Friday, 27 December 2013

Busy times and a Christmas break.

It has been a while since I have had the time or the enthusiasm left to post to my blog. There is something that happens in education as things enter the autumn time. I have been flat out with my day job of preparing lectures, marking assignments and general administration duties. This has left me with little energy to play radio, let alone any QRP activity.

The good news though is that working in education allows me a decent sized break over the Christmas period. The first thing I have done is to modify the shack slightly So that I only have the FT-847 on the bench for the time being. I have to get the FT-1000MP Mark V repaired for a minor relay fault on the band pass filters and I should make sure it gets done really. I am enjoying the simple operation of this radio and basic layout to my shack. I have at the most 100w and two antennas at present and it is working well when I get the chance to play. Most of the time the FT-847 is dialled up to just 2w output power.

Today is the first real chance I have had to turn on the radio for any amount of time following the mayhem of having a small family at Christmas time. Today I wanted to see if I could work anything extra on QRP to add to my total before the end of the year for the QRP challenge with M6ZRT and G0RQQ. I must sit down and work out my score, I have a feeling it will take me some time to check my logs though. (See the post on the QRP challenge.)

I have just completed a QRP SSB QSO with K0TT on 10m at 5w and it reminded me I really must add to the blog. Denny was a decent signal here, he was 59 peaking 59+10db but he was using a 5 element monobander with 800w. He gave me a 52 report but said i was perfectly readable and managed to break through a small number of europeans calling him at the time. It seems my little station is once again proving itself and providing me with the enjoyment that QRP radio seems to do.

I must make a small confession though and say I still have the Drake TR-7 under the desk and can connect this to the antennas easily. It isn't really part of the QRP shack but I like to use it on the low bands and this time of year that seems to be the band of choice once I am home from a busy day. As you may recall the Drake is not QRP but I have managed to have some interesting QSOs at a mediocre power level and have not had to result to putting the PA back in the shack. I have noticed though that the Drake has a RX that beats all of my more modern radios for listening on 160-30m, there is something very special about the way this radio works considering its 1979 vintage.

The next mission for me... I must get my CW going again and work hard to get on the air with it before I go back to work in the new year.

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