Yaesu FT-950 Headed to California

Unfortunately, I must report the change of power supply did not correct my issues I had experienced with my Yaesu FT-950.  I blogged yesterday about the chain of events  which took place over the weekend and my intentions of trying another power supply in the event my main unit is going defective.  I had prepared myself for the worse case scenario and unfortunately that is what is going to happen. 

I have boxed up my FT-950 in the original box (thankfully I keep these things) and will ship it out today.  In an earlier telephone conversation with the Yaesu amateur service dept. I should expect a 10 day (or less) turnaround.  As for repair costs, Yaesu charges $35.00 just to look at the radio and then $70.00 per hour labor.   I’ll keep you posted.

I would like to just thank those who reached out to me via email and posted comments with suggestions of things to try.  I’m fairly confident I’ve exhausted all options I’m capable of performing (or feel comfortable performing) on the 950 and all results remain the same.  Something is preventing the 950 from operating at full power on 10 – 20 meters and zero power output on 30 – 160 meters. 

Meanwhile, the 2014 QSO a day challenge does continue.  I still have access to other HF rigs and will do my best to limp along working mostly digital modes and a few SSB QSO’s here and there.  Based on the expected turnaround time from Yaesu, my 950 should be back in the shack well before I’m scheduled to operate W1AW/Ø the week of 21 May.

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

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Centennial QSO Party

I truly had a blast this past weekend working 20m SSB contacts and giving away 5 points as a VE during the year long ARRL Centennial QSO Party.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog posting, I will be representing the Centennial State of Colorado when the W1AW/Ø portable operations schedule makes a stop in Colorado.  W1AW/Ø will be on the air from Colorado 21-27 May.  My contest operating is typically limited to Field Day and the Colorado QSO Party, so I wanted to spend some time on the air over the next few weeks brushing up on my “operating a pile-up” skills. 

I spent about 3 hours “on the air” over the Easter weekend and managed to add about 180 SSB contacts to  my log.  If you’ve done any operating the past few days you are well aware that band conditions have been up and down.  I was surprised at the feedback I received regarding my audio quality.  I think fellow hams are surprised to know that I’m running just 100w into a hamstick dipole mounted just above my roofline.  But this is the way for those of us living in HOA-hell.

Of course, I also have some weird issue going on with my Yaesu FT-950.  I promise I didn’t let the magic smoke out, but something is seriously wrong with my SSB workhorse.  You can read more about some of the testing I’ve done here.  As I stated in that blog posting, I do plan to try another power supply.  I’ll be pleasantly surprised if the issue is with my current power supply.  But I’m also prepared to quickly send my 950 to Yaesu California.  I need to get it back in time for when I operate W1AW/Ø.

If I had the privilege to work you over the past weekend, thank you for answering my CQ and I most certainly look forward to working you again soon.

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

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Troubles with the FT-950

Having some issues with my Yaesu FT-950. On Friday I noticed the 950 had a high SWR reading on 40m. Tried tuning and it wouldn’t correct the issue. I went back to 20m and over the weekend worked almost 200 SSB contacts without issue and was receiving solid signal reports on my audio all weekend long. Last night I tried working W1AW/5 on 40m and again couldn’t get the 950 to tune.

I decided to connect the 950 to a dummy load and check it out. I used my LDG AT-600ProII and the analog meter in bypass mode to record the following measurements with the FT-950 in CW mode and sending a continuous carrier.

10m – flat SWR and 50w fwd power
12m – flat SWR and 35w fwd power
15m – flat SWR and 25w fwd power
17m – flat SWR and 15w fwd power
20m – flat SWR and 10w fwd power
30m – flat SWR and 0w fwd power
40m – flat SWR and 0w fwd power
80m – flat SWR and 0w fwd power
160m – flat SWR and 0w fwd power

About 15 minutes later I repeated the tests, which produced different results as noted below:

10m – 35w
12m – 20w
15m – 15w
17m – 10w
20m – 5w
30m – 0
40 – 0
80 – 0
160 – 0

I’m a bit perplexed as to what is going on. I’m going to try another power supply tonight, but I have a feeling the 950 will need to take a trip to California and spend some time in the Yaesu hospital. I’ve also performed a full factory reset, but still getting the same results. Anyone else have any other bright ideas?

If the 950 does need to take a trip to California, I’m hoping Yaesu can turn it around in time to have it back for my stint operating W1AW/Ø.

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

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W1AW/Ø is coming to Colorado

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. 

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

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New Toys headed to the QTH

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.

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

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