Doing my homework

Just like SJ2W I have been doing my homework lately. You can take that literally: work on the home. And in the garden. A lot of ‘home work’ the teacher gave me I may say. The kind of work that makes you feel like being run over by a train the day after. And since there are no contests around, I am off the air.

I finished compiling the UBA DX SSB results. I also sent out the UBN results for this one. I had to adjust the program code because my ISP only allows 200 outbound mails every 5 minutes on the SMTP server. “Only 200 / 5 minutes” HI. Last year that threw an exception I didn’t see coming. So now I let the program go to sleep for a short while after every mail went out and just let it run for a while.

There were only two complaints so far, both cases being ‘wrong category’. Hey people, I can’t help it if you don’t read the rules or choose not to follow it. If you put class X in your log my program reads class X. You get a mail telling you we received the log and put you in class X. Then you were invited to check the list of received logs on the UBA website to see if you’re in the right category. If you fail to respond to these two incentives to correct any mistakes, don’t be surprised if things end up differently from what you expect. Bottom line is I need to once again provide extra code to check for stubborn ‘mistakes’.

What else? A  nice certificate in the mail (EUHFC). I just renewed my ARRL membership. Although I must say QST has lost its appeal to me. It still is a very nice magazine and I even like all the ads, but after ten years it seems all topics have been covered once before. You can find everything on the internet these days. Even the ARRL has a digital online edition of QST now.

Talking about ARRL: the ARRL DX CW results are out. Yes I got beaten by ON6CC @OT2A (I prefer the term ‘outgunned‘ HI). But still my log was cleaner 😀

Claimed score on 3830:

OT2A(ON6CC)       2617   242    1,899,942 
OQ5M(ON5ZO)       2386   252    1,803,816

Score after log checking:

OT2A (ON6CC, op)    1832424    2,568     242    -49 QSO
OQ5M (ON5ZO, op)    1783404    2,372     252    -14 QSO

So this contest will yield even less points for WRTC qualification. I have to focus on EUHFC and WAE, it seems that these have the biggest impact on my total WRTC score.

Then last week I had the urge to buy something new. I really am in the market for a medium power auto-tune amplifier for the second rig in SO2R. No tune is a must for me. In fact I should say ‘medium budget’ i.s.o. medium power. I don’t need the full 1500W, I’d settle for a kW. I missed out on two Expert 1k amps earlier this year that fit my desires: kW, no tune, and budget was about 2200 Euro second hand. This amp is too expensive new. The announced ACOM 800S seems nice too. But when is it going to be available? First it was late 2011 / early 2012 but 2012 is already half way. And at what price? And buying a model of the first production batch might be a risk. What if there are design flaws that need to be addressed? So back to my first idea, the Elecraft KPA-500. Only 500W but it beats 100W of the barefoot rig. But it is very expensive for being only 500W. I would have bought this amp right away if it were cheaper but it comes down to about 2200 Euro to have the amp shipped to and imported into the EU and delivered here. Then there also is the issue of shipping costs. UPS costs 300 Euro more than USPS. But does USPS do the customs part? I have had bad experiences with customs and UPS has handled this fine on both my K3’s. Fine meaning that I did not have to deal with those red tape loving bureaucrats of Belgian customs. Would this be worth 300 Euro? The new ACOM solid state amp is announced at 2600 Euro. OTOH for this money there are several tube amps available with more power. I would buy a second OM Power right away, especially the new compact 1500W model they announced. But for SO2R I really want it to follow the rig as that is already hard enough in SO2R. Bottom line on the new amp: patience and keep an eye on the classifieds…

Last but not least: I am very glad to see my good friend ON4CCP = OT1A return to the bands with fully loaded batteries and eager to get on HF again. After a loooong QRX for professional reasons it seems Ken is ready to kick butt again. I guess this will be another serious competitor in Belgium, since we have a similar setup. He also has a good QTH and as a bonus he has more real estate than I have to get loud on the low bands and to install some sensitive ears under the form of RX antennas. This week he told me he had no time because he was busy blogging. At first I thought it was a joke, but is isn’t: Check it out!

2 replies on “Doing my homework”

Hi Franki,
Have you ever considered Yaesu FL-7000 solid state amp??? Yes, it’s quite old and not easy to find one here in EU, but in US you still can find it in very good condition for $1000-1300.
Recently I bought one on local ham market here in SP, and I’m more than happy with it. After proper aligment it gives solid 650-700W out easy.
Interfacing with K3 for auto operation is only a question of proper wiring.

Best regards,
Mirek SP1NY

Mirek, such an amp is not really easy to find here in Belgium. I don’t really want to buy second hand stuff abroad if I can’t check it.

I once used an FL-7000 from a friend who has one but it is very sensitive. It shuts down fast to protect itself especially if you drive it to 700W output. And it doesn’t like getting hot which it does after long runs. This would not be a problem for the S&P rig.

I know there are the N4ATS mods, but he’s far away too to send an amp and get it back…

Maybe I should just get a cheap manual tuned amp? I can tune my amps in under 5 seconds but it would be safer and easier if the amp would just follow the rig…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.