Monday, August 21, 2017

New rig from QRP Labs!

Saw this from Hans Summer G0UPL on the QRP-L list today. 


The new QRP Labs kit "QCX" is now available, a single-band 5W transceiver with high performance and packed with features, including a WSPR beacon, built-in test equipment, CW decoder, synthesized rotary-encoder VFO, etc. The kit price is $49 (equivalent to £38.06, 41.73€ at time of writing).


Order here: https://shop.qrp-labs.com/qcx . Shipping is $6.30 to anywhere in the world and delivery is tax-free.


The 137-page assembly/operation manual can be downloaded here http://qrp-labs.com/qcx and includes circuit diagram and comprehensive description of circuit operation.




Features:
  • Easy to build, single-board design, 10 x 8cm, all controls are board-mounted
  • Professional quality double-sided, through-hole plated, silk-screenprinted PCB
  • Choice of single band, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20 or 17m
  • Approximately 3-5W CW output (depending on supply voltage)
  • 7-16V recommended supply voltage
  • Class E power amplifier, transistors run cool… even with no heatsinks
  • 7-element Low Pass Filter ensures regulatory compliance
  • CW envelope shaping to remove key clicks
  • High performance receiver with at least 50dB of unwanted sideband cancellation
  • 200Hz CW filter with no ringing
  • Si5351A Synthesized VFO with rotary encoder tuning
  • 16 x 2 blue backlight LCD screen
  • Iambic keyer or straight key option included in the firmware
  • Simple Digital Signal Processing assisted CW decoder, displayed real-time on-screen
  • On-screen S-meter
  • Full or semi QSK operation using fast solid-state transmit/receive switching
  • Frequency presets, VFO A/B Split operation, RIT, configurable CW Offset
  • Configurable sidetone frequency and volume
  • Connectors: Power, 3.5mm keyer jack, 3.5mm stereo earphone jack, BNC RF output
  • Onboard microswitch can be used as a simple straight Morse key
  • Built-in test signal generator and alignment tools to complete simple set-up adjustments
  • Built-in test equipment: voltmeter, RF power meter, frequency counter, signal generator
  • Beacon mode, supporting automatic CW or WSPR operation
  • GPS interface for reference frequency calibration and time-keeping (for WSPR beacon)


WOW!!   What a rig for the money spent!!  

73 de KB9BVN



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Went to Kansas tonight!

Got on the air at about 7PM local time (23:00Z) and started listening around and was very happy to hear more signals tonight than I have heard in a week or two.  I heard John K0JVX calling CQ around 7050 Khz and I threw him a few replies before he finally heard me.  Band conditions were noisy with lots of QRN and QSB going on but he's a 73 year old ham with 60 years experience.  He pulled me up out of the bottom like he was pulling a big catfish out of the Mississippi River.  John was running 80w from a Ten Tec Omni D and a dipole.  

Ten Tec Omni D - a great rig! 
I gave him an honest 599 and he gave me a 339 with QSB and QRN.  We traded info and the QSO lasted about 6 minutes.  It was great to make a contact again with the HW8 and my attic dipole.   80w vs 2w and we got the job done, THANKS JOHN!  John lives in Olathe Kansas, not a new state for this year but a good QSO nevertheless.

Also on Saturday this weekend I was able to get out on the back patio with my new Alex Loop.  Did not make any contacts during the day but I had a great time.

KB9BVN with K2 and Alex Loop


Until next time! 

73 de KB9BVN


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Alex Loop has Landed

Got home from work today and found the Alex Loop I bought from my friend Jay AJ4AY sitting in my office.  So of course I shoved my dinner down my throat and headed out to the back patio with the new antenna and assorted goodies. 

I got it put together pretty quickly...not to self: YOU NEED TO MAKE A STAND FOR IT



Anyway...hooked the batteries up to the K2 and then connected the antenna, and like magic I was hearing stations from 40m to 12m (10m was dead).  That got me excited so back into the house for my Parkwood Paddles. 



I managed to work AC4FZ down in North Carolina on 10.120 Mhz (30m) he was very loud but he could barely hear me...and I was running  five whole watts.  Regardless, I did a happy dance and logged my RST of 229 and moved around. 


All in all I am happy with the small loop antenna.  I will finish the stand for it tomorrow and drag my SWR meter out with me to make sure I have optimal output.  The tuning cap is very sharp on getting locked in...most bands I had about 15 Khz of wiggle room before needing to slightly re-tune. 

WX for this weekend is looking good, and I can see me and the loop heading to the park on Saturday afternoon.  Thanks Jay! 

Tomorrow night I have to teach a class on the Raspberry Pi SBC.  So no radio. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Friday, August 4, 2017

40m is Working Tonight!

It has been a long dry spell around here for QSOs lately. I have just been too busy to get on the air and when I do the band is in pretty bad shape.  The poor little HW-8 and it's two watts have not been really successful lately.

My friend Mike W9ODX over at the "Adventures in CW" blog has been having success with his rain gutter antenna and waiting to get on the 40m band until after 9PM, and he's been making a lot of contacts. 

So tonight I took his advice and I waited until about 10PM EDT and fired up the HW-8 on about 7120 Khz and started calling CQ, I think I sent my CQ's out about 4 maybe 5 times, when I was answered by Gary K9NSS over in Marion Illinois, about 210 miles from here.  Interesting to note that in 1982 F4 tornadoes hit the city and caused extensive damage killing 10 and sending over 200 to the hospital.  Marion is located in the deep southern tip of Illinois.  Gary was running his Icom 765 at 75 watts and we traded 599 RST reports. 

Here's the city in 1910, thanks to Wikipedia. 


It was really great to QSO again!   I just bought a Alex Loop and I am anxious to try it with the HW-8 from my back patio.  Stay tuned! 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cheer up...it could be worse!

Yeah...things don't look too great for HF right now....

Was on Facebook a bit ago and a local ham, new to the hobby, hit me up on chat and asked me why his antenna wasn't working.  He described a perfectly deployed 20m dipole up about 30 feet. He couldn't hear anything and no one was answering his CQ's.  So I check the bands...and found this.  Oh boy.  I think I'll cook some hot dogs on the grill and go watch my grass grow. Maybe later tonight things will improve. 

On another note, another newer ham to the area has been bitten by the QRP CW bug hard,  Michael W9ODX has been using a borrowed MJF 9040 at 5 watts to make contacts.  He lives in a HOA restricted area so his operating has had to be on the move...UNTIL NOW. 

Check out his blog and see how a determined ham overcame the obstacles of the HOA.  Great job Mike! 

That's it for now....getting ready for a weenie roast so we're making baked beans...delicious tasty BBQ baked beans...Mmmmmm.  599 fo sho

de KB9BVN

Best 73! 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Got those Post Field Day blues...

Hi there, it's me again, I know it's been awhile since the last update, I have switched jobs, and have been too busy here lately to get on the air much.  Here's the latest report from KB9BVN and the search for HW8 WAS! 

The bad news is I have not increased my number of states in over a month now.  I am seemingly stuck at 30.  I have not been able to get my Eagle One installed in the back yard, so I am still operating off the attic dipole for 40m.   I had a fantastic Field Day and I hope you all did too. 

Field Day this year was with the Hoosier QRP Group.  Ivin W9ILF was kind enought to invite us to his home and we operated from there.  He lives in Morgan County on a few acres, so we set up two operating positions.  At the controls were Marty N9SE (CW), Michael W9ODX (CW and SSB),  Ivin W9ILF (CW and Cello), and yours truly operating the grill and some CW on 20m and 40m.  Our rigs were from Elecraft, W9SE brought his KX3, and W9ILF brought his K2 out of the basement and into the sunlight.  Antennas were a pair of OCF dipoles up about 30-35 feet aimed in opposite directions. 

Dan N8IE, the trustee of the Flying Pigs QRP Club International, loaned us the club call sign, so we operated the entire time as W8PIG.  We also kept everything at 5 watts or less, yes, 5w SSB and 5w CW.  The SSB guys were cracking up over our call sign but I honestly think it helped us get noticed. I stayed until about 8PM on Saturday night, and Marty, Michael and Ivin worked the night shift.  The die hard CW operators were Ivin and Marty and they worked all night and until the close of the event on Sunday. 

Marty had us using N1MM logger in networked mode, and it was pretty slick.   When the smoke cleared, we had made 309 CW contacts, and about 90 SSB contacts...using only battery and solar power and 5 watts.  We would like to thank every station that worked us, you did a great job of pulling us out of the noise.   It was glorious!  Not to mention we feasted on burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst and pizza!  We're already planning our menus for next year. 

On another front, I will be teaching a Basic Intro class on the Raspberry Pi SBC on August 10th at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance on the west side of Indy.  I have really been trying to incorporate a Pi or two in my ham shack but I am running into QRN issues with the little 2.5A 5v power supplies.  Unless I can find a way to quiet the thing down, I may have to scrap the idea.  It wipes out my HW8 on all bands.  (Not sure if it is the PS or the CPU causing noise...when it's off it's quiet)

The Indianapolis Hamfest was this weekend, and I was working as a VE with the Naptown Amateur Radio Group.  We tested 18 people, and gave 24 exams...in 2 hours.  It was hectic but a lot of fun. One guy drove all the way up from Kentucky to take his Extra and he passed with flying colors.  

For now that's about it....so until next time...

72 es OO de KB9BVN
Flying Pig -57