QRZ.COM
ad: chuckmartin
ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: Left-2
ad: Left-3
ad: abrind-2
ad: L-MFJ
Latest Awards
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued
United States Awards Issued

Short Takes #13: Rig Thermometers, Add-on Speakers, and Ham Radio Coffee!

By Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

Great Rig Thermometer

Recentlly I bought a few stick-on thermometers which are readily available on Amazon and other sources. I have been using them on some of my gear as a visible warning for electronics that might be getting too warm. While most big radios or amps will have temperature indicators on their front panel (such as my linears), there are some products like antenna tuners that do not. And yet, they can be subject to the same heat issues if they are overdriven.  I like the visual confirmation when I'm on QSOs that everything is cool and comfortable -- see the photo. They are fast reacting and can save you a bundle with their visual indication that you've pushed your shack too hard.

Are Matching Speakers for Transceivers Worth the Cost?

I have an IC-7300 with a matching SP-38 speaker next to it. Do I like the way it looks next to my radio? I sure do! Does it outperform the internal speaker and give me any kind of advantage? No way. All that this nearly $200 purchase does is shoot the sound out front, instead of "up" as in the internally mounted speaker. Sure, that's an advantage for some if the IC-7300 is rack mounted. But I fail to see the $200 value here. Yes, it's built well (like all ICOM products) but it's a just another little speaker like the one in the radio, mounted in a nice matching cabinet. In this case, the external speaker option on the radio is purely a benefit to appearance. All that I got by adding this speaker to my shack was to make it look a bit cooler. Reminds me of adding racing stripes to your car, which don't make it go any faster.

I wonder, are ALL external speakers this kind of poor value? It's definitely overpriced. It should be $100 at retail, but it's twice that. It should be a better loudspeaker than the one built into the rig, and it's not. I would love to have your comments in the attached forum as to how Yaesu and other brands of radios handle their external speaker option. ICOM, I'd like to see you produce a $200 option for the IC-7300 that truly has some unique functions, perhaps noise limiting controls or the addition of a button or two and some electronics to improve the value ratio! I rate the SP-38 as an A in build quality and a C in user experience.

 

Ham Radio Coffee?

You might remember one of our first "Short Takes" columns here on QRZ where I mentioned my IKEA ham shack coffee cup holder. I love that thing. It keeps my coffee off the desk, as over the years I have dumped coffee all over my keyboards and paddles.  It's photographed here, next to a package of coffee that I received one day after Hamvention last month. I wasn't aware that there was a coffee produced by hams for hams, but you know what? It makes sense. My shack is driven in part by good coffee. Mornings, you'll find me in my radio room with a good cup of Java, enjoying the Activity Group or a net, or just reading the mail both on the radio or from my mailbox.

The story of Home Brew Coffee is a bit unusual. Steve (W3BIZ) is an entrepreneur in several different businesses, and he's long wanted to have a coffee company. There's just no sign of a slow-down worldwide for the consumption of the beverage. Good coffee still needs to be sought out, because there are so many marginal, stale beans being sold around the world. Steve's idea was to produce coffee in small batches so that it could be shipped in airtight packages on the day it is roasted, and you can just taste how fresh it is. It's a premium roast, which means it's a bit pricey, but I have enjoyed his Ham Shack blend now for several mornings in a row and I'm going to have a hard time switching back to Lavazza when the package is empty.

 

You'll catch W3BIZ (great call sign, Steve) on phone chasing POTA or DX, and working Skywarn in his Michigan county on 2M.

73 for now,

Dave

 

Have a comment? See what others are saying now in our Forum discussion!

CLICK HERE and JUMP INTO THE CONVERSATION


Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

Dave Jensen, W7DGJ, was first licensed in 1966. Originally WN7VDY (and later WA7VDY), Dave operated on 40 and 80 meter CW with a shack that consisted primarily of Heathkit equipment. Dave loved radio so much he went off to college to study broadcasting and came out with a BS in Communications from Ohio University (Athens, OH). He worked his way through a number of audio electronics companies after graduation, including the professional microphone business for Audio-Technica.  He was later licensed as W7DGJ out of Scottsdale, Arizona, where he ran an executive recruitment practice (CareerTrax Inc.) for several decades. Jensen has published articles in magazines dealing with science and engineering. His column “Tooling Up” ran for 20 years in the website of the leading science journal, SCIENCE, and his column called “Managing Your Career” continues to be a popular read each month for the Pharmaceutical and Household Products industries in two journals published by Rodman Publishing.


Articles Written by Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

This page was last updated June 19, 2023 15:52