Tuesday, August 15, 2017

POTA activation reports and video (KFF-3056 and KFF-3511) - and a little quadcoptering

The new FT-891 is every bit as good as the eHam reviews say it is and I feel like I definitely got my money's worth. Perfect for POTA ops and easily transportable from vehicle to RV to shack. I have a different antenna option than the full-size vertical I'm using lately - more about that in a future post.

On Sunday (13 Aug) I drove to KFF-3056 (Lake Sheldon State Park) to activate KFF-3056. Such a bizarre place...I never knew it was there and it's only 40 minutes from home. An old fish farm, now serving as a destination for field trips for school kids. Aquatics, the environment, etc - you know the drill. And it's chock full of free-roaming alligators. Alligators and kids - what could be more fun...

Friday, August 11, 2017

North Korea develops ham station capable of reaching US

Dear Leader makes inaugural transmission of new P5 station
North Korea tested a radio transmitter Friday that appears to have the range to reach major US cities, experts say.

After years of research and experimentation, it appears that North Korea is on the verge of being able to reach North America with high frequency radio signals, sometimes referred to as RF.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

POTA activation of KFF-3028

KFF-3028 about an hour north of Houston TX
The new Yaesu FT-891 proved its worth today during my POTA activation of Lake Livingston State Park (KFF-3028) about an hour north of my home. With solar conditions as they currently are it was so much more enjoyable having 100 watts to work with than 10, especially on phone.

The Elecraft KX-2's built-in amp-hour meter is a very useful feature not only for determining how much battery life is left during an outting but also for getting a feel of how long a battery of given capacity is likely to last. For this outting with the FT-891 I used an external amp-hour meter in order to see how much capacity would be consumed during a 1-1/2 hour activation using a 100-watt radio that draws 1 amp during receive.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Coming soon: New QRP CW transceiver kit from G0UPL

From Hans G0UPL earlier today:

This kit will be ready and on sale in about 2 weeks, and costs $49 (approx 41 euros, 37 UK pounds). NO more pre-orders, please wait until it is in the shop.

The kit is a single band 5W CW transceiver kit with lots of features. It also contains a WSPR beacon mode. I'm attaching a photo of the prototype with and without the LCD module, because it doesn't show well in the video. List of features:

Block diagram and schematics now available for Elecraft KX2

At long last, after many requests, Elecraft has made public the schematics and block diagrams of their KX2 at this link (17-page, 650KB pdf). The schematics are very detailed, even containing component values.

Meanwhile, dozens of Chinese engineers/hackers are already fabricating the upcoming $350 bootleg version of the Erecraft KX2.

Recently Elecraft has also begun comparing the K3S and the KX3 to other popular rigs on the market. These comparisons will be posted to Elecraft's website soon. Here is their comparison of the K3S to Icom's IC-7300. Omitted of course is the very large price difference between these two radios.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

A new way to shop for a rig

When you buy a car, you probably test drive it first to make sure it's "all that". Wouldn't it be great if we could try out a radio before buying one, especially if we are unfamiliar with the particular brand in question?

Thanks to SDR and Flex's new SmartLink, it is now possible (details of actual implementation are being "actively worked on") to test drive a Flex 6xxx-series rig. Flex owners are currently using the latest version of SmartSDR (which contains SmartLink) to use their shack-based rig from Starbucks, work (uh-oh!) and other locations via a laptop or other mobile device.

Friday, July 28, 2017

FT-891 ordered - and no taxation without modulation!

After much deliberation I ordered a Yaesu FT-891 today. Two of them.

My first order was with an out-of-state vendor that "has a presence" here in Texas (and 4 other states). My $629 radio would cost me $669. Shipping was free. Order cancelled.

I looked around at the offerings from other out-of-state vendors who also offered free shipping and selected the same radio at the same price. The price for the FT-891 to be delivered to my door $629 total. Ordered.

I really like both vendors and have done a good amount of business with them before. But through no fault of their own, the first vendor (a top notch outfit in every respect) requires more out of my pocket in order to do business with them. And that extra $40 doesn't even go to them. Pay an extra $40 to Uncle Sam for the privilege of doing business with Vendor 1 - I don't think so.

The concept of customer loyalty is alive and well with me and I am happy to pay a bit more for a product from someone with whom I've done business and who has treated me well - but there is a limit and, as mentioned, Vendor #1 wasn't even the recipient of my additional potential expense.

The FT-891 will be here in a week or so. Tax free.