Category Archives: QRPer Notes

QRPer Notes: TR-45L Overview by K2OM, 8 Year Old Isabella Works the ISS, and POTA with the CW Flea

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


K2OM’s overview of the Penntek TR-45L (YouTube)

Click here to view on YouTube.

Tony (K2MO) adds, “I suggest adding this link to your TR-45L [videos in the field]


Isabella Payne’s amateur radio contact with NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren on the ISS (YouTube)

Click here to view on YouTube.


POTA with the CW Flea/Belka twins (AE5X)

Check out this short article by John (AE5X) where he uses a CW Flea transmitter and Belka-DX receiver for a QRPp POTA activation. I love what John’s done here and I think I may have to give the CW Flea a go too someday.

Here’s the video that accompanies his blog post:

QRPer Notes: Mike’s POTA Bag Load Out, CHA F-Loop Remote Tuning Mod, and KB6NU’s review of the Ailunce HS2

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links/videos to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


511 Deployment 24 POTA radio bag (KE8PTX)


CHA Loop Remote Tuner | K7SW ham radio


The Ailunce HS2 has lots of potential (KB6NU)

Just before Thanksgiving, I received an email from Cara Chen at Retevis. She wrote,

I am responsible for the radio review cooperation. We have a SDR radio HS2 for review cooperation. Are you willing to test and write a blog about it?

When I asked her what that meant, she said that she would send me an Ailunce HS2 SDR Radio, if I would review it here on my blog. When I told her that I would be brutally honest in my review, she seemed OK with that and sent me the radio.

What follows is an honest review. It’s not a QST-style review. I don’t have the test equipment that they do, nor did I have the time to put the radio through all its paces. Even so, I did operate the radio on HF and VHF, phone and CW, enough to make the review worth reading, I think.

If you don’t want to read the rest of this review, I can sum it up as follows: The Ailunce HS2 is a fun, little radio, with lots of potential. It’s not perfect, though. The buttons are too small, the display is too small, and the manual needs work. More about all those below.

What’s in the box?

As you can see below, the radio came with a handheld microphone, a DC power cord, and a USB cable.

First impressions:

  • It’s really small. It’s 45 mm H x 120 mm W x 190 mm D (1.77 in H x 4.72 in W x 7.5 in D)
  • The carrying case is kind of nifty. If you’re going to operate portable, it’s nice to have.
  • The extruded metal case include a nice heat sink.
  • There are a lot of connectors on the rear panel, including the power connector, an SO-239 for HF and VHF antennas, an SMA for a GPS antenna, two USB connectors, an Ethernet connector, and four 3 mm phone jacks.

Continue reading on KB6NU’s website…

QRPer Notes: IC-705 Firmware Update, New YouTube Channels, and ARRL Handbook 100th Edition

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


IC-705 Firmware Update

Many thanks to Uli Zehndbauer who notes that Icom recently released a new firmware update for the IC-705.

Here are the details/notes about this firmware version from Icom:


Changes from Version 1.27

      • – Displays the Receiving (or Transmitting) route icon (RF or TM: Terminal mode) on the RX History Log and QSO Log
      • – Displays the Receiving (or Transmitting) route icon (RF or TM: Terminal mode) to the chunk information in the QSO audio file
      • – Displays the Receiving route icon (TM: Terminal mode) to the following screens;
        • RX HISTORY screen
        • GPS POSITION (RX) screen
        • QSO audio, PLAY FILES screen
        • QSO audio, FILE INFORMATION screen
      • – Improves the WLAN access point list so that you can delete the connected or saved access points
      • – Improves the CI-V command 1F 01 (DV transmit call sign) so you can set only the “UR” call sign without the other call signs.

Click here to download the firmware from the Icom website.


New CW YouTube Channels/Videos

In the past two weeks I’ve received a number of video links from QRPer readers who are featuring CW activations in their YouTube videos.

First up is Steve (K9NUD) who has started a new channel featuring his CW activations primarily using a cootie/sideswiper. Steve is doing something I wish I had the time to do which is add CW closed captions to his videos. This makes it easy to follow along. Check out this video:

Jonathan (KM4CFT) recently noted in the comments of my YouTube channel that he made a video of his third ever CW POTA activation. I had to check it out and am glad I did. You get a very good idea of what it’s like on the air as a CW newbie. In other words: not that bad at all! Incidentally, when I looked up Jonathan on QRZ, I discovered we have a mutual friend in Zach (KM4BLG).

Keep up the great work, Jonathan!

Chris (KD2YDN) sent me a link to the following video on his new YouTube channel. In the video I actually get to hear what my signal sounded like during his SOTA/POTA activation. He certainly captured some amazing morning scenery and a gorgeous sunrise from Westkill Mountain:

I think you should consider checking out these videos and subscribing!


The ARRL Handbook 100th Edition

The ARRL has announced pre-orders for their new ARRL Handbook. I feel like everyone should have a copy of the Handbook. It’s simply chock-full of useful information–much of which is simply timeless. I still reference the 1994 handbook my buddy Mike (K8RAT) gave me shortly after I got my license in 1997. I feel like it’s important to have reference material like this in paper.

As a side note, I’ve been to a number of shortwave radio broadcast transmitting stations and at each one of them I’ve seen the ARRL Handbook on the Chief Engineer’s shelf. Lots of great radio principles inside.

The book is $80 on pre-order. That’s a lot for a book, but it’s also a LOT of book!

Here’s the announcement from the ARRL:

We have arrived at a milestone. The 100th edition of The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications is here: Handbook 100. How do you celebrate the most widely used one-stop reference and guide to radio technology principles and practices? By continuing to fill the pages of another edition with the progress and achievement of radio amateurs. Handbook 100 is written for everyone with a desire to advance the pursuit of wireless technology. Here is your guide to radio experimentation, discovery, and innovation.

What’s Inside

Each chapter is filled with the most up-to-date knowledge representative of the wide and ever-expanding range of interests among radio amateurs. There are practical, hands-on projects for all skill levels — from simple accessories and small power supplies to legal-limit amplifiers and high-gain antennas.

Key topics:

    • Radio electronics theory and principles
    • Circuit design and equipment
    • Signal transmission and propagation
    • Digital modulation and protocols
    • Antennas and transmission lines
    • Construction practices

Updated with new projects and content, including:

    • An all-new chapter on radio propagation covering a wide range of bands and modes
    • New and updated sections on electronic circuit simulation
    • New cavity filter and high-power HF filter projects
    • New coverage on digital protocols and modes
    • New material on RFI from low-voltage lighting and other sources
    • Revised sections covering new RF exposure limits
    • New content on portable station equipment, antennas, power, and assembly
    • New material on ferrite uses and types
    • New section on how to use portable SDR to locate sources of RFI …and more.

Click here for more information and to place an order.

QRPer Notes: HB9HCI’s FT8 Box, TX-500 Covers, and Maxpedition BOGO Sale

Welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to items making waves in the world of radio!


HB9HCI’s FT8 Box

Many thanks to Jean-François (HB9MCZ) who writes:

I just wanted to mention a very interesting little box [available from Lutz Electronics:

Page in German.

Page translated into English.

With this magic FT-8 box and a little power bank, all you need to make FT8 in SOTA expeditions is your smartphone.

I don’t own this product, but found it might interest many people visiting your excellent website.

Best 73′ from Switzerland,

JF (HB9MCZ)

Lab599 Discovery TX-500 Covers

Many thanks to Mike (KG4MTN) who writes:

Hi Thomas,

I have just received a nice set of 3D screen/keyboard covers from KB7MDB for my TX-500. Along with these covers he included 5 screw-on plug covers. All appear to be nicely made and fit my rig just fine. Cost was $15, which includes shipping. I have the 2-cover set, I believe he also makes a single-cover unit. Mine is black but I think he also makes them in orange. Shipping is very prompt. His Etsy site is Brewer 3D Design LLC.

Stay warm!
Mike Serio
KG4MTN

Click here to view/purchase on Etsy.com.

Maxpedition Pocket Organizer BOGO Sale

The Maxpedition EDC Organizer holding my MTR-3B and accessories in this photo.

Many thanks to Ray (K8DRT) who reminds us of an ongoing sale at Maxpedition’s main website. The sale includes a number of popular Organizer Pouches including the Fatty which I use for my Elecraft AX1 antenna, and their smaller EDC organizer that I’ve used for a number of radio accessories, logging pads, and EDC items over the years.

Click here to check out all of the items in the BOGO sale.

QRPer Notes: sBITX Prototype, Updated Icom Control Software, and Jim Stafford (W4QO) SK

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


sBitx Prototype

Many thanks to Pete (WB9FLW) who sends a link to this article on It’s Ham Radio:

Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE demonstrated Hfsignals upcoming SDR transceiver – sBitx today at Lamakaan Amateur Radio Meet.

VU2ESE was working on this SDR Prototype for some time now. sBitx is the latest iteration of the popular homebrewer transceiver Bitx series started a couple of years by Farhan.

Keynotes

    1. Raspberry Pi instead of Arduino – No more Arduino Code, sBitx code is written from the scratch for Raspberry Pi.
    2. Power Output: 40 Watt ~ 20 Meters, 15 Meters ~ 25 Watts, 10 Meters ~ 10 Watts
    3. Ditched IRF 510 for IRF Z24N for Finals
    4. $250 for global buyers. Indian buyers would have to wait for now.
    5. Display: 7″ Raspberry Pi Stock Display
    6. Easy Digital Modes – FT8, RTTY, Free DV etc. No extra wiring is required.
    7. Simple Integration with existing Linux Desktop or Remote Login via SSH or VNC

Here’s the Github for sBitx: https://github.com/afarhan/sbitx

Click here to continue reading full article.

 

New control software for IC-705 and IC-R8600

Many thanks to Markku (VA3MK) who writes:

Icom has released new Control software for IC-705 and IC-R8600 and it is available on their Icom Japan website now.

Jim Stafford, W4QO SK

Photo of Jim (W4QO) from his QRZ page.

This week, we learned that Jim (W4QO)–a noted fellow in our QRP world–passed away.

Jeff Davis (KE9V) wrote a wonderful tribute on his blog. Jeff writes:

Jim Stafford, W4QO became a Silent Key yesterday. That news wasn’t unexpected, I had been closely following the North Georgia QRP mailing list these last few weeks dreading the announcement that arrived yesterday morning.

I had known Jim for more than 20 years. We first met in the late 90’s during a Four Days in May event back when the conference took place at the old hotel south of Dayton. I think we hit it off because we both were native Hoosiers, but his infectious enthusiasm for the hobby made everyone want to be around him.

He became my guide into the world of low-power radio and over the following years we regularly renewed our friendship on the air, via email, and in person almost every year during FDIM at Dayton. [Continue reading on Jeff’s blog…]

QRPer Notes: NG2E activates 7 summits in one day, K4OGO discovers QRP in Hawaii, New Icom Software, and TX-500 Firmware Update

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


NG2E activates 7 summits on one December day

Many thanks to Jack (NG2E) who shares this Storymap post outlining his effort to activate seven summits in one day.

Jack notes:

[…]My plan was to activate four primary peaks along the Skyline Drive. I then planned to skip over two peaks–Stony Man and Hawksbill Mtn–as I’ve previously activated these peaks. Once activating Hazeltop Mtn farther to the south, I planned to backtrack and pick up the bonus points only for Hawksbill and Stony Mtn if I had enough time and energy.[…]

Click here to view his activation map and narrative on Storymaps.

5 Watts SSB on the Beach in Kauai, Hawaii (K4OGO)

Many thanks to Tommy (N4KBM) who shares this video of K4OGO making his first QRP SSB contact on a beach in Hawaii:

Icom IC-705 Firmware upgrade

Many thanks to Markku Koskinen who writes:

New software available from Icom.

ST-4003W | Firmware / Software | Support | Icom Inc. (icomjapan.com)

The ST-4003W is Windows software, which allows you to set the radio’s time from your PC’s time by connecting the radio to the PC.

Compatible radios (as of November 2021)
IC-705
IC-7100
IC-7300
IC-7600
IC-7610
IC-7850/IC-7851
IC-9700

Use a USB cable to connect the radio to your PC.

The USB port type differs depending on the radio, so please check the radio’s port type before preparing the cable.

Before downloading this software, please thoroughly read the “ST-4003W INSTRUCTIONS” for installation details and what is required for the installation.

New Discovery TX-500 Firmware Update

Lab599 notes via Twitter:

New firmware version available v1.12.00

    1. Improved AGC algorithm
    2. Added beacon mode activity indicator
    3. Added reference frequency correction (TCXO adjustment)

You can download it from here.

 

QRPer Notes: Paul’s Page of Radio Groups, Seven Transistor SSB Transceiver, Xiegu X6100 Update, and Hamvention 2022

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


Paul’s Page of Ham Radio Groups

Many thanks to Paul (W4/VP9KF) who shares this list of popular ham radio groups. He updates these regularly and the page even dynamically monitors the number of members in each group:

http://www.g4bki.com/groups.htm

Paul’s website is chock full of info, so grab a cuppa’ and start exploring!

Novel SSB transceiver design with only seven transistors (Southgate ARC)

Ryan Flowers W7RLF writes on Hackaday about a simple 7 transistor QRP SSB transceiver

When Pete Juliano N6QW sat down to design a sideband transceiver for the 20 Meter (14 MHz) ham radio band, he eschewed the popular circuits that make up so many designs. He forged ahead, building a novel design that he calls Pete’s Simple Seven SSB Transceiver, or PSSST for short.

What makes the PSSST so simple is not only its construction, but the low component count. The same circuit using four 2N2222A’s is used on both transmit and receive.

Read the full Hackaday post at
https://hackaday.com/2021/11/20/pssst-heres-a-novel-ssb-radio-design-with-only-seven-transistors/

Xiegu X6100 Update via Radioddity

Several QRPer readers have reached out noting that Radioddity is now taking orders for the second production run of the Xiegu X6100–they’ve already sold the first batch. Radioddity hopes to ship the first batch soon and the second batch before the end of 2021.

They’re currently running a Black Friday promotion which includes the X6100.

I haven’t heard from other Xiegu distributors yet, but it sounds like early adopters will be getting their units before the end of the year.

I will receive a loaner unit to evaluate and take to the field hopefully within the next few weeks and several readers have orders in the first production run. Scott (KN3A) will be sharing his early experience with the X6100 as well.

Dayton Hamvention is a ‘Go’ (Southgate ARC)

Dayton Hamvention 2022 is not just going to be a premier hamfest but a reunion, as organizers prepare for the first gathering at the Xenia Fairground and Expo Center in Ohio after two years of cancellations.

Hamvention’s general chairman Rick Allnut WS8G said in a phone interview that committees have been meeting and volunteers are committed to making up for the time lost to pandemic cancellations.

Hamvention will be happening on Friday May 20th through Sunday May 22nd with an international reception scheduled on Thursday May 19th. Rick said the registration site is already taking bookings from vendors and inside exhibitors and individual visitors can already buy their tickets. All details are available on the hamvention.org website.

RIck said: “Tickets are all printed and ready to go.”

https://hamvention.org/

QRPer Notes: South Asian Amateur News Blog, Keying with the IC-705 Mic, and KX2/3 Capacitive Key Clearance

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


VU3HZW’s News blog primarily for South Asian Amateurs

Many thanks to Saquib (VU3HZW) who writes:

Hello Thomas,

My name is Saquib VU3HZW from North Eastern India. Your blog is a trove of knowledge for any QRP operator. Your style of writing is awesome!

Now, here’s the story. I’ve started a Amateur Radio News & Blog – itshamradio.com. As a QRPer, you must be familiar with VU3SUA (Sunil Lakhani) from https://amateurradiokits.in.

We would be pleased if you [and your readers] could read some of the articles and give us some valuable feedback. This is just an honest attempt by us to create a vibrant amateur radio news blog primarily for South Asian Amateurs.

Click here to visit ItsHamRadio.com.

Good luck with the new site and thank you for sharing it with us, Saquib!

IC-705 Mic A/B button CW Keyer Challenge

Many thanks to Keith (GW4OKT) who points out that the Icom IC-705’s A/B buttons can be set up to send dits and dashes. It doesn’t allow for proper iambic keying and, as Keith admitted, isn’t terribly easy in practice. Nevertheless, he gave it a go and provided these short videos operating the IC-705 at 20WPM CW:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Keith followed up by saying, “Not for the faint hearted Tom, it’s difficult; I think I’ll just take a spare key!”

Indeed! Thank you, Keith!

KX2/KX3 Capacitive Key Clearance

Many thanks to Dennis (K2DCD) who notes that UC6UAA is selling out his inventory of the KX2/KX3 Capacitive paddles.

If I didn’t already own KXPD2 paddles, I would certainly buy a set. The price is excellent at $40 US with free shipping.

Click here to check it out and/or place an order.

Thanks for the tip, Dennis!

QRPer Notes: NT0Z’s Stealth Antennas, Matt’s Super QSO App, The Communicator, and Andy tests the AX1

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


Stealth Antennas

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend listening to the latest Ham Radio Workbench podcast which features guest host, Kirk Kleinschmidt (NT0Z).

Kirk has an amazing background in publishing and writing and so many tips and suggestions for those who are trying to play radio in a stealthy way.

Check out the podcast, but you might also consider taking a look at Kirk’s book, “Stealth Amateur Radio.”  It can be purchased from his website as a digital book for much less than a paper copy. Continue reading QRPer Notes: NT0Z’s Stealth Antennas, Matt’s Super QSO App, The Communicator, and Andy tests the AX1