Posts Tagged ‘Food for thought’

Hat’s off to Palm Radio!

When I came home from work today there was a package in the mail for me, now this is not an unusual thing but I never ordered anything!! Holding the package and making my way back up to my condo apt I am old and do forget things but I was very sure I did not order anything. I opened the package and out came a very nice QSL card from DK7SN, DL9SCO and DL2BAT all hams from Palm Radio in Germany.  I have used their Palm paddle for years and without a doubt this is one of the best paddles I have ever used! I have used it with my Elecract KX1, K2 and KX3 radios and for those CW op's out there you understand when I say it's very smooth, adjustable to your fist and the dit's and dah's you ask of it are the only ones given to you….no more no less. Those of you out there that hit the trails (now that the summer is here) and are looking for not only a portable key but one that is compact and reliable the Palm needs to be seriously considered! It seems I have gone off on a tangent here and wondered away from the package I seems that the gents at Palm radio read my blog and read a comment I made about their cable that connects the Palm paddle to the rig. I said that it seemed it could become damaged easily and for that reason with my KX1 I made the cable attachment permanent. Well HAT'S OFF TO PALM RADIO the cable has been re-designed and  they sent me the new cable free of charge! What they improvements have been made you ask……..
Old cable on KX1
1. The new cable is thinner.
2. The new cable is more flexible.
3. The 3 pin connector ( the area of concern for me) now has an integrated strain relief.
4. The strain relief 3 pin plug is available on it's own so you can use your own cable to suit length.
5. A 3.5mm gold plated plug is added for a more reliable connection.
The new cable
All the new Palm Paddles I am informed now ship with this new cable. Julie and I on many occasions have had a conversation about success in business. Seems we have always come back to the same conclusion over and over again and that is CUSTOMER SERVICE! As hams we all know the companies that offer over the top customer service and those that fall short, it's not my place to mention those that fall short........Some of the companies that I have dealt with that offer fantastic customer service are Elecraft, DX engineering, N4PY software,Telepost, Alexloop, Begali keys and  A&A Engineering this is not an exhaustive list but the companies I have dealt with and had over the top service. Also added to the list is Palm paddles!


There is a good idea out there…….

Trying to find my way around
Each morning I catch up on my blog reading and on a few blogs that I read LED lighting seemed to be the order of the day for illuminating the shack. I have been up early the last few mornings to see what is on the air waves. I did not find much and decided to work on my contest code I use Morse Runner, this is a good program that adds a very nice contest atmosphere to the operator. A problem became very apparent as I was using the program and it had nothing to do with the program. My keyboard skills were rusty and the lighting in the morning  here at VE3WDM is very dim so cheating and trying to see the keyboard proved to be very frustrating. I really have no problem with the letters or the numbers but it was the F keys I was having problems with. The Morse Runner program uses the F keys for such functions as call repeat,
That's better
exchange repeat and so on. I was really messing up the F function keys because in the low light I just could not see my keyboard. I was getting very frustrated and on two mornings I just closed the program. Then remembering the blogs were I read about LED lighting I went out and purchased an LED lighting strip. It was super easy to install on the roll top desk and it seemed there was a spot just for the low profile LED strip to be placed. I was not sure if this was the ideal place for the lighting strip (lighting up the operating area and keyboard) It turns out that when the natural light went missing and the LED strip was powered up……all is well at VE3WDM and no QRM from it either.

This happens to everyone else but not me…….

Iphone meets truck
To begin this is a post that has NOTHING to do with ham radio!  Getting that out of the way here we go……. It was a normal day at work and things seemed to be going just fine. We had our job given to use and it was not an outside job. That was great considering it was -20C and with the windchill -30C or more. So being indoors was a bonus, the idea was to pickup some coffee and head to our location. Once at our work site and in a nice warm building I noticed my Iphone was not clipped to my inside pocket! The first thing that came to mind was I left it at the coffee shop where I had it out checking email. Going back out to our truck my partner greeted me with an apology and showed me my Iphone…….it had been run over by our truck!!! It seems my 650.00 Iphone fell out of my pocket lined itself up perfectly with the trucks real
Otterbox defender case
tandem wheels and was run over! The phone was in a carry case called the  Otterbox Defender (don't work for the place or do they throw any money my way) When buying the case I was told it protects the phone in almost all situations.  This sure was a test and when I was given the phone it sure did look like it failed BUT I am thrilled to say the phone once removed from the Otterbox was in perfect shape and I mean not even a scratch. For those of you out there who have a smart phone ( not just Iphone) it sure is worth investing in a case (like the Otterbox) to save your investment from a potential disaster.

The captcha has finally arrived!

Out with the old
In the past I have posted my frustration with the captcha and how it was so mind bending and hard to read. Well someone in captcha world has just figured out that numbers can be captcha's as well and not the CRAZY letters we had to wrap our heads around. I would say for the last month I have been thrilled to post on blogs to find captcha's that are all numbers!! The captcha gods have heard and listened.
In with the new and may it stay!

The Elecraft k3 stopped working

The K3 just stopped!
This weekend I hooked up the Elecraft k3 as it was all disconnected when we had the house painted as it had to be moved for safe keeping. I wanted to make sure it still worked with all the computer software and the Alexloop. Software can be a very funny thing in that you really don't have to do anything and for some strange reason it just stops working! I am happy to report that all between the PC and Elecraft K3 is working well.

There was one heart stopping moment, it was during a tuning session of  the Alexloop and the rig. I tuned the Alexloop for max receive I then hit the tune button on the K3 with the power on 3 watts the SWR was around 3.1 to 1 so some fine tuning was needed. As I tuned the Alexloop the SWR did a sharp rise and the rig powered off!! I waited for a moment and tried to power the K3 on again and NOTHING! I then checked the incoming power and it was dead. Well I thought better the Astron 20 amp supply taking a hit than the K3. Looking at the Astron supply the lights were on and 13.8 volts was showing on the meter. As I narrowed things down it was a fuse on the power bar that the Astron feeds power to. The K3 was fused at 1 amp at the power bar and not 5 amps and the fuse on the power bar went. After the proper fuse was installed all was well again.

Blown fuse
Last week I was able to purchase for a GREAT price a used very large roll top desk and this is going to be the desk that I use for the radio setup when we move to the condo. Not sure what I am going to do with my 3 monitor setup as it's great having all three. There seems at this point to be room for one monitor and all the radio gear. Whats great about the roll top once  your done all the radio equipment hides away into a nice oak desk. At this point I am brain storming on how to incorporate the other two monitors???
As for radio time Saturday was spent getting the K3 setup and my heart restarted when it powered down. There was a contest going on so the band were very busy but it did give me a change to see how Skimmer works under a contest situation. I can see how this piece of software will give my limited size station some advantages. The picture below is what sold me on the desk, the keyboard tray and the two pull outs.

Dayton = NEW STUFF!!!!

This is a great idea from Ten-Tec which was introduced at Dayton....I give you the QRPer blog he has done a stellar preview. Check it out and get the grey matter excited!!

Time for a change,

The IMac and KX3
For those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I run an Elecraft K3 along with Windows XP programs. I also have the Elecraft KX3 that runs on Mac programs. My eyes were sure opened up to the software programs out there for ham's running on Mac machines. I will admit for this long time Windows user getting the swing of Mac took some time.....and I am not done learning as of yet! My wife Julie is very much into photography she has a Mac pro laptop and did have the IMac desktop PC. Some months ago she felt it
was time to part with the IMac. I simply walked the IMac down the hall to my shack and hooked the KX3 up and thus began the Mac adventure. Julie since then has been taking some evening College course's in photography, this has put a flame to her picture taking!  As they say " to make a long story short" the IMac has found it's former home in Julie's office down the hall. I am now a strict Windows ham again! It sure was a fun ride and maybe in time the funds will come in to get a Mac of my own.

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