September 28, 2013
Had a great summer camping (RVing with our fifth-wheel), but the leaves are starting to fall so guess its time to put the RV under the cover and start playing on the workbench and getting back on the air.
Want to finish playing with the vertical antenna ideas for our RV, then start playing with some of the new microcontroller boards I have gotten over the summer. Have found many ham radio related Arduino projects so guess that will be first on my list of things to do. Have to yet to build the PTO for my 4SQRP kit so that is a “must do” in the month of October. Also want to do some playing around with some test equipment ideas that have been floating around in my head. Going to be a busy winter. The forecast is for more snow than average so will not be going out to sun-bath much in the next few months.
Have several QRP rigs I have built but have not used in quite awhile…so plan on doing the musical chair thing and play with them this winter also. Maybe it is time to sell some of these older rigs and keep just a couple for me…stay tuned for the result of that decision. Drop me a line at email@example.com if you have any ideas/projects that you might want to share.
July 25, 2013
Been messing around with my end-fed antenna while camping. Not much luck, but then again band conditions were not too good either. I plan on trying out some vertical antenna ideas for the RV in August.
Been playing with both the Arduino Due and UNO boards. Finally got the USB ports straightened out so I can run both boards at the same time by using port 4 and 5…I sure miss the old days when assigning port numbers was the norm! I think I will be doing a lot of microcontroller projects this winter. I did find a working RF section for my HP spectrum analyzer so want to try some LPF, HPF, and BPF experiments once it is too cold to play outside.
Just gotta include this last bit of news…my neighbors across the road own about 80+ acres and there are a lot of blackberries this year. I have been picking every couple of days and freezing them for this winter for toppings on my cereal. I just love them with my cereal!
OK, I will shut up for now. Right in the middle of Vacation Bible School and I teach third and fourth graders. They ask more smart questions than most adults I know! God Bless each and everyone of them! Will add an update in August about the antenna work both here and on my web page.
May 25, 2013
Well, as they say, FDIM/Hamvention is in the history books. We camped at the KOA with about 200+ hams and had a very enjoyable time. I think I go now to Dayton for the social aspects of FDIM and Hamvention, whereas years ago it was to find bargains and new kits. I did buy the new 40 xcvr from the 4SQRP gang…it is called a Cyclone and uses a neat version of a PTO VFO. The case is made of the same material as the PCB, so that will be a new one for me. I also bought the RF Section (8554B) for the HP spectrum analyzer that I had but without a working RF Section. Also found a blue LCD shield for the arduino microprocessor board. All in all, the trip was very good even though there were a few days of cool weather while we were camping just north of Dayton and then some rainy weather at Shipshewanne.
I made my first contact using my KX1. Was on 40 meters and worked Bill, W9VC down in Richmond. IN. Bill has a very good first and it was fun to chat with him.
I tried operating the first part of the week while at Dayton, but some X-Class flares on Monday and Tuesday (prior to FDIM/Hamvention) made band conditions unworkable. I had to want to give my new end-fed antenna a work out, but that did not pan out. We are going to NY next month for some fishing and visit the XYL’s family, so will try again then.
I am listening the the CQ WW WPX CW contest right now with the KX1 and have found that the variable receive filter is worth its weight in gold. I really like being able to adjust the bandwidth on the fly when conditions get crowded. I can adjust from 0.3 to 2.0 KHz and it makes copying so enjoyable! Guess the KX1 and K1 will both be in my camping box for the summer…hi hi.
That is about it for now. Trying to get some yard work done this weekend before I doing some bass fishing next week, so solder fumes and dit/dahs are on hold for the moment.
Stay tuned for how my antenna experiments go this summer with the RV…
April 23, 2013
Finished the end-fed antenna for the RV today. I ended up taking off about four feet of the wire so the antenna is about 26 feet long. SWR using my K1 with auto tuner is as follows:
40 meters = 1.3 to 1
30 meters = 1.1 to 1
20 meters = 1.0 to 1
15 meters = 1.0 to 1
Sent CQ on 7031 KHz and N9OL in Evansville, IN (386 miles to the SW) answered and we had a short QRP QSO. I was running 4 watts and John was running 5 watts. Things were fine till three other stations crowded in and I lost John in the ensuing chaos. My end-fed is mounted as a sloper and should have favored the NW…but our trips RV’ing this summer will tell more on this.
The antenna is short enough to fit in the foot print of my fifth-wheel RV. I use my awning as the tie-point for the UNUN and coax. If I don’t have the awning up, I can always just use a stake or short pole to hook the UNUN and coax to.
This antenna was the brain-storm of the fine folks at http://www.earchi.org and is their end fed 6 – 40 meter multiband HF antenna. I followed their article and ended up with a great antenna for my RV. Anyone who is space limited as far as antennas are concerned, ought to check out this antenna. They also tell how to make a “No tuner needed” 20 and 40 meter end-fed antennas. The 6 thru 40 meter antenna does require a tuner.
April 18, 2013
Here is a pic of the 9:1UNUN I built last night for a 40 thru 10 meter end fed antenna I want to try out for our RV. Need to measure the antenna today (30 feet to start out and then tune) but we have bad storms going on till late tonight…so may have to wait till tomorrow to put up and try out.
I hope to try this one out first then try the three different vertical antenna ideas I have. More to come later.
April 17, 2013
Mounted the two poles I use for antenna mounts on the back of the RV yesterday. I use those three foot “army green” poles and stack them together to make a mast about 25 to 30 feet high. I have three vertical antenna ideas to play with and also want to built a 9:1 unun for a sloper antenna idea that is said to work good on 40 thru 10 meters…and only 26 to 30 feet long. That size would be perfect for RV’ing and small camping sites since out Fifth-Wheel is also 30 feet long.
We plan on RV’ing in the UP of Michigan, OH, IND, NY and maybe PA if time permits. I like using my K1 when camping…but now will also have my CC1 for 40 meters and my KX1 which is good for 40 and 20 meters. I have the 30 meter band PCB kit but have yet to build it. I also have the auto tuner (KXAT1) kit but think about selling it as I doubt I would ever use is.
Will post antenna results here as they become available and not eating hot dogs at the campfire!
April 11, 2013
Made a couple of contacts with the CC1 but have not yet attempted to measure and drill the front and back panels for the case.
The KX1 arrived today. A tad over 4 watts out on both 40 and 20 meters and the receive sounds fantastic! The KX1 may become my new QRP camping rig. I have the 30 meter option for the KX1…if I install it, it will be the same as my K1. Been raining here for several days now…if it ever stops, I can start playing with the antenna ideas I have for the RV.
Being retired is both busy and hard work…LOL!!!
April 10, 2013
OK, the KX1 is done…the firmware chip was bad but thanks to the KX1 guru Don, W3FPR, that along with a couple of solder reflows and he got the rig working. The guy really knows his stuff! The KX1 should be back here in a week or so and then I can try it out.
Completed the beta build on Etherkit’s new CC1 40 meter transceiver…nearly all smd and challenging for an old fart like me. But had fun, though I may hesitate from future smd projects unless they are size 1206…better yet, stick with thru-hole components…LOL. Made a couple of contacts this evening as is and it works rather well. 2.5 watts out and the receiver is really hot! I have yet to tackle the case which is included but not marked so I have to do some measuring and praying (!!!) to get it right.
We have uncovered our fifth wheel and I want to start playing with some antenna ideas to use this season while out and about…camping/fishing/QRP operation, it just don’t get any better than that!
March 2, 2013
Well, got up to the first Check and Alignment Section and then ran into a problem.The LED display does not work. I suspect U1 which is the microcontroller chip that controls practically everything on the PCB. Taking a break from the whole project and will get back to it in a few days. I have troubleshoot it for several days now and can’t find anything wrong. I can’t vouch for U1 without replacing it…so will have to order it and see if that fixes it.
February 26, 2013
I bought a KX1 back in 2004 while at Dayton and decided it was time to build it. I had forgot how much I enjoyed building Elecraft kits! I was missing a plastic screw and sent an e-mail to them yesterday…that was Sunday. They answered it today and sent out a new screw today…Monday. You can’t ask for better customer support than that.
Here are a few pictures of the build so far…as you can see, I am just now getting started.