Friday, April 28, 2023

Wires-X on the N5RCA repeater

I've had an HRI-200 for a few years now, but for most of that time, its sat silent in my GoBox. I mounted it there along with a FTM-400DX to use when I deployed the box. Typically, the box sits on my desk in my home QTH and I use it and the FT-991 (also in the box) as secondary base rigs.

Since the club swapped out our repeater controller for a (newer) DR-1 Fusion machine, I decided I would try to setup the HRI-200 as a remote Gateway. We don't have internet access (or even easy physical access) to the repeater site, so having a remote Gateway is the only way we can do it. 

The whole process was rather easy. I installed the Wires-X software on my PC and connected the radio and HRI-200. Now, anyone with a Wires-X capable rig, can connect to the Wires-X network, choose a room and talk with other distant stations. Try it if you get the chance!

General Instructions (refer to your radio manual for exact instructions):

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Low-power antenna build

I decided to try and miniaturize my EFHW antenna. I typically use this kind of antenna with one of my QCX-minis or my QDX (both from QRP Labs) so it would never see more than about 8 watts maximum. So far, I've always built them with FT140-43 cores which work very well, but are somewhat bulky. A friend said they didn't really look like "QRP" antennas to him, so I thought I'd try something smaller.

To build this mini-version I used use two stacked FT50-43 cores, so yes, they are small. I wound them like some of my others to be 64:1 transformers using 3 turns on the primary and 24 on the secondary. I included a 100pf capacitor as well. Then sealed the whole thing inside some shrink tubing.

I cut a wire for 20m and tested it out and it tuned very well. Next, I'll take it to the field and try it out in

Sunday, April 9, 2023

The QDX + QCX-Mini at K-3036

Easter weekend gave us a little bit of time to hang out with out family, but the weather was not very cooperative. Saturday proved to be the best weather-wise, we we headed out late to the nearest state park, Martin Creek Lake. When we arrived, my wife and the kids began rigging up fishing poles, while I started throwing lines up in the trees.

With the help of my daughter's boyfriend's pitching arm, we managed to get the end of my 20m EFHW about 25 feet up in a pine tree. I wasn't sure if it would be good enough for 5w, but a few minutes on the air proved my worry was misplaced.

I broke out my 20-Meter QCX-mini, hooked everything up and called CW POTA. Instantly, KD3D came back to me. This being my first true CW activation, I stumbled quite a bit over the callsigns. I blame it on a mixture of nerves and a lingering lack of confidence in my CW skills. But as they say, 'experience is the best teacher!' (At least I'm sayin' it.) 

Soon I had stations calling on top of each other! Wow! Within about 15 minutes I had managed to pick out 12 stations and I was pumped! The sun was about to set and I knew I wanted to try my QDX as well, so I packed the QCX-Mini and