Thursday, December 14, 2017

KX2 beta firmware increases output power, adds FM

Wayne N6KR made new beta firmware available recently for KX2 owners that adds FM and increases output power from 10 to 12 watts on 20-80 meters.

The addition of FM is for those who are interested in working through 10m FM repeaters. New menu options now allow the selection of FM as well as at least one PL tone. I didn't fully explore this mode in the KX2 since I don't anticipate a need for it with my own interests.

Monday, December 11, 2017

"Night of QRSS" for Ultimate 3 owners - Dec 31 to Jan 1

Sending QRSS6 (FSK) on 30m at 500mW
David WA5DJJ posted the following to the QRP-Labs group:

"This is a personal invitation to join the Las Cruces QRSS Mafia in our annual New Year’s Eve Operation Celebration.

It is time to dig out all of your QRSS transmitters and get them dusted off, turned on, tested, and ready for our Annual QRSS New Year’s Eve Party. The object is to put as many QRSS signals on all of the Amateur Radio QRSS frequencies that we can.

For the Grabber Operators, try to get as many catches as you can on all frequencies. Hans Summers and others have sold enough QRSS kits that there should be about enough transmitters out there to put a signal on every Hertz of every QRSS segment available.

Tell a friend, loan out your extra QRSS transmitters to someone who doesn’t have one. Talk it up at your club’s December meeting. You might be surprised how many closet QRSS operators are out there.

This year’s QRSS Mafia Celebration will be 48 hours from 0001 UTC on December 31, 2017 to 2400 UTC January 1, 2018. I am hoping to see signals coming in on all the grabbers from everywhere on earth."

Sunday, December 10, 2017

10-80 meter SSB/CW transceiver for $119 (trackable shipping via DHL included)!

This new transceiver - the uBITX - from Ashhar VU2ESE seems to offer a lot of radio for very little money and I can't wait to get my hands on one.

I would be highly skeptical of something like this being available at such a low price but Ashhar's reputation is such that those concerns are not an issue.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

There's a "winter" field day?!

Just what I've been wishing for - and it's been there all along.

Summers here are too hot for true outdoor Field Day participation for a lot of people, including me. For 10 years now (I'm always the last to find out) a Winter Field Day has been held the last weekend in January (27 January 1900Z to 28 January 1900Z).

Friday, December 8, 2017

QCX (20m) completed, aligned, tested

We woke up to a rarity this time of year in this part of the state - snow. Just a dusting but it adds a seasonal accent to the area we don't normally get. Add coffee and the last remaining parts of a QRP kit and you have the ingredients for a fine morning.

About an hour's worth of still-in-my slippers soldering and the kit was finished. The alignment went well and all the parts were smoke-free.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Part 1: QCX kit build

Our weather today in SE Texas is quite cold (by our standards) and rainy, so, with the next few days off work, I decided to start building the QCX transceiver kit today rather than wait for the weekend.

After three hours, all parts are installed except for the toroids, connectors and controls (switches, pots).

With the exception of transformer T4, those items should be fairly quick and easy to install though I will probably wait until tomorrow. I don't know what the duty cycle of my soldering iron is but my own is about 3 hours on, 21 hours off when it comes to kit building. After that - the smoke test and alignment.

The instructions have been quite clear with no ambiguity. For others who may be considering this kit, here are a few photos of where you can reasonable expect to be at a given point in time.

After 1 hour - IC's and most caps installed

After 2 hours - all caps and resistors installed

After 3 hours - everything except the dreaded T1, inductors and controls installed

Monday, December 4, 2017

QCX (20m) arrives and prepares for molten at 11

The remedy for my 630m fixation arrived a few days ago in the form of a QRP kit from Hans G0UPL.

The 5-watt QCX is innovative in a variety of ways and no one who knows of Hans' previous offerings would expect anything less. This is a full-QRP-gallon Class E monoband CW transceiver that also transmits WSPR and has its own built-in test equipment for alignment.