This Blog focuses on a few of my favorite activities. Most notably Cycling, Amateur Radio and Target Shooting. I believe that we learn best by doing. Since I am always engaged in one project or another, the blog is the journal where I keep track of my accomplishments and ideas.
This Father's Day was a pleasant and relaxing day. I called my Dad to wish him a happy Father's Day around lunch time. In the afternoon I finished up the backyard projects with the pool. For the remainder of the day while Wyatt was swimming I brought out the KD8JHJ portable 40 meter QRP rig to test out on the patio. I drew power from the AC mains so a steady 5 watts output was assured.
QRP is so much fun. I made two contacts that answered my call on the second go-round. I'm no longer suprised when a station returns my call while transmitting with the MFJ 9040 transceiver. Also it seems I don't have to send endless streams of CQs.
My first contact was Bill KB2RAW in Sidney, NY. Bill was using a cootie key. I could not tell it as he was sending very good code. He reported my RST as 589. Knowing that I was operating QRP (5 watts) Bill finally asked "What model is your rig I want one?" I told him the model was MFJ 9040. He said "Well it sounds great and would never have known you was QRP."
The second QSO was Rick K4UFS in Rainbow City, Alabama. Rick was using a vintage Collins S-line which back in it's day was top of the line tube gear that many a ham lusted after. And what a testament to Collins quality that after all these years they are still alive on the ham bands making contacts.
A third contact was Bill W9ZN in Chicago, IL. Although he sent a 589 signal report there must have been signal fading or some problem because we lost contact after a couple of minutes. Occasionally it happens.
One part of my portable kit I had not tested out yet was using the Bushwhacker Paddle and K-5 keyer to drive the little MFJ rig. The supplied patch cable between the keyer and transceiver has a 1/4" inch jack but the key socket on the MFJ is 1/8" I picked up the phono to 1/8" mono cord at Radio Shack and upon hooking up the components I found the paddle-keyer was not working. As soon as I plugged in the cord the rig keyed up transmitting a steady tone. A quick continuity check revealed that the center pin on the cord was open. I took a gamble that the problem was the 1/8" plug so I cut it off knowing I had a new one in my spare parts box ready to be soldered up. Once I had bare wires exposed I checked continuity again and found that the phono plug at the other end was ok. I soldered on the new 1/8" plug and function checked the whole setup and it worked great.
The keyer and paddle is extra gear to take out but I wanted the capability of using the memory keyer to generate my CQ calls if by chance I ever don't get an answer after one of two calls. The Nye Speed-X straight key will continue to stand by as a backup or will get plugged in if I ever run the MFJ QRP rig for a SKCC event.