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Messages - bkmoore

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Antennas / QRP Guys 80/60m Vertical Antenna
« on: October 13, 2019, 02:07:28 AM »

After some good success with the QRP-Guys vertical tri-band (20/30/40 m) antenna, I decided to give the 80/60m vertical antenna a try. I do not have much space and wanted to be able to use 80 meters. In short, it is a coil-loaded vertical with taps to select 80m, 75m and 60m bands. I built the antenna according to the instructions and found it had a high SWR on 80 meters. It could probably be tuned to a 1:1 SWR by taking some turns out of the coil, but that may sacrifice performance on 75m and 60m. I decided to leave the antenna as is, since my Elecraft K2's internal tuner can match the impedence without any difficulty. You do need to use the taps for 75m. The first time I tried the antenna on 75 meters, I forgot the set the tap and my tuner couldn't find a match.

I am in central CA and had no problem making several CW QSOs into Arizona and Washington with good signal reports at QRP power.  I could hear and see my signal clearly on the KFS WebSDR, located about 100 miles away. I didn't try SSB with the antenna yet, band conditions were bad and there was nobody I cared to talk to. (Lots of politics and ranting about former spouses, etc...)

Although not a product review, I think this is a good antenna for 80m regional communications. It's only $20, is extremely portable, has a very small foot print, and is very easy to set up. I look forward to trying this antenna in more situations and am curious if more radials will increase its performance.

I am curious to hear from others who have this antenna and their experiences. Especially if anyone gets this antenna to work on 80 meters without a tuner.


Antennas / Re: Elmer help/advice needed
« on: September 30, 2019, 09:11:47 PM »
Have you considered a 1/4-wave vertical? Here's a design that looks like it's easy to make:



General Discussion / Re: Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 21, 2019, 09:58:44 PM »
Gil - maybe if there's someone on this forum who happens speaks Russian, or Ukrainian, they could contact them on your behalf???

RadioRay - please let us know when you get your Hallicrafters Nine-Zillion. But it doesn't look very portable.  ;)


General Discussion / Re: Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 21, 2019, 12:46:49 AM »
The Lab599 Discovery TX-500 has been widely discussed in the ham sphere for some months now. Nobody has found any substantial information, and some label it 'vaporware'.....

I guess it may be too good to be true. I know from personal experience that going from a demonstration prototype to a market-ready product is extremely difficult, and I can only wish these guys success and hope they get their radio out the door.

OTOH I probably wouldnít put off getting a KX2. But even if this radio never reaches market status, the design may influence others in building better portable radios in the future. I would love to see a ruggedized KX2 or KX3 for example. But Iím sure the market for such a radio is very small and itís probably difficult to justify the non recurring development cost and still be able to offer such a radio at a consumer-friendly price point. I donít see a market for. $10,000 + QRP radio, outside of the military for example.

General Discussion / Re: Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 20, 2019, 05:25:22 PM »
I have been lusting after a KX2 to take up into the High Sierras. But if this radio turns out to work as well as it looks, I know which radio I'm going to be asking Santa for.  :D I also think having 6 meters is a very good thing in a field radio.

General Discussion / Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 20, 2019, 01:57:43 PM »

I just stumbled on this new radio from The case is machined from a solid block of aluminum, so it looks like it might be a much more durable field radio than the KX2. Has anyone here seen this radio before?



Morse Code / Re: west coast, beginners CW practice group?
« on: August 25, 2019, 11:45:06 PM »
Thanks Gil,

When the solar cycle picks back up, I'll be here. Or I may move back to Germany and you won't need the solar cycle to reach me. But it all depends on how my future career develops.... Right now Germany makes no sense for my professional future.



Morse Code / west coast, beginners CW practice group?
« on: August 23, 2019, 06:17:35 PM »
I am still learning the code and was wondering if any other beginners here would be interested in having a no-stress, beginner-friendly rag chew on 40 meters? I just want to talk about rigs, antennas, weather, mountains, airplanes, anything.... other than religion or politics. I run QRP portable, so my signals can be weak but I have had good success in most of the western states when conditions are right.

I have most of my QSOs at about 13 WPM and am comfortable at that speed. I can copy much faster if the quality of code is good. And I am happy to slow down too if the other person is also a beginner. We all started out struggling to get all the letters and I am new enough to remember how difficult that can be. Some of the old timers on the air seem to have forgotten what it was like to be a beginner and I have had one or two discouraging QSOs where I had to politely sign off and spin the dial. Also, I will never tell someone to send with a particular device, or use a particular setup. Radio is supposed to be a hobby and every one should use what they like and how they like. If you're on the air and we're communicating, then your setup works and is good!

General Discussion / Just passed the Exra-Class exam
« on: August 19, 2019, 11:42:12 AM »
Hi All,

After about six months of practice and studying, I passed the Extra exam this past weekend. I was well prepared, but still several of the questions stumped me. I didn't think I passed when I handed it in for grading and had to wait in suspense while all the VEs graded the exam. They had good poker faces. Anyway, went home, didn't get on 80m SSB or anything like that. But thought I'd mention it here. I don't really need the extra for what I do in amateur radio, but thought of it as a challenge and an opportunity to learn more about amateur radio.

Maybe I'll get a 2x2 or 1x2 call sign, but I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble of changing.



General Discussion / Re: Hello from North Carolina
« on: August 02, 2019, 08:50:46 PM »

Welcome to the club. I was a Forward Air Controller in 2D Battalion / 3d Marines for several years. I think that's JTAC in Army lingo. I worked with the forward observers both in the field and in the FDC. Three words of advice: learn CW, learn CW, and lastly learn CW. In a field situation with small radios, batteries, field-expedient wire antennas, etc. CW is by far the most reliable means of communication.



General Discussion / Re: New OP Checking in
« 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.

General Discussion / Re: New OP Checking in
« 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.

General Discussion / New OP Checking in
« 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.

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