Radio Preppers

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: bkmoore on April 15, 2019, 02:38:31 PM

Title: New OP Checking in
Post by: bkmoore on April 15, 2019, 02:38:31 PM
I wanted to get a Novice license when I was a teenager, but didn't have the discipline at the time to sit down and actually learn the code. On a whim, I started learning morse code in January this year. I quickly got up to 5-10 wpm and started thinking I could probably pass a CW test, get my novice license and get on the air.  I quickly found out, that CW was no longer required and the Novice license is no longer issued, so I studied for the Technician-class license. When I found out I could take the General class exam on the same day, I spent the week before the exam date cramming for the General; since it would add 20 meters. I passed both exams.

So far I have been playing with a QCX- 5 Watt transceiver on 40 meters, using a QRP Guys tri-band vertical and a 20' squid pole. It's a great little transceiver. I managed to make a few local QSOs that were pre-arranged, but haven't made a QSO in the wild yet. I think either my signal is too weak, or people just don't want to bother with a 10 WPM straight-key "novice". Either way, I'm having fun and am improving my code abilities. It's especially rewarding to get on the air with a setup that I assembled myself from end to end.

I appreciate the videos from  Gil and the thoughts on the web site, especially since I have lived in Europe for almost half of my life, and can relate to a lot of Gil's perspectives that result from having one foot in two very different countries for so long. I like the idea of operating portable, especially since I'm on a tight budget. It would be nice to have a good base station some day, though... solar and battery powered of course.
Title: Re: New OP Checking in
Post by: Alpha_Greywolf on April 16, 2019, 07:04:15 AM
Welcome from another newcomer.

There is a wealth of information on this site to get your teeth into, a great deal of which is devoted to mobile and portable operations.


Title: Re: New OP Checking in
Post by: gil on April 18, 2019, 02:22:10 AM
Welcome aboard :-)

I also use the QRP-Guys Tri-Band antenna, with my Weber MTR. It does great on 20m, all right on 30, but struggles on 40. The wire is just too short. On 40m I suggest a half-wave wire with a 49:1 transformer.

Title: Re: New OP Checking in
Post by: bkmoore on May 01, 2019, 03:34:26 PM
I'm not using the vertical any more, at least not on 40m. The best antenna so far has been a QRP Guys Multi-Z antenna tuner (Costs about $40) with about 85 feet of wire and a good ground. I have the antenna about 30 feet up in an L-configuration between a tree and a beam, then down to my radio. I can tune the wire to close to a 1:1 SWR on all of the 40 m band, and it works very well. I'm using a short 3 foot BNC cable to connect the tuner to the radio. I would like to try a ladder-line random-length dipole for a more permanent home installation and use the wire for portable operations.
Title: Re: New OP Checking in
Post by: bkmoore on June 17, 2019, 10:58:15 PM
I finally got my Elecraft K2 on the air. :) Long story short, I bought it pre-assembled / used back in March, but when I tried it out I only got static. The radio is in mint condition, so Iím not sure if the original builder/seller ever got it working.... For a while was stumped, and regretted purchasing it. So I concentrated on getting on the air and making QSOs with the QCX transceiver I assembled.

My Elmer, Ken, took the radio into his shop and correctly diagnosed and repaired all the problems. He used calibrated test equipment to get the radio correctly aligned. All I can say is WOW. Itís so quiet and can pull out the weakest signals from the background noise. Ken showed me the K2 alongside some of his high-end rigs, and the K2 was just as quiet and had just as clear of a signal. The K2s a pleasure to just leave on and listen to. Although I still really enjoy the QCX, going from the QCX to the K2 is a bit like going from a 2-stroke moped to a Rolls Royce, at least in terms of noise.
Title: Re: New OP Checking in
Post by: gil on June 18, 2019, 03:04:09 PM
Same here with the K1, awesome radios! I was so stupid to sell my K2!