Tuesday, April 17, 2018

FT8 activation of KFF-3496

My activation of Davis Hill State Park (TX) two days ago was an exercise in frustration - nothing went as planned and making contacts was quite difficult. Actually, it was easy to make them - CQ's were answered each time I called - but completing them was another story.

When I arrived at the site, a group of birdwatchers were there with binoculars, huge telephoto lenses and funny hats. So no flying of the new quadcopter like I'd been hoping. They were interesting to talk to though and we laughed about each other's hobbies when I explained what I was doing there.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Dedicated case (and more!) for uBITX arrives from India

A few readers may remember that I ordered a generic case for my uBITX a few weeks ago. It arrived and is well made - but an announcement from Amateur Radio Kits of the availability of a new housing, dedicated specifically to the uBITX, seemed a better idea. It arrived today - the other case will be used for a 630m project.

Front & rear panels

Saturday, April 7, 2018

KX2 Go-Box kit (available in May)

Hans W1JSB's go-box packagings have always been attractive options offered for a variety of QRP rigs. He's now set to offer a kit of parts to allow a KX2 owner to package their rig into a waterproof Pelican housing.

I store and transport my own KX2 in a Pelican-like housing - having the ability to operate it from there, with all jacks/plugs conveniently available, along with front-firing speakers and a touch keyer (and space for a larger battery underneath?) seems like it would add to the convenience of this radio without taking away from its portability.

Hans mentions that the kit will be available in May. I hope to be one of his first customers.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Minion Mini: a new fully built QRP rig from QRPver with a QRO surcharge

I've recently thought that it might be beneficial to have a stand-alone FT8 station that could operate on receive continuously, uploading spots to PSK Reporter and HamSpots. Such a set-up would provide an insight into band openings at the user's location and with the user's particular antenna capabilities.

This $350 rig and a small laptop could provide that functionality with minimal current draw (heat generation) compared to the Big Rig and desktop computer, not to mention being available for actual QSO's and portable operation at a moment's notice. Have I talked myself into it yet...!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Configuring the FT-891, Easy-Digi and WSJT-X

In an effort to become more familiar with my FT-891 I've decided to use it as the main station rig for the time being. I have no love for this radio but keep thinking that I just need to "give it a chance" and it'll eventually prove its worth to me. Yeah, okay...more on that topic in a future post.

I spent more time this morning than I'm willing to admit in getting all the menu items and WSJT options selected in just the right way as to make everything talk nicely together courtesy of an Easy-Digi interface from KF5INZ. After that unspicified amount of time, VA3TO went into the log as my first FT8 QSO with the FT-891.