Mark your calendars, the ARRL Centennial QSO Party will make a stop in the Centennial State of Colorado in May. The dates are 21-27 May and yours truly has signed up to represent Colorado in this incredible event.
I’m sure by now you’ve already heard about the ARRL Centennial QSO Party and hopefully you’ve already been busy making contacts. I’m slightly behind schedule, but thankfully each of the 50 states will be on the air twice during the calendar year. My goal is to work them all.
When I first learned of the opportunity to represent Colorado in this event I knew I wanted to sign up for a operating slot or two. While my station is a small pistol in the world of high power contest stations, I’m still excited to put the Centennial State of Colorado on the air from my home QTH during the ARRL Centennial QSO Party.
Currently my on-air timeslots are 22 May (00:00 – 03:00 z) 20m Phone and 25 May (15:00 – 18:00 z) 20m Phone. You can learn more about this year long event by visiting the ARRL Centennial QSO Party website.
I may sign up for additional timeslots if the need requires. As we get closer to the event date, I’ll be sure to post a reminder. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook where I’ll post real time information on where you can find me on the bands.
A few new toys are headed to my QTH this week. The first scheduled to arrive is the amp for the KX3. When I purchased my KX3 (serial number 0057) I really had no intention of adding the amp to the setup. The KX3 was simply going to be my SOTA/Portable QRP rig (replacing the FT-817) and when not on an outdoor adventure it would stay safely in my cabinet. After all, I have the Yaesu FT-950 which I use for SSB Phone contacts and the FT-897 which is setup for the digital modes. I just didn’t see a need for another 100w HF rig.
Some things have changed with my work. For the past 3+ years I’ve worked from home 1-2 days a week and would often get on the air during lunch. A few policy changes have taken place along with some changes in responsibility and now I’m going to the office five days a week. As I still would like the opportunity to get on the air during lunch, I’ve been researching remote access opportunities and my research has led me to a little device called the PigRemote. The PigRemote was developed by Nick, N3WG who also developed the PigTail which I’ve previously blogged about and demonstrated on Youtube.
When everything arrives, I plan to experiment with accessing my KX3 via the PigRemote from my office location. Based on everything I’ve learned, I should be able to access and control my KX3 via my iPad, Android smart phone or laptop and make a few lunch time QSO’s when time permits. Of course, I’ll thoroughly document my experience and share with you all here via this blog and of course my amateur radio podcast.
Of course, the addition of the KX3 amp will also provide greater flexibility for how I use the KX3 for portable operations. While I don’t plan to lug it up a mountain top, I do enjoy operating picnic table portable from time to time and the amp should provide me many additional hours of fun. While the FT-897 is a fine rig, for SSB operations I believe the KX3 out performs the older 897 and with the 100w amp, it will become my new picnic table portable rig.
Finally, arriving a little later than the items I’ve previously discussed. I’ve also ordered one of the custom KX3 heat sinks. When operating the KX3 even at just 5w, I’ve experienced the overheat warnings when running PSK-31. From what I’ve read, users who have installed the custom heat sink report cool operation up to 10w. I’ll let you know of my experience once the heat sink arrives and I’ve had a chance to test it.
More later when all the items have arrived and I have time to experiment. Thanks for reading.
My quest for a QSO a Day in 2014 is going well. The first quarter is complete and by far March was my best month in the shack. I also continued my streak of adding at least one new DX entity to my logbook each month with March receiving two. During the CQ WPX contest I managed to add Ceuta & Melilla and Balearic Is. I’ll be honest…I had to look both of these up on the map. But that’s the fun of amateur radio.
I’ve started April off on the right foot with getting W1AW/1 (Vermont) and W1AW/0 (Iowa) in the logbook. I must also admit that I’m slightly behind on the ARRL Centennial QSO Party. I’m currently sitting at four worked including Texas, Georgia, Iowa and Vermont. Just 46 more to go…..
If you own a smartphone and/or tablet device and use any of the amateur radio related apps designed for these devices, I would like to hear from you. I’m conducting research for an upcoming episode of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast (PARP) and would like to know what apps you are using, how you use them and how they work for you.
Please contact me via the email address listed on my QRZ page. Thank you!
Over the weekend I recorded and released episode 67 of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. In episode 67 I discussed using D-STAR along with the DV Access Point and the Digital Ham Access Point (DHAP) from Hardened Power Systems. All of course powered by the wonderful little Raspberry Pi.