Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A very nice surprise.


USS North Carolina 

It was a very nice surprise to get this QSL card in the mail the other week. It is a picture of the USS North Caroline museum battleship. The radio room on this ship was used during the North Carolina QSO party last year. The operators from the Azalea coast amateur radio club using the original WWII radio room equipment. 

This weekend is both the North and South Carolina QSO parties and my plans are to take part in both contests. It's a nice way to spend a bit of the weekend with the South Carolina QSO party on Saturday and the North Carolina QSO party on Sunday. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

ARRL international CW contest.

The bands were alive with CW today even with the not-so-great-sounding solar forecast. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Parks on the air or POTA

 I toddled into the radio room this afternoon and flipped on the radio and most of the time I have my PC on and head over to DX Summit spotting network to see what's happening on the bands.  I did notice right off the bat the RTTY contest was up and going fast and furious. I did notice some spots for POTA (Parks on the air) I headed over on my PC to the POTA website to see how many active POTA stations there were. I found some that were operating CW and I spun the dial to see if I could hear anything. I first tried KD3D he was in Allegany National Forest in the state of PA. He was around 559 coming into me and I gave him a call and was answered on the first call. We made our exchange and he was in the logbook with that I thought I would give a few other POTA stations a go. 

I saw K4SWL was spotted and the call rang a bell so I looked him up and he has I blog that I follow and read regularly.  I followed him around as he moved from band to band but I just could not hear him and if I did he was way down in the noise floor. I did hear other stations calling him and sending their reports. I did not want to try a call if I was not able to really hear him. 

I then went after AI6ZD who was in California on Bolsa Chica State's -18 C here and just to think here is a ham on the beach in sunny California. Sometimes I feel the U.S/Canada border should have run north to south and not east to west! AI6ZD signal was down at the noise floor but now and then he jumped up to about S5. I hung on for a while and his signal slowly crept up and I was able to make contact and get him in the log. 

I then noticed K4SWL was on 80m and I thought that could be my chance to make contact but it was not meant to be for today. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Guidance from Eric Swartz co-founder of Elecraft

As a follow-up post from my last post entitled  "What has happened to Elecraft" in that post I wrote how shocked I was when I visited Elecrafts order page and the results, I had found. I was surprised to see the K3S had been retired and the lack of availability of their other products. My post had only been up for a short time until a comment from Eric Swartz WA6HHQ who is the co-founder (Wayne Burdick N6KR being the other founder) of Elecraft was posted. To be honest I was shocked and pleased to see that Eric was a reader of the blog. I emailed Eric asking him if it was ok to repost his response with a new post as some folks do not always read the comments.  I felt it to be very important to highlight Eric's response in a post for all to see.  He emailed me back and agreed without issue and below is Eric's comment. 

Hi Mike,

While the last year has been challenging due to the Covid crisis, the CA wildfires near us and related supply issues, we are not now shut down by CA for COVID and are financially healthy. We are alive and kicking - shipping radios, amplifiers and accessories every week.

You mentioned the backlog on the KX2, KX3, KXPA100 and K2, for which I apologize. All of these are still in production and shipping. Orders for all of our products surprisingly have been much higher than we expected during the Covid crisis, which has contributed to the current backlog on these products. (It looks like hams had more time this past year to enjoy the hobby, which has helped sales!) I just checked our shipping report for the first ten days of this month (through today 2/10) and all of these are shipping along with their accessories, the KPA500, KPA1500 etc.  We certainly have seen intermittent production delays due to parts shortages, but to date, nothing has shut us down. We've gotten pretty good at quickly finding alternate parts when one is delayed.

I see you were disappointed the K3S was no longer in production. We formally discontinued it in May of 2019 when we introduced the K4, after a close to 13 year run for the K3 and K3S. We've also previously discontinued the K1 and KX1, which also had a long run. In general, we discontinue products as sales decrease over time and when new products replace them. Fortunately, we've been able to continue production of the K2 since its first ship in Jan of 1999. No that's a long run :-)

We are also ramping up production and shipments of the K4, which also competes for production resources. I noted in my recent live video Q&A session on the K4 that we had just received 100 full PC board sets for the K4 from our local assembly subcontractor and these are winding their way through production. (See the Elecraft YouTube channel for the Zoom recording.) We received a huge response to the K4 and as a result, have a very large number of backorders that will keep us busy and financially healthy for some time.

Lastly, you mentioned the 'TBD' on K3S option boards and accessories. We recently asked for interest from our customers on a special run of all of these and received a very large response, which makes it economical to build another run of most of these. We've now received the quote updates from our suppliers and we will be contacting everyone starting next week who expressed interest in these items.

We're still in business, healthy and enjoying designing and building exciting products for the amateur radio community, and we hope to continue doing so for some time!

73, Eric - WA6HHQ