Office in The Sky May 29th, 2016
Technology today is wonderful. Here I am at 35,00 ft in a warm pressurised cabin with my battery powered iPad being charged from the USB socket and connected to a full size keyboard via blue tooth. I could also use wifi provided by the airline. This in turn gave me access to all the films on a big screen as well as aircraft progress. And all this in economy class. Oh, and as much drink as needed.
OUR ANNUAL OPEN DAY May 27th, 2016
Tomorrow, Saturday, is our Annual Open Day. As usual we will have lots of bargains, discounts, and a few surprises. There will be the junk clearance, raffle and a series of Mini Lectures. There will also be the usual free food and drink. So why not come down and see for yourself what we have to offer
Using Heil Headsets with KX2 and KX3 May 26th, 2016
The small KX3 and the even smaller KX2 share the same ability to be used directly with any modern Heil headset, without the need for any adaptor lead. The only change needed is to go into the menu system and switch off PTT and UP/DWN, otherwise the radios will think you have the standard 4-way mic and will go into transmit mode. In the case of the KX2, we noticed that these menu items cannot be changed unless an MH3 Elecraft mic is plugged in first. Not sure if this is deliberate, but it is a fact at present.
Elecraft KX2 Delivery May 25th, 2016
The he price of the KX2 ready built will be £789. This will include a 2 Year warranty (exclusive to UK sales, plus 7 day approval and UK service backup.
First delivery will be in around 14 days time so get your orders in now.
Elecraft KX2 Sample Arrives in UK – Demo this Saturday May 23rd, 2016
We now have a demonstration unit fitted with auto ATU. With the optional Li-ion 2.6Ah cell fitted I was able to achieve 10W output for a CW QSO and an SSB QSO. I am not sure how long the charge will hold at this power level. But this in itself is encouraging. The battery has a connector such that it can be plugged in intern ally or plugged in externally. For the SSB QSO I used the internal microphone which worked just fine. These tests were carried out on 40m using a dipole.
The final price has still to be confirmed but I am hoping that we will have stock for July delivery. I will be demonstrating this radio at our Open Day this coming Saturday.
The Alex Loop – Still the Best May 23rd, 2016
The Alex Loop manufactured by PY1AHD was this year in the main hall at Dayton. I have been using this loop for a good few years now and it’s performance is quite remarkable.
The antenna covers all bands from 40m through to 10m and folds up into a very small package. Tuning is simple and precise. No ATU is needed. It also works as an indoor antenna with excellent noise rejection. Maximum power handling is 20W so ideal for the KX2 and KX3. I have been asking Alex to produce an electrically tune one for those who want to install one in an attic. I think it might happen some day. Below is a trial unit being developed by Alex.
Yaesu News May 23rd, 2016
Yaesu announced their new FT-891 at the Dayton Hamvention. Clearly aimed at the mobile market, this radio covers 160m to 6m. Sadly no 4m coverage. It is still a struggle to get the Big Three to recognise the potential of 4m. Icom have recognised it, even though it still feels like the band is a second class citizen because of the way it is implimented.
As for the Ft-817, there are strong rumours that it may be in its last year of production. It has had an amazingly long run and now may be the time to buy one. If production does stop, without a replacement, the used price may rise above the retail price. Remember the FT-847.
Below is part of a selection of old Yaesu gear on show ar Dayton this year.
Bicycle Mobile May 23rd, 2016
I met Keith NE9KM at Dayton this year. He was wheeling his cycle through one of the halls with a KX3 neatly mounted on the front handle bars. I know nothing about bicycle mobile, only having used my bicycle for the purpose of carrying my portable gear, which also happens to be a KX3 currently. But I was intrigued to see the setup that Keith had.
The KX3 is a very obvious choice as it offers the possibility of covering all the ham HF bands plus 2m if you opt for the optional 2m transverter. The addition of 2m is a goo thing to have as it offers the possibility of local FM contacts.
Whilst it is entirely possible to run the KX3 from internal AA cells, it does impose the limitation of both power and battery life. The KX3 can only=y manage an output power of 5W with internal AA cells, but is capable of up to 15W on 20m and lower as well as 10W on the higher bands, if an external 12V supply is used. Keith had used this option deploying a separates 12V battery in a dedicated battery holder strapped to the bike.
As to the antenna system, Keith had opted for using the Buddipole system, basically a Buddi stick mounted on an alloy angle section firmly bonded to the bike. The bike itself was quite substantial and what I would call a mountain bike. As such it offered a decent amount of metal work that presented itself as a ground plane for the vertical HF band radiator. Keith told me that his favourite band was 17m as it seemed to work better for QRP stations. I can confirm this from my own experience of operationng on this band. It often appears to be dead but can spring into life more frequently than many. would imagine.
Bicycle mobile is not for everybody and I suspect that few actually operate whilst on the move. Visions of breathless SSB QSOs spring to mind. But it certainly is one of the more healthier aspects of ham radio. Keith is planning a 300 mile 6-day excursion with five other riders later this year and I wish him well. There are no set frequencies and working across to Europe may not come that easy although I have done it myself on a number of occasions running a Diamon mobile whip and KX3 on my camper van.
MFJ Enterprises USA May 22nd, 2016
Since 1974, we have been representing MFJ from the USA. And each year we make a point of taking advantage of our trip to Dayton to meet with them and talk about our future plans. Inevitably this ends up with a meal in Dayton and 2016 was no exception. From left to right, Peter Waters, Martin Jue, Randy, Phylis, Justin Johnson and Steve Pan. Thanks guys, another great meeting.
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Elecraft KX2 – Inside View May 21st, 2016
Opening up the KX2 is very simple, and the main reason you would need to do that is to either insert or remove the battery or add the optional auto ATU, KXAT2. To do either of these tasks you need to loosen the row hurled screws at either end and the one at the bottom which also holds the tilt leg in place. The only item attached to the back panel is the speaker and there is sufficient lead length to permit the back panel to lay flat as shown in the picture above.
My sample has the auto ATU fitted and this can be seen on the left side of the picture. On the right is the Li-ion battery. This is extremely easy to fit, having a robust coaxial type plug that easily slips into the internal battery socket.
At the time of writing these notes I am still in Dayton Ohio with no means of connecting anything other than a short piece of wire in my hotel room. But one point I did notice was that with the radio placed on a desk top and the tilt leg deployed, there was bags of audio reflected back up at me, even though the speaker is of necessity quite small. More observations when I get back home