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Reviews

Various reviews of amateur radio items

Review of the Palstar AT2KD Tuner

Over time I have had both auto tuners, and manual tuners. I have used differential tuners, and standard tuners… I always return to manual tuners, using roller inductors, and large caps every time… An auto tuner is simpler to operate, but the power levels just are not there yet for me on anything I can afford, nor have I been able to get an autotuner, (of the ones I have used), to tune to an exact 1:1, every time, on every band. It is always something like 1.x:1, I have seen as high as 1.7:1, which can cause issues with the new solid state amps, such as the ALS-1306, which I own. See the section under “Conclusions”, for more on that subject. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Info, Palstar AT2KD, Reviews | 2 Comments

Adding an external keypad to the K3

The Genovation keypads have either forty eight or twenty four keys on them depending on which model you purchase. Each individual key can be programmed to send a single character, or a series of characters. Further, each key has a removable plastic cover so you can put a label under the plastic. All of this allows you to program a key, then label it, then use it to send a macro trigger to the P3. Like the P3, the Genovation also needs to be programmed in advance of use. Fortunately Genovation provides a rather nice piece of software with each keypad for just this task. Once a key is programmed, if you tap that key, the Genovation sends out the character(s) you pre-programmed into it via the USB port. This lends itself well to the function of sending macro triggers to the P3. Continue reading »

Categories: Elecraft K3, Info, K3: External Keypad, Reviews, Setups, Software information, Station | 32 Comments

I have RFI, now what– Locating it

This allows me to verify I am working with the same RFI source. I record the audio from the FT-900, and then I can play it back into Spectrum labs, and see if it matches the RFI I am hearing at home. Once I have a match, I know without a doubt I have the same source. I then look at the map, and it becomes pretty obvious where the RFI is most of the time. I next start running the frequency up as high as possible and still hear the RFI. I then grab a Google Map of a smaller area, around where the signal is strongest, and do the drive around again. I repeat this process moving ever higher in frequency. Continue reading »

Categories: ARRL, Direction Finding, DX, I have RFI: Series, Info, Legal Actions, MFJ: MFJ-856, Quantification, Reviews, RFI Mitigation, Setups, Software information, Station, W8VVV: S-meter Lite | 2 Comments

Review of Ameritron’s ALS-1306 Amplifier

I decided that I wanted an auto tuning amplifier, as opposed to the manual tune, AL-82 I was using. So I sold the old AL-82, (see my review here), and purchased an Ameritron ALS-1306. I was a bit worried when I bought the ALS-1306 for several reasons– to be totally honest, my main reason was that MFJ was the owner of Ameritron– the quality, and service reputation of MFJ worried me. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Ameritron: ALS-1306, Info, Radios reviews, Reviews, Service reviews, Setups, Station | 35 Comments

Review of “DX World”

“DX World” is broken into sections, and is sort of a running blog on the DX community, and what is current. The first section in “DX World”, is the “DX World Weekly Bulletin”. The Bulliten starts off with “DX This Week”, and is a recap of what DX was active in the past week. It provides general information on many, many DX stations. Continue reading »

Categories: DX, DX World, Info, Propagation, Reviews, Service reviews | 2 Comments

Review of Ameritron’s RCS-4 Coax Switch

I remembered my RCS-4, sitting on the floor for the past two years, and decided to move it outdoors. Given I don’t have a tower, but I had an outdoor building, I elected to mount the switch on the side of the building, giving me the ability to run the feedline to the building in the event I wanted to add tuners, or anything else that needed to be in a covered environment. The included U-bolt mounting hardware made this a simple task, I drilled two holes in the wall of the outbuilding the width of the U-Bolt, straddling a stud in the wall, and fed it through the holes and into the RCS-4. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Ameritron: RCS-4, Info, Reviews, Station | 1 Comment

MixW Telnet DX Cluster Setup

MixW is an old, and unsupported program, save for the Yahoo MixW group. MixW is also the best program I have ever used for RTTY contesting, bar none, and around 4000 other users agree if the membership of the Yahoo MixW support group is any indicator. I moderate that group, and of late (2014), DX Summit changed it’s format and has broken some functionality of MixW for using DX clusters. I thought it might be good to put together a guide for how to set up MixW to use Telnet, as opposed to web based DX cluster population of the cluster selection window thus freeing the MixW user from external web page changes breaking the MixW software in the future. Continue reading »

Categories: Info, MixW Contest Setup, Reviews, Setups, Software information | 7 Comments

Review of the 30 Meter MonoGAP

The first thing I did was to start WSPR off using the new antenna… All the usual suspects came in all a bit better than before! Next I decided to see what one watt could do using JT65 and PSK Reporter… The photo at the left shows what happened, I am transmitting from Oregon… Continue reading »

Categories: Antenna Reviews, Construction, GAP: MONOGAP 30, Info, Reviews | 12 Comments

NI4L’s 7 Band OCF Dipole

This review of NI4L’s 7 band OCF dipole was prompted by my needing a quick deploy multiband antenna for both field day, and for RVing. Having looked over his antenna I decided on the 7 band version, as that would cover most of my needs while in the field. Last year on Field Day I was able to use an OCF dipole, and enjoyed the quick bandswitching it allowed, so I thought I’d try and find a good OCF dipole and give one an extended try. After looking around the net I found NI4L’s site. Interestingly enough I found it while on eBay, not with Google. His site is very difficult to locate on Google for some reason so here is the link to NI4L’s web site. But if you buy an antenna from NI4L, do it on eBay, it is a few dollars cheaper at this time. In any case, what caught my eye was that he is using Flex-Weave cable for the antenna. Others are, but for some reason NI4L’s site made it more apparent. Another reason is that NI4L is also using an off the shelf W2AU Balun. I have had good luck with that balun so that was enough for me. The W2AU is an all stainless steel hardware balun as well, so it will not be corroding off the antenna anytime soon. The W2AU balun also is good for 2 KW PEP, or 1000 at 100% duty cycle. I would not run it more than 500 Watts, but that is because I am very conservative. I would have liked to have it be good to 2 KW at 100% duty cycle, but alas, it is not. I called and ordered the antenna. It arrived a few days later in the package you see on the left and above. Continue reading »

Categories: Antenna Reviews, Construction, Info, NI4L: 7 Band OCF, Reviews, Station | 10 Comments

Review of West Mountain Radio’s RIGrunner

What this means is that the device has the Powerpole connectors pointing horizontally out of the side, as opposed to pointing up out of the device. I was going to mount my RIGrunner 4008H on the side of a vertical desk support, and I wanted the power cables pointing downwards, and not out towards the wall behind the desk, so the H model was the model of choice for me. As can be seen from the photo at the left, the H version did exactly what I needed. I wanted to move the desk as close to eh wall as possible. I also wanted a pigtail so I could add ferrite snap on cores for RFI suppression to each 12 VDC lead.. All of this just screamed downward pointing cables. Hence the choice of the H version, so I ordered it and it arrived a few days later. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Construction, Reviews, Station, WMR: RigRunner 4008H | 1 Comment