An afternoon of frustration………

Finally some snow for Christmas......
Well it's Tuesday and it's the last day off for me before going back to work. The day has been spent in a very leisurely fashion. The only outing today was early morning to the Chiropractor and that was it. The weather has turned to snow here for the first time this winter snow is staying on the ground. I thought it would be a great day to spend at the radio as the Christmas season for me has been very busy with "stuff" ohter than radio. I tuned the K3 to 14.060 and found K9EEI calling CQ. So at 500mW's I answered his CQ, Carl was 599 here with his 5 watts and I was 569 into Illinois. At the end of our pleasant QSO we exchanged emails as well. Now during the QSO for some reason my keyer was acting up. What I mean by this is it would send radium dot's one after the other without me keying the keyer. The keyer that I have is the Begali contour which is Iambic
paddle with magnetic return. I played with the adjustments some time ago without testing it....thus the strange behavior of the key. It was time to adjust the key and on the Elecraft K3 you can put the rig into test mode. This way you can adjust the keyer with out transmitting on the air. After adjusting the key it was time to do some WSPR and maybe some PSK31. I wanted to see how the bands were doing so it was WSPR first. I have a sheet of paper on how to set up the radio for WSPR. (soon I am going to make up a macro so setup is just a push of a button on the K3) Well for some reason I was not transmitting a signal!! I checked and rechecked the settings of both the computer, K3 and sound card. All seemed to be good but still no signal so it was off to PSK31. I was able to decode signals on 20 meters and it seemed pretty active. After setting up things for PSK31 I again had no transmit !!!!  I tried a little of this and some of that but nothing. Now I was muttering to myself  how much a pain in the @#$& the digi modes were. Well it was back to good old CW and they can stick the digi modes for now.  Back to CW and about 2 hours wasted playing with the silly digital modes I keyed my trusty Begali key.....NOTHING....I was not transmitting!!! Then it hit me the dam K3 was still in test mode from me adjusting the keyer!!! Sometimes these added features can be a real pain. Next time I will just switch to the dummy load and transmit into that........ like the old days.
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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