Monday, August 29, 2016

Horseshoe Mountain

While this was not our latest activation it is the last one we took pictures on. Here are a few pictures of a perfect day at over 13,000 feet.

Great Views

The locals

This fellow got close to us

Lynn on the trail

Views from our Shack for the day

KC0YQF

We ran into these guys on the way up and down

K0JQZ and KC0YQF on the summit

Running the CW pileup

Mister Mann waiting for Lynn to get home

While the 14ers are very popular there is a lot to be for the 13ers as you get stunning views without the crowds.


That is all for now.
72
Frank
K0JQZ

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A 14er and the new ARRL Radio Amateur Handbook

Lynn reminded me yesterday that I had not posted in a while so I will make an attempt to get everyone caught up.

As tradition, every year on Lynn's birthday, we rent a cabin at the Cripple Creek KOA (one of the best KOAs we have ever stayed at) and hike Trachyte Knob the next morning. This year was no different save the fact that I took a good tumble transversing the boulder field near the top of the mountain. I am OK but it was a wakeup call.

Here are the pictures:


K0JQZ with he KX2 (photo by KC0YQF)

The KOA


Not sure if there was suppose to be a bucket there

This trail is well marked until the last part

Views



Love this radio

Hike Profile

The GPS got confused in the forest but you get the idea of our route


After that we headed to Gunella Pass and camped in order to hike Mount Bierstadt (14,060 feet) in the morning. The highlight of this trip was seeing three moose in the lake near the TH.

Photo by Clint L

photo by Clint L

Clint L camped with us the night before

views (photo by Clint L)


photo by Clint L

The valley of our approach (photo by Clint L)


Almost there (photo by Clint L)



The sawtooth (photo by Clint L)


CQ form over 14,000 feet (photo by Clint L)


Photo by Clint L
After this summit I got sick then Lynn got sick so we slowed down a bit trying to get better. I think I was sick for a total of three weeks. I hate wasting sick days actually being sick.

We did South Peak yesterday but I did not take any photos and it was a quick one due to storms moving in. It started to rain not long after we got off the mountain so we got lucky.


Also, in case you have not seen the advertisement for the 2017 ARRL Handbook.  Lynn really got a kick out of it.





The cover picture was taken by Steve wG0AT. The summit we are on is Blue Mountain near Lake George Colorado.

Here is the photo
photo by wG0AT


Lynn and I have at least one more 14er planned and one more overnighter. Also I am going to have another giveaway soon and I am just trying to think of a good way to do it.

Frank
K0JQZ

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

and the winner is.......

This was going to be a video of Lynn, KC0YQF, pulling the winning ticket out of a hat but since today is our anniversary, poor planning on my part, we did a drive by drawing.


There were 15 entries and I was surprised as I did not advertise on social media at all. I wanted to see how many people read my blog, more of a sample in time. I was also surprised that not many SOTA types (although there are some) as SOTA is the main focus of my blog. I have been toying with doing some other things with it and after this little experiment I may.


Enough babble, K0TC is the winner.... Ron, I will have your Tenna Dipper in the mail tomorrow. Thank you all for reading my blog. I will have more giveaways in the future.

73
Frank
K0JQZ

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The 'Tenna Dipper GIVEAWAY

What I have here is a KD1JV, Steve Weber kit called the 'Tenna Dipper.

The 'Tenna Dipper or "TD" is designed to allow you to find the 50 ohm resonant frequency of an antenna or to adjust an antenna tuner for best match. A built in frequency counter with Morse audio output is used to determine the frequency at which the TD is tuned to.

I will probably never build this kit so I am offering up to someone who views by blog.

To win here is what you have to do:

Send me an email at f_skinner@yahoo.com OR post a reply to this blog entry with just your callsign. Your callsign must be good in QRZ. If you do not have a callsign then just post your first name and last initial and send me an email with your address.  Only one entry per person.

This will be open until 1 Aug 2016 at midnight at which time Lynn, KC0YQF, will draw a name/callsign out of a hat and that person will win the kit. This is free, no cost for postage.

You DO NOT need to subscribe to my blog or my youtube channel.

This is just a simple promotion in order to get rid of a few kits taking up room in the shack. I have a few others and will do those in a similar manner.






Good luck and 73
Frank
K0JQZ

Saturday, July 16, 2016

"KX2 Review" or "A Better KX3"

I was thinking yesterday, while driving back from our last SOTA outing, that I have used the KX2 on almost 20 SOTA summits. We have used the KX3 on perhaps over 100 and it even went with us on our Honeymoon to Yellow Stone and the Grand Tetons.

I am really liking the new KX2! Lynn, KC0YQF, has a KX3. We purchased the KX3 when Lynn upgraded to General so she would have the means to operate SSB. I should point out that while Lynn enjoys hiking and Amateur radio she was less than enthusiastic to hike with me and sit on a summit as I plugged in earplugs and used a CW only radio (KX1 or Steve Weber MTR). While I was having a blast, it was just no fun for her. I don't blame her.

With a little prodding she upgraded to General and we were off to do some summits on SSB. I cannot say how proud I am of her while listening to her run a pileup. She really enjoys talking to everyone on SSB. At the time my only radio that I could take portable that had SSB was my K2. After one outing with it we got a KX3. The K2 is great but just too bulky and it was taking up most of my backpack. I will add that a feature that I like on the K2 that I wish the KX3 and maybe the KX2 had was the dual antenna connections as this makes it very easy to to A B comparisons.

Lynn loves the KX3 as do I. When it comes to a portable radio that has to serve two main functions; CW and SSB there is no radio that came close, until the KX2.

Wait, you might say, there are plenty of radios that do CW and SSB. Yes, that is a fact however, when it comes to my requirements they all pale in comparison. When running a pileup on CW I need QSK, no noisy relays, I also need to be able to adjust keyer speed with out digging into a menu system. It needs to be light and I do not want to carry a bunch of boxes with me.

When choosing the KX3 my requirements were:

Efficient battery usage
Built in tuner that actually works
Light
Compact
Full break in CW
Easy to adjust CW speed without fiddling through three menus
Easy to adjust power out
Don't need a manual to use
SSB and CW

That is it, simple requirements however, no other radio fits that bill. The KX3 served us well and it will again as a non-backpack portable radio.

Yesterday we used the KX2 on two SOTA summits between three operators. Lynn and I used it on the first one and all three of us used it on the second one. Power consumption at the end of what basically was FIVE SOTA activations (CW and SSB) was at less than an 1 amp. AMAZING!!!!

When choosing a radio I like to choose based on my requirements. I am not much of an impulse buyer. I did look at many other radios when Lynn upgraded but they had to meet her requirements and mine. The KX3 and now the KX2 excels at how we use our portable radios.

Those same requirements:

REQUIREMENT                              KX3               KX2
Efficient battery usage                      YES               BETTER (and more compact)
Built in tuner that actually works     YES               YES
Light                                                 YES               BETTER
Compact                                           YES               BETTER
Full break in CW                             YES               YES
Easy to adjust CW speed                 YES               YES
Easy to adjust power out                  YES              YES
Don't need a manual to use              YES              YES
SSB and CW                                    YES              YES

I have used several antennas with the KX2, random wire up to 58foot long with and without counter poise. Buddipole Versa Tee Vertical, EF with matching unit, Hustler Vertical and Dipole. The tuner in the KX2 was able to tame the antennas that were not resonate with no problem.

The KX2 menu system, as is the KX3 menu system, is easy to figure out without a manual even above 10K feet when the oxygen clouds my thought process. The KX2 cuts my station weight from 5 lbs to 2 lbs without loosing any functionality that I care about. The battery is self contained and last a loooong time. This I really like vice the AA batteries in the KX3 (I usually used an external battery with the KX3, adding more weight and taking up more space.)

If your requirements are similar to mine then you are probably already considering the KX2. Notice price is not one of my requirements. If I buy something cheaper (as are many radios out there) I will eventually end up buying what really meets my requirements at some point down the road.  I think it is cheaper to just buy the radio that meets your needs first. Of course if I was able to see into the future I still would have bought a KX3 and KX2 but the KX3 would be my station radio vice the K3.

As a bonus the KX3 and KX2 allow me to use some digital modes without a computer. I have found this to be a lot of fun although it never was a requirement of mine.

In my opinion, Elecraft has another winner!

Here are a few picks on our latest SOTA outings with the KX2.


KC0YQF runs the pileup on Mt Evans (photo by wG0AT)

A real Mountain Goat checks out our SOTA activation! (Mount Evans)

KX2, right at home on a summit (Mount Evans)

Lynn listens to Steve's pileup (Genesse Mountain)

Lynn working the chasers on Genesse Mountain

z
Our GPS (Goat Positioning System) on Cheyenne Mountain

Mount Rosa as viewed from Cheyenne Mountain
KC0YQF on W0C/SP-113 or Eagle Rock

Steve's turn while Lynn takes a break (Eagle Rock)

Final ascent to Observatory Rock

Lynn runs the pileup on SSB while Steve chases Pokemon (Observatory Rock)

Steve using SSB on Observatory Rock

The KX2 Rocks!
K0JQZ on Observatory Rock using the KX2 with AME Paddles (photo by KC0YQF)

K0JQZ on Observatory Rock (photo by wG0AT)

KC0YQF on Eagle Rock (photo by wG0AT)

K0JQZ on Eagle Rock with KX2 (photo by wG0AT)
Pano shot of KC0YQF and WG0AT on Observatory Rock



72
Frank
K0JQZ