Category Archives: Ham Radio

David enjoys hammock mobile SWLing with his Icom IC-92AD

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Korchin (K2WNW), for sharing this short video demonstrating the shortwave receive capabilities of the Icom IC-92AD handheld transceiver:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Frankly, I’m quite amazed at the clarity and fidelity of the Voice of Turkey interval signal on this handheld. Goes to show that with a proper antenna, and decent conditions, wide-band handhelds can certainly be used for shortwave radio listening! It also helps that David is outdoors, away from RFI, and was located on the coast of Long Island, NY.

Post readers: Have you had good fortune SWLing with wide-band handled transceivers? Please comment!

One week of Hamvention, Air Force Museum, Wright Brothers and National Parks On The Air

DSC_4449I returned home last night from my week-log Dayton Hamvention trip around 8:30 PM.

The Hamvention actually ended at 1:00 PM on Sunday, May 22, but my buddy Eric McFadden (WD8RIF), his son Miles (KD8KNC) and I stayed Sunday night in Dayton, and Monday night at Eric’s home in Athens, Ohio.

After packing up our Hamvention booth (for Ears To Our World) on Sunday, we made our way to the nearby National Museum of the USAF–the largest aviation museum in the world. We visit the museum every year–and every year I discover something new.

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This BC-348 can be found in one of the museum’s B-29 displays.

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In June, the Air Force museum is actually opening a fourth building which will house an additional 70 aircraft in four new galleries.

If you’re an aviation buff–trust me–the  National Museum of the USAF is worth a pilgrimage to Dayton, Ohio.

NPOTA activations

Monday morning, Eric, Miles and I packed up, ran a few errands on Wright Patterson Air Force Base, then made our way to our first National Parks On The Air activation: the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (HP11) and North Country National Scenic Trail (TR04) “two-fer” at Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center in Dayton, Ohio.

Eric worked CW on 20 meters and I worked SSB on 40 meters using the LNR Precision LD-11 transceiver (which I’m currently reviewing) and my recently-purchased Hardened Power Systems QRP Ranger.

For all of my Monday NPOTA activations, I used the EFT Trail Friendly antenna I purchased at the Hamvention:

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The EFT Trail Friendly Antenna made set-up a breeze: simply throw a line into a tree, hang the end of the antenna, then hook up the other end to the feedline/transceiver. No antenna tuner is needed for 40, 20 or 10 meters once the antenna is tuned for resonance. It packs up into a small bundle that easily fits in my radio go-kit (see photo above).

The LD-11/QRP Ranger/EFT antenna combo worked amazingly well and made for very quick deployment.

LNR-LD-11 and QRP Ranger NPOTA

I can easily fit the LD-11 transceiver and QRP Ranger on a foldable metal chair (my make-shift field table!).

My buddy Eric, I should mention, is typically on the leaderboard for NPOTA as he’s an avid QRP field operator.

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Eric (WD8RIF) operating NPOTA with his field-portable vertical HF antenna.

You can follow Eric’s activations on QRZ.com or his website.

Eric's field-portable HF vertical packs up into this small canvas bag.

Eric’s field-portable HF vertical packs up into this small canvas bag.

We had a tight NPOTA activation schedule to meet Monday, but after packing up from our first sites, we took 30 minutes to stop by the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and The Wright Cycle Co. museum in downtown Dayton.

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Well worth the short visit! Next year, I’ll plan to revisit both museums when I have more time.

Next, we made our way to the second scheduled NPOTA activation site: the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (MN18).

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Despite not having my antenna very far off the ground (my antenna line fell down one branch in the process of hanging) I still managed to work a pile-up of stations from Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan and Indiana. After Eric and I racked up a number of QSOs, we packed up our site in haste and made our way to the final activation of the day: the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (HP15). We arrived as the Park Ranger was getting in his car to leave for the day!

At Hopewell, I managed to deploy the EFT antenna much higher off the ground. I worked a small pile up of stations from all over the region which, to my surprise, included two radio friends (Ed and Eileen) in Franklin, NC. Eric also worked blogging buddy John Harper, AE5X on 20 meters CW (got your message, John!).

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All in all, it was a fantastic day to be outdoors and on the air.

Of course, a side benefit of doing National Parks On The Air activations is that you get to check out all of these amazing park sites.

Without a doubt, this was one fun-filled and radio-centric Hamvention week! It couldn’t have been better.

NPOTA Log

Part of my log sheet for NPOTA HP11 and TRO4 “Two-Fer” activations. Not bad for such a tight schedule!

Thank you

Many thanks to my friends Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), Mike (K8RAT) and Christine (KM4PDS) for volunteering to manage our Hamvention booth for Ears To Our World. It was a record year for collecting donations. Many thanks to all of you for the support!

I’d also like to thank the SWLing Post readers who stopped by to visit our new location in the Silver Arena–it was great seeing everyone!

Now that I’m back home, I essentially have one week of emails and comments in my backlog to sort before hitting the road again rather soon. I appreciate your patience as I catch up. If you don’t hear back from me soon, it’s okay to give me a nudge! 🙂

2016 Dayton Hamvention: Inside Exhibits Photos

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Most years I attend the Dayton Hamvention, I take photos of the outdoor flea market. It’s a great opportunity for me to gauge used equipment prices and check out rare finds.

This year, I made an effort to take photos of some of the inside exhibitor booths as well. Here they are, in no particular order:

 

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Photo tour of the 2016 Dayton Hamvention Flea Market

Weather yesterday morning at the Dayton Hamvention was quite pleasant–cool and partly cloudy (the rain moved in by afternoon).

As I walked around the Hamvention Flea Market yesterday, I snapped a few photos. Here they are, in no particular order: DSC_4319 DSC_4322 DSC_4325 DSC_4324 DSC_4328 DSC_4331 DSC_4330IMG_20160520_075126938_HDR IMG_20160520_075121124_HDR IMG_20160520_074332811_HDR IMG_20160520_075341759 IMG_20160520_075329979 IMG_20160520_075159494_HDR IMG_20160520_075155113 IMG_20160520_075152645 IMG_20160520_075710997_HDR IMG_20160520_075615952 IMG_20160520_075612972 IMG_20160520_075421198 IMG_20160520_075409581 IMG_20160520_080045692_HDR IMG_20160520_075918036 IMG_20160520_075833970_HDR IMG_20160520_075805524_HDR IMG_20160520_075714430_HDR IMG_20160520_080615604 IMG_20160520_080608484_HDR IMG_20160520_080049374_HDR IMG_20160520_081227401 IMG_20160520_080858804 IMG_20160520_080756463_HDR IMG_20160520_081605030 IMG_20160520_081446494 IMG_20160520_081433518 IMG_20160520_081429333 IMG_20160520_081243730 IMG_20160520_081958207_HDR IMG_20160520_081954219 IMG_20160520_081712679 IMG_20160520_081707464_HDR IMG_20160520_081638710 IMG_20160520_082353651 IMG_20160520_082133630 IMG_20160520_082523096 IMG_20160520_082515865 IMG_20160520_082401932 IMG_20160520_082621244 IMG_20160520_082616116 IMG_20160520_082608481 IMG_20160520_082549817 IMG_20160520_082532180 IMG_20160520_082527070 IMG_20160520_083008664 IMG_20160520_082915263 IMG_20160520_082822600_HDR IMG_20160520_082753149 IMG_20160520_082638684 IMG_20160520_083114407_TOP IMG_20160520_083109994 IMG_20160520_083050444 IMG_20160520_083012704_TOP IMG_20160520_084820717 IMG_20160520_084814420 IMG_20160520_084434979_TOP IMG_20160520_084432287_HDR IMG_20160520_083441054 IMG_20160520_084916091 IMG_20160520_084837231_HDR IMG_20160520_084834039_HDR IMG_20160520_084829641_HDR IMG_20160520_084827204 IMG_20160520_084936474_HDR IMG_20160520_084933213_TOP IMG_20160520_084921682 IMG_20160520_091641178_HDR IMG_20160520_091307701 IMG_20160520_090914965_HDR IMG_20160520_091812984 IMG_20160520_091806073 IMG_20160520_091740687 IMG_20160520_091645628_HDR IMG_20160520_111743184 IMG_20160520_092821734_HDR IMG_20160520_091830009 IMG_20160520_111758227 IMG_20160520_111753608 IMG_20160520_162656634_HDR

The fellow who owns the military radio truck mobile unit (above) allowed me to take a few photos inside:IMG_20160520_162600670IMG_20160520_162545778IMG_20160520_162534748IMG_20160520_162631741IMG_20160520_162615428 IMG_20160520_162611742 IMG_20160520_162608672

I hope to post some photos of the inside exhibits tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Photos of the new Elecraft KX2

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One of the benefits of being an inside exhibitor at the Dayton Hamvention is the ability to visit with vendors and exhibitors on Thursday, prior to all of the traffic that happens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Elecraft’s booth is always epically busy during the Hamvention–and this year will be no exception, I’m sure. It was nice to visit and get one-on-one time with the KX2 with no crowds.Elecraft-KX2-6

Many thanks to the staff at Elecraft–especially David Shoaf–who gave me a quick tour of the KX2 and allowed me to take a few photos.

The KX2 is smaller than it even appears in most of the photos Elecraft has published. It’s roughly the size of the KX1, but somehow manages to fit the same backlit display of the KX3. They’ve done a pretty good job of designing this rig to accommodate a lot of features–but to be clear, it doesn’t have as many features of it’s “bigger” brother, the KX3.

 

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The KX2 is actually much smaller than the KX3.

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I am very tempted to purchase a KX2 for review, but may hold out for a few months. I would like to review it after my summer travels, though.

In truth, I love my KX3 and it serves me well: since I like the KX3 form-factor, it covers more bands than the KX2 and has a great general coverage receiver with AM mode for SWLing, I have no need for the KX2. The price point for a KX2 is a tough one, as well: after adding an internal ATU and paying taxes, you’re staring at $1,000 US.

Still: if you want almost all of the features of the KX3, yet something even more compact–something that can even be operated as a handheld!–the KX2 will serve you well. It’s certainly a clever piece of kit.

I will plan to review the KX2 later this year. Click here to download the Elecraft KX2 spec sheet.