Monday, September 19, 2016

Profiling solar panels & charge controller on a partly cloudy day

West Mountain Radio's newest battery analyzer provides a method of profiling a solar panel by measuring how the panel's voltage changes in response to a change in current being drawn from it. I've been wanting to perform this test on my own panels but the weather here has been partly or completely cloudy for some time now - at least around local noon when the test is best performed.

So instead, I decided to test the panels in a different way. Shortly before sunrise this morning I used the battery analyzer to draw 3 amps from my batteries. For normal tests, the batteries are not connected to anything other than the analyzer and, over the duration of the test, a downward curve is drawn, indicating the discharge characteristics of the battery under test.

Morse makes the Sunday comics

Several US newspapers ran the following cartoon by syndicated cartoonist Jef Mallett in yesterday's edition. Aren't we quaint.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Video: N3JT - The Morse Man

Jim Talens N3JT, founder of CWops, was recently featured on a Washington, DC television station on the topic of using Morse code for a communications medium when all else fails - and perhaps an Elecraft ad to boot!

Click here if embedded video does not work in your browser.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Audio: Commercial CW from 1975

I'm not sure who made these recordings and I've had the audio file for so long that I don't even remember how I obtained it...but here is a 40-year old series of recordings made in coastal areas of Spain when CW was the preferred language on the seas.

Lots of chirping, mostly bugs being used and many operators could identify each other by the distinctive sound of fist or chirp. The perfect keying of today's electronic keyers would have sounded like an oddity to these guys.

Those days are long gone now but here's a taste of how it used to be:


Friday, September 16, 2016

Elecraft repair service

As much as I hate to admit it, I recently had the occasion to experience Elecraft's repair service for the first time ever. My KX2 was returned to me in excellent working order about 3 weeks ago after I fubar'ed the DC power source(s) feeding my KX2.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

ZS2I long-path QRP

Since putting up a Yagi a few years ago I've been able to confirm LP QSO's. No doubt DXers make them from time to time with dipoles and other fixed antennas but those antennas offer no way to confirm the path.

Last week I was able to work VK6 long path on 20m phone with my Yagi pointed east. The station was quite weak LP but inaudible with the antenna pointed directly at him. I was using the KX2 driving my KPA500 to about 175 watts.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

3rd party internal battery for KX2

KX2 and $36 Li-Ion battery
Someone on the YahooGroup for KX2/KX3 radios recently mentioned a lower priced alternative to Elecraft's internal battery for the KX2. I ordered this battery from China via eBay and will be the first to confess to being leery of Chinese products. Their quality seems to be hit and miss - my DJI Phantoms have been fantastic in every way; a lawn sprinkler turned out to be junk.