I got back into ham radio in May 2006 after many years of inactivity. I decided to start at the beginning again with straight key CW, so joined the Straight Key Century Club (SKCCgroup.com). Also bought a good hand key-- a surplus German Junker ("yoonker"). I operated my old original Century-21 for awhile then added a TenTec Argonaut-V; running 20 watts max (a "full quart") to a random wire. I operate CW mode pretty much entirely.
Are we having fun yet? Yep!
- Added a Elecraft K2 transceiver in July '07; running 15 watts to 85' random wire and attic dipoles.
- Video of my Junker key is available for viewing at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SythbsvxZfA
- New VizKey right-angle bug (11/07). What a great key this is! To see this bug in action check the video at http://youtube.com/watch?v=4WV6FG2yWww
- Please check out the SKCC sprints. These are relaxed events, very laid-back; great for CW beginners and for those who are new to sprinting. There are several demo videos posted on Youtube-- just enter "AF2Z" in the search box at youtube.com
- I originally learned Morse Code from some old 78-RPM Army Signal Corps records. These recordings are available now at www.archive.org (Enter "AF2Z" in the search box there.)
- Latest rig (June '08) is an Elecraft K3 running 12 watts max. I do little "official" QRP but am content to lope along with this fine rig using only low power and simple antennas.
- August 2013. I will soon have to take down my endfed wire because the supporting tree has died. I've been experimenting with an indoor 'cobweb' antenna that I constructed: 10m through 20m, including WARC. It just fits into my available attic space. I am using the G3TXQ style single-wire element cobweb with balun/choke as described here: http://karinya.net/g3txq/cobweb/
I made several thousand WSPR "QSOs" over a period of days in order to evaluate the two antennas back-to-back. (Wrote some macros to toggle my K3 antenna switch every 15 minutes during WSPR sessions; then made up a spreadsheet to compare the S/N levels of my signals as reported by WSPRnet). The attic Cobweb looks very promising. It is at least comparable to my outdoor endfed wire, except that I no longer have coverage on 30, 40, 80 and 160.
So, now I have also added a separate 40m 'cobweb' style antenna in the attic. Due to space limitations its dimensions are rectangular, instead of square as they should be. And one end slants down under the roofline. Performance is okay, but the endfed wire is better. Still, I will now be able to get out fairly well on 40 and 80. I'm only lacking 30m and 160m. (The endfed wire itself is only marginal on these two bands, but they are still nice to have...)
- September 2013. Installed the KPA3 option (100 watt amp) in my K3 transceiver, mainly to make up for the deficiency in 40/80 coverage of my new indoor antenna. This is the first ham rig I've ever owned that puts out more than about 30 watts. (For the past five years I've been running 10 watts on the K3.) I have to say I am pleasantly surprised at the difference made by this modest increase in power. So, what are the ninety extra watts worth? Judging by my SKCC WES results 100 watts easily nets twice as many QSOs as 10 watts (with consideration given to my new indoor antennas and the lately improved HF propagation conditions).
See you on CW!
7766990 Last modified: 2016-12-18 02:34:06, 4184 bytes
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