Tuesday, November 30, 2004 Zulu

I heard some 10M beacons and decided to listen to 12M for SSB. I heard some CW on 24.900 and tuned around and heard K4VSV Bill in Rock Hill, South Carolina calling CQ on 24945 at 1910Z. He heard me at 10W with the K2, but I turned on the K5OOR HFPacker amplifier to get it up to 25W or so to make it more comfortable. Bill said my audio was OK and had punch with my 3:1 compression, so I guess it works. I told Bill he was my second K2 SSB contact, the first being France. Bill also does QRP sometimes with his Icom 703 but was running about 95W on the peaks today into a homebrew log periodic! He'd heard some Europeans earlier, but I was the only signal on the band for him then. QSB took over when we said 73.

K0FPL Frank in Kansas City, KS then called me around 1915Z and asked me to QSY up 5. Frank said I was S2 with good audio, and he was S5 to S8, running 400W into a Vee Beam over 400 feet on a side, but pointed at Europe. Frank congratulated me on the K2 and said he would be my 3rd SSB contact on it!

- posted by Leigh @ 19:41 z 0 comments
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K2 SSB Scope
Tune 60vppAh 1 to 1Ah 2 to 1Ah 3 to 1Ah 4to1

I hooked my Hameg HM-205-2 scope to a Tee to my 50 ohm duimmy load with a 10:1 60MHz probe and measured the p-p with tune and with various SSB compression ratios.

10ms/cm, 1*10v/cm, power set to 12w. Tune measured 60vpp=21.2v RMS, into 50 ohms is 9 watts. See the images of me saying Ah at various compressions. It showed 1 bar of ALC in all cases. I have to set power below 1w to get any more alc action.

- posted by Leigh @ 18:46 z 0 comments
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N7OW in Portland, OR gave me 229 on the way home short hamstick 7041.50. He was 579.
- posted by Leigh @ 07:23 z 0 comments
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Monday, November 29, 2004 Zulu
Headphone and diodes
I had to replace my K2 headphone jack -- the wiper that is NC to the speaker broke off internally and Scott King from Elecraft replaced it for free. I also put in the strong-signal diode limiting mod for the problem that KB6BA Oliver and Ken WB6MLC reported when operating near another strong on-frequency station. I will have to re-test my MDS to make sure, but all seems to work ok.
- posted by Leigh @ 19:29 z 0 comments
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Noontime Net
Driving back from San Luis Obispo, CA today I heard the Noontime Net on 40M, on 7268.50 and they were taking checkins Z to A so I checked in on CW with my KX1. They could barely hear me, as I was running about 3W into a short Hamstick. As luck would have it, I had just lengthened the whip to make it resonate in the CW band instead of the phone band, hi hi. They were quite nice about it and got some relays and got my call, but never got my QTH (which was 101 North near King City, CA). I think the net control was W7ARR.
- posted by Leigh @ 05:30 z 0 comments
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Sunday, November 28, 2004 Zulu
Miss Kitty's K2
Photo 302
Miss Kitty's K2
- posted by Leigh @ 05:28 z 0 comments
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Thursday, November 25, 2004 Zulu
I used my KX1 in the car on 101 South near Soledad, CA with the short Hamstick again and on 7.035 I answered N7MSU Bob in Missoula, MT, who gave me a 539. I had forgotten to plug in the car power so I was running at 2.5W with a 2.5:1 SWR.
- posted by Leigh @ 04:23 z 0 comments
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Wednesday, November 24, 2004 Zulu
I heard W0RW Paul operating a milpack in Colorado and he gave me a 5x3. Definitely some issue with mic gain or SSB somehow.
- posted by Leigh @ 19:12 z 0 comments
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I turned on the K2 and heard Budd W3FF operating bicycle mobile just finishing working Dan at W1AW/90. It took me a few times, but Dan answered me and gave me a 5x3. I was driving the HFPacker amp with the K2 output set at 4.5W, 3:1 compression, gain 3. It still seems like there is something funny going on with my mic or KSB2.
- posted by Leigh @ 18:56 z 0 comments
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AC5JH Micamold XTR-1

I heard from AC5JH. I copied that he was using an "old" rig, an "x" something, but I had no idea how old:

Your Hamstick was not doing too bad, some QSB on the signal but readable with filters on the Omni 6.

The transmitter I was using is OLD. It is a Micamold XTR-1. They were produced in the late 40's as kits. I have been working on it for several days trying to get it working. It useses a 6AG7 oscilator driving a 6L6 final. I don't have a proper filter condencer for it so I was using an esternal power supply. With only about 275 B+ volts the 6L6 was only putting out about 5 to 6 watts. With closer to 400 V B+, it puts out about 25 watts. I had to completly rebuild it back to original due to modifications. As many old original parts as possible were put back into it. Those include old wire wound resistors that look more like the old paper condencers and all the original bypass bees wax and paper condencers. The oscilator runs contenus so you just key the final. The means that I had to trun off the plate voltage and change the antenna switch between tr and rcv. Kinda bulky QSK for sure.

The Micamold XTR-1 is kinda unique in that there are only 4 of them known to still exist. I am not sure but mine may be the only one that is actually on the air? I have had corospondance with the guys that own them and I think most were repairs in progress!

Thanks for the note and if you take a look on Google at Micamold XTR-1 you will see references to pictures of the old rig.

72 and Have a Great ThanksGiving Tom AC5JH Blanchard, OK

- posted by Leigh @ 17:24 z 0 comments
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Photo 273
I operated my KX1 and short 40M hamstick mobile on the way back from the grocery store, and answered AC5JH on 7044. OM said it was raining and he had to QRT because of a very bad storm. He was 579 with QSB but when I passed over a bridge over a drainage canal, he went up to 599, so I stoped there, but then he had to QRT.
- posted by Leigh @ 15:39 z 0 comments
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I got my card from EM1HO in Antarctica.
- posted by Leigh @ 03:06 z 0 comments
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Tuesday, November 23, 2004 Zulu

I heard K5RXL Kevin in Phoenix, Arizona calling CQ on 7.041. There was a lot of QRM from Pactor Monsters, the Russian R and K buoys, and others stations above and below, and a bit of QRN and QSB as well. I thought it would be a good test of my newly-installed KDSP2 so I answered at 5W and got silence, and at 10W I got most of my call back, so I quickly tuned up the K5OOR amplifier and Z100 tuner and re-tuned the K2 for the new match and answered with a big 30W or so. Kevin gave me a 339, and persevered through the QRM and QSB and we had a half-hour long QSO. On my side KDSP2 helped a lot. I found that 0.70 or 0.40 or during the Pactor Storms 0.20 IF filter bandwidth, and then CF1 with Noise Reduction 1 helped a lot on my side. Then I had nothing but QSB to contend with, except during the worst of the Pactor Attacks.

Kevin had a bit of trouble with my signal, probably because I seemed to have mistuned the Z100 (I wish it were more obvious about what it was doing -- having everything with one button is a pain), and the amp did get a bit hot, but at least it still works, and it's cooled down now.

Kevin has been a ham for 30 years, and in addition to his Yaesu FT-817 and vertical, has an Elecraft K1 that he takes camping. We both like the internal autotuners on the Elecraft rigs...and Kevin recommended that I try to get my G5RV up high and flat. Maybe this winter I can get another higher rope up in one of the trees and try that, at least on one end. It was warmer (52F) in Phoenix, but raining all day, Kevin said.

- posted by Leigh @ 06:17 z 0 comments
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I heard K7EBW on 7038.62 at 0145z call CQ and answered him. OM gave me 579 and QTH was Tucson, AZ, but he dropped right after that. Maybe he blew a fuse!
- posted by Leigh @ 01:48 z 0 comments
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Monday, November 22, 2004 Zulu
Korg CA-20 Musical Instrument Tuner for CW Spotting
AAAKorg CA-20

Rich KD6WYK brought in his Korg CA-20 musical instrument (audio) tuner. We calculated that if we set A to 449 Hz then D would be 600 Hz. I turned on the KX1 sidetone and we got a match at A=445hz which works out to 594Hz. I suspect the Korg tuner is more accurate than the KX1 sidetone.

At $20 it makes a good CW tuning accessory. The speaker is a Radio Shack 277-1008c, about $13 off the shelf.

- posted by Leigh @ 21:59 z 0 comments
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KDSP2 Works
KDSP2 Installed
It works. Now 0.32a draw with the KDSP2 and KSB2 installed. The 0.32A draw appears to stay even when I put the KDSP2 in bypass, so I will probably be building the KAF2 as well, so I can compare them.
- posted by Leigh @ 07:31 z 0 comments
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KSB2 installation and side-grounding of X1 on RF Board

When I built the K2 RF board, I looked for guidance about which XTALs to ground on the side. It looks like the BFO reference XTAL needs to be grounded on the side, even though I didn't pick that up before.

I moved the ground wire from the top of X1 to the side, as the KDSP2 manual says it should be. As I've already done it to the main filter and the KSB2's filter, that leaves X4 and its sibling, the first IF filter, grounded on the top. I dunno if I should ground them on the side or not.

- posted by Leigh @ 06:50 z 0 comments
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KSB2 Current Draw Update
I put paper between the RF chokes and the SSB xtal filter and the current consumption went down to 0.26-0.28A. Then I removed the paper and it stayed there. Then I put it back and it stayed there. At least it's down now.
- posted by Leigh @ 06:42 z 0 comments
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KDSP2 Control Board done
DSP Control Board
DSP Control Board. Here it goes!
- posted by Leigh @ 06:29 z 0 comments
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Sunday, November 21, 2004 Zulu
I just finished my KSB2 and and evaluating its performance. Before I installed it my K2 the current draw in receive was about 0.24-0.26 amps according to the internal meter. Afterward, it is 0.30-0.32 amps. Even taking the conservative range, that's 40ma draw and the manual says 15-20ma. Should I be concerned, or is this within error? I rechecked the board and cleaned fluxy areas with a Chemtronics flux remover (alcohol based) to remove any possible metal trapped on the board. My first contact was F5PFP Mehdi in Lyons, France, running about somewhere in the 25-40W range on 17M, but OM said my audio was "very low." I think there might be an issue there but haven't located it yet. The Mic is an Elecraft/Heil MH2, and I have compression at 2:1 and Mic Gain at 3.
- posted by Leigh @ 05:39 z 0 comments
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Friday, November 19, 2004 Zulu
First SSB QSO with K2
I heard Mehdi F5PFP in Lyons, France, calling CQ Western US on 18162.10. I used the HFPacker amp and he gave me a report of very low audio, 5x1, but at least he heard me.
- posted by Leigh @ 16:09 z 0 comments
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Thursday, November 18, 2004 Zulu
The KSB2 board is done, but not installed. I built it to the bandwidth specs from the Rev E manual, as pointed out by others.
- posted by Leigh @ 15:29 z 0 comments
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004 Zulu
Xtal filter
Last night I put in most of the crystal filter. I took Don's recommendation to ground X1 and X7 from the GND side of capacitors, and had prepared for that when installing them. I also pre-installed the grounds, using the board as a holder.
- posted by Leigh @ 16:14 z 0 comments
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Tuesday, November 16, 2004 Zulu
At lunch
I listened to the W1AW bulletin today at lunch.
- posted by Leigh @ 22:10 z 0 comments
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I worked on the KSB2 this evening, but had an hour-long frantic search for the four resistor packs. I finally found them in a baggie in the bottom of a Priority Mail box under my XG-1.
- posted by Leigh @ 06:18 z 0 comments
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Monday, November 15, 2004 Zulu
RF Cafe
- posted by Leigh @ 15:15 z 0 comments
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Friday, November 12, 2004 Zulu

On 3545 I heard VA7VV Jerome in Vancouver, BC, calling CQ with no takers.

I answered him on my newly-fixed K2 at 15W and he gave me a 579, which I gave him back. Jerome was using a Ten Tec Jupiter at 50W and an 80m Zepp. Jerome said that solar conditions were still unstable and all bands were bad up there, except for six meters.

Then he reported that QSB and S5 QRN then set in; I guess a wave of cold Canadian protons passed through Vancouver, but there was no QRN here -- it was eerily quiet. I turned on the HFPacker Amp and tried at 40W but it didn't help.

After our QSO I could still hear him about 559 to 539.

- posted by Leigh @ 06:30 z 0 comments
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K2 Low Output Fixed

Following WA6HHQ Eric's directions to measure current draw, I realized that I had low output on all high bands, not just 10/12m.

Using the TX signal tracing procedure in the manual, I isolated the problem to the TX mixer buffer amplifier, and found it.

Now I have plenty of output on all bands. Thanks for all the help Eric and Mychael, and for the great troubleshooting in the manual!

Details for the record:

- posted by Leigh @ 01:55 z 0 comments
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Thursday, November 11, 2004 Zulu
K2 Power

At first I thought my K2 had low power out on 12M and 10M. I checked T2 and it is raised off the board. I re-peaked the 10M and 12M band-pass filters on TX and can't get more than about 1W out on 12M and 10M.

Eric Swartz suggested a current draw check and said that high draw would point to LPF problems and low draw to T2 or BPF.

Unfortunately, I've discovered the problem is worse than I thought. I have good output below 20M and it drops precipitously at 20M and above, as does the current. (4MHz has a dip, but that could be due to the LPF, since the current is steady there, so I'm willing to believe that's a different problem.)

I've also plotted the efficiency assuming 12.5V, but neglected to measure it. If the voltage is constant and I only want a relative measure, it doesn't matter, though. (Also my K2 internal DVM seems to be off a few tenths of a volt.)

I guess my next step is signal tracing.

Note efficiency is at an assumed voltage level of 12.5v and should be used only for a rough relative estimate.


- posted by Leigh @ 18:31 z 0 comments
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ATU; low output on 10/12M
I finished the ATU yesterday or so, and it works. But I noticed I have low output on 12M and 10M: 1 Watt or less. ric Swartz answered my question and to check the current draw. It's low so that is either the BPF or T2, which I know I have too close to the board. QRZ:AA3WF Mychael "toroid guy" said he would send me a toroid, even though it was my fault... I haven't been able to get time to open the K2 and check yet.
- posted by Leigh @ 05:28 z 0 comments
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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 Zulu
Bad news today -- K5DKR succumbed to viral meningitis. I had talked to Dave on the N6NFI repeater a month or so ago, when I was coming back from an HFPack hike and got lost on 880 or 580 or 680 (which was part of the problem). Dave recounted having driven all night around Sacramento, and driving along the levy near the Highway Pattol training grounds.
- posted by Leigh @ 03:29 z 0 comments
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Tuesday, November 09, 2004 Zulu
The KAT2 is done and passes the relay and EEPROM tests. Next step is installation.
- posted by Leigh @ 17:58 z 0 comments
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What with the solar flare and bad space weather and all, I was discouraged and hadn't planned to turn the radio on, but I decided to anyway when I sat down to finish (?) my K2 ATU. Right away on 80M I heard a fairly strong CQ and the call seemed familiar; I looked up WA5TCZ on QRZ.com and saw it was Darron, who was used to talk to my father N5LK when they were novices. Darron sent me email after I commented on an article he wrote about taking the code test in New Orleans. We tried a sked once or twice but couldn't hear each other, so we were both doubly surprised to have a QSO under these conditions. I tuned around and didn't hear anything at all on any of the other bands. I was running my K2 to the HFPacker amp at 40W.
- posted by Leigh @ 05:51 z 0 comments
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Monday, November 08, 2004 Zulu
LC BoardL8
I got the last of the toroids wound for my K2 ATU. Now there's just 4 pages of wires... Here is the LC board.
- posted by Leigh @ 07:06 z 0 comments
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Sunday, November 07, 2004 Zulu
ARRLWeb: 2004 ARRL November Sweepstakes Rules
- posted by Leigh @ 02:55 z 0 comments
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Saturday, November 06, 2004 Zulu
I made 1 contact in CQ SS:
K8CC #85M K8CC 69 MI
using my KX1 and 20M Hamstick on back of a frame backpack I got on EBay for $14.
- posted by Leigh @ 22:35 z 0 comments
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Friday, November 05, 2004 Zulu
Photo 189Photo 188T1
I got the missing capacitors (doubtless dropped somewhere) and got about halfway done with the ATU. I wound one toroid (looks like the sense transformer) and the LC board has 8 more...
- posted by Leigh @ 07:12 z 0 comments
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I just heard on 14.060 W9FFU tail a QSO with really strong chirp. The OM answered him and gave him a 599...
- posted by Leigh @ 01:39 z 0 comments
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Thursday, November 04, 2004 Zulu
I finished the Noise Blanker but wanted to wait for something else to be done to install it. I'm waiting on missing (dropped, likely) parts for the KSB2 and ATU, so I built the KIO2. I turned it on and it worked first time with Marote by AB6CV. I will have to wait for the recycling truck or another airplane to see if the NB works.

After I put in the KNB2, the K2 wouldn't XMIT. I removed the KIO2 board and TX worked again. I must have put the KIO2 connector onto the control board improperly. Opening the right side of the rig helps see where the cable runs. Without the ATU or battery installed, the cable is a little long, and I bent it up against the speaker magnet and screw.

- posted by Leigh @ 07:27 z 0 comments
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