idea suggested to me by W0ZF in a previous comment and am happy to report that it worked quite well.

The antenna was simply a 29-foot wire (hurled into a tree thanks to the amazing powers of nylon-corded Gatorade) and a single 29-foot radial. The KX2 was able to tune it on all bands 10-40m though all contacts were made on 20m for this activation.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Video: RTTY with the KX2

This year marks my 40th year in the hobby and, until this morning, I'd never made a single contact on RTTY. With the CQ-WPX (RTTY) Contest in full swing - and the KX2 eyeing me from the bench - I decided it was time to put an end to the dry spell.

A quick read of page 27 in the KX2 manual told me almost all I needed to know. Lacking mention is the reason for the 4-second idling time after each transmission. The manual explains how to defeat it (by sending IM with no spaces) but why is it implemented in the first place?

Friday, February 2, 2018

FT8 - 600 QSO's per hour!

There will be a learning curve for the next version of WSJT-X/FT8 to be released but it will offer a maximum theoretical QSO rate of 600/hr, in part by transmitting five signals simultaneously. Those transmissions will be acknowledgements sent to five calling stations that have been decoded by the DXpedition.

Joe Taylor explains the details and procedures for this upcoming release here in an 8-page pdf file.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tuning characteristics of the Wolf River coil with 102" whip

Today I tested the new mobile antenna on the 10- to 40-meter bands with mixed results.

The antenna is a 102" whip mounted onto a Wolf River Silver Bullet Mini coil which is in turn mounted to one of the stake holes in the bed of my truck.

Bandwidth on the 12 to 20 meter bands is surprisingly wide. As expected, the 12m band requires minimal use of the coil, so the PVC collar containing the tap is all the way to the top.

The 10m position is at the same top-most tap but with the collar turned all the way counter-clockwise. Half a turn clockwise, but still on the same tap, puts the antenna onto 12m.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Motorcycling trip with QRP - the plan so far

A couple of years ago I rode a dual-sport motorcycle (Suzuki DR650) from Tennessee to Utah, mostly off-road the whole way, on the Trans American Trail. I had a QRP rig along for the fun and used it to hurl dots and dashes from my tent each night that I camped. Photos from that trip are here.
Cochise and me in 1970, Tyler TX

Over the past 6 months or so I've been reading a number of books regarding events of American-Indian history here in Texas and they've put me in the mood for another two-wheeled road trip - this time on pavement with my Kawasaki, which will henceforth be known as Cochise II - because I'm a sentimental old fart. The plan is to visit certain areas mentioned in the books as a way of giving structure to what would otherwise be a random ride.