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More radios

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My biggest problem is I enjoy messing with different radios. Every now and then, I run out of room and sell some off, then I start buying again. Today, here's the lineup. Icom 756 Pro -- love this radio. I had a 756PROIII I sold a few months ago and was really having buyers remorse. I'm glad I found the Pro at a nice price locally. Elecraft K2/100. It's my baby. I built it. I love it. I'll never sell it. Icom 765. I bought this used a couple years ago for $500. A big rig, big knobs, lots of controls, great receiver, great sound. It's showing its age by making some funny noises every now and then, but still a great radio. I use it a lot. Patcomm 16000A. Anotehr $500 find on e-bay. A strange radio, you don't hear many, or hardly any of them, but a very nice cw rig. Great QSK. I won't say I love it, but well worth the $500. Orion I. I really tried to love this radio, but it's currently for sale on E-bay. I just never got comfortable with it, and it ha

My dog

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Second op Buffy

Contesting

Last weekend was the North American QSO Party -- cw. I always enjoy this contest, it's fast, only lasting 12 hours, and simple. I messed around on 15 and 20 meters for a while in the afternoon, and racked up about 50 contacts, but didn't really sit down and operate. Then Saturday night I went downstairs and 9:30 and started out on 20 meters, quickly switching to 40 and 80 meters. By 12:30 a.m. I was closing in on 250 contacts, so I shut it down. I had a good, high run rate for those 3 hours and ran a frequency on 40 for the last hour. I seem to have passed a milestone in my contesting skill, where I can now sit and run a frequency for an hour or two. That's a new one for me. On the radio side, I picked up a used Icom 756 Pro. I had sold a Pro III a few months ago, and had a serious case of seller's remorse. I'm really happy to have the Pro, and I can live with the minor downgrade from the Pro III with the extra $$$ I have in my savings account.

Slow summer

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I've been remiss in keeping the blog up, but the month of July isn't a great one for Ham radio. Too much band noise from thunderstorms, too little time, and too many other things to do. The only exception for that was the IARU contest a couple weekends ago. This is a short, simple contest, with a very simple, fast exchange. I went downstairs Saturday night, and managed to rack up neary 400 contacts. I acheived a high QSO rate running a frequency for a couple hours. That got my contesting juices flowing, and I'm looking forward to next fall's contest season. More on that as we get closer. I have other interests and hobbies, one of which is cars. My daily commuter car is a 2007 Mini Cooper, and as a friend told me "Minis aren't a car, they are a cult." I participated in the cult this weekend at an event titled Mini Takes The States. It was a Mini rally, with several hundred Mini Coopers at the Road America race track in Elkhorn Lake, WI, about 150 miles nort

Field Day results

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Well, I made it to Nebraska to operate Field Day with my cousin Brad, KG0GY. Despite breaking both of our antenna supports, we managed to get low antennas on 20 and 40 meters and make about 370 contacts -- 368 of them on CW. We both learned a good lesson -- you can't have too many antenna plans for Field Day. When the first support broke, we joked about going to Plan B. By Saturday afternoon we were on Plan D, but luckily, that one held up. Next year, we'll do more antenna preparation. For me, it was a kick to operate from Nebraska, and send NE as the section. It had been 30 years or so since I had done that. The photo above is Brad, hard at work. We ran my K2/100 and his Icom 746Pro.

Field Day is coming

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Field Day, where Hams all around the country spend a weekend "in the field" operating under emergency conditions is coming. Next weekend I'm travelling to Nebraska to mount an operation with my cousin Brad, KG0GY, from Juniata, Nebraska. Brad and I have similar operating interests, and we've been talking about doing this for years, so it should be fun. He's been active with the Lincoln Amateur Radio Club for years, and I've been active with the Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs. We've both been active in Field Day with those clubs, and have both been very active in those clubs. We also share the view that we're tired of clubs, but like Field Day, so this is our solution. We'll be operating 80, 40, 20, and 15 meters, primarily on CW, but may run a little SSB, if we're bored. We'll be running my Elecraft K2/100 and his Icom 746Pro. I've got a small Honda EU2000 generator that will provide our power. My Field Day philosophy has always been

Novice station

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The wife was cleaning out some old trunks and found this picture from january 1966 of my Novice station. Yes, I was 12 years old, WN 0 NHG, and the proud owner of a Heathkit HR-10B receiver, a Globe HG-303 transmitter, and a Knight Kit SWR bridge. Note the QSL cards on the wall, most of them with other Novice calls. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, in the past there was a Novice class of license, which was how most people got into Ham radio. It required passing a 5 word per minute code test and a simple test, mostly covering regulations. It was good for one year, and you were limited to three 50 KHz bands on 80, 40, and 15 meters. Transmitters had to be crystal controlled and limited to 75 watts. But with those limitations, and a rotten, wide receiver in the HR-10, I worked all over the U.S. and Canada and had a ball. Note the Heathkit speaker in the upper right corner of the photo. I'm still using it today. You can spot it in some pictures of my curr

Summertime blues

It's finally spring, and while that means warmer weather and May flowers, it also means thunderstorms, poor band conditions and less activity on the radio, at least in my case. Last weekend was a beautiful weekend, so a couple of quick contacts early Saturday morning was the end of my activity. I did buy another radio during the last two weeks. Ever since the Dayton Hamvention last year -- the world's largest gathering of hams -- I've been thinking about ordering an Elecraft K3. I've held off, thinking that I'd wait until the new radio was in full production and there wasn't a six-month wait. Then I talked the N4LQ, Steve in Louisville, KY, on his K3 the other night. When I asked about the K3, he told me he had replaced his Icom 7800 -- a $8,000 radio -- with the $2,000 K3, and was hapy he did. That sold me and I went to the Elecraft web site and ordered my K3. I won't see it until September or October, but that's ok. I'll have it ready for contes

A good radio weekend

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Saturday morning is probably my most consistent time to get on the air. I usually get up early, the wife is still in bed, and I head for the basement to play with the radios for a a couple hours. For some reason, the dogs have gotten in this habit, and wait for me by the basement stairs on Saturday and Sunday morning and are upset if I'm not heading downstairs by 7 or so. Here's a quick wrap-up of this weekend's contacts -- all on 40 meters and CW. K4UY , Ron in Madison, AL. This was our third contact in the last year. We talked about where he lives, the Huntsville area, and how nice it is. I travel a lot for work, so often know the area where my contacts live. People like to talk about where they live, so that's often good fodder for conversation. NS9F , Gene, Lockport, IL. This is maybe 10 mile from my house. I've run into this gentleman a couple times on 40 meters, we had a nice chat. KB5GXD , Angelo, St. Joseph, MO. I've talked toAngelo, a retired doctor, se

A little about me

When I'm not in the basement playing with my radios, I work as a editorial director of a small publishing company, producing a variety of trade magazines and web sites in the woodworking and agribusiness markets. You can view a couple of those at Countertop Business and EcoAgri. Biz. I grew up in a small town in west Nebraska, and got my first ham license at the age of 12. My call was WN 0 NHG. I got my General license a year later, and was assigned the call WA 0 QMZ. Back in those days, your only choice of a call was the random call assigned by the FCC. When I got active in ham radio again in the late 90s, I discovered the FCC had instituted a vanity call sign program, so I chose my current call, K9OZ. The 9 is for the 9th call district, which inlcudes Inidiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Nebraska is in the tenth call district, hence the calls with the 0 in them.