Sunday, April 28, 2019

Today's KFF-0556 activation with mcHF and HR-50

The day did not lend itself to video - or even still photography as can be seen by the resulting photo. Harsh shadows from a clear sky created conditions that - to the camera - washed out the displays on the rig and amp.

Otherwise, it was a fun trip and I'm left wondering what to do about the battery. With both the amp and the radio on in receive mode, current draw is 950 mA. This causes voltage from the 3s4p pack to drop to 12.1 volts when fully charged. On transmit (5 watts in, 30 watts out) current draw is 7.7 amps and the voltage drops to 11.5 volts.

These LiIon cells have a very inconvenient voltage per cell. Three in series presents an anemic voltage to the load; four would produce 16.5 volts, perhaps shortening the life of devices designed for 13.8V. I'll have to research the maximum allowable voltages for the mcHF and HR-50.

I operated 2 hours with better numbers from the amp on 17 meters (where 2 watts drives the amp to almost 50 watts out) than on 20 - no surprise there.

Between the two bands I made 8 contacts on FT8 and 13 on CW. The Florida QSO Party was going full steam on 20m CW - I think that may have sapped some of the activity away from Park hunters. The Reverse Beacon Network and HamSpots websites indicated I was being copied and decoded just fine on both modes.

"Be at One with the mcHF, young Grasshopper"
What to say about the mcHF...
I love it! The keying and T/R are smooth and silent, the receiver hears well with no "harshness" of some rigs and APF works great when needed. I utilized it when being called by DL2ND and UT5PI on 20m CW. They went from partial copy to easy copy.

Going to FT8 involved plugging in a USB cable and opening WSJT-X. Less than a minute. Changing bands via selection in WSJT-X results in instant band change on the mcHF. The HR-50's internal antenna tuner quickly made the telescoping whip seems like a 50-ohm load and life was good. Birds sang, squirrels foraged and stations filled the waterfall.

One thing I don't like about the mcHF: the antenna connector is an SMA, necessitating an adapter. These kits used to be furnished with a BNC connector and, unless there's a good reason for the change, I'll change mine to a BNC soon.

There is much to learn about the mcHF and I am not anywhere near sensai status with it yet - I am still the young Grasshopper. In the meantime, I'm looking at the KX2 and thinking "You may be needing a new home, buddy."


  1. Very nice John, it looks like this TRX is a keeper. I was on 17m today but too late....stupid me, I forgot you were going out. And I wanted to listen for you...but I was too occupied by 6m and 10m. Anyway I see you had a great activation...73, Bas

    1. Hi Bas - conditions were pretty poor. I usually work several Europeans on these activations, but this time only two, and with difficulty. The weather was perfect though, about 23C. FB on 6m - I'm hoping to monitor 6m FT8 this season with my RSPDuo.
      73 - John