Calling CQ

Issue 104 | September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day! I thought about skipping the letter this week given the holiday but decided instead to just keep it short.

ICOM showed off the new IC–9700 at the Tokyo Ham Fare. All-band, all-mode with full-duplex capability. 100 watts on HF thru 6 meters, 50 watts on 144/432 and 10 watts with the optional 1.2Ghz module. No official price was announced but much speculation about this being a sub-$3000US transceiver. Probably not available for 6–9 months.

Elecraft announced that the K1 and KX1 transceiver kits have been discontinued due to parts availability problems. Both kits have enjoyed a long life (17 years) but now there are questions about how much longer the K2 transceiver kit will be available since it is of the same vintage and shared many similar parts.

The second release candidate (1.8-RC2) of WSJT-X is now available and it brings several new FT8 features. Early reports indicate improved sensitivity for the mode with a smattering of creature features added. The “RRR” exchange can be replaced by “R73” by double-clicking on the TX4 button and the program now detects whether a station called replies to another caller canceling the TX enable to prevent QRM by calling again on your next TX cycle.

More about that awesome 160M vertical designed for the Bouvet Island operation:

The DX Engineering and Bouvet Island teams have worked together to design an efficient 90-foot top loaded 160-meter vertical antenna that can be installed quickly and safely on Bouvet Island by the 3Y0Z team this January. With a good radial system the difference in gain between a 120 ft (full quarter wavelength) vertical and this custom 90 foot top loaded vertical is less than 0.5dB. The antenna uses a custom designed heavy duty hinged pivot base with base insulators to accommodate a 40-foot falling derrick 3 inch heavy duty pipe for installation.

The vertical is base fed using two inductors to match to 50 ohms. The first 70 feet of the vertical is Universal Aluminum tower (12-inch face) and the top 20 feet is 1.875 inch diameter aluminum tubing. There are guys at 30, 50 and 70 feet. There are also three 30-foot top loading wires attached to the top of the tubing that are tied to anchors 60 feet out from the base.

DXE is donating two of these vertical packages to the 3Y0Z team in case one gets damaged (there are 300 storms per year on Bouvet).

Want to know more? Check this video.

Ten More Clicks


Hurricane Harvey and its impact on Texas was the BIG news this week - but keep a close eye on that other storm brewing in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma. This one could batter the East coast of the US. And if all that wasn’t enough to deal with, there’s one hot mess in North Korea that could quickly turn into something very ugly.

Do you know how to check into your State’s emergency net? Do you know where to tune to monitor the Hurricane Net? Do you know how to handle traffic? Are you prepared to help where needed as a knowledgeable communications expert?

This is, after all, why we still exist. Don’t be the link that breaks the chain. When all else fails you may be called to stand in the gap. This is our high calling…

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Make it a GREAT week!

Those who can, do. Those who can’t usually say “that’s not real radio”