It was an uncommonly radio-active weekend in the KE9V shack. The PX3 panadapter arrived from Elecraft while I was out of town last week so I had some unboxing joy when I arrived home. Included in the order were cables that permit me to connect the KX3 to a sound card for digital operation.

After playing with the panadapter Friday night, I decided to see if I could get the transceiver working with my Mac using the inexpensive USB sound adapter that I had purchased just for digital work. It all went together easily and within minutes I was using FT8 with the KX3.

In fact, I made nearly a hundred such contacts this weekend and would have had more except for some loud thunder that caused me to pull the plug earlier than I would have liked. These were the first FT8 contacts made with my KX3 and my first for this year. I made over a thousand FT8 contacts last year but then set it aside a few weeks before the end of the year and hadn’t looked back.

It was drop dead simple making contacts using just five watts. I even managed to work a few European stations. But I was soon reminded why I quit using it last year. Once you get over the excitement of seeing how easy it is to make contacts, it’s about as much fun as watching paint dry. But it certainly can fill your logbook quickly and in my case, pushed me to WAS Digital with the FT8 endorsement. So there’s that…

More Fun in the Park

I saw on the QRP-L mailing list that frequent park activator Joe Everhart, N2CX was going to be operating portable in a few different parks this weekend. I managed to work him from Tuscarora State Park in Pennsylvania (K-1429) on 40 and 30 meters. Chasing Joe around never gets old and in the coming weeks I’m looking forward to activating a couple of State Parks near here.

Speaking of field ops, the newest book from the ARRL, Portable Operating for Amateur Radio - Everything You Need to Get on the Air from the Great Outdoors - is now available.

NEQP, 7QP, INQP

I didn’t plan to work in any of the State QSO Party’s this weekend as there were other things to do. But I ended up knocking off twenty quick ones in the NEQP on Sunday. It’s easy to do when you’re cherry picking the loudest stations. I wasn’t in it for the score it was more about getting my head right with a little Morse after a few hours of FT8.

One of the stations worked was retired ARRL CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ. He’s an active contester and I have him in the log on multiple occasions, always in a contest or Sprint. Another was Mark Wilson, K1RO who is also an active contester that I’ve worked many times but his call stuck out because I remembered working him on Six Meters a few years ago and was my first NH on the Magic Band.

Sunday, May 6, 2018