17 October 2021

The View From The Bench - 17 October 21

 Well, what's been happening around the shack this week?

  • (Monday) I ran our regular local 10 meter net (28.380 at 2100 hours EST), but ran it with a twist. I operated QRP from one of the high points in the county, which just happens to be the parking lot of a local middle school. I used my new-old Elecraft KX2 (more on that upcoming) and Chameleon vertical mounted to my truck. The Elecraft, by reception reports, was about 1 khz off frequency on TX. Hmm... time for an alignment check. 

  • (Monday) Shipped my Icom IC-7200 off to N4ATS in Florida to have a 'quiet scan' mod done so I can run the rig using ALE. I've been testing ALE - both MARS-ALE and Ion2G - using my IC-7300, which works great. Both MARS-ALE and Ion2G put the 7300 into split frequency mode, which means that on RX the filter relays are bypassed, eliminating the annoying and not-good-for-the-radio relay clacking as the rig scans through frequency groups. But I  need to leave the 7300 configured for other digital mode operations and want to test & run ALE on a second rig. The 7200 makes a very capable ALE radio, but there's no way to bypass the filter relays while scanning. The radio just isn't capable of that from the factory. But, there's a well documented mod that sets the relays in bypass while scanning, and N4ATS has done a number of these mods for other ALE operators. I figure this route is cheaper than buying a second IC-7300. 
  • (Monday) It's been confirmed - the 2021 Stone Mountain Hamfest is a go for 6 -7 November. Hooray! I'll be in the boneyard on Saturday, trying to offload some unneeded stuff. If you are in the area stop by and say hello.
  • (Tuesday) Speaking of the KX2 (were we?), I just got through doing a frequency alignment. Seems the little rig really was just a bit 'off'. Elecraft provides a very easy procedure where the radio automatically zero beats a known frequency (I used WWV at 15.000 mHz) and self-adjusts. I also did the 'MARS mod', which is a factory firmware update that removes the amateur radio band limits. You have to specifically ask Elecraft for the firmware, but when I explained I was a MARS member they sent it to me with no fuss. Hmmm... a firmware update to achieve wide-band TX. I wonder why IcoYaeKen never thought of that.
  • (Wednesday) So who knew that ham radio has a patron saint? I'm Catholic, and I was surprised after all these years to find this out. Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest of the Franciscan order, ran an experimental shortwave transmitter on 40 meters (7 mHz band) between 1938 & 39, as a way to spread the gospel and keep in touch with monasteries throughout Poland and, ultimately, as far away as Japan! Contemporary accounts of Saint Kolbe reveal that he was very interested in modern technology, particularly technologies that helped him spread the gospel, so it makes perfect sense that he would have acquired a transmitter, secured a station license (SP3RN) and started broadcasting. Sadly, Saint Kolbe was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz, where he perished on 14 August 1941. He was subsequently designated the patron saint of ham radio, and there are regular nets in his name run on HF and DMR. Check it all out at the SP3RN web page
  • (Sunday) It's getting cooler here in the ATL region. Woke up this morning to 45 degree temperatures. The coffee in my mug is actually steaming! Fewer bugs, less sweat, more pleasant portable operating conditions. May have to carve out some time for later this afternoon...

W8BYH out

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