Back on the Air

My hiatus from ham radio was longer than usual, in part due to the lost year waiting for the Costa Rica ham radio authority to approve my reciprocal permit vis-a-vis their new-ish regulations. Seriously, that was a nightmare and in the end they got the call sign wrong in my permit and now don't pick up the phone, hihi.

ARRL was very sympathetic and congratulatory that I'd gotten any response from them at all. They would have been happy to renew my LoTW authorization without having tried for the permit it turns out because they know how bad the situation wrt licensing is here. Sigh ...

The 10W K2 in operation at the "shack" in the house

I'm happy to say that I've restored both my stations, the one at the house upstairs and the one in the bodega (shop). Both are equipped with Elecraft K2s, the one in the shop is full power, the one here in the house 10W. The 10W K2 came about because my trusty Ten Tec 516 Argo V's RF output suddenly went from 20W to 0. Perhaps an ESD or power surge from lightning while it sat on the shelf patiently?

The new K2 came with a 60M module, which I doubt I'll use, which results in a couple extra transverter RCA jacks on the back. There is also an "extra" 1/8" phone jack just up and to the left (looking from the back) of the CW key jack. I and the previous owner have no idea what that is for. I found a picture of another K2 that seems to have that same jack and it is user-labeled "DATA" but how would it be used any differently than the normal ext. speaker jack I use for listening to digimodes?

I also restored my quad rotor. I'd rebuilt it a year or so ago but had a fault in the control line and none was to be had locally. So, I waited until our trip to Oregon for the solar eclipse in August (which went perfectly by the way) to grab 60 feet of 6/18 cable there. Now all is in working order again.

So, I used WSPR quite a bit to test things out and just because I love the "how low can I go" challenge of that accompanied by the great world path map from Then (just to show how out of my hobby I was), I saw this mode called FT8. Seems to me, from an operator's view, that it's just a fast JT65, which I grew bored with pretty quickly. I got set up on it anyway and just as I thought, the same old song but faster. Seems way too robotic to me, no chance for a "real" QSO, so put that aside.

Lately, I'm operating either Contestia 8/250 or some flavor of Olivia. I find Contestia the better of the two in my humble opinion. It is about 1 dB less sensitive than comparable Olivia flavors but the speed is enough to keep me awake whereas most Olivia QSOs barely keep my lids open. Fortunately, there seem to be significantly more opportunites for chats with these "exotic" modes since I last used them, so it's not hard to get a QSO. Also, most contacts like to ragchew a bit as I do. I miss that about CW down here as being DX has the disadvantage that people want to pounce on me and pounce quickly, which is not my style.

So, I look forward to most afternoons these days getting on one or the other rigs after I've done the daily chores (which include a lot of paid writing gigs) and hope to have a QSO with any of my readers soon!

Vy 73, de TI2/NA7U

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Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey