Posts Tagged ‘FDIM’

The scoop from Elecraft at FDIM

So Elecraft came to FDIM today, to announce the new K3S.

The new product is an enhanced K3 with many new features - here's a link to a .pdf which explains them all in detail. And here's a link to a FAQ.

It appears the new K3S will be approximately $500 more than the old version, and the original K3 has been "discontinued" or "replaced" - whichever you prefer. In addition, it appears most, but not all the enhancements will be retro-fittable to make a K3 a K3S. The new bezel and the attenuator, for instance, will not.



I wonder - how does the guy feel who took delivery on a brandy new K3, in the very recent past?  Are they happy because  they squeaked under the wire and got their K3 at the lower price?  Or are they feeling a bit miffed because they ordered and received something that is no longer "the latest and the greatest"?  Except for the cosmetics, it appears that you can pretty much turn your existing K3 almost into a K3S - and you do have a "system" that is continually upgradable. So if you're an Elecraft owner, you can take comfort in the fact that when you buy something, the company does its best to stand behind their product and you.

I for one, am quite happy with my KX3's. They're all the radio I need, and should Elecraft come out with a KX3S tomorrow, I would not be bothered in the least.

The morning UStream feed from FDIM was disappointing. If you attempted to watch it, you saw that only a portion of the video picture appeared and none of the audio. Basically, you missed the entire Elecraft K3S presentation. Things got straightened out during Rev. Dobb's presentation and we were able to hear that the good Reverend was inaugurated as QRP-ARCI's very first Lifetime Member.

The silver lining is that hopefully the feed will be up and running normally for the remaining sessions.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

FDIM and Dayton

Once again, I do not have the good fortune of being able to attend FDIM and Dayton.  Attending FDIM is like, #1 on my wish list, but not this year and probably not next year, either.  Joey’s Confirmation is this weekend and next year, Cara’s will be the same weekend. So maybe FDIM 2016?  I can always hope!

But even though I’m not there, I do have the symposium running on a separate tab and I am listening, while working. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/g4gxl-test is the link, for those of you not in the know.

What I am listening to is mostly over my head.  I’m not a technical wizard by any stretch of the imagination.  Most of these guys making presentations are using transporters while I’m still rubbing two sticks together, trying to make fire.  That said, it’s still fun to listen to. Craig Behrens NM4T gave a talk that I am actually able to follow and enjoy – same for Rev. Dobson’s talk on regenerative receivers earlier this morning. And right now there’s a fascinating talk being given about WWII POWs building clandestine radios by Dave Cripe NM0S. Man, I wish I were there!

All this talk of Arduinos has me curious.  There’s a guy who comes to all the NJ Hamfests who sells beginner kits and I have that ARRL Birthday Month coupon kicking around – and they have a good book on Arduino experimenting, if I remember correctly.  Intriguing (like I don’t have enough to do!).

This afternoon during lunch I had a cool QSO with Gary WA2JQZ who was operating the Marshall Spaceflight Center ARC station WA4NZD. Gary was using a Yaesu FT950 at 5 Watts to a dipole.  He was a good 579 or louder here and I got a 559 in return.  I had actually worked Gary a few weekends ago during QRPttF. So we talked about that among other things.

And I hope I’m not “talking out of school” here, or giving away state secrets, but Gary shared some information that I am going to pass on.  Please listen for N4A later on this year, sometime towards the end of July. The Marshall Spaceflight Center ARC will be using that call to run a Special Event station honoring and commemorating Apollo 11 – which of course, landed on the Moon in July – July 20th, 1969 to be exact.  I’m not sure when they will be on, but I am sure there will be announcements in all the usual places.

As a Baby Boomer, I was a huge manned spaceflight fan/geek.  When I hear about something like this, I make every effort to work the space flight themed Special Event stations – even if it means picking up a microphone (ugh!)

UpdateCongrats to TJ Campie, W0EA (fellow blogger) who won one of four TenTec Rebel radios, which were given as door prizes today at FDIM. It was neat to listen in as his name was announced.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care enough to send the least!

Hello Dayton !!!!

Are any of my readers at FDIM and/or Hamvention?

Do you have anything you’d like to share?  Comments, stories, news items?

Anybody not at Dayton that wants to relate a favorite memory or anything else?

Just for this weekend, I’ve taken off some of the restrictions on commenting, including allowing anonymous comments – but please, give your name and call sign!  (I will delete offensive or spam comments.)

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

A nice surprise

was in the mail when I got home from work – an envelope from the ARRL.  I had recently updated my LOTW log and sent in an application for a bunch of DXCC entities that I had worked.  That application put  me over the 150 DXCC entities worked mark, so the League sent me a little “DXCC 150” sticker for my basic certificate.  I am surmising that you can get an endorsement stickers for multiples of 50 DXCC entities worked, ie 150, 200, 250, 300 and finally 320 and then Honor Roll, I guess.

This submission brought me up to 151 confirmed.  I actually have 3 or 4 more in the log with stations that do not use LOTW, so I will have to get their confirmations the old fashioned way.

In addition to those 3 or 4 I just mentioned, you can add another, as I worked SX5KL in the Dodecanese Islands for another new DXCC entity worked.  I actually worked him twice (yes, I know I’m a hog) once QRO and then about 90 minutes later QRP.  The first time, he was about a 579 here – 90 minutes later, he was blasting through at 599+ and the pileup wasn’t very fierce.  So I took the chance and got through the second time with 5 Watts and thanked him for listening to my QRP signal.

On an entirely different note, I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes for a very safe journey to all of you out there who are traveling toward FDIM and Hamvention.  I hope the weather is great for you and that you all have a great time.  I wish that I could be with you guys at FDIM, and finally meet face to face with so many of you that I have come to consider to be good friends.

To paraphrase W.C. Fields – “All things considered, I’d rather be in Dayton”.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

David Cripe’s NM0S Cyclone 40 Meter Transceiver kit

Readers, check out the Cyclone 40 in this release:

A new kit from the Four State QRP Group and David Cripe (NM0S)

NM0S's Cylcone 40M QRP transceiver.  Look for it at Four Days in May!

NM0S’s Cylcone 40M QRP transceiver. Look for it at Four Days in May!

Arising from Dave’s entry in QRP ARCI’s 72 Part Challenge Design Contest in 2010, the Cyclone 40 is an enhanced version of the original design. The transceiver designed for the design contest had 72 total parts, performed well, and won honorable mention. This improved version has less than 100 components and even better performance! The kit features all through hole parts and easy assembly. The receiver is a superhet design with very good sensitivity and selectivity, and tunes the entire 125 kHZ CW segment of the 40M Band – and does so at a comfortable tuning rate. A frequency readout is included so you know where you are at all times.

This is a complete kit, including the enclosure. A high quality board package includes the pc board, front and back panels, the sides, and top and bottom all of which make up the enclosure. The control and jack labels are silk screened in white letters and vividly contrast with the black solder mask, and the holes for the connectors and controls are pre-drilled. The ends are “dovetailed” together making a very rugged, easy to build, and attractive enclosure.

Features and Specifications

General

  • Enclosure: A very nice predrilled and silkscreened enclosure is included. It’s easy to assemble and looks great.
  • Ergonomics: Smooth solid tuning, a quiet receiver with QSK and well behaved AGC. Nicely laid out front and rear panels.
  • VFO: The VFO is a simple PTO design, is very stable, and also quite easy to build
  • Sidetone: Included!
  • AGC: Audio derived, fast and smooth.
  • Frequency Range: 7.000 – 7.125 typical.
  • Tuning Speed: 10kHz/knob turn typical.
  • Stability: 300 HZ the first 5 min after power up, less than 10 HZ/hour after that.
  • QSK: Fantastic QSK! Full Break in, excellent muting, really fast!
  • All Through Hole Parts There are NO SMT parts in this kit, and only three easy to wind toroids.
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 3.6 x 1.9″
  • Power Connector: 2.5×5.5mm coaxial, center positive. Should be fused at 1A, fast blow at PS
  • Antenna connector: BNC

Receiver

  • Configuration: Superheterodyne, 11 MHZ IF, 4 Crystal IF Filter.
  • Sensitivity: MDS (Minimum Discernable Signal) -125, Typical, below the normal 40M band noise level.
  • Selectivity: Four crystal, 500 HZ IF filter
  • IMD3: 90 dB typical, better than most commercial gear!
  • IP3: +10 dBm typical – another very good number
  • Frequency Readout: 3 or 4 digit CW, 1 kHz or 100 Hz resolution (user selectable), developed by Adrian Hill, KCØYOI.
  • Band Edge Marker: A band edge marker is heard at 7.001 MHZ
  • Headphone Jack: 1/8″ stereo, standard earbud/Walkman® headphone compatible
  • DC Current consumption: 30 ma typical at 13.6 VDC.

Transmitter

  • Configuration: Stable, Wide Range VFO (PTO design), Efficient Class E Final.
  • Spectral Purity: All harmonics and spurs less than 50dB below the carrier.
  • Output Power: approximately 4W into 50 ohms
  • DC Current consumption: 500ma typical at 13.6 VDC Will operate down to 9v DC.
  • Key Jack: 1/8″ stereo, grounded shell, switching the tip keys TX. Contacts accessible for an internal add-on keyer

Kits should be available at QRP ARCI’s Four Days in May conference at Dayton, and will be for sale on the Four State QRP Group’s web site approximately May 20th. The final price hasn’t been determined yet but should be less than $100 plus shipping.

Four Days In May: A look back at FDIM 2012…

Four Days In May is sponsored by the QRP ARCI

Four Days In May is sponsored by the QRP ARCI

One of the highlights of my trip to the Dayton Hamvention last year was attending evenings at Four Days in May (FDIM), a QRP convention sponsored by the QRP ARCI that rather conveniently coincides with the Dayton Hamvention, which I try to attend annually. Though scheduling makes it difficult for me to attend all of FDIM’s daytime presentations, the camaraderie and innovation one discovers at the evening sessions is wholeheartedly worthwhile.

Last year, I snapped quite a few photos at FDIM which I planned to post following the Hamvention. Unfortunately, shortly after the Hamvention, my laptop began displaying signs of an early demise.  In haste, I archived my photos on a portable drive, where they remained buried for a year.  I just rediscovered this photographic treasure, and thought I’d share it with readers; looking through them rekindled my enthusiasm for FDIM 2013, which starts next week!

A quick look at FDIM 2012

A great characteristic about FDIM is the array of QRP products offered by QRPers for the community. More often than not, these products are fairly priced, and often in support of the QRP community rather than major profit-making ventures.

For example, the North Georgia QRP Club produces affordable wood stands for QRP rigs. They’re incredibly simple, but fully finished and beautifully designed, just the thing to prop up your QRP portable at the right angle for desktop use.

IMG_1367 IMG_1369 IMG_1370

These wooden stands support the following rigs:

  • Elecraft K1, KX1
  • Ten Ten R4020/R4030/R4040
  • Yaesu FT817/FT817N
  • Hendricks PFR3

The club can even accommodate custom orders for other rigs. Check out and purchase these on the NOGAQRP website.

Speaking of wood products–one vendor last year featured an amazing array of wooden paddle pieces and even custom wooden tuning dimples (spinner knobs) for the Elecraft K2 and K1.

IMG_1424 IMG_1427 IMG_1428

As you can see from the photos, each piece is perfectly finished and has great character, as one might expect of real wood.

I also ran into Dennis Blanchard (K1YPP) and his wife, Jane, who were signing and selling their books. I wrote a review here on QRPer about Dennis’ story of the challenges and joys of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail. If you haven’t read Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the Heart on the Appalachian Trail, you’re in for a treat. I’m hoping Dennis will attend FDIM this year.

Dennis, being a hard-core QRPer, trekked with ham gear in tow; he brought his kits to FDIM:

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There were a variety of keys and paddles to be seen, of course; offerings range from the home brewed to gorgeous Italian Begali designs:

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One paddle that really caught my attention was QuadraBug, a creation of WB9LPU. What makes this gem stand apart from other “Bugs” is that not only will it form “dits” automatically, but it also forms “dahs.” Truly, an amazing work of engineering. I searched the web for a video of the QuadraBug in action, but found nothing. [UPDATE:  Thanks, Yan for finding a video! See video below.]  This year, I’ll take a video if I’m fortunate enough to see it again.

IMG_1402 IMG_1401

Home-brew galore

There were an amazing number of home-brewed projects on display, and even a home-brew contest. I didn’t capture photos of them all, but I did manage to snap a few.

One that really caught my eye (being a shortwave receiver enthusiast) was David Cripe’s (NM0S) version of Hutch’s Radio. The original Hutch’s Radios were built by US and British POW’s in WWII. Built in canteens, often from confiscated parts, these radios gave POWs hope by allowing them to tune in the outside world, via the BBC WS and Voice of America. In the spirit of the original, David challenged himself to build his version prior to FDIM, with original parts of the era, and in “secrecy.” Secrecy? As many of the components had to be purchased from suppliers on eBay, David tried to intercept all of the incoming packages without his wife noticing. His success was brief–alas, his wife discovered the mission–but fun; still, the end result was a very cool piece of historical recreation with a humorous story to match:

IMG_1403 IMG_1404 IMG_1406 IMG_1410 IMG_1411

Of course, FDIM featured loads of QRP transmitters, receivers and transceivers; here is Dwayne’s (AK4P) 40 meter transceiver, built in a SPAM container:

IMG_1382 IMG_1385 IMG_1386

Terry Young, K4KJP, built a very cool pocket 20 meter transceiver in an Altoids tin:

IMG_1379 IMG_1381

And Alan Shapiro, NM5S, should have won a prize for the most compact set of CW paddles.  These paddles are so small that they can be clamped onto your log book. Much to my surprise, they were amazingly easy to use, and would be a great addition to any field-portable radio:

IMG_1433 IMG_1436

FDIM 2013

If FDIM 2012 is any indication (yes), this is a mere sampling of the stuff you’ll see at Four Days In May 2013.  I encourage you to attend: if nothing else, make a little time either Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening to visit the evening displays at FDIM–they’re free and open to the public.

If you can’t attend, I hope you’ll earmark your calendar for a future date. I do plan to bring my camera again this year and will share some photos. Hopefully, I’ll post them a little earlier this go-around!

Hope to see you at FDIM and the Hamvention. For the third year in a row, I will be representing my charity, Ears To Our World (ETOW), at an inside exhibit at the Hamvention. We should be in booth 601 in the East Hall. Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself! (And if you feel so inclined, you can even donate a few bucks to our worthy cause.)  See you there–!

Best & 72,
Thomas, K4SWL

Severe case of Dayton envy!

I really envy all of you fortunate enough to attend the Dayton Hamvention and FDIM.  Looks like a bounty of good QRP stuff will be available.  Doug Hendricks KI6DS, posted this to QRP-L today:

Hendricks QRP kits will be at Dayton again this year, and we will be in a new location. Our booth numbers are 459 and 460, located right across from the ARRL in the Ball Arena. And we have 9 new products, yes, you read it right, 9. Here they are:

1. The Weber Tribander designed by Steve Weber, KD1JV. This is a 3 band CW Transceiver and you get to pick your bands from the following: 15, 17, 20, 30, 40 and 80 Meters. Digital display, Custom Case, DDS Vfo, and Encoder Tuning. If you have wanted a PFR on other bands or with rotary encoder tuning, this is the radio for you. Price: $200.

 2. The Tuthill 160 designed by Dan Tayloe. Finally, a cw transceiver kit for 160M. We have expanded the popular Tuthill series to now include 160M with a full 5 Watts of output. Basic Kit is $100 (show special), optional Digital Display, $35. Now is the time to get this kit so you will be ready for 160 in the fall.

3. SMK-2. The popular surface mount 40M CW transceiver designed by Dave Fifield is back. And it is improved! The SMK-2 comes with 2 Frequencies, and is complete with case and connectors. Plus there is an optional Crystal Board available for switchable frequencies. The Transceiver is $40, Optional Crystal Board is $10. Frequencies are 7.030, 7.040 and 7.122MHz.

4. 41dB Step Attenuator. We have kitted the popular design that has been in the ARRL handbook for years. Ken Locasale designed a great looking case, and everything is included. Great for working low power and for transmitter hunts. $50.

5. Rock Hunter Chassis for the DCxxB series. We now have a case, connectors and an addon board to give 2 additional frequencies for the DCxxB series of transceivers. We have had many, many requests for a case for the DCxx series of transceivers, and now we have it. $20 for the case, connectors, controls and addon frequency board.

 6. Red Hot 40 Transceiver. We will have a special price on the Red Hot 40, the high performance 40 Meter CW Transceiver designed by Dave Fifield. The show special is $200, which is $50 off the regular price.

 7. Repackaged Tayloe SWR Meter. Ken has come up with a great little chassis for the SWR Meter designed by Dan Tayloe, N7VE. $25.

8. Sota Tuner. This has been one of our best sellers since we introduced it in September. The Sota is an End Fed Half Wave Tuner with a metal case, stainless steel hardware, and only weighs 2.5 ounces, and the price is $30.

9. Two Fer Transmitter. The Twofer is a great little transmitter. Available on 40 or 30 or 20 Meters. Show special at $30.

We will also have show specials on the Tenna Dipper, with a price of $70, MMR40 at $175, NADC40 basic kit w/out digital display, $100, Ft. Tuthill 15, basic kit no display, $100.

Stop by the booth and say hello to Steve Weber, KD1JV who will be in the booth on Friday and Saturday, plus Dean Davis, Darrel Swenson, Ken and Karen Locasale.

Plus, we will be able to take credit cards this year for the first time. We accept Visa, Mastercharge, Discover and American Express. I am kitting like crazy and really excited about this year at Dayton. Hope to see you there. Doug

Sounds like it’s a good idea to bring lots of radio money along.  Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m not going? At least that’s what the XYL is probably thinking.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!


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