I started out as a shortwave listener years ago while living just outside Austin, TX, but quickly developed an interest in ham radio. I was first licensed in October of 2007. In 2008 I began to learn CW and now operate CW about 95% of the time. I still enjoy the occasional SSB contact as well as the digital modes, but CW, for me, is the most fun of all.
I've recently developed an interest in QRSS operation: Using very simple, low power transmitters to send very slow speed morse code transmissions over great distances. Since I'm operating a QRSS beacon, the "message" in my case is simply my callsign. You can of course transmit all sorts of messages this way, but because of the the slow speeds involved, brevity is a virtue!
Here is a photo of the QRSS beacon I built:
It has an output power of 100 mW and can easily be powered with a 5 to 6 volt battery pack. You might think that a puny 100 mW signal can't propagate very far, but you'd be surprised! Here is my signal as it was captured by W4HBK in Pensacola, FL on Feb 26, 2012:
Pensacola is already slightly over 1000 miles from Brooklyn, NY, so 100 mW turns out to be not so puny after all. And here is a "grab" from PA2OHH near Groningen in The Netherlands on March 24, 2012:
Not perfect copy by any means, but there it is! A 100mW signal traveled approximately 3700 miles!
Two more examples: Here's my signal as received by G6AVK in the UK on Apr 28, 2012:
And as heard (quite clearly!) by IK1WVQ in Albenga, Italy on Apr 28, 2012:
Who else has been receiving my signal? It's hard to say. I never know unless the receiving station contacts me with a reception report or I spot my signal on a "grabber"! I anxiously await hearing from any stations in Europe or South America who decode my signal.
In other news, here is a new toy I recently acquired: A German Junker straight key. It has a wonderful feel to it and using it has allowed me to improve my "fist". it means a lot to me to be able to send good, clean code with a straight key.
Speaking of CW, I have also acquired a fantastic single-lever paddle:
This paddle was built by N0SA. It is his model SP2 paddle. Single-lever paddles are a keen interest of mine, largely because I've never been sold on the merits of iambic keying. This is probably the very best single-lever key I have used, and I can comfortably say this even though it's not fully "broken in". True, our judgments of paddles are largely subjective and dependent upon our operating styles, but, for me, the SP2 is just about perfection. I acquired it at just the right time too, as the solar cycle is really picking up. I can't tell you how much fun I've had with this paddle just in the past week!
For fun I also dabble in kit building and recently built the 40 meter version of the Oak Hills Research OHR 100a transceiver. Here are a few photos of the finished product:
So far I'm enjoying the OHR 100a very much. It provides about 7 watts out (maximum) and the QSK is as smooth as silk. As you see in the last image I also opted to build OHR's outboard digital frequency display. It makes it much easier to zerobeat on a station. What should my next project be?
Another recent acquisition is a 1970s vintage Ten Tec Century 21 transceiver:
When it arrived it has some bad solder joints and was not transmitting, but it sprang to life immediately once those were fixed. It has a KD1JV digital dial installed in place of the original, analog dial. I enjoy it a lot and use it mostly on 20 and 40 meters.
Living in Brooklyn, I face the usual worries stemming from limited space, antenna restrictions, etc. At the moment my primary antennas are a 1 meter diameter magnetic loop for 10 through 30 meters and a center loaded vertical for 40 through 80. Both antennas work well and are inconspicuous. If you have had good experiences with a particular type of limited-space antenna, I would love to hear about it.
I am a member of the following clubs:
30 Meter Digital Group: #1243
Straight Key Century Club #5826
My QSL preferences: For DX contacts I prefer to QSL via the bureau, but will also use E-QSL or LOTW. For domestic contacts I will QSL direct.
If you area ham radio operator, then you are a friend of mine.
Thanks for reading and 73!
51229 Last modified: 2012-10-17 18:50:04, 13673 bytes
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