Once in while…

… one hears behavior on the air that reminds one that courtesy can still, occasionally, be heard on the HF bands.

I’ve made it a goal this year to earn a Worked All States (WAS) certificate working only the ARRL Centennial Celebration W1AW/portable stations using CW and QRP power levels. I’ve managed to work W1AW/portable stations in 27 states so far–I started a few weeks late and missed the first few states but will pick them up in the second half of the year–but I’ve heard some atrocious pile-up behavior while doing so.

This evening, while trying to work W1AW/1 (NH) or W1AW/2 (NJ)–I can’t remember which because I  eventually worked each on several bands before turning the rig off for the night–I neglected to put my KX3 back into split-mode after changing bands, so on my first call to the W1AW/portable station I was transmitting on his frequency, not up as I was supposed to be. Before I could even realize my mistake, I heard someone send a simple “IF UP”–the last two letters of my callsign and “UP”–just once, on the W1AW/portable station’s frequency. Not the “UP UP UP” we  hear far too frequently these days or even “UP UP UP LID“. Just one transmission of “IF UP” to tell me, WD8RIF, that I had made an error. One short, polite, courteous transmission.

I have no idea who this polite ham was. If I did, I would send him an email thanking him for his short, polite message to me.  Maybe he’ll stumble upon this posting on QRPer.com and learn how much I appreciated his simple transmission to me.

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2014 TEN-TEC hamfest cancelled due to pending move

TenTecLogoMany thanks to Mike (K8RAT) for sharing the following press release from Ten-Tec:

Dear Ten-Tec customers and friends,

Hamfest at Ten-Tec has been cancelled this year due to our plans to relocate in early fall.

After enjoying 46 years in our headquarters on Dolly Parton Parkway, we are actively seeking a new location in Sevierville that will offer more modern and energy-efficient facilities, a new showroom, and a much-needed upgrade in working environment for staff.

Our current facility and property are already under contract, and, as a result, they will not be available for our annual Hamfest open house and flea market. And, chances are, in September we’ll be neck-high in boxes and crates preparing for our move.

So, in lieu of our weekend Hamfest, we’re planning to celebrate the entire month of September with a moving sale, offering not-to-be-beat discounts and incomparable specials on Tentec.com.

Stay tuned for more details about the moving sale. And, in the meantime,  come see what’s new at Ten-Tec at Booths 548-550 at Dayton Hamvention, May 16-18.

Jim Wharton, NO4A

President

This is very sad to me as the Ten-Tec hamfest is one of my favorites of the year. I suppose the moving sale could make for a small consolation prize, though.

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Vibroplex to distribute SSB-Electronic products in US & Canada

buglogo_betsyI’ve just received word that Vibroplex is partnering with the European manufacturer SSB-Electronic to offer products like the Zeus ZS-1 SDR and Ecoflex cable to customers in the USA and Canada.

Vibroplex has stated that they are “offering introductory pricing for all SSB-Electronic products from now through the Dayton Hamvention will be posted [on the Vibroplex website] in the near future.  The complete SSB-Electronic product line will be available for shipment approximately April 21st.”

Read full details about this in the Vibroplex press release below:

VIBROPLEX LLC TO DISTRIBUTE SSB-ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS IN UNITED STATES AND CANADA

The Zeus ZS-1 SDR transceiver

The Zeus ZS-1 SDR transceiver

Top-of-the-line Ecoflex™ coaxial cable, the Zeus ZS-1 SDR transceiver and a revamped line of VHF preamps and accessory equipment are now available for delivery.

KNOXVILLE, TN. April 8, 2014 – SSB-Electronic GmbH and Vibroplex LLC are pleased to announce an exclusive agreement for Vibroplex to distribute the SSB-Electronic product line in the United States and Canada.

Already #1 for coaxial cable sales in the European Amateur Radio market, SSB’s EcoFlex™ cable features the lowest loss characteristics of any commercially available non-hardline cable and for price vs. loss characteristics tops many available small hardlines. EcoFlex™ is available in 6 different versions to meet any RF need through 6-8 GHz dependent on cable version. Need maximum signal delivered from the amp to the antenna? This will meet your needs.

SSB is well-known for their range of VHF high performance products including both standard and auto-switchable receive preamps, sequencers and switches. A completely revamped product line has been released for 2014.

The new Zeus ZS-1 SDR transceiver features outstanding specifications and an easy-to-use graphical user interface. This exciting new product will have a feature presentation at the upcoming Dayton Hamvention™.

Visit the distribution webpage at www.vibroplex.com for complete information.

About Vibroplex LLC:

Vibroplex is the oldest continuously operating business in Amateur Radio, in their 109th year. In addition to manufacturing a line of Morse Code keys for the hobby, they also currently distribute products for German radio companies Spiderbeam GmbH and Folding Antennas on an exclusive basis in the United States and Canada.

Contact:

VIBROPLEX LLC
Scott E. Robbins
2906-A2B Tazewell Pike
Knoxville, TN 37918 USA
(865) 309-5073
www.vibroplex.com
www.spiderbeam.us

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April 18 is World Radio Day

IARU logo

Friday, April 18, is the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) “World Radio Day”. The theme for World Radio Day 2014 is “Amateur Radio: Your Gateway to Wireless Communication”.

World Radio Day is celebrated each year on April 18 to recognize the anniversary of the founding of the IARU in 1925. The first president of the IARU was Hiram Percy Maxim, 1AW.

Learn more about World Radio Day:

http://www.arrl.org/news/amateur-radio-your-gateway-to-wireless-communication-is-world-amateur-radio-day-2014-theme

http://www.iaru.org/world-amateur-radio-day.html

Learn more about the IARU:

http://www.iaru.org/

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Elecraft announces the new PX3 Panadapter

Elecraft-PX3-PanadapterLast Friday, if you were lucky enough to attend the Visalia DX Convention, you would have seen the debut of Elecraft’s new KX3 accessory, the PX3 Panadapter. (Many thanks to Eric (WD8RIF) and Michael (KD9AUR) for the tip!)

The compact PX3 form factor is similar to that of the KX3 (see photo above). Features/Specs include:

  • Full-color, fast waterfall of spectrum display
  • Plug-and-play operation
  • Dynamic range and frequency span of up to 200 kHz
  • Can detect signals

    down to the noise floor of the KX3

  • Wide supply voltage range (8-15 V)

  • Low current drain (typ. 140 mA @ 13.8 V)

Click here to download the product sheet as a PDF.

You can pre-order the PX3 on Elecraft’s website: $499.95 as a modular kit, $569.95 factory assembled and tested. I understand that Elecraft plans to start shipping in June 2014.

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TX Factor: a brilliant Ham Radio show from the UK

Without a doubt, this is one of the best produced Ham Radio shows I’ve ever seen. I eagerly await TX Factor’s next episode.

Click here to view TX Factor’s website. Thanks for the tip, WD8RIF!

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World Radio Day reminds us of the relevance of radio

Amateur radio operators understand the importance of radio, especially during emergencies and  following natural disasters. Indeed, the bravery and commitment of the Philippine Amateur Radio Association last year–in the wake of one of the world’s most destructive and powerful typhoons–is a case in point.

If you’re interested, I just posted the following World Radio Day message on my shortwave radio blog, The SWLing Post:
unesco_wrd_logoToday is UNESCO World Radio Day–a day to celebrate the continued relevance of radio in the twenty-first century.

You can make a difference with radio.  Here’s how:

  1. Send a shortwave radio, care of Ears To Our World. You can send one self-powered shortwave radio to a classroom or community in the third world for as little as $40.  In impoverished regions still without internet access or electric power, your tax-deductible donation of one radio can inform and empower an entire community of listeners.
  2. If you’ve heard my 2013 recording for UNESCO regarding the relevance of radio, you may also like to visit World Radio Day’s webpage and listen to what others have to say about the relevance of shortwave radio. Share this page with your friends.
  3. If you do nothing else, please contact your representative(s) and remind them of the continued importance of shortwave radio in today’s world. Click on the following links to search for your government representative(s) in the USACanadaUnited Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  4. Need more ideas to celebrate World Radio Day?  Check out UNESCO’s list.

Oh, and here’s one more thing you can do:  Simply turn on your radio, and listen.  I’m pleased to note that World Radio Day, although still a fairly new international holiday, is receiving increased media attention each year.  After all, radio listening can be a wonderful, meaningful experience–as well as a worthy cause.  So, enjoy!

Happy listening,
Thomas

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My favorite ham radio apps for iOS and Android

IOS-ANDROID-001

In November 2013, The Monitoring Times magazine published an overview of my favorite ham radio and shortwave radio apps for iOS and Android smart phones/tablets.

I just posted the full article on my shortwave radio blog, The SWLing Post.

Since I plan for this article to be a regularly updated, I struggled to decide whether to keep it here on QRPer.com or on the SWLing Post–I certainly didn’t want two copies and I didn’t want to separate the hobbies with two different posts. In the end, since I’m now the shortwave radio columnist for The Spectrum Monitor magazine, I decided the SWLing Post would be the best place to hold the post.

I plan to update this app list regularly to include new apps and remove ones which are no longer available. If you have a favorite radio app that isn’t listed, please comment on the SWLing Post. Click here to read the article!

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This Wouxun dealer is giving up…

I’ve never owned a Wouxun radio, but I know several people who have.

KG-UV6D-xOne of my readers, Jarno (PA3DMI) over at the SWLing Post, just apprised me of Wouxun.us, who is giving up on the Wouxun brand (though he’ll continue to carry accessories).

Wouxun.us states:

“I’ve finally given up on Wouxun.
They refuse to correct a known defect* in their dual band HT’s.
They also will not support any warranty on their radios.
Over the past four to five years, I’ve replaced about 500 defective radios out of my own pocket and I’ve finally said, Enough is Enough”

With that warning in place, Wouxun.us currently has a closeout price of $109.95 on their Wouxun KG-UV6D v2. Check out the mostly positive review on eHam.net.

Me? I’ll probably pass.

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Tokyo Hy-Power ceases trading

Tokyo Hy-Power headquarters in Japan

Tokyo Hy-Power headquarters in Japan

It appears the Japan amateur radio manufacturer, Tokyo Hy-Power, has filed for bankruptcy and ceased trading.

Their main Japanese corporate website is now offline.

Read the full story on the Southgate ARC website.

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