Skunked on my day out.

The setup in the car
The CHA P loop 
On Saturday wife and I had some errands to do in the town we used to live in, it's about an hours drive from were we are now. Julie had an appointment that would last for approximately 2 hours so I felt bringing the Elecraft KX3 would help pass this 2 hour time slot. I brought along my new loop antenna from Chameleon CHA P loop antenna . (A review of this antenna is coming soon) The weather was great and I had my spot preplanned out, it was along a river that flowed through town and there was a nice picnic table there that I have used in the past. Once I dropped of Julie for here appointment it was off to the river, I found there was a wedding shoot going on and the table was not gone! I then had to scope out a new spot which did not take long. The new spot was in a parking lot at the entrance to a park, not the same view as the river side setup but it will do. I was keying out CQ for about 1.5 hours with no answers but I did hear some stations but they were already in QSO's. I did check the Reverse Beacon Network to make sure my CW signal was getting out and it was, the conditions were good as well but I guess it was just time for me to give my CW fist a workout. As always Murphy seems to make his visit at least once on my outings. On this day Murphy decided to make my CW operations a bit more challenging. For a long time I have been using the Palm Radio's Mini Paddle. I find this paddle to be very smooth and very well made. A number of years ago the folks at Palm Radio sent me their newly revised cable that goes from the rig to the paddle. It was lighter and more easy to work with and a great improvement over the more bulky cable that was being used in the past.  I have owned this cable for about 5 years without any issues until yesterday on my outing. The end that plugs into the paddle had come apart, the two parts are held together by a screw. I thought at the time I just failed to check the screw and it came loose. I did not have a mini screw driver with me so I had to very carefully plug the connector into the key. Once I got home and upon closer look I realized the connector was broken and the only choice I had was to glue the two pieces together. I did this and it worked fine but in the end this is a one time fix. Overall I made no contacts but it was nice to get out and just have the enjoyment of getting on the radio and it's very relaxing.
Reverse Beacon Network
The broken connector 
Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at ve3wdm@hotmail.com.

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