Useful propagation charts
This series of charts (change months and bands as required) is a useful guide to HF propagation. Like all such forecasts, caveat emptor as they said in Rome. I think this comes from G0KYA. See http://www.infotechcomms.net/propcharts/february/ .
Another source for solar data was http://www.solan.info/solar , but when I last checked this page had gone. I am not sure what happened. All I get now is a link for hotels!
Another source (which works) is http://www.solarham.net/ .
As you know, I try to add current data on my blog most days. This comes from http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html .
Somewhere in this lot you should find the data you need.
KX3 and FT817
Further to my earlier comments in a blog post yesterday, I have received several comments about both rigs. The general view remains that the performance of the KX3 exceeds that of the FT817ND although it is in many ways less suited to field use than the FT817.
I have never owned owned a KX3 as these are very expensive in the UK. I own both a very old FT817 and a recent FT817ND. For the modes I use mostly, the FT817s do a great job. I just wish Elecraft radios were not so expensive and looked, and were, more robust. I for one would think twice about using an expensive KX3 as a field radio. I am sure they work really well, but they look flimsy. A fully loaded KX3 is currently more than twice the cost of the FT817, which is a fine radio. My FT817 gets used from MF (with my homebrew transverter) all the way to 70cms. The FT817 has worked all over the world, including indoor handheld SSB QSOs with the USA.
For the avoidance of any doubt I love the FT817 radios and would like a KX3 for home use, if the latter was less expensive. My views, others may not agree.
FT817 – a great radio
Because of my poor voice still, I tend to severely restrict the time I spend on speech modes. I can manage about 1 hour or less on SSB or FM as long as don’t say too much. Modes like WSPR , JT65 and JT9-1 suit me better currently.
As you know, I much prefer QRP (2-2.5W) and for this the FT817 is ideal. So much so that my Lincoln President Mk II (mint) has virtually been unused. It has not been used for a QSO for almost a year! I may pack the Lincoln away.
Yaesu, where is the FT-817’s successor?
As a proud owner of Yaesu gear going right back to an FT7 in 1979, I wish them well. In recent times, life has been very hard for them, and they seemed to lose their way. Today, they still face a threat from China and many of their radios are struggling to compete on price. I was totally amazed at their stupidity at not bringing an FT817 successor to market as we approached the solar peak.
It is rumoured that an FT817 successor will be announced at Dayton in May this year. Like many around the world, I hope they do. There is (was?) a vast market for this product as the original FT817 is now very very old. To do a successor would be so easy. Yaesu – get real and release this product before you lose the market. To not put too fine a point on this, I think if you do not, then you risk bankruptcy within 5 years.
My recommendations to Yaesu are:
1. Design in Japan but make in China (but with excellent quality control in place from the start).
2. Launch a successor to the FT817 soon.
3. Look at your product range and rationalise it.
You must survive. This is the real world.
It looks like my tri-band Par antenna, which should be a good match on 10m, 20m and 40m is faulty. It is a good match on 10m, but only on 20m and 40m via the ATU. Tomorrow I shall try loading it up as a long wire tuned against ground via the ATU. Somewhere I have a Sandpiper Poliakov vertical that I should erect. As I recall this has a 9:1 unun so it matches well on most HF bands via an ATU.
Even soldering on a coax is hard work these days! Oh to be fit.
At the moment I am on 630m WSPR using the earth-electrode “antenna”.
ICOM IC7300 – still made in Japan
It looks from the pictures on the MLS site that this new radio is still made in Japan although the fan on the back says “Made in China”. One wonders when one of the big Japanese manufacturers will design in Japan but make the radios in China? This would certainly be less expensive. At some point, the high Japanese manufacturing costs will bankrupt one of the big three. It is a case of who jumps first.
With decent volumes of the same design, the manufacture of Japanese designed radios in China makes some sense. Just wait until we see a quality amateur radio product both designed and made in China. It will happen. Then Kenwood, ICOM and Yaesu will be seriously undercut and worried. Why do so many products say “Made in China”? Manufacturing costs are much lower than Japan.
|This image is located on the MLS website and not on this blog.|
More on the IC7300
There is a little more on this new ICOM radio on the MLS website. Deliveries are expected “in early 2016” with a UK (initial?) price of “under £1000”. I shall wait.