Posts Tagged ‘KX3’

Another day of outdoor op’s

The view from my other spot along the lake
I had the day off work today and it was another amazing day up this way for fall so I headed outdoors again with my KX3. This time I was out and about in the morning and was expecting 20m to be shut down and possible 40m opened up. I found 20m was open and never ended up checking 40m at all. Once again I headed toward the lake and this time my "spot" was taken with someone who also was taking advantage of the great weather. I was watching the weather forecast this morning and it looks like "seasonal reality" is going to set in very soon! This time I set up a little further along the lake at a picnic table. Today I was happy to make 3 CW contacts:

1. WA5OVB Phil's IC 7200 was doing a great job picking up my portable signal I gave Phil 579 report and I was given a 569 with some QSB.
The Chameleon CHA P antenna setup

2. KW7D Paul's signal was strong, he was in New Mexico where the weather is much more pleasent than it is going to be up this way. Paul was calling CQ and I was able to catch his attention with my portable signal.

3. K3PR is Joes call and we had a nice long QSO exchanging as much info as we could. At first my signal was in around a 229 but conditions changed and I moved up the scale to 559! Joe and I had a nice QSO about antennas, rigs, WX and just what we were up too.

I did hear a station 4U1A the United Nations in Austria and when I first heard their CQ call they had not been spotted and I was trying to get their attention from my portable setup. I did not have any luck and even less luck after they were spotted and the pileup began.
Things pack up very nicely. 



VE3WDM's QRPower BLOG 2017-10-22 02:23:00

I just can't believe the weather we are getting for it being half way through October. The temperature today was 22C with clear skies and just a gentle breeze off the lake. This is a great time to grab the KX3 and head out for some portable op's. I check the contest calendar to see what was happening in the way of CW contests. I found the NYQSO party and Worked all Germany (WAG) contest were going to be in full swing the same time I was out. I checked to see what the contest report was supposed to be, contesters can add lots of contacts to a portable op. I set up beside the lake (Lake Ontario) with a nice breeze and in the shade as the sun was out and I did not want to overheat. I made 20m my band of choice and it so happens that it was alive with WAG contesters. The band was in great shape and lots of German stations looking for DX stations to fill their log! I was using my Elecraft KX3 at 10 watts and my Chameleon mag loop antenna. I was set up in 10 minutes and on the air searching the band for contacts. I was on the air for about an hour and had the following contacts:
DF0DW           WAG contest
IQ1GE             DX calling CQ
DJ0SP              WAG contest
DL5HIA           WAG contest
DF8AA            WAG contest
W2RR              NYQSO party
DJ6OZ             WAG contest
DL0DA            WAG contest

As you can see the WAG contest dominated the bands and it turned out the NYQSO party participants were just not making it over the German WAG contesters. I did not include the signal reports in the above list as it was a contest so the standard 599 was sent. I knew I was no were close to 599 as the German stations asked on more than one occasion for a repeat.





Going about it the hard way…..WHY??

Last evening I finally had some time to get on the PC and check out what fellow ham radio bloggers were up too. For the past month I have been working every day and only having time to “fast read” a post and drop a short comment. While surfing the blog sphere last evening I came across KG3V’s blog, the subject of the blog caught my attention “Updating FTDX-3000 Firmware. Below is a link to what I only could call an “adventure”.
https://kg3v.com/2017/10/14/updating-ftdx-3000-firmware/

In the post Tom does a great job explaining how he went about the firmware upgrade and some issues he ran into. Tom also goes over the enhancements this firmware will forward to his FTDX-3000. It’s fantastic how far we have come in radio, in the past if you wanted the upgrades it meant selling what you had and purchasing the new and improved version. Today’s modern rigs can chat either over the internet or with pre-downloaded thumb drives and magic is worked within the rig to either over come an issue, enhance what is already there or add something new! Having said that I just can’t understand what the issue is with the process of the upgrade. It’s just not ham radio with our Nikon cameras to upgrade the firmware it’s…hold this while pushing that….make sure you don’t do this while doing that….and on and on and on. Resources are used writing the rigs new firmware upgrade, time and money is put into it and it’s to make the product better for the end user. If this is the case why the %&^* not make the process for the end user easy peasy!!

Having said the above and let me preface this with “I am not going to say what I am about to say just because I am a fan of Elecraft but if the shoe fits……” To upgrade my K3 or KX3 Elecraft has provided via their website a program that sits on your desktop, one of it’s functions is for firmware upgrades. The process is as follows:
1. Double click on desktop icon.
2. Click on Firmware tab.
3. Click on “Check versions now”
4. Below you will then see the firmware that is installed in your rig and new firmware that is available for your rig. You then click on “Send all new firmware to K3 or KX3.
Your rig will start to click, there will be “stuff” flashing on the rigs screen, sometimes even clicking noises from the rig and then your rig’s screen returns to normal and your done. I have owned Kenwood, Icom and Yeasu rigs and never has it been this easy and my question is WHY NOT!!! Now having said the above it is true I have not owned one of the above rigs for some time now so do comment if the process has changed…but is sure does not seem it has for the FTDX-3000 model rig!

OK I’m off my soapbox now….:))

It’s been a long, long time.

It has indeed been a long time since I've moved to this new work location. The old work QTH was in Warren, NJ and the new is in Whitehouse Station, NJ. Same job, same company, different campus.  I am about 10 miles (more or less) farther west into the interior of New Jersey than I used to be. It adds about another 10 minutes to my commute.

There are two of us in my department. Things were easier in Warren, as we both worked from the same (and only) building on campus.  We staggered our lunch breaks so that one of us was always on duty. Here, at the new work QTH, we are split between two buildings, each one of us minding our own store, so to speak. Unless you master bi-location, you can't manage both buildings at the same time with one man.

That led towards a hiatus in lunchtime QRP operations as it just seemed not the greatest idea to spend so much time away from the desk. I know, it's time I'm entitled to (it's only an hour) and I really should get away from the desk to remain fresh in the afternoon.

So I decided to take advantage again, beginning this week.

I went out to the car yesterday and hooked up the KX3 to the Buddistick. I heard a lot of stations on 20 Meters, but got no answers to any of my calls.  I know the equipment works, I figured it was just a bit of "rust" on my part. But, boy howdy, was it hot yesterday! It reached into the upper 80s (about 30C) here at lunchtime and since I was parked outside, it was hot like an oven in the car. It was a double negative experience - too hot and skunked on contacts.

Not one to be deterred, my little eye spied on something that I had forgotten. This campus has picnic tables!  Many of the employees go out to eat outdoors on the nice days. There are plenty of tables, they are spaced widely enough apart where conversations cannot encroach on one another.

It dawned on me that this would be the perfect place to set up the KX3 and the magloop! Sure, I'd probably get some stares from the other lunchers, and maybe from some of the employees who take advantage of their lunch break to walk the perimeter of the campus - but what they heck? Right? It's not like I haven't been stared at before. It's not like people haven't come up to me to ask, "What is that?" before, so tossing self-consciousness into the wind, I decided to set up at one of the tables today.

I chose a table towards the end of the line of tables, the one with no umbrella. Sure, it would be a little hotter with no shade, but it's less than an hour and besides, there's be no metallic umbrella ribs to possibly interact with the magloop.

Before hunting for a QSO, I decided to call CQ for a bit on both 20 and 17 Meters.  I really didn't expect anyone to answer, although there's no reason why anyone wouldn't. I just wanted to conduct a little Reverse Beacon Network experiment.

Experiment done, I went back to 20 Meters and found the "sweet spot" with the loop's tuning capacitor. (I was able to set up in under four minutes, by they way. Almost as fast as setting up the Buddistick on the car.) Tuning the KX3 around, there were a bunch of loud stations.  Finally, I came upon GI4DOH, Rich in Northern Ireland.  He had a strong signal and a great fist, so I gave him a call.  He came back to me on the first shot!  He was 559+ here in NJ, and I got a 559 in return.


According to his QRZ page, the loop that Rich is using is a receive only loop.  This was not a loop to loop QSO.

After working Rich, I popped on up to 17 Meters.  There I heard OE3DXA, Wern in Austria calling CQ. Again, loud signal, great fist, so I gave him a call.  Just as with GI4DOH, I gave him a 599+ report but this time I got a 599 in return.  Both QSOs were solid with no repeats asked for with regard to info, so I am assuming I was at or near Q5 copy. (Even if the 599 in return wasn't exactly accurate.)


It was time to pack it in, and I was satisfied with the two DX QSOs for the day.  With regard to my Reverse Beacon Network experiment, this was where the loop was allowing my signal to be heard:


As for spectators, I did get one guy who stopped to ask, "What is that? And what are you doing?" I explained that it was Amateur Radio and an Amateur Radio antenna. In response, I got the (what seems to be standard) "People still do that?" question.

I went into "pitch" mode and explained that yes, Amateur Radio is alive and well, and that for a lot of people in the Caribbean right now it's the only way they can get word out to their families abroad, that they are OK after the hurricanes.

So it was a successful day, I'm happy and it looks like there might not be rain for the rest of the work week.

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

Flight of the Bumble Bee QRP contest

Setting up 
This is the first (but not last) year I participated in this contest, I have Larry W2LJ to thank as his blog posts regarding this contest inspired me. Both Julie and I made plans for this day, for me it was contesting and she hauled along all her cameras and gear and had a blast with her hobby photography.  The weather was fantastic with it being 31C in the shade but we were right on Lake Ontario with a nice breeze off the lake made it pleasant. I operated from Humber bay shores park which is just outside our condo. We brought along camp chairs and a portable table as we knew the park would be very busy and finding a picnic table would be out of the question. The contest started at 1pm local time which gave Julie and I time to pick out something to eat. (fruit crepes with maple syrup) Once we found our spot in the park and setup we sat and enjoyed the crepes as one has to fuel up before the contest.
The view from the op table
The rig I used was my Elecraft KX3 on external battery power, the antenna was the Chameleon CHA P mag loop antenna and my key was the Palm mini paddle   I was very happy with the Chameleon CHA P antenna, it only took me 5 min's to setup. It was very easy to tune but it was not until 1/2 way through my outing that I realized the KX3 had the preamp off! Once I put the preamp on finding the noise peak was much easier. I was very pleased with the setup and performance of the antenna. I was only able to operate for 2 of the 4 hours of the contest as Julie and I had dinner guests we had to be back home and prepare for. I only operated on 20m as this band was open and the QRP contacts were being heard. I was pleased that I made 11 contacts and I did have about 5 folks stop and ask questions about what I was doing. One gentleman told me that his dad was a ham and one of the young people that stopped told me she read about morse code in her history class! The band was in great shape and I was able to hear and work QRP stations all over the U.S. I made 2 contacts into New Jersey and for some reason I have never in the past made it to that state when doing portable field op's. I really enjoyed this contest and am looking forward to it next year.
Setting up the loop
The outdoor shack.
Chameleon CHA P 
Fuelling  up before 

Flight of the Bumble Bee QRP contest

Setting up 
This is the first (but not last) year I participated in this contest, I have Larry W2LJ to thank as his blog posts regarding this contest inspired me. Both Julie and I made plans for this day, for me it was contesting and she hauled along all her cameras and gear and had a blast with her hobby photography.  The weather was fantastic with it being 31C in the shade but we were right on Lake Ontario with a nice breeze off the lake made it pleasant. I operated from Humber bay shores park which is just outside our condo. We brought along camp chairs and a portable table as we knew the park would be very busy and finding a picnic table would be out of the question. The contest started at 1pm local time which gave Julie and I time to pick out something to eat. (fruit crepes with maple syrup) Once we found our spot in the park and setup we sat and enjoyed the crepes as one has to fuel up before the contest.
The view from the op table
The rig I used was my Elecraft KX3 on external battery power, the antenna was the Chameleon CHA P mag loop antenna and my key was the Palm mini paddle   I was very happy with the Chameleon CHA P antenna, it only took me 5 min's to setup. It was very easy to tune but it was not until 1/2 way through my outing that I realized the KX3 had the preamp off! Once I put the preamp on finding the noise peak was much easier. I was very pleased with the setup and performance of the antenna. I was only able to operate for 2 of the 4 hours of the contest as Julie and I had dinner guests we had to be back home and prepare for. I only operated on 20m as this band was open and the QRP contacts were being heard. I was pleased that I made 11 contacts and I did have about 5 folks stop and ask questions about what I was doing. One gentleman told me that his dad was a ham and one of the young people that stopped told me she read about morse code in her history class! The band was in great shape and I was able to hear and work QRP stations all over the U.S. I made 2 contacts into New Jersey and for some reason I have never in the past made it to that state when doing portable field op's. I really enjoyed this contest and am looking forward to it next year.
Setting up the loop
The outdoor shack.
Chameleon CHA P 
Fuelling  up before 

Skunked on my day out.

The setup in the car
The CHA P loop 
On Saturday wife and I had some errands to do in the town we used to live in, it's about an hours drive from were we are now. Julie had an appointment that would last for approximately 2 hours so I felt bringing the Elecraft KX3 would help pass this 2 hour time slot. I brought along my new loop antenna from Chameleon CHA P loop antenna . (A review of this antenna is coming soon) The weather was great and I had my spot preplanned out, it was along a river that flowed through town and there was a nice picnic table there that I have used in the past. Once I dropped of Julie for here appointment it was off to the river, I found there was a wedding shoot going on and the table was not gone! I then had to scope out a new spot which did not take long. The new spot was in a parking lot at the entrance to a park, not the same view as the river side setup but it will do. I was keying out CQ for about 1.5 hours with no answers but I did hear some stations but they were already in QSO's. I did check the Reverse Beacon Network to make sure my CW signal was getting out and it was, the conditions were good as well but I guess it was just time for me to give my CW fist a workout. As always Murphy seems to make his visit at least once on my outings. On this day Murphy decided to make my CW operations a bit more challenging. For a long time I have been using the Palm Radio's Mini Paddle. I find this paddle to be very smooth and very well made. A number of years ago the folks at Palm Radio sent me their newly revised cable that goes from the rig to the paddle. It was lighter and more easy to work with and a great improvement over the more bulky cable that was being used in the past.  I have owned this cable for about 5 years without any issues until yesterday on my outing. The end that plugs into the paddle had come apart, the two parts are held together by a screw. I thought at the time I just failed to check the screw and it came loose. I did not have a mini screw driver with me so I had to very carefully plug the connector into the key. Once I got home and upon closer look I realized the connector was broken and the only choice I had was to glue the two pieces together. I did this and it worked fine but in the end this is a one time fix. Overall I made no contacts but it was nice to get out and just have the enjoyment of getting on the radio and it's very relaxing.
Reverse Beacon Network
The broken connector 

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