New arrival to the shack

A bit unexpected but very welcome arrival to the shack today – a classic Kenwood TS-830s with external VFO-230 and Astatic mic. Also, some coax cable and a matching unit for a random wire antenna to get it on the air from a good home.

First observations:

  • The output power is 40-50W at best instead of 200W (tired 6146B final tubes perhaps?)
  • The narrow CW filter is missing (not installed)
  • The volume control is worn out

On the positive side: receive works fine (at least on 20m), transmit works, all controls are in good working order.

Some alignment and calibration is TBD but overall the radio appears to be in adequate shape for its age.

Mobile hamsticks as a portable antenna

Every year in April, on International Amateur Radio Day, I try not to miss an opportunity to make a few new contacts. Luckily, this year was no exception to the tradition.

However, my operating position this year in SoFlo had antenna restrictions imposed by the local HOA.

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Powerwerx SS-30DV switching power supply – RFI hash noise across all HF bands

Continuing rebuilding the shack. Since hamfests are off-limits due to pandemic restrictions opted to buying brand new equipment on a budget.

Bought a new Yaesu FT-891 which while by all means is not a great performer is a portable and a budget option for a portable/mobile/base station and could be a good choice of a Field Day radio.

HRO had it on sale and also listed Powerwerx SS-30DV as a recommended accessory PSU among slightly more expensive Yaesu FP-1023 (also switching type aka rebranded Samlex SEC-1223) and a more expensive linear Yaesu FP-1030A.

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ZUMSPOT multimode hotspot

Could not miss great sale on Hamradio.com and bought Zumspot w/1.3″ OLED kit  with an acrylic case for it.

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Thank you our Texan friends

They say ‘everything is bigger in Texas’. That is so true about the hearts of Texans.
Thank you for helping us getting back to (new) normalcy, for your compassion and true friendship.

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Shipwrecked

Apologies for the extended absence. As some of you know, the last 2 years I was working hard at work while rebuilding a new QTH on a tropical island investing all my spare time and resources in it.

Ironically, a week after all the hard work was finished, hurricane Dorian came along and destroyed our QTH and most of the island with 185mph+ winds and 11 feet of storm surge taking hundreds of lives and leaving little behind. All the hard work, gear, personal items, everything, got soaked or carried away by the ocean and whatever survived, got carried away by looters.

Thankfully, I left the island a few days before the storm hit. Whatever was in my carry-on bag with me are the few possessions that survived. Unfortunately, ham radio gear wasn’t.

dorian

It will take years (if not a decade) for the life on the island to become normal again (if ever). The current goal is to find a new QTH, regroup, and try to rebuild our lives again.

73!

QRV again

It was almost a year away from ham radio due to work commitments but today I finally managed to take a day off and enjoy some QRP mobile work while driving to Kennedy Space Centre to see ULA launch to ISS. And what a day it was!

On the way to Cape Canaveral, while driving on I95 and checking APRS.fi, I noticed John K2ZA driving a few miles behind me. When he got closer, I called him on 146.520 and he responded instantly. Then, W4UDP also joined the chat from his QTH and we had a great small group until we drove too far away from him. Thank you for your great company, gentlemen!

Then, on the way back from Cape Canaveral, I put my trusty MFJ-1620 7′ long fibreglass 20m hamstick whip on the roof and Yaesu FT-817ND on the passenger seat, and started calling CQ using 5 watts.

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Except later I discovered that it was actually 2.5 watts (!) but nevertheless that was sufficient to complete a short QSO with Virgil N9TMU in Illinois who were about 1,000 miles away as I was driving just south of Vero Beach, FL on I95 which made it almost 2,500 miles per watt!

Then I realized that my power output was set to 2.5 watts only… Switched it to proper 5W and started calling CQ on 14.061:

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Much better! Doubling the power helped and the RST reports I received have improved.

More great Qs followed: two on CW – K3SEW, VE3EYI, and two nice Qs on SSB: Christian FG5DHF in Guadeloupe (1380 miles), and Christopher W8/SP4RF (?) in Michigan.

Thank you all for your patience. It is fascinating how far a little power and great operator’s skills can go when operating QRP.

I hope, I wrote down the callsigns correctly – it was challenging to make notes while driving and keeping eyes on the road!! All Qs are now in QRZ.COM logbook.

Very 73’s!
DE Paul WA4PAW / M / QRP

MFJ-2320

 

ARRL Field Day is in 2 weeks

As the ARRL Field Day is quickly approaching, I signed up as an operator for the night shift for Davie/Cooper ARC.

The club is planning to have 2 HF operating stations, plus a VHF (2m/6m) and a GOTA stations at Markham park in Broward county.

mkparkmaplarge

Most likely will be working on 40m – CW + SSB, logging QSOs with SQIRL logging software.

Stop by to say hi, or look for NA4DC on the bands on June 25th!

73’s!

 

Bluetooth PSK31/WSJT/Digital interface for Yaesu FT817 (and a tablet/PC)

I used a bluetooth CAT control with my Yaesu FT817 for quite awhile ($14 on ebay) and was generally happy with it. There is a small lag but one can get used to it. The advantage is no wires between a laptop and transceiver. Also, I could use my HP Stream tablet with it (Win 8) this way.

Given this success, I entertained an idea of making a digital (soundcard) interface wireless too. As the connection would be simplex and mono (1 channel), a regular bluetooth phone headset seemed up to the job.

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WA4PAW

Just got an email this morning from FCC about approved allocation of a new callsign as per my application – WA4PAW.