Last Tuesday I connected the laptop, the CAT interface and my Winkey (Stone Age Vintage 2001) to the K3 with my spare linear lab power supply. I didn’t want to remove one of both switched mode PSU from the rack under the shack’s desk. I had to reinstall the Prolific drivers as Windows reset them to the newer versions without checking with me first. In true Microsoft Windows tradition…
CAT worked right away after this driver downgrade. But it took me a while to figure out why Winkey wasn’t keying the rig. I forgot to switch to VOX from PTT keying on the rig. I was too lazy to get the dummy load so I had reduced the RF output power to zero watts. Once I figured the VOX thing out and keyed the rig, it shut itself down when I touched the paddles. Oh no. Now what?
Try again – same issue. This could mean two things. Either there is something terribly wrong under the hood of one of my K3 rigs or my spare PSU folds back under load. It has worked before: two years ago I made +200 contacts with 100W output using this old power supply. I had no option than to dive under the desk and dig up an SMPS. I tried keying the rig and it worked even at 100 W power out. It goes without saying that I went outside to the garage to get the dummy load after all. I would never key a 100W exciter into an open circuit.
In the evening I got out the generator. It hasn’t turned in two years except for a ‘does this thing still start?’ test last year. It got a new air filter and the oil got changed two years ago too. I decided to suck the gas tank dry. No worries, I have a tool for that. I use it to empty the lawnmower’s oil carter. That gas has been in there for two years so I decided to remove it and pour some fresh gasoline in it. Better safe than sorry. It took me a few pulls on the starter cord and off she went. I measured the unloaded voltage which was 230 V give and take a few. I let it run unloaded (and unleaded ☺) for about half an hour and decided it will work just fine. Fingers crossed!