Monday, September 1, 2014

Some radio but a lot of photography!

On Friday (since I had the day off) I felt it was about time to take the Elecraft KX3 and do some portable op's since the weather did not seem like it was going to co-operate once again I operated from the car. I used my mobile whip antennas again and if you remember from my last post I had an error message show up on my radio ERR TXG! Well I tested all the mobile coax and mount  all seemed fine. I did clean the antenna mount connections and this time out all seemed to be well with no error messages. I had about an hour and a half of radio time. I found 20m to be dead with little or no activity I ended staying on 30m but was skunked with regard to contacts. The propagation gods were just not smiling on me this time. The rest of the weekend Julie and I took in the Canadian International air show. On Saturday we were off to Toronto Island it's a short ferry ride into Lake Ontario and in the past this was a great place to get pictures of the air show. This time around it was a good day to sit on the beach and relax with only a few good shots! The Toronto Island for sure was not a good place for photographing the air show as many other would be shutter bugs found out as well. It seems the flight pattern had changed and as Julie pointed out looks like they are flying right over our condo which also is on the lake. On Sunday we went up to the roof top patio on our condo and waited to see what kind of shots we could get. below are the results the cameras used are the Nikon D810 with Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 glass with a Nikon 2x tele converter I was using the Nikon D800 with Sigma 50-500mm F4.5 glass. The RAF SE5 was about 2 KM's away from us. The C-123 was buzzing a condo that is about 1/2 KM away from us. So not much ham radioing this weekend but I do have Tuesday off as well and you never know I could have the radio god's smiling on me!
RAF SE5 flying past CN Tower
Me on the Island telling Julie I think I see a plane finally

C-123 buzzing a condo about 1/2 KM away

Saturday, August 16, 2014

KX3 troubles

A happy looking KX3
I decided to take the KX3 out and about on my day off Friday, it was an overcast day so I thought it wise to do my operating from the mobile rather than taking the bike. I set up the mobile whip antenna on my car and situated myself in the passenger seat and was ready to go.(note….this time before the trip out I made a list of things to bring so I was not without important items as happened in the past)  Brought the KX3 up to the 20m QRP watering hole (14.060) and just wanted to check the SWR on the radio before sending out my 5 watts of raw power. The KX3 gave me an error message but it seemed I was still able to transmit and I did for a short time. Then I noticed as I moved up and down the band my
Not so happy KX3
SWR stayed the same at 1.4:1 no matter where I was on the band….even up into the SSB portion. It was then determined something was wrong and I had a fast look at the antenna and coax but all seemed ok. I then switched to my 15m whip antenna and the error message was gone but I still had this strange low SWR across the 15m band as well. So it was time to pack things up and head home. Once at home I put the KX3 on a dummy load and tried it out and all was just the way it should be. I then put the rig on the MFJ 1788 loop and again no problems. So I suspect it's the mobile setup and I did post the problem on the Elecraft reflector and was given advice to check the mobile setup. When at home I did want to give the KX3 the full workout and to do so I started to call CQ on 20m. Terry WA0ITP came back to me from Iowa and our signals were in around 339 and conditions wee not that great but we were able to carry on a decent QSO. So the KX3 is working good but it's just another "project" I have on the burner that has to be worked out.  No time today as I am on call  this week and the phone has not stopped ringing with calls for me to go in!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Supermoon photos

 Julie and I were out this evening taking pictures of the Supermoon. These were taken over Lake Ontario with Toronto peeking through the center photo. The camera was the Nikon D800 and the lenses were the 70-200mm with a 2.0 tele converter and 24-70mm lens. Not really a ham radio post but a great way to spend an August evening.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Some fast 20m contacts.....doing the happy dance!!

Today was a holiday out this way in Canada I just relaxed today and for some reason thought I would give the radio a go again this afternoon. I have not had to much luck of recent with making any contacts...put it down to the conditions. 20 meters seems to be a good starting point for me and I tuned up the MFJ 1788 and spun the VFO on the K3 to see what the propagation gods would have me work. I heard 6Y5WJ booming in and I gave him a go and he came back to me with a 559 report. I was thrilled to make it into Jamaica considering yesterday I tried the NAQP CW contest for a short time and U.S stations were not even hearing me. This was a very short contact as he had a number of prospects waiting to contact him. I then just moved a short distance down on 20m and came across VO1DD from Newfoundland calling CQ. I came back to him and we had a very nice QSO until some threatening thunder storms started to roll in this way. Doug is from Heart's Delight and  was running the FT 1000 a rig that I had before my K3 and it's a fantastic rig and still very very popular. He was running 90 watts into a dipole antenna. With just these two contacts in under 10 minutes I am very happy to see the MFJ 1788 is doing a fine job with only the 5 watts I pump into it.  It's now time to get the steaks on the BBQ and relax.