If you operate your Elecraft KX3 in a portable environment (and perhaps even if you don’t) there are a few must-have add-ons which really help protect your KX3. You are probably already aware of the popular KX3 KX Endplates and KX Cover available from Scott, AK6Q and his Gems Products website. I received both as a Christmas present from my darling wife and love what they do for my KX3.
In addition to operating SSB phone via my KX3 on SOTA activations, I also enjoy grabbing my Buddipole a battery and heading outdoors for some picnic table portable operations in a park or really just about anywhere. In this setting I typically bring along my laptop and operate PSK-31 or JT-65. However, one thing I’ve noticed (and have been concerned about) is how the KX3 has the potential to heat up when running these digital modes (even at 5w or less). This is especially evident in the warmer months of the year.
A few weeks ago I was browsing the KX3 Facebook page and learned about an add-on heat sink designed, built and sold by a fellow ham in Canada. This OM’s name is Fred Meier, VE7fmn. I contacted Fred via email and he quickly provided a detailed response on how he designed his KX3 heat sink and provided cost and availability information. While I did find one other heat sink being marketed for the KX3, I believe Fred’s version is more effective at dissipating the heat from the KX3 and it looks great while doing it.
Here’s what Fred’s KX3 heat sink looks like installed on my KX3.
Fred’s KX3 heat sink is well built and designed to be durable. The fins on the heat sink are not going to bend or break off and only adds an additional 8 ounces of weight to the KX3.
I’ve conducted a few tests while in the shack and had the KX3 running PSK-31 and JT-65 at 10w and never received the overheat warning. I couldn’t run above 5 watts inside or outside the shack without the heat sink installed. I’ve yet to test the KX3 with heat sink installed outside in a portable setting, but I’m confident I will not have any issues. If you would care to read another review of VE7fmn’s heat sink, please go here.
As I’ve stated, I love operating portable with my KX3 and I’m Happy, Happy, Happy to have this wonderful add-on to help keep my KX3 Cool, Cool, Cool.
Another month is in the books and the QSO a day goal for 2014 continues. April was successful in many different ways. First, it moves me one month closer to ending the year with a QSO each and every day. I also added two new DX entities to my DX list (Crete and Saint Kitts & Nevis) and I managed to get one state closer to WAS on a few different categories. Finally, I beat my monthly total QSO record of 393 (set in November 2013) with a grand total of 599 total QSO’s.
The surge in QSO’s for April is primarily due to my wanting to be better prepared in working contest pileup situations when it’s my turn to operate W1AW/Ø later in May. I’ve been getting on the air and operating the ARRL Centennial QSO Party as much as possible and as much as band conditions have allowed. It’s been fun. I’d love to work you and give you my 5 points as a VE.
I’ve also been successful at chasing (and catching) all the W1AW portable stations. I will need to make sure I catch a few states on their second time around later in the year. But my goal is to work them all.
Over the weekend I released the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast (PARP) episode 68. In this episode I discuss the ARRL Centennial On-Air Events currently taking place up and down the bands. This includes both the W1AW Portable stations as well as the Centennial Points Challenge QSO Party.
I posted my planned intentions of operating W1AW/Ø from Colorado last week. Unfortunately I’ve had to make a slight change to my on-air schedule to accommodate a scheduling conflict which will allow me to speak to a local amateur radio club about SOTA or Summits on the Air.
As it stands today, I will operate W1AW/Ø on the following dates/times/bands/modes:
23 May 0000z – 0300z – 20m – phone
25 May 1500z – 1800z – 20m – phone
I may sign up for additional time slots if needed. I’ll post an update the week before Colorado will be on the air. In the mean time, I’m getting on the air as much as possible and working as many stations as I can for the ARRL Centennial QSO Party. I hope to work you either during my time operating W1AW/Ø or as KDØBIK. Either way, ain’t this hobby great?
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.