And now dear readers, another episode
of that fascinating radio serial...
A randomly updated view of what has crossed my workbench in the
last few weeks.
Burdened with but a smattering of commentary, this is more of a visual
each photo to enlarge.
July 10, 2011 - Vibroplex - Mucking With The Secret Sauce? If you love old radio, changes are you have at least one or more
Vibroplex semi-automatic "bugs" in your collection. I've never fully mastered
sending with a bug as of yet, but still love and appreciate the great design, and
throwback to the early days of radio.
Over the past 100 + years the Vibroplex company has changed
hands a number of times, moving from it's origin in New York City to Portland,
Maine, then down to Mobile, Alabama and most recently to Knoxville, Tennessee.
Over the years the various owners have generally remained true to the design and
manufacture of the original Vibroplex instruments, adding some additional
products here, removing others there. I was therefore more than a little distraught to see that the new ownership of
the venerated firm had recently changed the traditional embossed and hand
painted brass name plate design. Even worse, I was disappointed to
see this boldly featured on the Vibroplex website as it were to a benefit,
rather than a loss.
See the photos below taken by KD8JHJ.
Vintage "Old Style" Name Plate
New Printed, non-embossed design...seems a little lacking, don't you agree?
In this ham's opinion, the new plate design diminishes the product, for it is a
clear concession the modern methods of manufacturing, and as such the bug or key
appears to be just another mass produced, rather than handmade, item. When you
change a key element like this, a wise move would have been to solicit feedback
from or form a focus group of the end users. Bean counters use the opposite
approach, lacking a method to measure the intangibles of goodwill, legacy, and
customer loyalty, they instead look at the cost savings, the same strategy which
killed General Motors, not once, but now nearly twice.
Great company's fail because they forget to pay attention to the corporate
culture that made them successful in the first place. No where is this more true
than when a company changes hands, for at that very moment the loyal users of
that company's product or service are anxiously waiting to see if the new owner
remains true to that which made the firm great, or if ownership is going to
meddle with the "secret sauce". Imagine if you will that McDonald's bought
Starbucks Coffee, or Applebee's purchased the Ruth Chris Steakhouse chain. See
the end result, Starbucks and Ruth Chris focus as much on the product as they do
the experience and legacy, where McDonald's is focused on delivering mediocre
but inexpensive food.
The secret sauce, if you will, with Vibroplex was the feeling of custom
craftsmanship, much akin to the same feelings held by Harley Davidson owners.
You've not buying so much a motorcycle, as you are buying an American icon, a
legacy with all of the richness and culture that are so sorely missing into
today's mass production, disposable product world. So, when that element, that
special sauce departs, then the Vibroplex becomes just another key, competing on
price as it has lost that intangible element of legacy and culture that attached
additional value. Entering into a competition on price is just a rush to the
bottom, someone can always make it cheaper somewhere else, and soon the original
company is reduced to shell of itself, or simply closes. For example, think of
yesterday's department stores, offering a rich selection of product, supported
by knowledgeable and engaged sales staff, and excellent customer service.
Today's big box retailers have killed off most, but the best survive, and those
that do survive do so as they struck to their original formula of quality
product, knowledgeable and trained sales staff, and high levels of customer
service, think of Nordstrom, Harrods or Maine's own L.L.Bean.
Back to the name plate. I can see no reason for this change, other than in cost
savings. Yes, there is expense to maintaining metal dyes and stamping equipment,
and yes that cost must be passed onto the consumer in the price of the product.
But I seriously doubt that any of us would balk at paying an additional $5 or
$10 for a Vibroplex bug which has the "original" design. Much like Mercedes
automobiles, one does not buy Vibroplex products as an economy measure, the
value proposition of Vibroplex is that the keys are works of art, feature a
timeless design, and often outlast the original purchaser.
In my opinion, this was a serious misstep on the part of the new ownership, one
can only hope that this may be a learning lesson, not to be repeated. Penny wise
and pound foolish in my opinion. If we can take heart in anything, thankfully it
was not an adhesive sticker...
June 5, 2011 - 1910 Design Crystal Radio Set - Everything Old Becomes New Again
or A Return To Old Buzzardness I was at a ham radio meet last Saturday near Bangor, Maine, beautiful day.
We arrived and parked the car, really pleased at the turnout and the weather. No
sooner than I had got out of the car, I noted a fellow directly in back of us
with an old looking set, the loose coupler was a dead giveaway something was
interesting here. I walked across the aisle and could not believe my eyes, here
was either a very nice replica or original 1910 crystal set, complete with loose
coupler, an enclosed Murdock air variable cap, and some nice porcelain knife
switches. Needless to say I snapped it up, this artifact of the past, a nice
home made crystal radio receiver, before the days of vacuum tubes. My first ham
radio meet of the year and I stumble across this, great day. Stunning day, the
bright blue sky and bright green foliage, and great company, only added to the
April 24, 2011 - Elecraft KX-1 Build #2523 Now Finished, About To Start Another
KX-1 Build Just finished up the KX-1 build for another ham, I did have a problem last
weekend during the initial build of this KX-1.
Turns out that X-1, a crystal installed on one of the early stages was bad, it
would work intermittently, the LED display coming on and off, discovered during
testing, fortunately before getting too far into the build. Spoke with Gary at
Elecraft, he was good enough to send out the parts I needed, along with another
KX-1 build order. Installed the new X-1, all worked just fine. As per my
standard procedure with all of my builds, I made notes in the manual about this,
and also recorded the various voltages and resistance measurements during the
Was delighted to use my Elecraft Mini-Modules during the testing and final
alignment. Nice and compact, the Mini Modules sure bear dragging out the old and
heavy! HP-8640 signal generator.
Working very nicely now, was just copying CW on 40 meters, I am most happy with
the rig. I usually like to operate it for a few days before sending back to the
owner, just to test and tweak anything of concern.
April 18, 2011 - Elecraft P3 Panadaptor Build #1254 A fun build taking just over 1 hour, the P3 is a stand-alone DSP
spectral/waterfall display unit that's a perfect match for the K3. It has a
built-in, high-contrast color display (LCD), point and click QSY tuning and
better plug and play integration with the K3 than is possible with PC-based
panadapters. P3 features include 2 to 200 kHz of span, signal averaging, peak
hold, adjustable gain and adjustable reference level. It also includes a
buffered IF pass-through for support of additional IF processing.
April 17, 2011 - Elecraft Active Audio Filter Build The Elecraft AF1 is a versatile audio filter that can be used with any
receiver or transceiver. It can improve intelligibility of CW, phone, or data
signals, and is especially well suited to radios that have inadequate I.F. or
audio filtering. A rotary switch on the unit allows you to select a low-pass
characteristic with adjustable upper frequency roll-off, or a narrow bandpass
characteristic. The bandpass filter offers two levels of selectivity, and its
center frequency may be tuned from about 350 Hz to about 950 Hz. The low-pass
filter is active during bandpass operation, allowing you to further control the
upper frequency response. The output amplifier drives low impedance phones or a
small loudspeaker. Power can be supplied via either an on-board 9-V battery or
an external supply. An LED indicates power on/off status.
April 15, 2011 - Elecraft BL2 HF Balun Build Highly-efficient balun can handle up to 250 watts and can handle 1:1 and
4:1 ratios via an on board switch. It is very small (just 1.5 x 3") and
lightweight, making it an excellent choice for both home and field use. It uses
a special winding technique to reduce losses and extend the useful range,
resulting in an SWR of less than 1.2:1 from 500 kHz to 55 MHz (200-ohm load). It
includes rugged screw terminals for the balanced output as well as ground, and
can be used in a variety of matching applications.
April 10, 2011 - Here's A Fun Vintage Radio Site - The
RetroTechnologist Here is a fun blog I've recently rediscovered, W9KIZ's vintage radio
blog, appropriately titled "RetroTechnologist", also subtitled "I Commute From
1937". If you enjoy old radios, and old technologies, you'll find it a
fascinating read at
April 10, 2011 - Starting Another Elecraft KX-1
Starting yet another KX-1 kit for a brother ham, always enjoy building these
little rigs, the KX-1 packs an amazing amount of performance in a little
package. Waiting for the pre-wound torrid coils to arrive, I've wound my share
and now appreciate the pre-wound type, would rather save my eyes for reading!
April 9, 2011 - Building and Installing The Retro Helper
For The Retro 75 Another homerun from Small Wonder Labs, the "Retro
Helper" allows the Retro 75 transceiver to use the receive VFO as the
transmitting VFO. No longer are you "rock bound" on two xtals, you can tune and
transmit on the same range as receive. My rig covers 3835 to 3886 MHz, allowing
some fairly good operating real estate.
The kit build is very straightforward, and if you've already built the Retro 75,
you'll find the Retro Helper a real breeze, took me about 2 hours, and that was
being extra fussy about lead dress, solder connection quality, etc. The Helper
board installs on the rear panel of the Retro 75 enclosure, using predrilled
holes, and requires just 4 leads for connection to the Retro 75 main board. You
can find the Retro 75 and the Retro Helper at the Small Wonder Labs website
April 9, 2011 - Collins 75A-1 Alignment and Service Inspection It had
been some time since the old girl has been on the bench, dating back to my 2006
Thought I'd take another crack at aligning the IF as I was not certain it was
spot on. The original crystal in
the crystal filter was slightly off it's target frequency of 500 Kc, so a quick
align of the fixed and variable IF
brought all back into spec. The trusty HP 8640 signal generator was the ideal
tool here, and I found I was
able to peak up the IF just a tad. The rest of the alignment was spot on from 5
years ago, a testimony
to the solid design and construction of the Collins gear.
April 9, 2011 - Radio Dust Covers - W1UJR Seal Of
Approval! Have been adding some dust covers to the station, got tired
of using old bed sheets and blankets, which
although inexpensive, add their own dust to the items they are protecting.
Have been very pleased with the great work of Stand Clewett at
I can give a two thumbs up report for Stan for he has been excellent to work
with, prompt on shipping,
and quite reasonable on cost. He responds well to custom requests, and is
willing to explain the procedures,
can fabricate custom cover for vintage as well as modern gear.
April 3, 2011 - When Good Transformers Go Bad - BC-348
I love the BC-348, it was my first tube receiver as a young shortwave listener,
so I was understandably delighted to find another some years back. This orphan
from World War II has always had a place in my radio collection. Generally, once
recapped, the sets are quite trouble-free, and make nice workbench or chair side
monitoring receivers. So I guess it's only fitting that something might fail,
after all, 70+ years is a long time to go without a problem. So it was that the
neat little homebrew power supply inside my pristine BC-348 gave up the ghost
this morning, seems the power transformer had a bit of a meltdown. Not sure what
was more painful, the part failure, or the horrific smell that seemed filled the
ham shack for the day, yikes! A good lesson, never leave tube gear on, no matter
how reliable it has been in the past! A few hours, a new transformer, and some
time for clean up and this fine old rig will be back in service.
March 19, 2011 - Elecraft K2 - Adding 60 Meters and RS-232
Control Board - KIO2 and K60XV Modules Full computer control of the
K2 is possible with the KIO2 installed, the KIO2 provides true RS-232 levels.
The system is compatible with most contesting and logging software, including
some Mac based programs.
The KIO2 Programmer's Reference provides extensive information for those writing
custom K2 control programs.
Inside a fully optioned out Elecraft K2 -
You can see the KIO2 installed, note the cable and two circuit board on
the front and rear panels, the large gray colored wire is the data
connection. Removing the right side of the K2 make it much easier to
install the connectors for the RF, Power, Speaker and Data.
Inside the Elecraft K2 transceiver, most modules are
removed for service access.
Bottom view of the K2, with the front
bottom cover removed for installation of the K60XV coaxial cable.
Bottom view of the K2, with the front bottom cover
removed for installation of the K60XV coaxial cable.
Front KI02 Board during build.
Front KI02 Board during build, fully populated.
March 12, 2011 - Elecraft K3 - Adding The K144XV Internal
2 Meter Module With the Elecraft K144XV internal 2 meter module
installed, the K3 makes another leap forward in versatility.
The K144XV covers the full 144-148 MHz U.S. allocation, sp weak-signal CW/SSB
work is possible, as well as
access 2-m repeaters. The receiver has excellent sensitivity and dynamic range.
The maximum transmit power
output is 8-10 W in all modes, with diode switching for silent, relay-free T/R.
Best of all, it fits right inside
February 22, 2011 - Scope Testing Modulation On the Retro
75 Transceiver Found that modulation was only possible to 60-70%
before distortion occurs.
Measuring set up used - Retro 75 transceiver built by W1UJR, Elecraft DL1
Wideband Dummy Load,
Elecraft CP1 Directional Coupler, Elecraft 2T-gen 2-Tone Test Oscillator, and
140W Computing Wattmeter and SWR Bridge for initial set up. All test equipment
by W1UJR from Elecraft kits.
Found power output about 2.5 watts with an unmodulated carrier, does rises to
about 4 watts at 60-70% modulation.
Waveforms were recorded on Tektronix THS720A Digital Oscilloscope.
AM Modulation Measured on W1UJR
Retro 75 Transceiver
Ideal measured waveform - 100%
Elecraft DL1 Dummy Load
Elecraft CP1 Directional Coupler
Elecraft 2T-gen 2-Tone Test
Elecraft W1 SWR and Power Meter
January 30, 2011 - Building The Small Wonder Labs Retro 75
AM Transceiver Been as busy as a beaver over the last few weeks with
radio kits, and have more coming this week! As from Elecraft, I've also enjoyed
kit from the good folks at Small Wonder Labs,
www.smallwonderlabs.com, building a
number of their kits over the years. Recently Small Wonder Labs came out with a
simple, QRP power AM transceiver kit, called the "Retro 75". I had looked at the
kit many times, but always had other projects, so I finally ordered it a few
Last night I started the Retro 75 build, was up to 4:30AM, lost track of time
and really was enjoyed the project. I finished up the details this afternoon,
and I estimate that it took me about 12 hours of total time. One could do it in
less time, but I wanted to enjoy the process, and the moment it ceased being
fun, I stopped and took a break. I also spent some additional time to make sure
the solder connections and lead dress looked just right. In fact, I initially
ran the wiring for the control and jack leads above the chassis, but it looked a
tad too cluttered for my taste. Wanting to really enjoyed and be pleased with
the project, I redid the wiring, and ran it under the PC board. The efforts were
worth it, as the rig played the first time out. I did find one wiring error
during my pre-power up testing, I had reversed the T/R and Power leads, easy to
do as they are next to each other on the board, and I was working under the
board rather than on top. During the alignment stage, the set was hearing
shortwave stations with just my finger as an antenna, and even the two variable
indictors, T1 and T2 did not require much tweaking, both were just about spot
Some notes about my build, as I mentioned earlier and per the
suggestion of Dave K1SWL, I ran my control and jack leads under the PC board,
rather that on top, it makes for a cleaner looking build, used heat shrink
tubing to keep the lead dress neat. The 3A/B/C capacitor selection confused me
at first, it was not until I read later in the manual that I fully understood
that those different values were used to set the turning range. Since the
instructions are rather free form, I chose to build using component types,
rather than board areas, this seemed to speed things up as I could sort the
values before install. So the caps went first, then the resistors, inductors,
etc. The system worked pretty well, and I used the component listing as check
sheet, marking off each part on install. I'd ideally like to see some sort of
plug in header for the wiring, so the board could be removed for service,
inspection, but this is by no means a necessity, also a plug in xtal holder
would be nice, so could sway out xtals, guess I can implement pretty easily, and
both options would only add to the very reasonable cost for the kit.
I bought the optional enclosure, glad I did, works well with the
rig, With that said, I would really love to have the anodized aluminum case like
the ones offered with the Small Wonder Lab DSW series back in the late 1990s,
but that is something which I am working on. Power levels, for AM carrier,
varied between 3-4 watts without modulation, right on spec, as you can see by
the Elecraft power meter photo. RX side seems to work well, nice and sensitive,
pleased about that, looks like a real bargain for the money. In summary, the
Retro 75 is one very fine kit, a great weekend project, quite well designed,
well priced, looks like Dave has hit another homerun with this one!
Retro 75 parts sorted out.
Beginning the Retro 75 build, note Elecraft K3 in
background for entertainment.
Retro 75 on schematic.
Retro 75 built and installed in case, all wires
routed under board for clean lead dress and appearance.
Close in view of the Retro 75 board,
coils wound and board build by W1UJR
Overview of the transceiver, sitting on top of build
manual for size reference.
RF testing of the Retro 75, Elecraft W1
SWR/Power meter in the background, note 3-4 watt reading on the W1 LED
Retro 75 ready for on air testing, fine little RX was
January 30, 2011 - Balance In All Things The
Amateur's Code, written by Paul Seagal W9EEA in 1928,
is an excellent reminder of what amateur radio is really all about.
January 29, 2011 - Building The Elecraft N-Gen Wideband
Noise Generator Kit Why does one need a device which generates a
wideband noise on the HF bands? Well, its not as malicious as you might think,
in fact its really quite useful for aligning filters, doing a quick check of
receiver operation, etc. I found this a simple but fun kit, takes less than an
hour to build, and perfect addition to the test workbench, which also includes
the Elecraft W1 140W Computing Wattmeter and SWR Bridge, the XG2 Three
Band Receiver Test Oscillator / S-Meter Calibrator, and now the XG2 Three
Band Receiver Test Oscillator / S-Meter Calibrator.
The folks at Elecraft tell it best, so here is the description of the unit from
The Elecraft N-gen is a wideband noise source that is useful for a variety of
receiver alignment tasks. It can be used in conjunction with a software program
such as Spectrogram to align IF filters in the K2 or in other receivers. It can
also be used to align the RF stages in Elecraft XV Transverters or other HF,
VHF, and UHF equipment. Note: The N-gen does not generate repetitive pulse
noise, so it cannot be used to test pulse-type I.F. noise blankers such as the
Elecraft KNB1 or KNB2.
Power Requirement: 9V battery or external 12 to 15 volts DC
Current Consumption: approximately 25 ma.
Excess noise output: approximately 35 dB
Bandwidth: within 3 dB from 100 kHz to 500 MHz
N-Gen Noise Generator
Assembled N-Gen undergoing testing
Using the N-Gen to
check a transceiver, connected to antenna input, signal is displayed on
Note the S meter reading from the
N-Gen, perfect for testing filter alignment, etc.
January 23, 2011 - Elecraft K3 - Adding The KPA3 Internal
100 W Upgrade for K3/10 The 100 Watt PA module simply converts the QRP version into a standard
QRO HF radio, QRP is still possible when the power level is reduced, thus making
the K3 able to do double-duty as a QRP/QRO radio. In fact, the front panel
display automatically switches between the 1-10 watt and the 1-100 watt scales
when the K3 switches from the low power IPA to the higher power unit, nice
January 23, 2011 - Elecraft K3 - Adding The13 Kilocycle
Filter Great for listening to HiFi AM amateur and short wave broadcast
stations, really opens things up from the stock 6 Kc filter!
January 23, 2011 - Elecraft K3 - Adding The K3XVA Board
January 16, 2011 - Elecraft K3 - First Contact - Antique
Wireless Association AM Net
My first QSO with the new rig was today on the Antique Wireless Association
Sunday AM PM Net on 3837, altogether fitting that the rig should make its maiden
voyage both on AM and on the AWA Net! A most interesting juxtaposition, 1940s
antique gear meets the latest and greatest of the 21st century! Thanks to Bill
K1BF and Dave KA2J for listening very hard for my little 2.5 watt QRP signal.
2011 Elecraft K3
1947 Collins 30K
16, 2011 - Elecraft K3 Build Finished - Works Wonderfully! Finished the K3 today, spent a good part of the day doing the final
tweaking, listening to 75 meter AM group as I type this. All told it took me 5,
maybe 6 days, I spent mostly a few hours each evening, choosing to take my time
to assemble, test and verify the kit. Sure that I could have done it one or two
sittings, but I choose to savor the experience, it really was fun, of course one
fellow did it in 7 minutes...www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfUMZcwtIyw.
Of course that's a time lapse video, done over several days, but still one gets
I had a ball building the K3, its like an erector set for adults, all bolt
together - no solder. I've got a K2 to build for another fellow, suspect that is
going to be a little more of a drudge after breezing through this. Part of what
makes the experience special is the support of the Elecraft community, like the
AM Fone site, there are dozens upon dozens of knowledgeable folks more than
willing to help out with anything question or glitch you may encounter, that
sense of community is invaluable. Best part - NO TOROIDS TO WIND - I am way over
that, was fun for the first two, maybe three kits, but no more. I did not add
the 100 watt module, happy to run with the QRP 10/12 watt LPA, that seems to be
the focus for me in 2011, less is more.
January 16, 2011 - Elecraft K3 - Final Building Tips and Suggestions
Utility Software - KSUB Adaptor - A Small Glitch
First, kudos to Elecraft for supplying software for the Mac, so little ham
software is written for the Apple side of things that it was a pleasant surprise
to see that both a PC and Mac version of the K3 Utility software on the Elecraft
website. The K3 Utility is used to set up and test various rig parameters on the
K3 transceiver, and while not required, is very handy to use. With that said, I
did have a bit of a challenge with the software. Like most new computers, my
Apple Macbook Air does not have a serial post, just two USB ports. The K3 uses a
serial port, necessitating the use of a USB to 9 Pin Serial cable, Elecraft
sells such a cable, known as a KUSB. Despite repeated efforts, I could not get
the K3 software to find the adaptor cable on the Macbook. I tried various
software drivers, searched the internet and Elecraft email archives with no
Finally, I made a quick post to the Elecraft reflector, and within 10 minutes of
my post Bill K1GQ nailed it. Turns out that the drivers from the Elecraft site
are NOT correct for the FTDI chip set which is used on the newer KUSB cable. I
downloaded the correct driver from the site Bill suggested, and things just
worked! Just 100% delighted how quickly and well the K3 Utility works. The site
for the FTDI chip is located at
http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm Even more delighted with the prompt
and accurate help provided by K1GQ on the problem, hope this saves someone else
from this challenge. So, if you've having an issue with the KUSB on the Mac, use
the Mac System Profiler to determine which chipset your USB to Serial Adaptor is
using, then make sure you download the right driver.
Crystal Filters - Double Check/Double Take I found the otherwise excellent Elecraft assembly manual a tad confusing, at
least to me, on the arrangement of the xtal filters. I had chosen the 8 pole
xtal Inrad filters for the K3, the layout is as follows: 250 KC, 450 KC, 2.8 KC,
6.0 KC. Those with a sharp eye will note that I initially had the filters
installed in the incorrect order in K3 because I misunderstood the manual. A
reading of the operations manual made things much clearer to me, and I quickly
reinstalled all of the filters from the widest bandwidth to the most narrow. The
new order is: Filter 1 is blank for future installation of the FM filter, then I
set it up the following filters from widest to most narrow, 6 KC in slot 2 for
AM, then the 2.8 KC filter for general use, followed by the 450 and 250 KC
filters for CW use in slots 4 and 5 respectively.
A Icom Microphone on the K3 - General Info
I have a number of Icom rigs here, and more than a few spare mics laying about.
I decided to use a Icom SM-8 with the K3. The SM-8 has a bit of retro look about
it, nice contrast to the K3, and the electret condenser type mic element gives
clear tone over a wide variety of voice levels. On the bottom of the mic base
there is one control for tone. Designed to be used on two different rigs, there
are separate level adjustments for input A and input B. The mic cables terminate
to a standard ICOM 8 pin mic plug.
The use of a Icom mic requires a few simple changes as Elecraft has wired the
microphone jack on the K3 to match the Kenwood wiring scheme. Unlike the K2, the
user can not readily change this scheme, so the changes have to occur inside the
microphone or cable plug. The pin out information on both the Icom and Elecraft
is below, again, hope this helps someone else. You have two settings on the K3
which need to be enabled to use with the Icom microphone, the Bias voltage, and
the Mic Gain. For my station I used the high mic gain setting, and also used the
bias voltage, seems to work just fine. The Icom memory channel or freq changing
is implemented differently that Kenwood, Icom does this by pulling down a
control voltage with a 470 ohm resistor. Adding the functionality of the UP and
Down buttons will require some additional work, I have not implemented that, but
may do so at a later date.
How To Wire The Icom SM-8 Microphone To The K3 To implement the simple microphone cable mod, use the table below.
For simplicity sake here is a simple list of how I switched the cable leads:
1) Remove the two screws on the female mic cable clamp, then remove the one
small screw holding the mic
connector into the shell.
2) Now twist and remove the mic connector from the shell, slide back the clear
plastic sleeve to access the small pins on the back of the connector.
3) Using a fine tipped soldering iron, carefully unsolder Pins 2, 5 and 6 on the
Icom mic plug, be sure to note which color wire went to each pin, see chart
below if in question - note, your cable colors may not match mine, so best to
4) Solder the wire removed from Pin 2 to Pin 6 (bias voltage).
5) Solder the wire removed from 5 to Pin 2 (PTT)
6) Solder the wire removed from Pin 6 to Pin 7 (ground to
7) For the VFO or memory channel up functions, skip this step
now, I'll have more data in a future post.
8) Reassemble the mic connector back into the shell.
9) Using the K3 Config menu set up the Mic Gain and turn on the
Bias voltage, see the K3 manual for info.
10) Set the mic gain pot to a setting which sounds good in your
on-air test and you should be all set.
+ 8 VDC
16, 2011 - First 2011 New England AM QRP Net Debuts Summary - New England AM QRP Net for 2011. First, it was all good,
people actually showed up and got on the air, so 10 points to the fellows for
that. Second, most stations were reasonable copy, despite power levels and QRM
Following stations were in the net:
W1VZR - Pete
KA5WHO - Dale
W1VTP - Al
W1TAV - Steve
KF1Z - Bruce
W1FRM - Guy
WA1LGQ - Larry
WA1KPD - Carl
W1UJR - Bruce
January 12, 2011 - Elecraft K3 Build Day 2 Ready for resistance checks and power up tomorrow evening!
I kept my kit pretty simple, the options order is below.
January 11, 2011 - Building the Elecraft K3 - Here We Go
Again! When Nancy and I were visiting my folks back in New York state over the
Christmas holidays, I had the opportunity to drop off a Henry amp to its new
owner, Bill N2BC, his photo below. Of course a shack tour was in order, and Bill
has a very nice hamshack indeed, equipped with the latest and greatest in
Elecraft gear, the K3. Bill's K3 really got me thinking...a Elecraft K3 would be
a very fun project for the New Year...and I am always on the lookout for a new
Over the past few years I've built a number of Elecraft kits for myself and for
others, I'm on the Elecraft builders list, it is always a blast, makes the long
Maine winters go quickly! The KX-1, K1, K2, and miscellaneous Elecraft mini
kits, but never the K3, considered the top of the Elecraft mountain. One listen
to Bill's K3 and I was hooked, needless to say, the order, with Bill's guidance
and suggestions, went in shortly after I returned to Maine.
The K3 is different that other Elecraft offerings, it is a "no solder" kit, the
builder basically assembles pre-tested and assembled modules...still, building
is building and I was excited to get back on the bench. The kit arrived today,
and I was in the barn this very evening, a cup of green tea at hand, sorting
parts out into muffin trays, inventorying components, the old National HRO short
wave set going in the background, a most wonderful Maine winter evening. Serial
number 5068 is under way!
The Elecraft K3 - Stock Photos
Blame it on Bill N2BC - A Very FB OM
Starting My Build - Had To Add Another Workbench To The Line
January 8, 2011 - AM QRP - 2 1/2 Watts AM -Retro 75 QSO
Today - 1940 meets 2010 Interesting QSO today with a fellow running 2 1/2 watts AM! A most
intriguing juxtaposition, 1940s era Collins 30K running 250 watts to a 2010
Small Wonder Labs Retro 75 running 2.5 watts, believe it was even the maiden
voyage of his Retro transceiver. The Small Wonder Labs rig can be found here
I called CQ about 1800 UTC on 3880 Kc was delighted to get a call back from
Jerry AA1OF using the Retro 75 rig. Audio was a tad distorted until he switched
over to another mic, but once that was done he sounded great from the speaker of
the 75A1, every bit as copiable as the other stations running mid to high power.
It is quite amazing little power you really do need when conditions are
right...and they are usually right most early to mid afternoons. And I believe
his antenna was partially made from speaker wire?
Remained very easy copy for an hour before I had to sign. Enjoyed a very good
roundtable of other fellows, some who could and could not hear him, KC2JXX,
W1VTP, W1FRM, KC2TAU. That's four states - ME, NH, NY, MA, even voice from
Vermont BHV called in.
Early afternoons, the band is usually very quiet and few stations are on, but it
is generally open through the northeast, so don't hesitate to call even if
things sound dead, you just never never know who is listening!
January 1, 2011 - We Begin Our 5th Year Of Bruce's Bench -
Welcome To The New Year! Bruce's Bench - the name is rather unassuming, the concept quite simple.
The idea was to, via the internet, take folks out to my workshop, turn on the
lights and show them the various projects scattered about on my workbench.
Originally intended as but a simple way to update friends from out of town as to
what was percolating on my service bench, this series has grown into one of the
more popular pages on my humble site.
When I first started out back in 2007, I had envisioned this serial as a simple
photo documentary, but as time went on, it has slowly developed into a journal
of sorts, and perhaps, if you will excuse the expression, a showcase of talents,
interests, ideas, and yes, even misadventures. As we begin our fifth year of
Bruce's Bench, my hope is that you have enjoyed reading along as much as I have
enjoyed creating it, for the serial has allowed me to connect with all sorts of
interesting folks, acquire some rather unique radio gear, document a small bit
of radio history, and along the way make some wonderful friends. Kind folks have
shared their own stories with me after reading an article in the series, or have
greeted me at ham fests and shared just how much they enjoyed a posting, photo
or project...that really makes it all worthwhile.
I'm ready now for a new year in amateur radio, with more projects to undertake,
more radios to add to the collection, more challenges to chase down, and perhaps
most importantly, more time to spend with friends! My best for the New Year to
one and all...and if I may be so bold as to borrow a phrase from Dickens' most
wonderful tale, "A Christmas Carol"...God bless us, every one! May we all take
the lesson of Ebenezer Scrooge to heart, and begin the new year refreshed and
renewed with the joy of redemption.
Old Buzzard Bruce Tunes In A New Signal In 2011...
Send mail to
W1UJR with questions or comments about this web site.