The Gringo Ham Awakens from His Slumber

I'm a little embarrassed to reveal to my ham readers that it has been well over three years since I set ham radio aside ... temporarily. I'm also a little amazed at how fast that time went by. Whooosh! No, there was no sudden, severe illness or anything that interfered with my hobby. I simply got busy with other things and as the time went by, the inertia to get back in the game grew steadily.

Well, that changed about 10 days ago, when as a side-effect of a long overdue spring cleaning in my workshop, I decided to revive the station down there, which, despite being a bit dusty, was still in good working order save for the power pot on the K2. The station still looks like this: http://cloud-warmer.blogspot.com/2012/07/going-qro-setup.html 

The only real change there is a different computer and a new, 1/4-wave, window-line fed vertical on the roof. I also took down the 400' loop, which was simply than repairing it, but not an easy task in itself by any means. Even using my truck to pull the wire from the trees, I still managed to strand a 30-foot section of wire.

After many, many hours of cleaning, repairing the 200' doublet and re-installing programs and re-educating myself, that station became operable. I ran out the bugs by working a dozen or so digi-mode stations.


Next up was the upstairs house station, which is now anchored solely by my Ten Tec Argonaut V (516), since I'd sold the second K2 some time ago. At 20W backed by a multi-band vertical setup and a multi-band quad, it makes a great digi-mode radio and a QRP-ish CW rig. I was up and off the roof most of the day today refurbing and re-tuning the verticals, but all is FB now. The crazy look of the photo is due to the LED light strips backlighting the shelves.

You would also notice at both stations that I now run dual monitors, which is something I now realize I should have done ages ago. It is so nice to run a browser full-screen and have plenty of room on the other screen for radio apps. The upstairs station also has a new computer, one I put together from various spare parts into a very old Dell case that probably housed a Pentium II in its heyday.

The only remaining operational issue I have is that my optically-switched GHD paddles have gone on the fritz and are going to need dismantling to figure out the problem. Both circuits are always closed. Meanwhile, I'm going to put a WinKeyer2 keyer from K1EL into service. I have had the thing for ages but never used it.

I'm also preparing for a full-on return to CW by drilling hard with RufzXP and finally learning to touch type numerals. Without the latter, I always had to look at the keyboard, which most of the time made me miss the next letter in a call. After a couple days of drilling with an online typing tutor, that skill is coming on fast.

So, I am glad to be back, looking forward to operating a lot more and pounding brass regularly. Vy 73 es HNY!

4 comments:

  1. Hi Casey, good to hear from you. I wish you HNY and yes, the Argonaut V is an fine transceiver. 73 Paul PC4T

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  2. Hi Paul, nice to hear from you too. I really enjoy the compactness, size-wise and operationally of the Argo V and the dial bandwidth control. It is too bad that Ten-Tec got bought out as there may not be any new products coming out now. The site of the buyer does not inspire confidence, hihi.

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  3. Glad you're back in the hobby. Happy new year to you and yours. 73, Bas

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  4. And a Happy New Year full of good DX to you Bas! 73!!

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Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey

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