Sunday, November 23, 2014

Armchair ham radio at it's best!

The armchair setup
There have been evenings when Im relaxing and icing on the cake to the evening would be the added flavour of ham radio. Having said that I do have a "shack" in the condo but there are times when you are in the Lazy boy chair and sitting in the cold hard wooden chair at the radio desk just does not turn my crank! While relaxing in the chair and thinking of radio I came up with a nice solution to bringing ham radio to the Lazy boy chair. On a side table I am able to comfortably place my Elecraft KX3 and the MFJ 1788 control head. I ran a shorter piece of RG8X coax from the MFJ 1788 loop to it's control box. From the control box to the KX3 the RG8X is rather bulky so I used a piece of RG58U coax that came with BNC connectors on each end. The MFJ control box require a voltage source from 9 to 16 volts to work. To make things more simple I used a 13 volt DC power pack that I can recharge. The KX3 is powered by my Astron power supply back at the radio desk, in the condo that is not to far
A closer look 
away. The key Im using is my Palm radio mini Paddle since the KX3 is on a side table to my left using the KX3 paddle would be awkward. The Palm paddle can nicely sit in front of me and I have a 3 ring binder with a metal plate on it the palm paddles magnets hold it secure. I brought along my iPad mini as I can look calls up on QRZ.COM and am looking into a logging program for it, one that I can upload to LOTW and club log.  During my short operation on Saturday evening I was able to contact VE1BA in Nova Scotia my RST was 589 with some QSB and our QSO was a KX3 x KX3 and QRP x QRP contact. It was a nice QSO as we chatted about the weather, antennas and rigs. On Sunday I was almost able to complete a contact with W9MIC as the conditions on 20m were not all that great. I really can't log W9MIC as the contact really was not completed as we both faded into the noise floor. Another benefit of this setup is I have the opportunity to use my KX3 and become more familiar with it. There have been times when I have been using my KX3 out in the park and forgot how to do certain functions……maybe those moments will be far and few between.
The op desk with Palm paddle


  1. Just wanted to say I enjoy reading your posts. I recently passed the basic exam in August and joined the Mississauga Amateur Radio Club this month. Up to now I've been getting on some of the D-Star nets and in the new year hope to explore HF. I also live in a condo and your posts have been helpful in learning what is possible. I have been reading a lot of forums and there definitely a lot of opinions out there.


  2. Good evening Ian, thanks very much for the kind words about the blog. Welcome to ham radio and the Mississauga is a great club. The HF part of ham radio is a whole new adventure and really as I can attest to living in a condo will not restrict you from HF. Keep me posted as to how you are doing with the HF exploration and email if you have any questions.

  3. Hello Mike, great to see your set up in the living room. FB. The silent Palm paddle is more convenient then the microphone, in this situation. hi. 73, Bert

    1. Yes Bert the key is silent and for sure headphones are in order as well… wife unlike me does not find CW to be music to the ears…:)