W0BG looks back at 100 years of ham radio

(Photo: WikiMedia Commons)

Mark Kelley (W0BG) has published an article on DX Coffee looking back on 100 years of ham radio. Here’s a clip:

(Source: DXCoffee.com)

When you first glance at the title, Ham Radio USA – 100 Years and Counting, you can’t help but think out loud and ask yourself when ham radio had its real start. If ham radio in the USA really is to have its centennial celebration this year, that necessarily means that we’re assigning the year 1912 a great deal of significance. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the formative years of ham radio and leave the modern for another discussion at another time.

[…]No doubt there are many of us who have been asked regarding the origin of the word “ham,” a word which has come to define our hobby. Although you may not take this as the final word on the subject, you will find this particular interpretation interesting, as there would seem to be no reason to doubt its authenticity. The word ham actually appears in the publication “The Telegraphist” in September of 1884 when referring to a not so good telegrapher as a “duffer” or “ham.” The word “duffer” may be defined as an incompetent or clumsy person, one with little professional training or experience. Although today we take great pride in being called a ham in 2012, being called a ham, at least in the context mentioned here, was unflattering and derogatory at best, during the day of the land line telegrapher of 1884 per this particular citation.

Read W0BG’s full article on DXCoffee.com.

Ten-Tec announces availability of three new products

The new Ten-Tec RX-366 adds a contest-grade sub-receiver to the original Orion or Orion II (Photo: Ten-Tec)

Last year, Ten-Tec announced several new products at the 2011 Ten-Tec Hamfest. Three of these products are now available for purchase (see full announcement and photos below):

For the Orion/Orion II owner who loves DX and contesting, the new Model RX366 High Performance ASR Sub-Receiver ($639 US) will be a serious upgrade to the existing sub-receiver (read John Henry’s description below). The Model 717 ($119 US) will allow you to connect new dynamic microphones to older rigs that required a higher microphone input level such as from an electric mic element. While the Model 318 Amplifier Key Interface ($89 US) may not appeal to the QRPer, it certainly will be of benefit to folks who want to hook up an old linear amplifier to one of TT’s newer rigs.

Please find the full product announcements below with added photos:

(Source: Ten-Tec)

Back at the 12th annual Hamfest, TenTec announced several new products that we would have in production, for sale, late 2011 and early 2012.

Today, I am pleased to announce that we have met our goals on the following:

Model RX366 High Performance ASR Sub-Receiver for the Orion Model 565 and Orion II Model 566. This is a new contest grade second receiver for the 565 and 566 Orion series of transceivers. This new second receiver uses ASR (Advanced Signal Reception) technology like what is already a proven winner in the Eagle to provide a great enhancement to the rig. The RX366, requires the new V3 Orion 565 and Orion II 566 firmware. With V3 installed and the RX366 installed, the Orion(s) now have vastly superior performance to the original sub-receiver in terms of immunity to interference from adjacent strong signals and immunity to overloading from very strong signals present on the band. Your Orion 565 and Orion II 566 have never worked so well before.
Price = $639.00
(1 2.4kHz filter included)

Ten-Tec Model 717 Microphone Equalizer / Audio Interface (Photo: Ten-Tec)

Model 717 – Microphone Equalizer / Audio Interface. The 717 will allow you to connect new dynamic microphones, such as the Regal Model 707 Desk Microphone to older rigs that required a higher microphone input level such as from an electric mic element.
The unit works with Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood as well as older Ten-Tec transceivers using 4 or 8 pin circular microphone connectors. Now you can use the rally cool Regal Model 707 Microphone with an older Ten-Tec rig such as an OMNI-VI. You can tweak the actions of hi and low frequencies to meet your needs.
Price = $119.00

Ten-Tec Model 318 Amplifier Key Interface (Photo: Ten-Tec)

Model 318 Amplifier Key Interface. The 318 will allow you to dial in a delay when you connect older linear amplifiers to your transceiver. This will be useful if the amplifier is not designed for full break-in. An excellent seamless add-on for Eagle users who want to adjust the transmitted output to work with older amplifiers. Adaptable to almost any transceiver.
Price = $89.00

Note: V3 firmware for the 565 and 566 is in the process of getting bundled up and placed on the internet. Estimate for V3 release and posting is by 5pm EST Tuesday.

Best Regards,
John Henry
TenTec Inc.

Catch AA0RQ’s Solar-Powered QRPp beacon

(Photo: AA0RQ)

You might want to let your viewers of your nice web site know that on 10133.56kHz AA0RQ/b is on the air…30mw at night and 100mw during the day and solar powered.

Thanks for the suggestion, Bill!

I would also encourage you to visit the QRZ.com page of William (AA0RQ). There, he describes in good detail, the beacon, how to get a QSL and figure the miles per watt to your QTH. I also enjoyed reading his bio and how he fell in love with low power.

Now I’m off to snag AA0RQ/B!

41dB Step RF Attenuator Kit

Hendricks QRP Kits has just added a new 41dB step RF attenuator kit to their product line. Read Doug Hendricks announcement, via QRP-L, below:

We have added another test equipment kit to the lineup at Hendricks QRP
Kits. Ken LoCasale has used the step attenuator circuit in the ARRL
Handbook as the basis of a 41dB step attenuator. The kit comes in a custom
case, and is complete with all parts needed to finish, including a
commercial quality double sided, solder masked and silk screened pc board.
The attenuator uses a pi net work of 2W resistors, and will handle 5 W.
Attenuators are great to use to work low power, and are the easiest way to
make very low power contacts. Check out the manual at www.qrpkits.com.
Kits are in stock and ready to ship. The price is $50 plus shipping and
handling. Thanks, Doug

Click here for Hendricks QRP Kits.

The Coldest QRP Event of the Year: FYBO

Get your winter gear on! The FYBO (Freeze Your B___ Off) Winter QRP Sprint, sponsored by the Arizona ScQRPions, is being held Saturday, February 4, 2012, from 1400Z-2400Z.

The rules are simple, and you even get multipliers for your (low) temperatures. Lots of fun, lots of QRP.

Read the full set of rules at the Arizona ScQRPions QRP Club website.

First photo of the Kenwood TS-990S?

UPDATE May 8, 2012: Want to see the real photo of the TS-990S? Check out this post.

The image above has been floating around the Internet for a couple of months as the concept for the Kenwood TS-990S. Is it the real thing? No. Absolutely not.

It is, without a doubt, a Photoshopped image. I ran an image error level analysis to see what parts were Photoshopped–see results below and follow this link to the full anaysis.

This analysis shows where Photoshop cuts and pastes were made--notice the areas highlighted in pink.

We will post TS-990S images when they become available from Kenwood. [UPDATE: see our most recent post with photo.]

Andy’s 6N7 Tube QRP Amp

In this Glowbug Times article, Andy shows us his very cool homebrew tube amp. Andy shares his motivation:

Once upon a time I’d decided to join a Big Guns Gang and made a Super-Duper Powerful Vacuum Tube QRP amplifier for my 800mW QRPP homebrew telegraph vacuum tube transceiver “3T” (I promise to write a separate article or two about this three tube transceiver project later). It was not an easy decision to me because for that legendary time I’d almost a year used the QRPPpower of less than a watt[…]

Read Andy’s full article here. Make sure to browse the many other articles he has published–his attention to design detail is simply inspiring.

Update: Ten-Tec should take orders for the Model 539 QRP transceiver at Dayton

Prototype of the Ten-Tec Model 539 QRP transceiver at the Ten-Tec 2011 Hamfest.

I just received the following from Ten-Tec:

We are progressing along per our schedule for having the 539 ready for orders at Dayton of 2012.

I have a hunch the Ten-Tec booth will be busy at the Hamvention this year.

Try your hand at Straight Key Night (SKN)

Photo courtesy: ARRL

For many, the CW event of the year is Straight Key Night (SKN). This is the time of year that you dust of the straight key and hit the bands with fellow hams who are using the most time-honored tradition  for sending CW.

Regardless of your sending and receiving skills on CW, SKN has a lot in store for you. Since this is a non-contest event, fellow operators are more patient with making contacts and more likely to rag chew. For many, this is the first time they’ve used their straight key since the previous year’s SKN, thus CW speeds are more comfortable for the novice across the band.

Straight Key Night is held every January 1 from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC. 

The ARRL has a great article about SKN–check it out and get pumped for a full day of straight key bliss.