Posts Tagged ‘Elecraft K2’

Time to do some kit building

Oliver is keeping an eye on things
I was on the radio this afternoon and not much was on the WARC bands   (CW contesting on the other bands) it was time to spin my chair 180 degrees to the project desk. I am in the process of building another Elecraft K2 that when done will be put up for sale. This was supposed to be a winter project but the bands were busy and I was on the radio and not the soldering iron. Now the K2 build has become a spring project. A few years ago if I was asked about kit building I would not ever considered it....BUT...I have been bitten by the bug!! Along with my QRP and QRPp operating I also find kit building to be a very relaxing way to spend time. There are some kits which I have sold such as my Elecraft KX1 and
Control board completed
Some tricky lead forming
LP-Pan. Funny thing is after building something you attach a personal ownership to it that over the counter commercial equipment does not have. I have sold many items purchased but not built and thought nothing of it (other than it was money to get another kit with...maybe time for kit builders anonymous). As for the kits when it came time to say goodbye to make some coin it took some thought before they were put up for sale.
As was said I am in the process of building another Elecraft K2 and I have another blog that deals with the build. I wanted to blog the progress but also highlight other areas such as toroid winding, what was needed to be a kit builder and so on. There are specific posts about the K2 build it self making mention of tricky sections of the build and how it was handled. It's now time to see if the bands have come alive!!

MFJ 1026 noise canceling unit…for today ham!

Things don't seem to work  when you really need them
I have been reading on many blogs of fellow hams who have had an increase in QRN due to many electrical sources and routers just to mention a few. The enjoyment of ham radio has been for many cut short due to devices blowing a hole in the spectrum!! Yes the companies are suppose to adhere to regulations regarding emissions. BUT both the adhering and the enforcement are very much lacking. We as hams are left to somehow deal with the hash that many modern items produce. I have this feeling it is not going to decrease as time goes on but increase. I have found this is were in my case the MFJ 1026 shines for me. I have a Plasma TV on the main floor and when Julie is cooking, surfing the net or relaxing the TV is on with some music playing in the background. I could go down and ask her to turn the TV off....but....I am a married man not a foolish man. Below is a YouTube video I did today showing how effective the MFJ 1026 is. It was done with my Iphone so some movement will be noticed. (note to self....get a proper recording device)

Seems doing nothing is doing something…..

RFI Friday night
My last post dealt with my PC monitors causing me some grief in the form of RFI to my K3. On Saturday I spent most of the day spinning my wheels trying to find a way to lesson or better yet cure the RFI problem. Below is what I had tried to in order to fix the problem.
1. I changed out the video cables and wrapped them with chokes as well.....did nothing.
2 Moved the monitors to other locations on the operating desk...that was loads of fun and it too did nothing.
3. Tried running the K3 just off battery power and.... nothing.
4. Ran the monitors from the 12 volt Astron power supply and again nothing.
5 Put snap on chokes on ALL cables coming out of PC and the ALL cables from each monitor.....NOTHING!
6. Even tried tin foil on the back of the monitor and grounding it...only made monitor look sci-fi.
7. Put 1:1 balun on the coax coming out of the K3 and still had problem.
8. Tried my Elecraft K2 (maybe just a K3 problem) found same issue with K2.
Sunday...not to bad

9. Plugged monitors into separate AC outlets on different circuits and did not fix issue.
10. Ran a ground up to each monitor and video card on the PC (PC is already grounded) and nothing.
11.Repositioned screen to see if that made any difference I thought it did but turned out not to.
 So that was how my Saturday was spent and from doing all the above I was able to find out a few things that I hope may ring a bell on how to solved the RFI isssue
1. As I move my hand closer to the monitor the RFI increases.
2. When the rig is on the dummy load the RFI is gone.....but so is everything else regarding signals.
Now it's Sunday and I have come to the understanding that I am going to just have to live with the problem. I know where it is coming from that sometimes that is half the battle! I am going to do some reading and thinking about the issue. I came into the shack to just roll the desk back up against the wall and tidy up the room. I then turned on the K3 along with the PC and for some reason the RFI is still there but not as much at all!!! Seems doing nothing is doing something!!

Announcing a new blog

Back in December when my second Elecraft K2 kit arrived I tossed around the idea of starting an additional blog about my K2 build. I planned to not only document my kit build but to keep the site updated with links and sites that will help out fellow builders. I have up to this point produced 3 pages and some updating posts on the blog itself. Check out the blog and give me  your feedback as well as any info you would like to see on the site as well.

Contest Skeeter Hunt wallpaper

Just waiting to be framed and hung on the "I love me" wall
 The Skeeter Hunt contest had it's first running this year its sponsored by the NJQRP club it was arranged and coordinated by Larry W2LJ. The theme was "My favorite place". This is a QRP contest and encourages (more contest points) home made or kit gear as well if you can come up with a home made key then your contest score will reflect this BIG TIME!!! As for VE3WDM I had kit gear (Elecraft K2) and I was operating from a park (more points for this). To make this post short and sweet I had a blast in this contest and plan on doing it next year as well.

Does the early bird get the DX…it’s said he gets the worm.

Last Friday we had a "situation" at work that had me working until about 3 a.m. and when I got home I was still all pumped from work and was not ready to jump into bed. The thought came to me about getting on the radio and seeing what DX pileups were out there. I had heard of folks getting on in the wee hours of the morning and catching some rare DX. With great expectations  I turned the radio on....10m dead, 15m dead, 17 and 30 same thing!! Alas on 40m my Elecraft P3 showed some faint signals, I spun the dial to the frequency only to find it was some very weak State side stations. Not that there is anything wrong with that but it's kinda a let down when one is anticipating WILD DX!!!

I did not check the propagation that morning so there could had been a storm brewing or maybe everyone but me was in bed sleeping. As I have blogged about in the past I am trying to get my ARRL Diamond Challenge award (and doing it QRP) at this point I am at 81 DXCC contacts. You only have one year to accomplish this goal and it's now almost December!!!  Having said that I am "really" at 95 DXCC's for 2012 according to Club log. The catch is the ARRL for the Diamond award is not counting ALL DXCC on the list. It is a long story but it's just how the ARRL perculates. I was hoping to bring my K2 or my newly acquired KX3 to work as I was wanting to get some operating time in before work. I am usually in around 5:30 in the morning and I have until 7 to make some contacts. With my Saturday mornings performance I am not to sure if bringing  the rig would be a waste of time.....any ideas out there???

How do you sell an Elecraft K2

My first K2 serial 6613
This week I posted a question on the Elecraft reflector "I'm building a bare bones Elecraft K2 radio and later will be putting it up for sale what kind of options would a buyer be looking for?" I had received many replies and all were very good but also got me thinking. I had always thought of the K2 as a CW radio (selfish me as I am a CW op) but one of the first suggestions was to make the radio both CW and SSB friendly by adding the SSB option. To me that should had a been a no brainier as that opens the market much wider to more potential buyers. I was then also reminded of the invaluable add on that I put in my K2 radio (which is still in my shack and goes out on park and car expeditions) the rework eliminators by unpcbs. These folks have
developed a kit that allows the K2 to be setup and ready for any add on you want to put in the K2. Let me clear the waters a bit......if you build a bare bones K2 with no options but later you want to add some options,  it my require you to  remove some components from the K2 in order to add the option.
NB rework board top view
With the unpcb kit  there is no de-soldering on the K2. In a nut shell you unplug the unpcb board and plug in the K2 option. There is another great advantage to this, if you think you have a defective DSP filter (or any other option) board you simply unplug the DSP filter and plug in the unpcb board and see if the problem is fixed. Its time for me get off my soapbox for the unpcbs folks.......but if you ever are thinking about an Elecraft K2 build this add-on is well than worth the money!!! I just have to jump on the soap box  for a short time again.....On the top of the noise blanker rework board you see some resistors. These resistor (or other components) would normally be on the K2 board and have to be de-soldered to instal the NB board option from Elecraft. With the rework board you unplug the rework board and plug in the NB board. If there ever is a problem with the noise blanker (or any other option the rework kit looks after) you unplug it and plug in the rework board. You K2 will now work but without the NB option. Without the rework board you would have to re-solder in the components you removed for the rig to function properly.

From the post I received great suggestions on options that should be added while building the kit. The one idea I am leaning toward is to just leave the radio "option free" and
NB rework bottom view showing header
when the kit is done ask potential buyers what they want in the rig. So it becomes a radio that is "made to order" The buyer will pay for the options they want and a small fee for assembly, setup and installation but in the end they will have a radio that is customized to their radio needs. It's the way I have always wanted a car purchase to be!! At this point the kit is going through the parts inventory. 

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