W1SFR offers an array of products for the QRPer

The KX3 helper non-slip pad.

The KX3 helper non-slip pad tilts your KX3 at an optimum angle for operation.

Steve Roberts (W1SFR) has recently informed me about his new website, KX3helper.com where he sells an array of products for QRPers.

Steve’s product line includes:

  • KX3/KX1 Helper: A foam stand lined with non-slip material to hold the KX3 at a high angle (also other rigs with the controls display on the top surface such as: KX1, HB1-B, TenTec 40/ series, and PFR).
  • QRPad: A foam stand lined with non-slip material for rigs with front-facing controls such as MFJ, OHR, Weber, and Open QRP.
  • FistRest: Neoprene mat covered with non-slip material to provide support when using keys.
  • EndFed 40-6m Antenna: 31 feet long and made with genuine “Wireman” 18 ga Silky Antenna wire. The 9:1 UnUN weighs 3.92 oz. The Antenna wire and lug weigh 3.12 oz. Total weight about 7.34oz.

I’m impressed that Steve tries to source all of his products and materials locally and that his items are quite affordable.

Check out Steve’s site by clicking here.  Many thanks to Graham (G3ZOD) who also informed me about KX3helper.

Posted in Announcements, News, Portable, Product Announcements, Websites | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

SOTAbeams new line of radio stands

KX3-StandMany thanks to Graham (G3ZOD) for this tip:

SOTAbeams (UK) has a new range of perspex stands for popular QRP CW radios.

These include personalized ones with callsign for K1, KX3, FT817, and X1M, and a non-personalized one for KX1, HB-1B, and R4020.

Click here to view SOTAbeam’s range of radio stands.

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OpenQRP kit now available in North America

OpenQRPMany thanks to Graham (G3ZOD) who writes:

The OpenQRP 40m CW Transceiver kit is now available for delivery to the USA and Canada from OpenQRP.com (USA) at $150.00 plus $10.00 shipping (USD).

This provides around 6 to 8 Watts output at 13.5 V on 7 MHz. It includes an LCD display, CW decoder, memory keyer, and has 400 Hz IF selectivity. The processor is based on Arduino technology, allowing experimentation with the firmware. It is designed by Steve Elliott, K1EL, well known for his WinKeyer family of keyers.

(The OpenQRP 40m CW Transceiver kit is also available from Kanga Products (UK) http://www.kanga-products.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=76&Itemid=78  at £89 (GBP) excluding delivery.)

Posted in Announcements, Kits, News, Product Announcements, QRP Radios | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A KX3 Build

Elecraft KX3

Elecraft KX3 by WD8RIF

I recently built an Elecraft KX3 kit and took photographs of the process as I went along. Your host of QRPer.com, K4SWL, thought others would benefit from seeing how simple the process of building a KX3 really is. My thoughts and the photos of the process can be seen here on my website:

http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/wd8rif/kx3.htm

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OpenQRP transceiver available in the UK

The OpenQRP transceiver (Photo: kanga-products.co.uk)

The OpenQRP transceiver (Photo: kanga-products.co.uk)

Graham Smith (G3ZOD) writes:

“Kanga Products (UK) provided the first Open QRP 40m transceiver kits at the UK National Hamfest on 27/28th September.
http://www.kanga-products.co.uk/index.php/openqrp-transceiver

The kit is priced at £89 (GBP) and has an LCD display and front panel controls for Tune, RIT, RF Gain, and 6 push buttons.  Output is 6 to 8 Watts at 13.5 V. [T]he Open QRP transceiver also includes a separate chip that decodes incoming CW and CW sent via paddles!

The spec. is available here:
http://www.openqrp.org/files/openQRP_SPECS_R02.pdf

The transceiver was designed by Steve Elliott, K1EL, of WinKeyer fame.
(Kits are also expected to be available in the USA at some point from a separate supplier.)

I was fortunate to be able to purchase one of the kits at the Hamfest.  Although I haven’t yet had time to put it together, one purchaser already has his transceiver up & running.

This is an exciting product for us in the UK, as normally items like this are imported from the USA, suffering high tax and import charges.

It begs comparison with Ten-Tec’s Model 506 Open Source QRP CW Transceiver, which is more or less the same concept based on Arduino technology (probably the Rebel was inspired by K1EL’s design, which he started in 2009).  The Open QRP is single band and a kit, whereas the Rebel has two bands and is ready-built.  The Open QRP has an LCD display and 6 push buttons, where as the Rebel has no display and two push buttons.
When UK companies sell USA amateur products such as the Rebel, they quite often adopt a “dollar – UK pound equivalence” pricing, which makes them far more expensive here than they are in the USA (although the UK companies do have to shoulder the import costs).  On this basis, if the Rebel is priced at £199 (GBP), it will make the Open QRP kit less than half the price at £89 (GBP).”

Many thanks for the info, Graham! Please let us know about your experience building and getting the OpenQRP transceiver on the air!

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Say “Hi” to Juno as it passes by Earth today

EFB_publicmap1-675Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Troy, who emailed me about a really fun and unique opportunity for amateur radio operators:  to send the NASA spacecraft Juno a Morse Code greeting [specifically, "HI"] when it passes over Earth tomorrow, starting around 18:00 UTC.

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains:

“NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly past Earth on October 9, 2013, to receive a gravity assist from our planet, putting it on course for Jupiter. To celebrate this event, the Juno mission is inviting amateur radio operators around the world to say “HI” to Juno in a coordinated Morse Code message. Juno’s radio & plasma wave experiment, called Waves, should be able to detect the message if enough people participate. So please join in, and help spread the word to fellow amateur radio enthusiasts!

This page will be updated with additional information as the event approaches. In addition, we have created a Facebook event page where you are welcome to a discuss[ion of] this activity.”

ham_morsecode_ditsTo be clear, this is a coordinated and unified message to the Juno craft; there will be no opportunity to hear a response from it.  Rather, the Waves instrument data containing the message will be shared by the Juno team after the flyby.  But still, what fun!

If you’re a licensed ham, and this sounds like something that you’d like to be part of, please check out the the NASA JPL page dedicated to this event. It has all of the information you’ll need to transmit to Juno, including a countdown clock–or to simply listen to everyone who does. Be sure to check out Juno’s Technical FAQ (click on the FAQ link) which answers a lot of the questions participants have already asked.

I’ll certainly do my best to be a part of the unified greeting to Juno.

I should note that I’m pleased to see the JPL page is running despite the US government shutdown. Many other NASA web pages have been affected.

Hi, Juno; we send our greetings!

juno-banner

This article has been re-posted from my shortwave radio blog, The SWLing Post.

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2013 Ten-Tec Hamfest and W4DXCC: Rob Sherwood guest

TenTecLogoAlong with the Dayton Hamvention, I try to attend the Ten-Tec hamfest every year. Not only is it one of the hamfests nearest my home base, but also their “radios only” free tailgating is the source of many great quality radio finds. In the past, I’ve purchased several “boat anchors” and Ten-Tec radios at this event’s tailgating.

This year I’ll be joining the ranks of tailgaters as well, as I reluctantly part ways with my trusted OMNI VI+ in order to pay for some shack upgrades. If you come to the hamfest, be sure to stop by and say hello.

Moreover, this year Ten-Tec has invited Rob Sherwood (NC0B) of Sherwood Engineering to a speak-and-greet. I know Rob; he’s a great presenter, and you’d be hard pressed to find a guy more knowledgeable about receiver design. His free presentation will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday. (He will also host a forum Friday night at the W4DXCC–see below).

Here’s the Ten-Tec Hamfest presentation schedule (see full details on their website):

Friday Afternoon Forms:

1:00 PM  John Occhipinti will speak about the Ten-Tec user nets followed up with a 40 meter SSB net beginning at 2:00 PM direct from the TEN-TEC Homecoming Hamfest.

Saturday Morning Forums:

9:00 AM  Learn about the new FG-01 Antenna Analyzer by You Kits  (Jim Wharton, NO4A)

10:00 AM  Learn what makes a quality receiver  (Rob Sherwood, NCØB)

11:00 AM  Learn about the many features offered with the TEN-TEC 506 Rebel  (Craig Behrens, NM4T)

…and QRP @ W4DXCC

W4DXCC-Logo-2013-Blue2Each year, the W4DXCC coincides with the Ten-Tec Hamfest, and I always try to attend this excellent event, too. My buddy Dave Anderson (K4SV) is the new president of the W4DXCC, and does a fantastic job putting together an informative, fun event. I’ve made many friendships there over the years.

Though the W4DXCC is a DXer/Contesting convention, that definition isn’t strict, so don’t think for a moment that QRP doesn’t have a place there–! Indeed, my good friend, Vlado (N3CZ), is opening the convention with a presentation on QRPer operation.  I do hope he will also display some of his homebrew QRP transceivers (one of which was built into a USB keychain!); no doubt his presentation will be very interesting.

If you’re planning to attend the Ten-Tec hamfest, consider spending the remainder of the day at the nearby W4DXCC. At $30 at the door, it’s a bargain, and I promise you’ll return home with new friends and an even better understanding of DXing.  Come join the fun!

Posted in Conferences, News, People, QRP | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A New Field Event — “Peanut Power Sprint”

peanut-power-pete

The North GA QRP Club gang have added a new annual field event to the amateur radio contest calendar–a field event with an unusual twist. The Peanut Power Sprint is this Sunday, September 29, 2013, from 2000Z to 2200Z.

What’s unusual about this event is that it is open to those operators running QRP, those running more than QRP power, those operating at home, and those operating in the field. Participants will be competing against only those who are in the same class. In addition, both CW and SSB operation are allowed and encouraged.

Here are the full rules, in PDF format: http://www.nogaqrp.org/Peanut%20Power%20QRP%20Sprint.pdf

A couple of items to note in the rules:

  1. Operations are allowed only on 15, 20, and 40m. The recommended 40m CW frequency is 7.060MHz, not the usual QRP calling frequency.
  2. Those operators with a “Peanut Power Number” can work anyone; those without a number may work only those with numbers. It’s not too late to request a “Peanut Power Number”.

Personally, I’m looking forward to be operating as Peanut Power #105, “Salted” (5w, portable).

73, WD8RIF

Posted in Announcements, CW, Events, Portable, QRP, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

LNR Precision introduces the FX-4: a four band CW/SSB transceiver

I saw a prototype of the FX-4 at the Dayton Hamvention this year. Initial impressions are that it is well-built and easily back-packable.

I will see about reviewing the LNR FX-4 after they become available.

Many thanks to Chris (K4RCH) for the tip!

(Source: LNR Precision)
FX-4 NEW!

It is has been a few months since we announced the FX-4 Transceiver but it is getting very close to being available for purchase. For those of you that are friends of our Facebook page or visited our booth at Dayton Hamvention got an early peek at it. Here is an updated picture and it will be a very sharp black color. Other pics are on theFacebook page. We have been making some last minute tweaks that we think you will really like. We plan to offer it for purchase under $500 and you can add your name to the wait list which can be found at the bottom of our purchase page.

FX-4 Specs

Transceiver size in inches 4.10L X 2.8W X 1.5T
Transceiver Weight 12.8 oz.
Current Drain on receive 250-270 ma
Current Drain on transmit 1200 ma
Receive/Transmit Bands 7.000.00 to 7.300.00 MHz
14.000.00 to 14.350.00 MHz
9.999.00 to 10.150.00 MHz
18.068 to 18.168.00 MHz
Frequency control 75 MHz
Display type LCD-128×64
Transmitter Max output power 5 watts CW
5 Watts SSB
Spurious emissions -43dB at 5 Watts
Side tone pitch 550Hz to 1500Hz adjustable
Receiver sensitivity 0.3uV
Selectivity -3dB/ 2.6K -40db/ 4.5K
Audio Output 1 Watt with 8 ohm speaker
Keyer Iambic A & B adjustable speed from 5 to 40 wpm
Memory Storage 10 per each Band total of 40
DSP filtering 300KHz, 500KHz. 1.3KHz, 1.6KHz, 1.9KHz, 2.2KHz, and 2.5KHz.
VFO Drift <5Hz after 5 minute warm up at 30c (<10Hz after 30 minute operation @ 40c)

 

Posted in News, Portable, Product Announcements, QRP, QRP Radios | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

A ham club at a bacon festival: what’s not to like?

(Source: Roanoke Times)

(Source: Roanoke Times)

Many thanks to the Southgate ARC for bringing this to my attention:

The Roanoke Times reports that radio hams were among those attending a bacon festival

The newspaper says hams from the Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club, W4CA, showed up.

“It’s the ham club at the bacon festival,” club member Jim Martin AK4LB explained.

Read the full story at
http://m.roanoke.com/news/2192835-12/thousands-pig-out-at-bacon-festival-in-downtown.html

Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club
http://w4ca.com/

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