Thursday, December 8, 2016

When 80 sounds like 20 - during daylight

As we get ready for the ARRL 10m Contest this weekend, it's the low bands that have been the performers.

I've worked 3B8 and 3B9 many times on the low bands over the years but two days ago, for the first time ever, I worked them in the morning on 40 meters. All prior contacts with that region were made during my local evening.

I was surprised and amazed at the propagation, but it was about to get better...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Advantages of a DIY battery for your KX2

DIY battery for KX2
At least one seller on eBay is offering a do-it-yourself 11.1V, 2600 mAH battery that will fit in a KX2. They don't mention the "KX2" part but it should fit since all others of this type do (I'll let you know soon enough!).

You may be tempted to ask "Why spend $25 for a kit battery when $15 will buy one that's ready to go?"

The answer is that you're not only getting a protected battery, you're getting the ability to buy quality 18650 cells in the future without having to replace the protective circuitry.

Tenergy (non Elecraft-branded) battery for KX2

Tenergy "Propel" 11.1V, 2600 mAH Li-Ion
As some readers know, I've been using two no-name eBay batteries from China to power my KX2. These batteries are different from each other but are both rated at 2600 mAH, fit inside the KX2 and cost about $15 each. Both also include a protection circuit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NPOTA PV04 activation

Using AC Log from N3FJP
An early and foggy one hour's drive this morning put me a few miles north of Romayor, TX in a different part of the Big Thicket National Preserve (PV04) than my other two activations of this park.

The Big Thicket is scattered over 9 separate and distinct sections in SE Texas and some of the unmapped primitive backroads have me planning on coming back on my motorcycle. As I was setting up the antenna, three feral hogs startled me and had me briefly wishing I'd brought my handgun. They ran away, but can be aggressive in larger numbers.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Activating NPOTA MN81

Yesterday was the day for decorating the house for Christmas - hanging different curtains, putting different knick-knacks on the mantle, etc. All tasks that are extremely gratifying for my wife and granddaughters while I politely excuse myself from such estrogen-influenced activity.

Put another way, I was up early for the drive to Waco TX and MN81. I was in the mood for a road trip and this one was perfect - coffee in hand, zero traffic on the quiet country roads with Knopfler, Dylan and just a dash of the Gypsy Kings serenading me along the way. "Let me feel your love one more time - before I abandon it" - best line ever in a song (Dylan - Abandoned Love).

Okay, let's stay on topic, shall we...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

NPOTA antenna work during CQWW?!

The KX2 has made a worthy start in this year's CQWW but I keep thinking about the final month of the National Parks on the Air event and all the activity yesterday before the contest started.

It seems like a good number of stations are making a final push to provide as many NPOTAs as possible to those chasing them.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Bayou Jumper - a new 40m transceiver kit from 4 State QRP Club

A regenerative receiver and a prior kit from 4SQRP Club, the NS40 (remember the spiral inductors
etched into the circuit board?), are now to be combined into a transceiver offered as a kit meant to be reminiscent of old spy radios.

A case is not included but a folding wooden box from Hobby-Lobby (shown here) is recommended and in keeping with the spy theme.

The kit is not yet available for sale but will be soon. In the meantime, further details and the assembly manual can be found here.

It's a neat idea for a kit but when will we get a re-make of Kurt Russell's old "radio rifle"? Now that's a kit I'd buy in a heartbeat ;-)