Saturday, April 22, 2017

Upgrade to K1EL Winkeyer USB

New IC chip installed 
I recently upgraded the IC chip in my K1ELWinkeyer USB to version 3, it was only a 10.00 upgrade that gave me some nice advantages over the old IC chip. It was a very straight forward change out as the IC chip was not soldered in place.  One of the main advantages is this IC chip has the ability (via supplied software) to be upgrade over the internet. As new functions become available in the future the upgrade is just a click away.  Some of the other new features are:
1.     With WK3tools downloadableprogram software you can store messages and retrieve messages. For example in contests you can store the contest exchanges, give the file the name of the contest. In the future when setting up for the contest just download the file to the keyer and your 4 push buttons (that can be preprogramed for 8 messages) can be used for that contest. When the contest is done simply reprogram the keyer with the file for calling CQ.
2.     You can custom configure the keyer for 2 separate users or like me if you’re the only one using the keyer…..then have one configuration for contesting and one for QSO’s.
3.     You can now adjust the side tone frequency which is not a big deal for me but for some it may be.  
4.     You can put your rig into tune with just the pressing of 2 of the Winkeyers top buttons the command and PB4 buttons.
5.     During the transmission of a message a simple tap of the keyer will stop the message.
6.     When and if you operate the unit from an internal battery the battery life has been extended by less drain.
7.     Finally on the K1EL’s website under the software tab you will find some great finds. WK3tools, Winkeyer3 test app, WKscan that finds out what comport your Winkeyer is using, WK remote app and a software tools that is in the development stage and according to the website soon to be released a Winkeyer  QSO simulator app,
With added volume and headphone jack
These are just a few of the changes in the new IC chip to get a full rundown go to K1EL’s site where you can read thingsin more detail.

You may notice from the picture, if you are familiar with the insides of the Winkeyer USB that is I have done some upgrades to the unit of my own. I removed the internal speaker and added a headphone jack, I also added a volume control for the headphones.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Some DX contacts today.

I had some spare time today  and was able to get on the radio! Over the past month or so it has been lots of work and no time to play radio. Today while on 20m CW  I was able to snag HA7GN from Hungary, IQ0PG from Italy I was given special report number of UN90ARI1.  According to their site this qualifies me for there ARI 90 years award. The last contact of the day was IO0MDC again from Italy and this call was in celebration of 20 years for the Mediterraneo DX club. I was thrilled with
these short contacts and I really was only on for about 20 min's. On a side note.........I have posted in the past that I am the proud owner of an Elecraft K-pod. This thing works great and is a great asset to the shack. It has 8 programmable push buttons, at my age I loose track of what is on what button! I came up with an idea of adding some magnetic strips with the naming of each of the buttons. Since they are magnetic I can remove them when the button macro has been changed or rearrange them if need be.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Working some JT-65 this afternoon

A decent showing on 20m JT-65
I had the day off today as I was called in last evening and worked through the night so I thought some radio time was in order! I wanted to try some digital using WSJT-X's program and JT-65 seemed as good as any mode. At first I attempted to just run JT-65 on it's own as I have done many times in the past. This time for some reason most times when the rig went into transmit my Elecraft K3 stopped transmitting and gave me an error message of ERR PTT. I did post this issue on the Elecraft reflector and got some great feedback BUT I wanted to get some JT-65 in! Next was to try the "back door"
My spots on Hamspots
approach by using Win4k3 suite rig control software as I also have WSJT-X set up under 3rd party AUX/CAT port. Using WSJT-X this way worked like a charm as most of the feedback on the Elecraft reflector site pointed toward software issues and not rig troubles. There was a nice amount of DX on the waterfall that I was decoding but when I checked on Hamspots to see who and where was receiving my 5 watt JT-65 signal it was all U.S so that was the spots I attempted to contact. I also threw my CQ out there as well to see if any local or DX heard me. KG5ICI came back to me from Texas Chris gave me a signal report of -16. I was not on the radio too long but it sure was nice and relaxing.
Afternoon contact

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Has it been this long since I was on the radio??
My last blog post was over a month ago! What's the reason for this over due lapse........I have really not been on the radio or for that mater doing any thing radio what so ever. I have not fallen off the Ham radio wagon but have been busy with my other budding hobby... photography. My wife Julie is into photography big time has taken me under her wing. I have using my time to learn the in's and outs of our camera's (Nikon D800, D810 and a Lumix mirrorless) along with editing software such as Adobe Lightroom.  I'm begging to understand that "point and shoot" is the past and for me understanding the camera and the shot is my new learning curve. As you can see from the above picture ( Done with my iPhone and an instant fail in my dear wife's eyes) the roll top desk was  long overdue in opening. Today it was time to get down to some radio time. I setup the MFJ 1788 loop antenna on the balcony and flipped the K3 switch. I found myself on 20m and the band was in decent shape. I came across F6HKA calling CQ and I called him and he came back to me (with a few repeats  of my call) we had a nice QSO with the standard exchange. My mode of choice was CW, my report was 229 and  he was 559. The code speed was about 15 WPM and I must say even with the time away from the radio I found this speed very comfortable.  Before I knew it was time for Bert to move on as he had others waiting to make contact. I was thrilled to had made this contact and I soon after sent him an email of thanks. It's not news that the solar cycle is in the  down swing BUT I read some very encouraging blog posts over this past month...On March 7th John N8ZYA posted that he had contacted Australia VK3CWB with 5 watts and using an indoor antenna!!!
John also quoted VK3CWB regarding a great attitude to have:

"Its not the QRP which is important, it's the enthusiasm, endeavor, application and belief that things can be done simply which I really admire. And of course, if you run QRP there must be a persistence and a "never say die' attitude which is also most admirable".