Monday, June 27, 2011

Field Day

Now, I've never been much of a contester, and I'll never have enough of a station to be a 'Big Gun', but I do enjoy it when I do contest, and with the big station upgrade, I can actually play a bit more.

This weekend was Field Day, which was the first contest I ever played in, with WA2GUG and gang (they now contest under WW2FD)

This year, I was running at home for the first time in a long time (last year I went to W2IRT's place). I ran class 1E (One transmitter, on Emergency Power)

I think I did OK, but when I went to switch over to 80m at around 10pm, I found my 80m antenna would NOT tune, which totally killed the hours between midnight and 6:30am or so, to the point I shut the radio off around 1:30am, and went to bed till 5:45ish (BTW, the antenna tuned FINE post contest - don't ask me)

That said, if you remove the W2IRT score from the Hudson class 1E database (Pete's in Germany), I had an effort that still should bring me a 2nd place, if the scores are the same as last year (1228 QSO points, plus the bulletin, plus 10 battery powered QSOs, plus solar power recharge, plus the 50 points for submitting online - If I do the math off the top of my head right, that's 1578 points - but I have to check the rule book)

(Edit - I eventually found the problem - after Field Day 2012!  Turns out that the barrel connector between the feed line and the riser to the 80m antenna had a thermal intermittent!  Not from RF, but from the daily change in temps.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Poor Planning

One of those logistics/planning things that makes me NUTS
Anna's graduation is tomorrow - We have to drop her off at 8:00 in the tent next to the auditorium, with graduation starting at 9:00am.

OK, that's fine, can understand that - BUT THEY WON'T LET YOU INTO THE AUDITORIUM UNTIL 8:30!!!!! OK - so now you have a BUNCH of people who have to stand around outside for 30 mins.

WHO designed this? Really? If the people have to be there at 8:00 - let them IN at 8:00 to sit down

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Beastie photos

Two taken this weekend

And Saci (Anna took this photo)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

QRO - Alpha 78

The shack upgrade is basically complete

About 2 weeks ago, I purchased a freshly retubed Alpha-78, which I installed today in place of my SB-230

Now, there are some things I actually LIKE about my SB-230, and I think I'm going to keep it around, as it's still outputting rated power from it's admittedly rare tube. It's SMALL, it's silent, as the tube is conduction cooled to the heatsink - oh, and did I mention it's small?

The Alpha is actually a BIT too large for where it has to go, and I'm having to put a fan on the airspace on top of the amp to make SURE things stay cool there as I don't have the recommended 4 inches

Other worries is that it can actually put out more watts (WAY more watts) than my LDG AT-1000 is rated to handle (1000w SSB, 750 CW, 500 RTTY/Digital), but I switched the MkV Field over to 'Class A' drive, and I'm finding that 30-40 watts or so drives the amp to 800watts peak or so in 'bandpass' tuning mode (heck, I'm lazy - yes, the amp is less efficient, and you can't get max power out that way, but, as I said, I can't push it anyway)

I made my first 2 'QRO' (sort of - The SB-230 could, in theory put out 600 Watts CW - on a good day, plus I only pushed to 800 or so watts) today, and busted 2 pileups on the first call - Kinda nice, Chile and Haiti both on 40ssb

The big thing I DON'T like about the Alpha? It's physically LARGE - a tad larger than is really 'comfortable' for my desk (might have to build some new stuff)

Big things left to do in the shack? Get the Digital wattmeter (vs the tuners built in analog meter set for peak mode) setup, and get RTTY/PSK31 setup (it's been setup in the past, just isn't right now)

It's been an interesting month, to think I went from an Alpha Delta DX-EE at 30ft to a Force 12 C3SS and D-140 at circa 40ft, and from 400-600 watts to "how much wattage to I dare dump through the tuner" (I guess I could totally bypass the tuner for 10-15 and 20, but it's needed on 12,17 and 40)

Friday, June 03, 2011

It's the economy, stupid

There is one lesson our President really needs to take from Bill Clinton

"It's the economy, stupid"

Back when Bill was in office, I never thought I'd say this, but I miss him. There were things I hated (his gun control stance for instance, and his wife's med plan stuff), but...

GWB was no great shakes (trust me, I'm a Republican, and I had no real love for him), but the bunch of folks we have running the place now...

I would have voted for Hillary over McCain - but this Bozo? (Actually, that's insulting to Bozo)