Saturday, April 13, 2024

Most "smuggle-able" radio?

There's a KX2 in that camera bag.

I know you can see it...but the only thing airport agents see is camera gear.

Nikon, Canon, Olympus...they all make camera gear - nothing to see here.

After my trip to Ecuador last year, several people emailed to ask me about getting my gear through customs. Any problems?

Ditto with a recent Caribbean cruise and a trip to Nova Scotia.

My radio at the time was either an IC-705. It looks like a radio, not a camera.

I had permission from the relevant entities to bring a radio on all three trips and that was good enough for me. I didn't go out of my way to prove that I had permission, nor did I do anything that would cause a customs official to ask if I had it.

If they'd asked, I would have answered honestly - my job was to cause them to not ask.

To do this, I placed the radio in plain sight - right in my camera bag, which was hand-searched at my request.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Comparing prices of two 20AH LiFePO4 batteries: $60 vs. $265

A higher capacity battery was on my mind when I saw a posting on a POTA forum by Will K4BDA. Will noted the huge price difference between a 20AH Bioenno and a 20AH Nermak. With one being over 4 times the price of the other, I decided to give the Nermak a shot. 

For a bit over a year now, I've had a Bioenno and a Nermak battery - both are 12AH - and have used them at least weekly for POTA activity and as my in-shack 12V power supply.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Vicksburg National Military Park (US-0723)

Drone photo of courthouse
The city of Vicksburg Mississippi is a study in stereotypes - and in contradictions to those stereotypes.

We road-tripped there a few days ago and spent three nights in an old B&B that, at one time, housed Jefferson Davis and other southern statesmen from a bygone era.

There are a number of museums in town and you can easily determine the sympathies of the organizations running them by how they portray events prior to and during the Civil War. If you go, the two museums you must see are the Vicksburg Civil War Museum and the Old Courthouse Museum.

Both are excellent, in different ways, and I'll leave it to the visitor to interpret them as they see fit without further description here.

The courthouse is, for photographic purposes, the town center and was the object of a few clicks of my camera's shutter and of several drone flights.

Parts of the city look as if the Civil War ended just a few years ago. This is not by design, it is simply urban decay in one of the poorest states in the US. You'll see it at the beginning of the video (below). Such contrast...beautiful stately old buildings, surrounded by modern ruin.

The battlefield that comprises the POTA site is north of town and contains a 17-mile (28km) road that allows one to visit many memorials and other sites that explain the battle and 47-day siege that took place here in 1863, leading to the city's surrender.

I activated the park from two locations - both were good but not perfect.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

CQ magazine and Roadrunner magazine - differing methods of media distribution

With CQ Magazine now having given up the ghost, I find myself wondering if (or how) it might be possible for an individual or entity to pick up the where CQ left off. The magazine contained many excellent articles and topical columns that I'll miss.

A unique way of distributing a magazine, in a way I have not seen elsewhere, comes from Roadrunner magazine.

Roadrunner is a magazine about motorcycle touring. It is available in print, and even on newsstands (Barne & Noble), but it is also available electronically - with a twist.

Friday, March 22, 2024

A few thoughts on the QMX transceiver


A recent get-together of Central Florida POTA ops, led, of course, by Bill N4NYM, allowed me the opportunity of meeting a dozen or so kindred spirits at Lake Louisa State Park where I very much enjoyed seeing their set-ups and eating their food.

One of those in attendance was a newbie CW op, Glenn KO4NTA, and somehow Glenn and I got to talking about QRP. He had several rigs with him but the radio he most wanted to show me was his new Army-green (tr)uSDX.

"It costs about $100, covers 5 bands and is super tiny!"

That very statement - since it applies equally - got me to thinking about my inbound QMX, and I asked Glenn if he'd heard of it.

To my surprise, he had not heard of QRP Labs at all.

At that point, I think I may have unwittingly become a bit of a salesman. Glenn had not yet been on the air with his (tr)uSDX and I had not yet been on the air with a QMX. I do have a (tr)uSDX though, and have made a number of hard-won contacts with it on both CW and SSB.

I know the shortcomings of the (tr)uSDX and, now that I've made almost 100 contacts (and two POTA activations) with my new QMX, I have a pretty good idea of where it stands in the $100-Rig Department.