Tuesday, November 21, 2023

DXing: KX2 masquerading as a KH1

A cheap 51" (130cm) telescoping CB walkie-talkie antenna and conditions on 10-15 meters gave me the idea to treat my KX2 like a KH1.

Tuesday mornings can offer slow POTA activity but I was pleased with the results anyway from a peaceful little park about half an hour from home.

The weather was perfect and this project served as the perfect excuse to be outside.

In the following video, I made 10 contacts in 20 minutes. Those 10 contacts included 7 DXCC entities - all with a short whip antenna and a single ground radial.

When the bands are hot, amazing things are possible. Earlier this week I was able to work 4W8X on 10m CW from home with the KX2.

This weekend I'll be building a short coil to supplement the CB whip's internal coil with the idea of using the whip on 17/20 meters.

Various online calculators say I'll need 30 turns on a 1-inch form.

I'll post on the results of that next week.






Thursday, November 16, 2023

A spectral look at the KH1's sidetone

I don't particularly care for the KH1's sidetone for two reasons:

First of all, it sounds terrible and I find it to be reminiscent of a code practice oscillator I built as a kid.

Second, there is no way to zero-beat a station based on how their pitch relates to your own sidetone.

Neither of these reasons matter too much - the KH1 is a utilitarian radio designed for a specific purpose - quick deployment in scenarios where other stations are doing the calling (and therefore the zero-beating).

But I wondered: What exactly are the audio components that produce the KH1's sidetone? Nothing in the KH1's manual gives any indication of how the sidetone is generated.

Spectroid to the rescue!

For comparison, here is my Elecraft KX2, with its sidetone set for 560 Hz:


And here is the KH1's sidetone, comprised of many discreet frequencies between 1000 and 11,000 Hz:


UPDATE (20 Nov):

Wayne N6KR mentions on the KX Group.io that I must have taken the reading in "SPOT" mode which would include a bit of background (receive) audio in the spectrum plot. So I made another measurement - key-down - not spot.

Here is the plot for the sidetone (and only the sidetone).

Again, the KH1 sidetone is a broad-spcetrum audio signal consisting of tones from 1000 to 11,000 Hz (thus the raspy sound):


Anyone with a KH1 can verify this via one of the many audio spectrum apps available for smartphones.


Friday, November 3, 2023

1st outting with new KX2 - mucho DX on 10/12m

I ordered a KX2 back in mid July - by mid-October, it had still not arrived...but an 'For Sale' ad was placed by a local ham for a 4-month old KX2 that he decided he didn't want. It had all the options I wanted and none of those I didn't.

My order with Elecraft was quickly cancelled and the new-to-me KX2 was soon on its way.

Today was my first outting - a POTA activation - with the KX2 and, man, I sure picked the right day for it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Working K4SWL and his new KH1

I was lucky enough to catch Thomas K4SWL on his first activation with the new Elecraft KH1 - a CW-only rig for now but which will soon be capable of FT8 operation.
Tom was operating from the Blue Ridge National Parkway in North Carolina, presumably with the KH1's built-in whip antenna. I was using a 1/4-wave vertical in Florida.



Friday, October 20, 2023

New Elecraft KH1 on the way

Oaxaca Mexico is a charming and picturesque old town and we are in the thick of it for a while...but I took time out from the molé, cantinas and markets to dive into the online market, VISA card in hand.

A new KH1 with all the trimmings is on the way to my humble abode north of the border.

The KH1 is currently CW-only but will soon be capable of FT8 operation.

I've read reports of "3 to 4" and "4 to 6" week lead times.