Radio W4KAZ

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Tesla Program

Just in time for a Hamvention pep rally, The History Channel broadcasts a program on Tesla. This should be pretty interesting.

K2 Impressions – Part 3

Ok. Let me preface this by saying the following is pretty childish in the grand scheme of things. There are many far more positive things about the K2 than negative, but I will vent here, and thereby cleanse my system of the negative vibes once and for all.

Here are the major problems I have with the K2 as of 2day.

The low speaker audio level. This one is the most obvious. The DB9 connector used for the KIO2 or KPA100 computer interface. This one bothers me because the K2 actually requires a specially wired cable for computer interfacing. Using the standard DB9 serial connector is just begging someone to plug in the wrong cable and toast the radio, the computer or both. I don’t really know what connector might have been a better choice, as all 9 pins are used for the computer/KPA100 cable, but there must be a better answer. There is at least one mod that describes altering the radio connector and cable connector to be “keyed”. Its a good idea, if I can figure out how to slot the female side of the cable. Dremel tool? I need a cheat sheet for all of the combination functions. The local brain has ceased storing such information in a reliable fashion. (Yeah, yeah – not really a K2 problem.) and….well….That’s IT so far. Shoot, there are more things than that that I don’t like about the FT-920.

Did I mention the K2 is a really good CW radio?


Continue reading K2 Impressions – Part 3

Stigler’s Law

Ԏo scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.Լ/strong>

The above is a statement by a statistician named Stigler, studying “multiples” in the area of invention. In this usage, “multiples” are when a discovery or invention can be found to have been made independently by two or more people.

This is not really radio, but it’s quite interesting reading for the science minded. The New Yorker has an interesting article discussing the nature of invention. Credit to N3JT, who passed the link to the PVRC mail list, although he notes it was passed to him.

I just knew I was the first to have that idea about using small gas engines to power electric cars back when I was a teenager in the 1970’s.

Too bad I was too broke to shine the patent lawyers shoes back then when my gray matter still functioned.

Hexbeam Broadbanded

I was really hopped up when I ran across the web site of G3TXQ. I was particularly hopped up by his documentation on his hexbeam experimentation, particularly the modified geometry broadband version.

I played around with my own experimental hexbeam for 17m/15m/10m, back in 2000-2001, right after I had re-licensed. There’s no magic to the antenna, but it does give one the performance of a 2 element yagi in a much smaller physical space. The hex design is right at the top of my “really interesting stuff” list. Its one of the things I corresponded with W4RNL over. ‘RNL was not a great fan of the design, but agreed that it did have its place. I’m not sure of the reason for my own illogical interest – just one of those things.

But back to G3TXQ. He has taken the step of modifying the geometry of the reflector. He indicates that this change will improve the f/b ratio and also gives a broad match that is closer to 50 ohms. The classic Hexbeam design has an impedence in the 20 to 25 ohm range. The G3TXQ version has a flat SWR across the 20m through 15m bands, and most of 10m. Way Cool. Even better, the modeling shows the best SWR and best f/b ratio seem to happen at approximately the same frequency.

I’m thinking about a 15m monoband version now. I guess its also time to go back and surf the hexbeam yahoo group again.


Continue reading Hexbeam Broadbanded

Webmaster Tips

I ran across a reference to this list of webpage performance tips from Yahoo developers. These don’t necessarily apply to anyone using a CMS like WordPress or Blogger, but some of the ideas are easy to implement, so they are useful if you also manage any raw HTML pages.

It pays to read some of the articles down in the WordPress dashboard. This one by Matt sure pointed me to the above bit of paydirt.

Sunspot Sale At Dayton Hamvention

Well, that sounds like a good idea. I need some 10m ‘Spots, but I don’t want any used Cycle 23 ‘Spots from the flea market. I want to get some brand new Cycle 24 ‘Spots from a reputable vendor inside. Be careful not to let them pass off any 15m ‘Spots on you as 10m ‘Spots. It’s like picking a puppy – the 10m ‘Spots are more active.

Don’t forget the Solar Flux!


Where Art Thou Blogrolls?

I sure miss people having blogrolls. I used to find the neatest stuff that way. -sigh-

CW Skimmer – Barking At The Moon

I’ve been rather enjoying the discussion of the CW Skimmer concept, and how it may or may not apply to contesting. The technology is certainly quite interesting from a technical aspect. but….

I think most of the discussion is bypassing the crux of the problem. The good/bad/ugly of the Skimmer technology is not the issue. New ideas will continue to pop up, as sure as the sun rises. The real problem is that the contest rules don’t take into account the fact that new methods, technologies and ideas are constantly percolating up. There also appears to be an assumption that anything not explicitly prohibited is therefore fair game. Now why is that? That seems bass ackwards.

That brings me to a secondary problem – the lax attitude taken towards a common sense plain English reading of the rules. Human nature being what it is, I guess parsing the meaning of “is” is now widely accepted. But is THAT in the best interests of contesting?


Continue reading CW Skimmer – Barking At The Moon

2008 Shelby Hamfest – New Location – Same Dates

The Shelby Hamfest will be moving to a new location for 2008, and will be held on the same Labor Day schedule as it has been in the past. In 2008, it will be at Biggerstaff Park in Dallas, NC(aka Gaston County Park). That is closer to Charlotte, very close to Gastonia. Apparently the Gaston county officials were much more amenable to receiving the sales taxes from our purchases than were the officials in Cleveland county.

Go Figure.


Continue reading 2008 Shelby Hamfest – New Location – Same Dates

K2 Impressions – Part 2

Did I mention the K2 is a really nice CW radio? Well, it is.

While the performance aspects of the K2 are probably of the most interest to the average operator, I’d like to digress for a moment to a less visited topic – The K2 is really an engineering design marvel.

I’m admittedly not qualified to judge the circuit design, although the radio certainly does the job. What I find amazing is the high quality of the design of the physical assembly. This seems most impressive because it is in the form of a kit. That the kit can be assembled and calibrated with a soldering iron and a VOM is really an achievement. The designers of this radio have really created something special. Given the widespread popularity of all of the Elecraft products I think that is a widely held opinion. That it is really something special would be obvious, were folks to stop and think about it.


Continue reading K2 Impressions – Part 2