I am planning to activate the Carl Sandburg Home (NS07) for National Parks on the Air today. I should start sometime between UPDATE (17:00-18:00) UTC and operating for about one hour. I’ll be SSB/QRP on 14286 and possibly 7286 kHz (depending on the type of antenna I can deploy). I’m fitting this activation into a busy day, but will do my best to hit the air and work as many stations as possible.
I just finished packing everything for the activation.
This will be the first time taking my Elecraft KX2 to the field. It feels *very* strange not to pack even an external battery. Just the little radio, an antenna, a clipboard, an assortment of adapters and a short run of coax.
Not sure yet if I’ll hang the Par EFT trail-friendly antenna or use my telescoping fiberglass vertical (which performed admirably last week!). This is a sensitive archeological site, so I have to abide by the wishes of the park ranger on duty (though I’ve been given permission to install the vertical near their vegetable garden). I want to hang the EFT so I’ll have two bands (20 and 40) at my disposal.
If you have the time today, please try to work my station!
Battery Anker Astro Pro2 20000mAh Multi-Voltage (5V 12V 16V 19V)
Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank
Avoid look alike batteries and the next generation model from Anker. The newer Anker
battery is only capable of delivering 1.5A from the 12V supply. Two look alike batteries
I tried did not have the auto-off feature that the Anker does.
ACC2 and I/Q Jacks 2 x 2.5mm Stereo Jack Panel Mount (PH-666J-B)
Phone, Key, and ACC1 3 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack Panel Mount (High Quality) (PH-504KB)
Mic Jack 1 x 3.5mm 4 Conductor Jack Panel Mount (PH-70-088B)
12V IN and CHG IN 2 x 2.1mm DC Power Panel Mount Jack (PH-2112)
12V OUT 1 x 2.5mm DC Power Panel Mount Jack (PH-2512)
You also need plugs and wire for interconnects. I bought some 2.5mm (CES-11-5502)
and 3.5mm (PH-44-468 for stereo, PH-44-470 for 4-conductor) audio cables with right
angle plugs and just cut them to use for the signal lines going to the KX3. I did the same
thing for the 2.5mm (PH-TC250) and 2.1mm (PH-TC210) power cables. A couple of
caveats are in order. The Phone, Key, and ACC1 interconnects require low profile
right angle connectors. The cables I listed above won’t work. Vetco part number VUPN10338 will work. The power cables I’ve listed above use 24 gauge wire. This
is a little light, but the runs are small so I think it is OK. You can use higher gauge
cables if you can find a source.
USB OUT USB 2.0 Right Angle Extension Cable (RR-AAR04P-20G)
L Brackets 8 x Bracket Rt Ang Mount 4-40 Steel (612K-ND)
These L brackets are used to mount the KX3 to the panel and the panel to the case.
For mounting the KX3, I use a little piece of stick on felt on the bracket to protect the
KX3’s cabinet from damage. Replace the KX3’s screws with #4-40 Thread Size, 1/4”
Length Steel Pan Head Machine Screw, Black Oxide Finish (see below). For the panel
mounting, use #6-32 Thread Size, 3/16” Length self tapping sheet metal screw. You
may need to cut the tip off in order to not puncture the outside of the case.
RG316 BNC Male Angle to BNC Female SM Bulkhead Coaxial RF Pigtail Cable (6”)
This is not the original interconnect I used for connecting the KX3’s antenna output to
the panel. However, I think it is a better option for new designs. The caveat is that you
will need to verify the hole in the panel matches the bulkhead connector on this cable.
There will be a little loop in the cable when you are done, but that is fine.
This is optional if you want a built-in sound card interface for a waterfall display using iSDR. Make sure to eliminate the holes in the upper left corner of the panel if you are not installing. You will also need 2.5mm x 10mm screws to mount this to the bottom of the panel (see below).
In my opinion, the KX3’s noise reduction is totally ineffective for SSB communications. This external noise reducing DSP is one solution, albeit an expensive one, to that problem. It is only for SSB, not CW or digital modes. It is also available from GAP Antenna Products.
Scott: you have done a beautiful job here and have spared no expense to make a wonderfully-engineered and rugged go-box. No doubt, you’re ready to take your KX3 to the field and enjoy world-class performance on a moment’s notice.
Though I’ve never used them personally, I’ve noticed others who have taken advantage of the Front Panel Express engraving service–certainly makes for a polished and professional front panel.
Again, many thanks for not only sharing your photos, but also your bill of materials which will make it much easier for others to draw inspiration from your design!
Speaking of designs, when I looked up Scott on QRZ.com, I noticed that he also sports a QSL card (above) designed by my good friend, Jeff Murray (K1NSS). Obviously, Scott is a man with good taste!
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 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!
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.
Transceiver size in inches
4.10L X 2.8W X 1.5T
Current Drain on receive
Current Drain on transmit
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
Transmitter Max output power
5 watts CW
5 Watts SSB
-43dB at 5 Watts
Side tone pitch
550Hz to 1500Hz adjustable
-3dB/ 2.6K -40db/ 4.5K
1 Watt with 8 ohm speaker
Iambic A & B adjustable speed from 5 to 40 wpm
10 per each Band total of 40
300KHz, 500KHz. 1.3KHz, 1.6KHz, 1.9KHz, 2.2KHz, and 2.5KHz.
<5Hz after 5 minute warm up at 30c (<10Hz after 30 minute operation @ 40c)
I was very surprised to find this handy talkie, the Tokyo Hy-Power XT-751 HF handheld transceiver, at the Dayton Hamvention. This radio will cover from 40 meters to 6 meters in both SSB and CW. It will also have an internal ATU. It is only a concept radio at this point.
Tokyo Hy-Power hopes to have this radio in production mid 2014.
A new kit from the Four State QRP Group and David Cripe (NM0S)
Arising from Dave’s entry in QRP ARCI’s 72 Part Challenge Design Contest in 2010, the Cyclone 40 is an enhanced version of the original design. The transceiver designed for the design contest had 72 total parts, performed well, and won honorable mention. This improved version has less than 100 components and even better performance! The kit features all through hole parts and easy assembly. The receiver is a superhet design with very good sensitivity and selectivity, and tunes the entire 125 kHZ CW segment of the 40M Band – and does so at a comfortable tuning rate. A frequency readout is included so you know where you are at all times.
This is a complete kit, including the enclosure. A high quality board package includes the pc board, front and back panels, the sides, and top and bottom all of which make up the enclosure. The control and jack labels are silk screened in white letters and vividly contrast with the black solder mask, and the holes for the connectors and controls are pre-drilled. The ends are “dovetailed” together making a very rugged, easy to build, and attractive enclosure.
Features and Specifications
Enclosure: A very nice predrilled and silkscreened enclosure is included. It’s easy to assemble and looks great.
Ergonomics: Smooth solid tuning, a quiet receiver with QSK and well behaved AGC. Nicely laid out front and rear panels.
VFO: The VFO is a simple PTO design, is very stable, and also quite easy to build
AGC: Audio derived, fast and smooth.
Frequency Range: 7.000 – 7.125 typical.
Tuning Speed: 10kHz/knob turn typical.
Stability: 300 HZ the first 5 min after power up, less than 10 HZ/hour after that.
QSK: Fantastic QSK! Full Break in, excellent muting, really fast!
All Through Hole Parts There are NO SMT parts in this kit, and only three easy to wind toroids.
Dimensions: 4.4 x 3.6 x 1.9″
Power Connector: 2.5×5.5mm coaxial, center positive. Should be fused at 1A, fast blow at PS
Antenna connector: BNC
Configuration: Superheterodyne, 11 MHZ IF, 4 Crystal IF Filter.
Sensitivity: MDS (Minimum Discernable Signal) -125, Typical, below the normal 40M band noise level.
Selectivity: Four crystal, 500 HZ IF filter
IMD3: 90 dB typical, better than most commercial gear!
IP3: +10 dBm typical – another very good number
Frequency Readout: 3 or 4 digit CW, 1 kHz or 100 Hz resolution (user selectable), developed by Adrian Hill, KCØYOI.
Band Edge Marker: A band edge marker is heard at 7.001 MHZ
Headphone Jack: 1/8″ stereo, standard earbud/Walkman® headphone compatible
DC Current consumption: 30 ma typical at 13.6 VDC.
Configuration: Stable, Wide Range VFO (PTO design), Efficient Class E Final.
Spectral Purity: All harmonics and spurs less than 50dB below the carrier.
Output Power: approximately 4W into 50 ohms
DC Current consumption: 500ma typical at 13.6 VDC Will operate down to 9v DC.
Key Jack: 1/8″ stereo, grounded shell, switching the tip keys TX. Contacts accessible for an internal add-on keyer
Kits should be available at QRP ARCI’s Four Days in May conference at Dayton, and will be for sale on the Four State QRP Group’s web site approximately May 20th. The final price hasn’t been determined yet but should be less than $100 plus shipping.
If you’re planning to attend the Charlotte, NC hamfest (March 8th and 9th), make a point to join the SOTA (Summits On The Air) forum. Christian (KF4LXB), provided me with details:
The forum itself is from 11:45am-12:45pm [Saturday March 9th] in the Cabarrus Room B. There will be total of five of us “SOTAteers” KF4LXB, W4ZV, KI4SVM, WH6LE, and W4ZTM with our kits. We hope to be able to set up a table outside of the conference room so we can have some extra “show and tell” time with our rigs for those interested. We want to get the word out to as many people as possible so we can share about something we all love.
This video features operations of the QRP DE-Xpedition aboard the USS Slater. Among other innovations, they show a protoype Begali Adventurer in action. The Adventurer is a miniature set of paddles which attaches to portable QRP rigs like the new Elecraft KX3.
I just received word from John Henry at Ten-Tec that their time frame for production runs of the Model 539 (Argonaut VI) is on-track with estimates provided at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention.
We are running a small production run right now, working out the kinks of getting it into production. Most places call these “Pilot runs”. Pilot Runs basically get the factory up to speed with the units before we go to full scale production quantities.
He doesn’t see any reason, at this point, why they wouldn’t hit the late fall 2012 ship dates. He also said that they’re working hard to possibly take orders for the Argonaut VI at the 2012 Ten-Tec Hamfest being held at their factory in Sevierville, Tennessee, September 28-29th.
According to John, several Ten-Tec customers have said that they are going to buy a Model 539 and the Model 418 (companion 100 watt linear amplifier) when the 539 starts shipping.
I will attend the 2012 Ten-Tec Hamfest and plan to post updates on QRPer.com from there.