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Messages - gil

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 194
1
General Discussion / Re: Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 21, 2019, 05:50:08 PM »
The working prototype is out... Very interesting indeed with the rugged construction. I contacted the company and got a reply suggesting a collaboration but the message wasn't very clear. I don't think they speak English very well. On paper it looks very promising; much more so than the new Icom 705, from an outdoors perspective. That big color screen on the Icom looks currentophage (yep, just made that word up ;-) Lab599 chose a much more efficient LCD screen. Now, I'm not a big fan of LCDs because of cold weather problems, but that said, I don't like cold weather... Even here in the South of France, it can get really cold when you go up the pre-Alps mountains in the winter though. I also don't like big screens because it's just more vulnerable surface.

Now, we need to look at the utility of having a band spectrum display for SHTF... To be able to see a signal is a big plus in finding someone to communicate with. I usually prefer radios without a screen at all but I can see how watching a whole band at once could be very useful. Big screens are liabilities though, and care should be taken in protecting them against impacts.

Ruggedness is big on my list of must-have features, or characteristics... I can't help but compare my commercial radios to my PRC-320. I can throw that radio in my truck without a second thought. If it starts raining while I'm operating outside, I'll just hop in my Toyota and forget about the radio on the camping table outside until the rain stops... It just isn't a hobby-radio... It's a life-and-death radio... Amateur radio manufacturers haven't yet grasped that concept, and again, the market might be small, but something like that would sell like hot cakes because of the cool factor and capabilities. This is why the TX-500 is making a lot of noise right now. There is a demand. Maybe for the same reason we see prepper shows and zombie movies popping up on TV like popcorn in a hot skillet.

If the TX-500 lives up to the hype, I might get one. I loved my KX3 and KX2, but in the end, I sold them. Not because of the lack of performance, they are on top of the food chain in receiver sensitivity, but I was afraid of using them outside! The KX2 is full of holes. I also love my K1 with its superb performance, and I built it myself, so I will never sell it, but the last time I took it out, ants got it it! I still need to open it up and get the bodies out, LOL. Elecraft has never embraced the watertight or ant-proof concept... I am curious about the TX-500 CW performance, because with 10W, SSB contact are not as easy as when using CW. I also like that it has 6m, since that will allow using it with my PRC-351s, PRC-350, VX6/VX7 and VRM-5080, if need be, in FM. A little bit of 6m CW fun can't hurt either ;-) As to 160m, I think it has limited use for prepping due to antenna length. 80m portable is much easier than I thought, but 160m, I have some doubts... I might be wrong... There are fewer people on 160m though, while 80m is the goto band for regional comms.

I am also still waiting for the QSX kit from QRP-LABS. It's a year late... That will be a high performance affordable radio with 160-10m capabilities, and including a computer interface. i am starting to wonder if it will ever be released, but It think it wll... QRP-LABS is a one-man-band and Hans did well with the QCX, of which I built two, a 30m and an 80m version. Ruggedness will depend on the case you put it in... The TX-500 looks better on paper but the price will be high, though probably not as much as an IC-705; more like an FT-818, or a bit more, around $800. Not in the same league though, as 110mA beats 450mA any day... If that number turns out to be accurate...

Another contender in my book is the QRPVer Minion, either the Mini or SDR version. It is much cheaper. The case doesn't look very rugged but it has few buttons and a small screen. 120mA for the mini and 220mA for the SDR. The mini has a direct conversion receiver, so presumably much more discreet as far as unwanted emissions even on receive... Ray, do you know more about DC receivers? The PRC-319 has one, to operate behind enemy lines...

There are always Pelican cases, and I love those, but in the end, you are going to have to open that case, unless the radio lives in it and has watertight connectors to the outside...

Anyway, I am watching the TX-500, looking for new videos on YouTube... We'll see...

Gil.

2
General Discussion / Re: Hello! (again)
« on: August 27, 2019, 02:55:58 PM »
Welcome back Ray :-)
Gil.

3
Morse Code / Re: west coast, beginners CW practice group?
« on: August 25, 2019, 05:45:57 PM »
I wish the solar cycle was back up again to allow easy contacts with the US!

Gil.

4
General Discussion / Re: Just passed the Exra-Class exam
« on: August 20, 2019, 03:26:17 PM »
Awesome, congratulations!
Gil

5
General Discussion / Re: Hi from the Baltimoron
« on: August 12, 2019, 04:02:01 PM »
Welcome aboard Alan!  :)
Gil.

6
General Discussion / Re: Hello from North Carolina
« on: August 04, 2019, 03:34:32 PM »
Welcome aboard Sarge ;-)

Gil.

7
And then there is the new Minion SDR...  ::)

Gil.

8
I am hoping for news soon... It's been way too long, but he's a one-man operation so we need to be patient...

Gil.

9
Antennas / Re: Portable Antenna
« on: July 19, 2019, 04:18:39 PM »
Hello,

You might want to try a 49:1 or 64:1 with a half-wave wire...

Gil.

10
New To Radio / Re: Best Prepper Mobile Setup
« on: July 19, 2019, 04:17:40 PM »
Hello,

The MTR won't be released as a kit again, though Steve Weber will most likely release new kits in the future, in very small numbers... Those kits are hard to put together... I'd suggest a QCX to start with...

Gil.

11
I think everyone is waiting for the QSX kit from QRP-Labs...  ::)

Gil.

12
Military Radios / Re: Clansman Battery Refurbishing with LIPO.
« on: June 18, 2019, 03:04:57 PM »
I'd say no, you really need a 7S...

Gil.

13
General Discussion / Re: New OP Checking in
« on: June 18, 2019, 03:04:09 PM »
Same here with the K1, awesome radios! I was so stupid to sell my K2!

Gil.

14
Hello. I have been thinking about buying one... I heard there is a slight harmonics problem but aside from that they are great. I would use three 18650 cells, or four if it can take the extra voltage... If the QSX kit wasn't coming out, presumably soon, I might have bought one already.

Gil.

15
Antennas / Re: EFHW QRP radial?
« on: May 24, 2019, 01:48:51 AM »
Hello,

Radials are not necessary for half-wave end-fed antennas. You essentially will detune your antenna with radials. It's already a half wave, no need to add more wire. Some say that a short 0.05wl counterpoise helps, on 40m that's 3.3ft... I have never needed one. Radials are for quarter-wave verticals, not half-wave wires.

Gil.

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