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Tuesday 24 June 2014

Interesting KX3 travel packing

Just RX something in the post and thought it might have another purpose....

A KX3 fits perfectly....

These are the same (bit shorter) than the wrappers laser toner cartridges come in for Samsung and some HP printers. Called Toner Airbag.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

What kits did I mean in the post about buying kits from US?

I guess not everyone knew about these so here goes links to some web sites:

Hardrock-50 50W PA loosely based on and improved version of ARRL 50W PA challange entry 2010.

The winner for the sub $125 category in that same contest was W6JL and the design is seriously cheap you will find his build has been used in a lot of 100% homebrew builds so not a kit really but should appear in his list. This link is to one of the better sites about it. ARRL members can down load the article.

Elecraft KXPA100
The very long time to market 100W PA from Elecrft that is primarily for the KX3
They say built and kit.... the kit is a screwdrver kit, no soldering.

Same site/page and you will find all the other Elecraft goodies. KX3, P3, K3, PX3 (P3 for KX3)


Flex Radio

Waters and Stanton

Martin Lynch and Sons

QPProject (Germany) then select the English Pages

Thursday 12 June 2014

SMD soldering made simple

I just took delivery of a parcel from ebay of some fine solder.

This was a bit finer than I have used normally and it is 0.3mm

It makes soldering much easier on 0603 components that my current reel (0.4mm). It is tin/lead as well.

Was with me from china in only a week.

US bought Hardrock HF 50W PA or Elecraft KXPA100 PA costs

I was asked to comment about the extra costs of two PA kits that  someone was considering. I am not a fan or either as I do not use a PA when operating but thought I should also point out in case anyone is buying either of these from the US. (and not from ML&S, W&S et al).I buy bits and pieces from the US so used to the formula you need to apply...

As the shipment is coming into the UK from US it will be deemed an IMPORT and it is very rare that you will not get charged VAT at least. £ is at todays exchange rate £1 = $1.68
There is no Customs or Excise duty to pay (as it is amateur radio kit) but they will charge an admin fee AND VAT on the shipping costs and the declared value and it has to be paid before delivery.... note if the declared value is not realistic be prepared for them to check what the real value is if they think it was set too low! Happened on one parcel sent $5 declared value and was really $84.
The Hardrick-50 HF kit and P&P (shipping) will cost about $420 (£249.68 12/6/2014)
You will need to add:
20% VAT on the declared value and shipping costs in this case $49.72 (£29.56 12/6/2014) plus a £13.50 clearance fee (admin charge basically)
So the kit will cost you an additional £43.06 or £292.74 total.

The Elecraft KXPA100 and P&P (shipping) will cost about $790.91 (£470.18 12/6/2014)

You will need to add:

20% VAT on the kit and the shipping costs $79.09, converted to £47.02 (12th June 2014)
plus a £13.50 clearance fee (admin charge basically)

So the kit will cost you an additional £60.52 or £ 530.70 total.
Be advised.... you can get asked to pay these fees if you carry something in to the UK too, if you declare it. You can get fined and have it confiscated if you do not declare it! I was asked to pay the duty for one of my KX3 recently... but luckily had the receipt and the previous customs charge payment details.

Yes they do seem much cheaper direct (W&S quoting £699 for a KXPA100 kit so that is £169 saving) :-)

Tuesday 10 June 2014

RSGB IOTA from EU037 Garpen Q&A notes for those interested.

Was asked a couple of questions by email over the last two weeks so here are my answers for any that will ask.

Will I be running the station 24 hours? YES
Will I be running the station SSB and CW ? YES
Will I be running the station QRP ? YES
What is my station setup ?
KX3, wire vertical dipoles and VDA on higher bands (20m up), GP on 40m, Dipole on 80m.
I will not take a PA just so you can manage a qso
Outside contest 160m dipole,60m dipole, 17 and 12m vertical dipoles
KX3 utility, win-test and winkey for CW

Will I have a short call? NO I will be using SM7/M1KTA/P (/P means portable) please get it right or else you will loose points.
Will I be running all the bands during RSGB IOTA? YES
Will I be running all the bands at the same time ? NO It will be just me so that means I will be qrv on one band or mode at a time only. If I am busy on SSB or CW please don't ask me to qsy to another band or mode or ask when... LISTEN as I expect I will say something.
Can I send CW slowly please? YES I am a slow CW op anyway so this should not be a problem. 12-14 wpm will probably be my slowest.

If anything like most solo IOTA attempts in previous years. Probably safe to expect I will probably run CW during the BOTTOM 20 minutes of any hour if the bands are open unless I have a horrendous SSB pile up (very unlikely). But please listen on air.

I was asked about expected frequencies....  :-) It is one of the busiest contests of the year in EU and I do not expect a QRP station to be able to maintain ANY frequency for very long. The usual QRO contest station practice will probably dominate.... manage a qso and then move barely 1KHz away and start calling CQ they benefit from other stations looking for mebut I will be buried under their signal. Please use your ears do not rely on DX spots I already expect I will have to qsy often!

No I will not be running split, it is a contest so expect simplex only except WARC operating outside the contest!

Where to find me on the bands: 

I will tend to avoid the QRP frequencies (yes this may seem like an oxymoron but they should not be used for contests).

15 and 20m......285 should be QRP SSB but there is bound to be someone on it when the sun is up calling CQ contest.

I expect I'll be up from .288 or BELOW .200. Forget .260 unless I'm feeling suicidal.

If 10m SSB is open wherever it seems clear about 28.400 the band will become a zoo if open.

I may sometimes join in the fun below .025 but not fast enough usually.

10, 15 and 20m CW .059 and BELOW
40m CW .0295 and BELOW
80m CW .559 and BELOW

YES I will be QRV 160m, 60m, 12m and 17m but NOT during the contest, do not ask for a qso on those bands.

How will I QSL? I expect LoTW almost immediately. I may upload to eQCL if I can get it to work. Not planning actual cards but will QSL direct or via buro... Note NO CLUB LOG OQSL, I'll ignore requests. --- CORRECTION CLUBLOG UPLOADED AND NOW ACCEPTING OQRS

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Solder sucker sluggish

I thought one of my solder suckers was a bit sluggish... press the piston release and it would eventually get there... not a lot of use really.

So took it apart...mechanically was all fine, bit of WD40 to lubricate the dual piston O rings... the problem and my surprise was I had 22g (I weighed it) of solder bits in it. Never took this one apart (had it for 11 years!). I've added all the bits and odd lengths of solder to a ceramic cup, I screwed to an old bit of roofing asbestos board that I can heat directly with a small blow torch, adding a bit of flux to make it liquid about 1/4" (6mm) deep and will use for tinning the ends of wires. The old soldering iron I used to use that had a big tip I drilled out and used to dip wires in it died last month.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Garpen EU037

For the lighthouse chasers:

I believe the Stora Garpen lighthouse is ARLHS SWE-145, Admiralty C7416 and most definitely located on the island. This info (after request) will be PRINTED on the QSL card (reverse not the front).

The 'shack' is behind the tree on extreme left (see previous posts)

I might ask to run a 160m dipole from the top of the light house if possible!