Saturday, April 27, 2019

mcHF is ready for its outdoor debut (KFF-0556)

Me and my newest best friend - a silicon- and aluminum-based lifeform known as the mcHF - will be activating the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge (KFF-0556) tomorrow 28 April from 1400Z till the batteries die.

The mcHF transceiver has been working overtime lately, on both CW and FT8, filling the log with DX on both modes. It plays well with the Hardrock-50 amplifier even though I am not using a PTT Out from the mcHF thanks to the Hardrock-50's carrier-operated relay. Even at 25 wpm CW the first character (dit) of my callsign is being copied by all I work and by the Reverse Beacon Network.

After an initial hiccup that was fixed by me lowering the 'PA Bias' setting the rig is performing wonderfully and goes from standalone CW to PC-connected FT8 with a single USB cable in less than a minute. It's exactly what I was hoping for when I bought the rig.

If I get ambitious tomorrow, and therefore out of character, I'll make a video of the mcHF in operation, showing some of the controls/indications and explaining the process of getting it up and running on digital modes.

I'll be using my new battery pack even though I have not yet installed the battery protection circuit onto it - I'm waiting on that as I decide whether to leave it as is (3s4p) or make it into a 4s4p pack. Tomorrow's results will help me decide.

In summary:

Where: Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, southeast Texas (EM20oc)
When: 28 April, 1400Z to 1600Z (approximately)
Modes/Freqs: 14.045 CW, 14.074 FT8 (17m FT8 if band is open)
Gear: mcHF QRP SDR transceiver, Hardrock-50 amplifier, 1/4-wave whip antenna


  1. Good luck John looking forward to the results!

    1. Thanks Mike - the wx is beautiful here and begs for either outdoor radioing or motorcycle riding. I'm doing the latter today so as to be on top of my game tomorrow!

      73 - John