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New To Radio / QRP from a beginners view
« Last post by CPR on June 01, 2018, 03:53:37 AM »

I want to share with you guys my adventure of becoming a ham operator. I got my license and myself a 817nd. The reasons for the 817 were primarily the low power consumption and easy powering in the field without carrying heavy loads and expensive equipment. That was crucial for me as I am on a tight budget for that kind of things. Most of my budget goes into my homestead so I had to really struggle with what to buy. I wanted a rig that was scalable if necessary but stripped off if I need a light and portable rig. You know, that kind of a rig that fits in a sidepocket of your bug-out bag. Or if you want to make a contact, so you don't haul 10kg of gear up a hill. Buying a tuner+50Wamp brings me to the same price as the 100W rigs. So I don't see a mistake in buying the 817nd.
When I first got the 817 I thought: holy shit that thing is small! I have big fingers and takes some efforts to reach the buttons at first. BUT, it can do everything. HF, VHF, UHF and thats the thing that got me, plus it can run on batteries for hours. I even listened to airband some day and tracked the planes on an Android app. You can do everything with this thing, I didnt even dig into digi modes yet. I think this is the best radio for emergency preparedness. It's small, lightweight, low power, multi-talent, solid built.

The next thing was to get my first antenna. Although I prefer to build my own stuff, I ordered the QRP Guys Triband and the Z Match Tuner. I had real issues on tuning the 40m band, I removed 4 windings on the toroid which is loading the antenna to get it somewhat below 2.5 and then with the tuner I can get it below 1.8.  Antenna + Tuner = 50$. Nice budget friendly price.
My next project is a linked dipole and an EFHW antenna. I got the wires and everything already done, I am waiting for the toroids to make a 1:1 balun for the dipile and a 9:1 unun for the 9:1 endfed.

My first time going on air was just recently. And I can say, with QRP it is soooo difficult to get a contact. No one hears you. Maybe it's also the antenna (can't wait to finalize the dipole and the efhw). The funny thing, all my contacts until now where from Belgium and those station where some club/special event/anniversary stations...  So I assume they had very powerful antennas high up in the air so they could hear me.

Yesterday I spent the whole day on my homestead, slowly grilling a chicken and doing some QRP. All day = 3 contacts.

Another almost succesful contact was a German somewhere around Hamburg. The sad thing is, he didn't even try to copy my signal twice. After the first time he repeated half of my callsign and the second time he said "negative copy", and took the other station. Pretty rude  >:(
Anyway, I had succesful QSOs over 1000km away. What a thrilling experience  ;D
Antennas / Re: Tuning the QRPGuys vertical tribander
« Last post by vwflyer on May 31, 2018, 09:13:56 PM »
Thanks Gil,
I put one wrap back on the inductor and tried it with both lengths of coax and my HB-1B. It seems that I  can operate the lower part of the CW portion when using 3 feet of coax 7.025-7.055 and I can operate the upper portion of the CW band with 9 feet of coax 7.055-7.100. Have other people experienced such a narrow Q on 40 meters? Perhaps I should buy QRPGuys QRP tuner and use that when using this antenna on 40 meters. I don't think I will use my MTR3B on 40 meters with this antenna without a tuner. I can't risk running a high SWR and not know it with that rig.
Batteries & Solar / Re: 18650 battery testing
« Last post by caulktel on May 31, 2018, 05:46:08 PM »
Sorry to hear about your Wife, I hope she will be okay. Good new on your cells. i need to test the bunch i have and build some new packs.

Batteries & Solar / Re: 18650 battery testing
« Last post by Andywragg on May 31, 2018, 11:47:25 AM »
The first batch of 8 cells completed Yesterday, or maybe the day before - this week has been a blur as my wife had a heart attack Tuesday evening, so I've been shuttling to/from the hospital since.

All cells are usable and are giving me between 2100 and 2300mAH,  all with internal resistance below 150.

I have another batch of 8 on test now. I'll test all 40 cells then group them based on capacity and internal resistance. My BMS boards have yet to arrive, the slow boat from China must be taking the long way around.
Morse Code / Re: 'Morse Code as a Language'
« Last post by gil on May 31, 2018, 05:46:18 AM »
Thanks Sparks!
Antennas / Re: Tuning the QRPGuys vertical tribander
« Last post by gil on May 31, 2018, 05:45:41 AM »
Hi, I think it will be fine, I don't think these inductors are conductive..

Morse Code / Re: 'Morse Code as a Language'
« Last post by Sparks on May 30, 2018, 11:55:58 PM »
This playlist was put on YouTube last week, perhaps of use to some of those who are learning Morse Code?

Unfortunately, these videos are not on You Tube anymore. I couldn't find them elsewhere, either.

As a consolation, I forward some links found by googling 'Morse Code as a Language':   >   >

Antennas / Tuning the QRPGuys vertical tribander
« Last post by vwflyer on May 30, 2018, 10:34:44 PM »
Hey guys,
After reading many positive  comments here about the QRPGuys vertical tribander I decided to get one. It went together quickly and after a little adjustment got it working with very low SWR on 20 and 30 meters. I was using the built in SWR meter on my YouKits HB-1B. I know not the most accurate but it's what I have for QRP levels. Resonate on 40 meters was way to low so I wound up removing 2 wraps from the inductor and that got it up to where I need it. I was using just a short 3 foot coax jumper to connect to the rig. I decided to add 6 feet of coax to make sure it doesn't change anything. On 20 and 30 it didn't change much but on 40 it is now resonate way up in the voice part of the band with the extra length of coax attached. That is, unless I have my hand under the back of the rig, then the resonate freq comes back down to the CW part of the band. I'm thinking that I will probably operate this antenna with longer pieces of coax since I don't want to be tethered so close the the base of the antenna to operate. I can add a wrap or two back onto the toroid since I haven't yet snipped off the excess I had after taking two wraps off but that part of the wire is no longer insulated. What happens if uninsulated magnetic wire rests against the toroid? It will be fine as long as it doesn't come into contact with uninsulated wrap right next to it right? 
Morse Code / Re: The article that inspired me to learn code
« Last post by Sparks on May 30, 2018, 01:16:16 AM »
Thanks for the links! I made PDFs and archived on my Mac.

That must have been an awesome site, a pity it has been discontinued.
Batteries & Solar / Re: 18650 battery testing
« Last post by Andywragg on May 29, 2018, 02:45:39 AM »
Yeah I saw that product as well.

The Opus chargers arrived on Friday, but I've been away at a bushcraft meet over the weekend so didn't get chance to have a look at them.

I put the first 8 cells on the chargers yesterday. Some cells were below 3v but above 2v and the chargers still charged them to 4.2v irrespective. They are current undergoing a 3 cycle test since yesterday. I'm using the default 500ma charge and discharge rates, so a complete test takes around 27 hours.

The cells are 2800mah nominal based on the markings on the cases and the sleeve/ring colours. I'm already seeing capacity of over 2100mah for most cells.
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