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Sunday, June 4, 2017

QRP in the Park .... 2017

I had a nice time at the park today ... sat in the shade, sipped on my Pepsi, and worked MD, ME and NY on 20 meter CW using my KX3 running about 5 watts. Signals were perfectly readable, typically S5-6.

Essex Park here in Rochester, MN (and most any other place with a shaded picnic table) is my summer shack. During the winter I can play with boat anchors in the basement but operating HF QRP during the summer lets me get out to the park and away from neighborhood static/noise. I can also put up a higher antenna than in my own yard.

What's this like? Take a look at this youtube video: I'm ten years older, I've added feedline to the antenna, the rig has changed and the brand of pop has changed but Essex Park still has the same tall trees, picnic tables and shade.

Now, where's that second Pepsi?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Novice Rig Roundup

The Novice Rig Roundup is an nine day operating event "where radio amateurs contact stations using vintage ham radio equipment from the early era of the Novice license."

I ended up putting 6 transmitters and 7 receivers on the air, everything from a 6AG7/Regen combo to a Drake B Line. It was great to get these guys on the air. Now that they are out of mothballs I'm looking forward to putting them all on the air on a more regular basis. Next year? That 75A4 and CE 20A should make a nice CW station.

To find out more take a look at NRR website at

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

AWA Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest Recap

I've wrapped up another LC ...
... certainly not a barn burning score but I did get two of my vintage stations on the air. 

On Saturday, January 14, I ran my Utah Jr driving push-pull TZ20s at about 35 watts output. While only a 3-4 x power increase over my Wednesday 6J5-6L6 rig, I did find it easier to make contacts.  Was the power the difference or propagation or noise or weekday vs weekend participation or something else? I can't tell based on only this one contest.

Winter includes two AWA CW Contests, the Classic Exchange, and the Novice Rig Roundup. Each of these gives me a chance to get my old gear on the air. I haven't decided yet if I'll be in the CX or not but the NRR is relaxed enough to fit my non-contest operating style. I'm starting to think about which of my rigs will get operating space and time in this event.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

AWA LC CW Contest

Right now we are in the middle of the AWA Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest. See

Last Wednesday evening I used my early 40s homebrew pair, a 6J5-6L6 transmitter (1940) and a simple superhet (1941). Results were disappointing. A high noise level here, limited operating time, and, possibly, low activity level resulted in only three contacts and 36 points.

Tonight I plan to move to my HRO Sr and Utah Jr driving a TZ-20 amplifier. Compared to many of the rigs I put on the air this one is QRO running 70 watts input and about 35 watts output.
I've configured my mid 30s operating positions so that the TZ-20 amplifier can be shared between the Utah Jr/HRO Sr and my 1934 "CW Jr"/FB7.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

ARRL Straight Key Night

This afternoon I got on the air for the ARRL Straight Key Night (SKN). The receiver this year was my improved Simple Superhet . Along with it I used my 6J6-6L6 transmitter running about 10 watts to my winter vertical (with the Christmas lights still hanging off of it). Straight Key Night, as the name implies encourages the use of straight keys. I put away my keyer and used a military surplus J-37 mounted on a bakelite "I" base.

As usual my QSO count was not very high, in fact only one, NI9Y, but I enjoyed the QSO. Getting 70-80 year old technology on the air, even for one QSO, brings with it a lot of satisfaction.
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Up next in my winter operating event schedule is the AWA Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest.  I'll probably use this station for at least part of this contest.