Friday, September 24, 2010

Pelican case

Over the past few months I have been using my KX1 more and more I'm very happy with the rig. It has been bounced around pretty good now and then so I felt it was time to get a case for it. After searching the internet for ideas, the choice of most seemed to be the Pelican 1060 case. The Pelican website brags of how the case is dust proof, crush proof and water resistant. I hope to never have to put the KX1 through any of those tests anytime soon. At work many of our test instruments are in Pelican carry cases and I can attest to the fact they sure do hold up under some harsh conditions. Julie tells me that the camera store in town has a large assortment of Pelican products.  I was hoping to get the 1060 with the transparent top but they did not have that model in  stock. I settled for the solid yellow case, oh and just as a side note...while at the camera store I realized that there is a hobby out there that is more pricey than Amateur radio.....CAMERA'S. Well it was from the camera store to home I grabed the KX1 and do some operating from a new spot I found by the river in town. Which was my last post. I hoped this to be the last time I would have to carry the KX1 and  

from today forward it would be in it's new bright yellow home.When I got home from my mini riverside operation it was to work on the Pelican foam that would house the KX1 nice and firm in the case. I found the foam insert was made up of small square piece that could be pulled out. I began to pull out the foam to get the KX1 fitted down into the protective foam housing. Well this was not working to well and there was no instructions that came with the case. I left the project for the weekend as it was getting late and other stuff around the house had to be done. The next weekend it was off to the camera store Julie had some stuff she had to pick up. While there I looked at some larger Pelican cases, they came with instructions regarding the fitting of the foam insert. Once reading the instructions it all made sense and I was on my way home to do it the right way this time. I was suppose to place the item to be embedded in the foam on top of the foam. Place tooth picks around the corners of the item. Remove the KX1 and with a razor knife cut right threw the foam. With the piece removed shave it to the height required so the KX1 would sit at the proper depth. Once this was figured out the project started to go very smooth and before you knew it the KX1 had a new home in the Pelican case. Now it is time to put the accessories in the foam such as the key, antenna and binding posts. I am at odds with the KXPD1 key 
I find this key very hard to use and am sending lots of extra dot's and dashes. I am now on the hunt for a new portable key,  that is another post all together. So at this point the KX1 is alone in the case until I figure out the key dilemma.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Riverside with the KX1

A view of the river from my operating spot.
 Saturday was not turning out the way the weather guy predicted....what else is new. It was supposed to be a sunny day but rain was threatening all day. My plans for the day was to get some painting done around the house. Then in the afternoon get the KX1 and do some outdoor operating. During the week I was scouting out some spots as I drove around town, found one that seemed just great. It had a little table to set up on, there was also a tree to toss the long wire over. It was right beside the river that runs through town as well.
The table in the background in my spot.
 Around 1:30 I had gone as far as I could with the painting and the KX1 was calling my name!!!!! The weather broke and the sun came out the temperature was around 22C. For this time of year that is just great. I  made my way down to the riverside spot and began to setup. The long wire was tossed over a tree right beside me about 10 feet tall. The counter poise was just laid across the ground under the tree. Turned on the rig and engaged the built in antenna tuner, all was well SWR of 1.3.1 and the output was a whopping 1.4 watts. Tuned in 14.060 at 2:25 local time found N4BP calling CQ. I gave it a go and he came back to me right away.  He gave me a fast exchange and then I realized he was in a contest, giving me an exchange and now waiting for mine. I gave him  a 599 report (which he was) and my province as he gave me his state of Florida. He then came back to me wanting my output power, I sent him that and the contacted ended as fast as it started. I was happy that my little setup made it into Florida. I was calling CQ for a bit then decided to search 20 meters and find someone who was calling CQ.
Well that never worked out so I called CQ again around 14.059. At around 3:45 local time K4AHO James came back to me  I had some trouble keeping up with the code. I was excited he came back to me and on top of that copying the code just was not working out all that well. I did get his report and I sent him mine. James too was in Florida I believe his RST to me was 559. Conditions changed and our QSO ended

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Almost DX-disaster

My October QST arrived the other day and I noticed VY0 DXpedition had front page coverage. This was the first article I wanted to read.  Cezar Trifu VE3LCY went on a DXpedition to Pen Island in Hudson Bay it is considered an Arctic island. I have been involved in many northern Canadian hiking and camping trips both winter and summer. Most were  either one or two weeks trips at a time.  With my outdoor experience I had a great interest in reading the East Pen Island DXpedition. I will be honest I finished reading the article and I was in disbelief.   I'm not sure why Cezar got himself into the situation he did....a potentially deadly one for sure!! VE3LYC upon arriving in Fort Severn temperature being -29 C (pretty normal) he found his guide was not really as ready as he hoped he would be. That's ok this happens to all of us but as the adventure went on the wheels started to fall off and the warning bells were sounding loud and clear. Now Cezar began his 120km snow machine trip to the Arctic island it was a balmy -17C felling like -25C with the wind chill.  Five hours later they were only 22k into the trip....because the guides snow machine was having mechanical trouble. It was then his guide informed him this was a known wheel on the car just fell off. The person you are depending on is not dependable.  They now had to turn around and get another snow machine, when they made it to Pen Island the wind was blowing between 90-100km's antennas were setup and gear working and contacts being made. Pretty normal for any DXpedition one would say. Another BIG wheel on the car is about to fall off...His guide Tommy informed Cezar that he is LEAVING!!!! As an experienced outdoors person this is were Cezar should had shut down and gone back with Tommy and cut his losses. Number one rule in the wilderness never never ever be there alone. Mind you Tommy did tell him that another guide would be with him in a few hours. If someone is not with you your on your own (bad news) being told someone is coming is not a sure thing and for Cezar it turned to not be a sure thing. If Tommy was an exspiranced guide he should of waited until relief made it, he did not.  The other guides snow machine broke down (go figure) and he could not come. Now two wheels are off the car and the fast downhill slide begins to happen. Tommy did leave him a rifle and Cezar did find some anti bear spray. Anti bear spray does not work well in the cold and not at all when windy. Polar bears are smart if you are their next

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The boys and their toys....

Well I have been getting posts from Nabble regarding N8BX's weighted knobs for the K3 and K2 elecraft radios. There was also a run of posts back in April of this year on Nabble as well. Thought I would like to  weigh in on the subject.  Tony W7WO on Nabble put it this way when the subject came up again in September.

                         "      Please, let's not do the knob thing again, been there, done that.
                                                           Check the archives."

I agree with Tony there are many of us who are guilty (including me) of not checking archives of the many online groups before we post, excellent advice Tony. The weighted knobs are not cheap,very well made mind you. Regarding price Hector AD4C post put it this way.

                                 "228 for both knobs for our K3's ? NO WAY !"

     Hector I hear yah when they told me it was 200,000 for the SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz I said the same and went with the Chev Malibu. I settled for price over the extra bells and whistles of the SLS AMG.  You have all heard of radar but for ham's there also is the "wife-dar"!!! Jack KZ5A was up into his hips in the battle ground when .....

                 "I told her the $180 was just for the knobs......She looked at me and    
                            said "you must be crazy" and walked out."
     Jack hold strong brother it is not the battles you win but the wars. Then being ham's, we have the tendency to be very handy and find ways around things in practical ways. Well on Nabble Tom W8JI had a practical suggestion if you did not want to lay out the money. 

                                     " I was thinking though, if extra weight was needed, I would
                                  take it to a local crankshaft shop and have a few slugs of
                                  mallory metal inserted. A slug of mallory metal is only $40"

    Well Tom unfortunately for me there are no crankshaft shops in town.  I went out and purchased the black weighted knobs for my K3.....wait no I went over the top come to think of it I included a knob for my K2 as well. I will agree they are a bit on the pricey side it was not looked at as a necessity at all but as icing on the cake type of purchase. Do they feel different? You bet they do,  also added is a nice polished look to the rigs as well. 


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Elecraft KRX3 shipped today

Well after pondering for some time now Wednesday night I sent the email order off to Elecraft for a KRX3 sub receiver for my K3 radio. It was a toss up between that and the Elecraft P3, AE5X posted a similar question on Nabble and mentioned the results in his blog. I wanted to carefully look at the KRX3 and it's benefits to my station if any, it is a large layout of funds not including the 3 eight pole Inrad filters I have to order as well.
Here were the KRX3's selling points:

1. Ability to use two antennas one for receiving and the other transmitting. I have a dipole that is very quite in the attic but can only apply 5 watts to it. My vertical in the backyard (my state of the art vertical) is very noisy. Now I will have the ability to listen virtually noise free.

2.The KRX3 is a completely separate receiver, DSP and  filters.... everything. On most rigs VFO A and B have to be on the same band to work properly as with my old FT-1000mp. The addition of the KRX3 will allow me to scout out  band conditions during a contest on 40 meters with the sub-receiver while still working a run (in my dreams) on 20 meters with my main receiver.

3.Then there is the whole idea of listening to both sides in a DXepadition, how cool is that!!

4.The sub VFO can track the main VFO so if the DXepadition  moves up or down it is a matter of turning the main VFO and the sub follows.

5. Bottom line it's a toy and I want it!!

Thank you Arie PA3A for this great YouTube video on the KRX3 assembly and the music is fantastic...Santana. I would imagine most have seen it as it has close to 4,000 hits if not have a look. Seems to me to be a very well done video.  Let me know what you think of the quality of this video Julian??

The project is done and it's back to work.

The renovation is complete the trim is up, the painting done, the carpets steam cleaned and now Julie is in the process of setting up. After all the furniture and prop's are in it's time for the lighting setup. I will leave all those pictures to her photography blog which will be posted in a week or two.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lets talk BOUDOIR shall we

Guess bedroom before renovation
Second room that was used for storage.
I'm committed now
Things are starting to come together.
Now that I have your attention..... and this post will in time have something to do with  boudoir. So what does an amateur do when he is not hamming you ask? How about  removing a wall and making two rooms into one but of course. Early last week my beautiful wife came to me with a request. We have a few spare rooms in the basement she asked to have two of the rooms made into one. Julie was wanting to expand her photography hobby/business to include boudoir photography. In order for Julie to set up the proper  studio a  larger room was a requirement. It first had to be determined if the wall she wanted removed was a load bearing wall or not, it was not. The size of the opening was soon decided and off came the drywall, and wood studs. There was the removing and relocating of electrical outlets, cable TV and phone lines. Julie was employed as my painter  as I removed the wall. Julie soon came to the realization how she hates painting. I came to the realization that while she was painting quite a bit of paint came into contact with the carpet. It did not phase Julie as all I heard throughout the painting was "it's ok dear, we can get it out with the carpet cleaner". I extended my weekend by  three days to make sure the project was done. It has come down to the wire and now there is one day left. Thinking the extra three days off would be loads of time,  it turned out as with any job there were things that did not go as planned and we fell behind. My goal for the time off is that Julie's studio is setup  and ready for clients so she can move onto the next phase of her photography career.  Stay tuned for the studio reveal as we will accomplish out goals albeit right down to the deadline!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


As way of a short post I wanted to thank all of you for your comments and feedback.  The way I see it,  my blogs success relys on me, and the feedback of the readers. The pictures in my posts will now go from small to a medium size. I have already changed the blog archive to drop the titles and this tidied up the blog nicely. Thanks for that observation Alan.
Bas, I  have tried my blog on my 15 inch laptop and my XYL's Ipad and things looked not to bad. I was trying some two column layouts as you suggested but was just not happy with them. If anyone out there in blog land does have trouble viewing my blog due to the 3 column layout do let me know. John I have started to use Google analytics; the application has a lot to offer and I just have to sit down and see how to apply it to the blogs advantage. Everyone else Dick, Paul and Ethan thanks very much for your encouraging feed back as well.