Category Archives: Ham Radio

National Parks On The Air: Activating PK01 this weekend (August 28)

The QRP Ranger (left) and LNR Precision LD-11 transceiver (right)

The QRP Ranger (left) and LNR Precision LD-11 transceiver (right)

After two months in Canada and one month spent catching up on work, I’m pleased to make some time this weekend to activate PK01 (the Blue Ridge Parkway) for the ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA).

I’ll be joined by my good friend, Vlado (N3CZ) on August 28–we plan to set up at the Folk Art Center on the parkway around 11:00 EDT and be on the air by 11:30 EDT (15:30 UTC).

I plan to use the LNR Precision LD-11, QRP Ranger and EFT Trail Friendly Antenna combo. Vlado will either use his Icom IC-7000, Kenwood TS-480 or my Elecraft KX1.

Look for us on the following frequencies:

  • CW: +/- 7031, 14061 kHz
  • SSB: +/- 7286, 14286 kHz

Life has been so hectic after having been on the road for two months–I’m pleased to finally have a moment to play radio in the field again!

Video: Elecraft KX2 daytime shortwave AM performance

ElecraftKX2

After publishing the post this morning regarding the AM mode addition to the Elecraft KX2, SWLing Post contributor Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW) created the following video comparing the KX2’s daytime shortwave reception with that of the Kenwood R-2000:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The Elecraft KX2 now has AM mode!

Elecraft-KX2-6

The Elecraft KX2 at the 2016 Hamvention

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers (including, Eric, Dave, Jim and Greg) who shared the following message from Wayne (N6KR) on the Elecraft message boards:

We added AM mode to the KX2 today, both transmit and receive. Its primary purpose is for SWL (short-wave listening), i.e. copying commercial AM stations. (Remember that the KX2’s sensitivity drops off rapidly below 2 MHz due to protective high-pass filtering, so it wouldn’t be your first choice for AM brodcast-band DXing.)

AM transmit is far less efficient than SSB, so it would typically be used only if the target receiver can’t demodulate SSB, or for special applications. For example, there’s some AM activity and experimentation in the ham bands, notably around 3.870 kHz at night. I’ll have to drop in with 10 watts (carrier + sidebands) and get a report 🙂

While the KX2 was optimized for SSB, AM mode sounds fine, and of course is easier to tune than when using SSB modes with AM. In AM mode, the operator can select 1, 5, 9, or 10 kHz steps for course tuning using the VFO CRS menu entry. (Yes, some countries use 9 kHz intervals between stations.)

If you’re interested in testing AM mode on the KX2, please email me directly.

73,
Wayne
N6KR

On Sunday, I ordered a KX2 (with ATU, rechargeable battery pack, quick charger and paddles)–it should arrive next Monday. First thing I’ll do is upgrade the firmware so it’ll have AM mode.

Many thanks to Wayne (N6KR) for putting this KX2 upgrade at the front of the (long) line of requests.  I’ll be reviewing the KX2 for the November issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine and, as an avid SWL, AM mode adds an important dimension to my evaluation. (Truth is, I know that Wayne has a soft spot for SWLing too.)

Elecraft-KX2-Data-SheetClick here for a previous post with more information and photos of the Elecraft KX2.

Click here to view the KX2 on Elecraft’s website.

Icom’s announcement includes two new receivers: the IC-R8600 and IC-R30

The IC-R8600 (Photo source: QRZ Now)

The IC-R8600 (Photo source: QRZ Now)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who shares the following info about Icom’s announcements at the Tokyo Ham Fair:

Well the cat is now really out of the bag now !! Icom announced 2 new RECEIVERS at the Tokyo 2016 JARL Ham Fair.

We can almost say for certain that the new IC-R8600 is a SDR based design.

[…]The new IC-R30 handheld probably is SDR too, but not sure yet. Pretty large bugger (no real good picture as of of me typing this). Will it be able to do at least P25 Phase one?

I’ll admit it: I was a little surprised to hear that Icom had announced new receivers. I’m happy to see that it’s an IC-R8500 replacement/update. I love the touch screen color display.

I also very much like the idea of a handheld wideband–possible SDR–receiver.  I did a little extra digging and found the most concrete details about the new models on Icom UK’s website:

After an online teaser campaign featuring silhouettes of mystery radio models, the secret is out and Icom Inc. has shown the very first samples of the IC-7610, IC-R8600, IC-R30 and ID-51 PLUS2 to the public at the Tokyo Ham Fair 2016 (August 20-21, 2016). Details are relatively scarce but here are the basic details we have so far on these models.

The new IC-7610 (Photo: Icom UK)

The new IC-7610 (Photo: Icom UK)

IC-7610 HF/50MHz Transceiver (Base Station)
The IC-7610 is the successor to the IC-7600 and will be a dual-watch capable HF+50MHz 100W base station with built-in antenna tuner. The LCD will be touch screen and you will be able to connect an external display.

IC-R8600 Wideband Receiver (Base Station)
The IC-R8600 replaces the IC-R8500 wideband receiver and will feature the technology incorporated into Icom’s best selling IC-7300. The IC-R8600 will be able to receive a wide frequency range from 0.01-3000MHz frequency in analogue and various digital modes (D-STAR, P25, NXDN and dPMR). The IC-R8600 will feature a larger 4.3 inch touch screen display which will feature fast moving spectrum scope and waterfall display.

IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)
The IC-R30 is the successor to the popular IC-R20 compact handheld receiver. The IC-R30 can listen to two signals under certain conditions (analogue + analogue or analogue + digital). The IC-R30 will be able to decode D-STAR, P25, NXDN and dPMR digital (conventional) modes.

ID-51 PLUS2 Dual Band D-STAR Digital Transceiver (Handheld)
The ID-51 PLUS2 handportable is a special edition model which will come in several colours/patterns. The new ‘Terminal Mode’ and ‘Access Point Modes’ enable you to make D-STAR calls through the Internet, even from areas where no D-STAR repeater is accessible.

More details will be available nearer to each product’s launch. There are currently no details about pricing and availability.

Stay tuned to this website and our social media pages for further announcements.

I can’t wait to learn what the price point will be for the IC-R8600. I hope it’s at least in-line with the IC-7300 or (its predecessor) the IC-R8500. I also hope that, perhaps, the new IC-R30 will have full-mode HF capabilities.

We’ll post news about these new rigs as it becomes available–so will Dave Zantow. Stay tuned!

BHI Summer Sale

BHI-COMPACT_IN_LINE

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, TomL, who notes:

Not sure if you had anything posted for this but I stumbled on BHI having a summer sale until August 16. So, I went onto YouTube and listened to a number of user demos and chose to buy the Compact Inline model. So, I get 10% off using the special code plus the British Pound has gone down against the US Dollar over the last few months by about 15% or more. Shipping is a bit more expensive but overall seems worth it. Just thought I would pass it along!

TomL from noisy Illinois

Thank you, Tom! I know DX Engineering also stocks BHI products here in the States, but I imagine with the currency conversion and summer sale, it might even be less expensive to order directly from BHI.

I hope you report back and let us know how well the Compact Inline filter works for you!