ARS WA7CS
QTH Spokane County, WA

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Amateur Radio Station WA7CS is operated by Carl Strode
Federal Communications Commission Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator
.


WA7CS Ham Shack

WA7CS Antenna Modeling Software Page

Here is a collection of GREAT, and easy to use Antenna Modeling Software for all sorts of RF and Antenna type stuff - verticals, cages, dipoles, mobiles, end-fed, feedlines, baluns, system efficiency, propagation, matching, loading, etc. . . . Take a look and help yourself.

First licensed in 1970 as WN7QJY, a Novice class operator. In February of 2001, I finally broke down and applied for a Vanity call. This is partially due to the fact the the suffix of my former call, WA7QJY, included the three longest CW characters in the alphabet.


5BWAS

I've finally collected the 250 QSL cards for the 5-Band Worked All States award.
My thanks and gratitude to the dedicated Hams that helped me to complete the last three QSOs on 80. They all dug in and made it happen during a violent episode of solar unrest with very unsettled conditions.

On the flip side, I'm always ready and willing to schedule a QSO for anyone trying to complete an award. Any HF band, any mode.


Icom IC-735
I operate 99.9% CW on the HF bands. My primary rig was an Icom IC-735, however, I was bitten by the nostalgia bug recently and became the proud owner of a set of Drake B-Line Twins. I planned on fixing them up and just save them for old times sake. Now they are on the air about every day! (More about the Twins below).

The 735 is just about stock, except for the 500Hz CW filter. Just recently I was able to locate a brand new and un-used EX-243 keyer module, so now all I need to run CW is a bare-nekkid Bencher!

My trusty MFJ 422B keyer is now permanently assigned to the Drake T-4XB.


Elecraft K2/100
A new radio was just added to the shack. The solder is still warm on the Elecraft K2/100. I spent somewhere around 60 hours building this rig. I figure it worked out to 35 hours for the basic K2, 5 hours for the KAF2 Audio filter mod, and 20 hours for the KPA100 amplifier mod.

Hmmm . . . even though that does add up to 60 hours, it would have been a lot harder and took a lot longer if were not for the great design, fantastic instructions, and most importantly, great support. The great support comes from Elecraft staff and the large contingent of Elecraft devotees - ready willing and able to come to the aid of a fumbling builder like me!

The rig was finished just as the ARRL sweepstakes CW contest got underway, so all I can report is that lotsa stations hear me and I can hear them. I'll have to wait a few days before I can manage to scare up a real QSO and a believable signal report!

K2 Update:

Just as I had hoped, and just as others have told me, the K2 is a brilliant piece of work. The receiver is very quiet and very sensitive and very selective and very adjustable. Just before I bought the K2 kit, I was seriously considering an Icom 756Pro2. The receiver on the K2 beats the 756. No kidding.

It is a rare day when I break out the microphone and operate SSB on the other rigs in my shack, so I have been holding off buying a new transceiver because it seemed to me that about 3/4 of all the new transceivers out there were aimed at the phone operator. What I wanted most was a great CW rig.

Now I've got one.

There are more features than I have figured out how to use yet, but everything is up and running including over 100 watts of RF output, and full rig control from the remote RS232 feature that comes with the KPA100 option. This little rig is a real blast. Every CW operator MUST get one.


QRP at WA7CS

Wilderness Radio NC40-A

Click on the Photo above for more info on building the NorCal 40A

I've been operating QRP on 20 and 40 meters lately, and believe me, with QRP the thrill is back! Every time someone answers my CQ I am shocked that my measly 2-watt signal can be heard. Especially since I built the transceiver myself (albeit from a kit). My favorite QRP rig is a Wilderness Radio NorCal 40-A. This is a really big radio in a little box.
I put this together in a couple of evenings, I even wound the toroids, (more than once! Be sure to read the instructions and use the right sized wire!). The coolest feature of this hot little radio is the built-in memory keyer. What's so cool about a memory keyer these days? This keyer reports the operating frequency in Morse at any point in the band, and will also alert you when tuning to find a selected frequency! Aside from that, the keyer allows setting of QSK, Iambic mode, key-down function, and a bunch of other stuff. Neat-O to say the least. I highly recommend this QRP kit. Get in touch with my friend QRP Bob at Wilderness Radio NorCal 40A and have him kit one up for you!

Small Wonder Labs DSW-2

Click on the photo above to visit the SWL DSW-2 page

As you can see, the SWL DSW-2 is a very small rig. This mono-band 20-meter dynamo is a PIC microcontroler based transceiver. With 4 watts of RF output, built-in keyer, RIT, CW frequency readout, and variable tuning rates. It even has 15.000 MHz WWV preset in non-volatile memory for time and propagation checks.

The kit goes together so easily that you can pluck it from your mailbox after work on Friday and be on the air for the weekend. Test and alignment requires nothing you don't already have in the shack. The instructions are good and the rig went together without a hitch.

There was a DSW-2 QSO in my log before the soldering iron was cool. The receiver is hot, and the keyeing is perfect. Each contact I've made has been astonished that I'm running less than a full QRP gallon.

Check out the SWL website and say hello to Dave for me.

Warning!
If you are over 40 years old, be sure to get an illuminated magnifyer, reading glasses, eye drops, and a bottle of your favorite pain killer before building the Elecraft, SWL, or Wilderness Radio QRP kits.


WA7CS/P
("P" is for Portable)

SGC SG-2020 ADSP

The SGC 2020 is extremely portable, has plenty of features, and the best part is it will run QRO QRP at 20 watts output. I have read many reviews of this radio, and lots of them complained of many shortcomings. However, I think that most of these bugs have been worked out since the radio was released in 1998. I must admit that the receiver is sensitive to overloading from nearby strong signals, but it can be dealt with quite well by adjustment of RF and AF gain along with the excellent audio filters. Kicking in the DSP really wipes out noise and QRM. In the first three days of use I worked stations in Brazil, Russia, and even the Baker Island DX-pedition station. On battery power and 5-watts, I've been getting excellent reports from other Hams, including several QRP battery portable stations.


The RF Connection

My main antenna these days is a 130 foot doublet fed with window line and a Johnson Kilowatt Matchbox. The antenna is strung between a couple of pine trees at a height of 30 or 40 feet. I do have a Huster 4BTV on the roof of the shack which I use just cuz. The doublet is quieter and is my go-to antenna 99% of the time.

As you probably know, Hy-Gain was bought out by MFJ. What good could come of this? Well, for one thing, they put the 18-HT Hy-Tower back into production. I put my order in early, and received one of the first ten from the new production line.

The RF connection to my shack was via a Hy-Gain 18-HT "Hy-Tower" vertical antenna. This antenna allowed me to operate on all amateur HF bands. (Note that it says WAS and ALLOWED, Alas, I took this antenna apart when my QTH moved to Badger Lake. Hopefully it will be re-erected soon).
The installation includes a base loading coil for 80-M CW and 160. I thought about making my own coil, but since I splurged and bought a brand new Hy-Tower, it seemed only fitting that I use brand new parts. I'm working on a modification to enable remote contol operation via a motorized monster rotary inductor.

Take a peek at my Hy-Tower Installation page. There are some construction techniques and tips I discovered while putting the antenna up. I wish someone would have told me this stuff instead of learning the hard way!



Heath SB-1000 Amplifier
Until very recently, I didn't use the amplifier except on rare occasions.

You see, the SB-1000 power supply is wired up for 240Vac. Not many spare bedrooms have a 240-volt outlet, so I used a #10 AWG extension cord routed down the hallway and into the laundry room where it plugs into the dryer socket. In order to preserve the domestic tranquility, and to assure a steady supply of both RF and dry clothes, I recently ventured below to install a dedicated 240V line to the ham shack.

How luxurious! 1000 watts of RF and dry clothes!



Kenwood TM-241 and Kantronics Kam

VHF Packet Radio is also practiced at ARS WA7CS. The Station includes a Kenwood TM-241 2-meter transceiver, coupled with a Kantronics KAM running version 6.1 Software. The terminal software is paKet version 6.2. Another highly recommended piece of work. Get your copy of paKet version 6.2 right away and give it a try. It is non-crippled shareware made just for the VHF packeteer in mind.


Shirt-Pocket Packet

Portable VHF packet is performed using a Kantronics KPC-3 connected to a Realistic HTX-202 handie-talkie. Extreme compactness is achieved by using a Hewlett-Packard 95LX running it's built-in terminal program!

If you have an HP-95LX,and want to try Shirt-Pocket Packet you will need two things:

The serial cable is available fairly readily. I had a much harder time tracking down an official HP Connectivity Kit. To make matters worse, many computers less than 10 years old won't even unpack the files! Out of 5 computers here at home, only one (an old Compaq 150MHz laptop) would do the job.
73,
Carl

September 2001 November 2003

February 2011

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