May 1, 2017

ICOM IC-7610
ICOM IC–7610

The much talked about ICOM IC–7610 HF/50MHZ transceiver with direct sampling SDR receiver didn’t make an appearance at Visalia last month. Though it debuted at the Tokyo Ham Fair in August 2016, it’s still unavailable in the US. Maybe at Hamvention - maybe not. All the usual suspects will let you pre-order it, but patience seems the primary requirement.

SPE Expert Amplifiers - extending Dayton pricing right now…

Check out this large cache of photos from the Visalia DX Convention courtesy of Robert Wilson, N6TV. Here are a few more photos with commentary about the event from Paul Ewing, N6PSE.

According to the ARRL, the inagural AM Rally was a succcess. 72 logs were submitted and nearly 1,500 contacts were reported. The purpose of the event, which took place over the first weekend in April, was to encourage the use of Amplitude Modulation on the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, and 6 meter amateur radio Bands, and to highlight various types of AM equipment in use today.

WSPRlite Propagation and Antenna Tester - Joel at The RF Connection will have a small number of WSPRlites at Hamvention. He will be in Building 5; 5101/5102/5201/5202. Call him 800–783–2666 to reserve one for pick-up.

John Brier, KG4AKV (Space Comms) demonstrating satellite operation to a small crowd gathered outside the RARSfest (Raleigh NC) in mid-April.

The Northern California DX Foundation got a new President in John Miller, K6MM. Other officers for this term include; Vice President - Glenn Johnson, W0GJ, Secretary - Kip Edwards, W6SZN, and Treasurer - Don Greenbaum, N1DG. The primary purpose of NCDXF is to help fund well-organized DXpeditions to rare, difficult and expensive entities and those funds come from the contributions of supporters in the DX community.

Bill Kennamer, K5FUV has written a thoughtful piece on the recent deletion of Midway and Kure Island from the DXCC list.

The 4SQRP Group has made available another kit from David Cripe, NM0S. The Cricket is a low cost entry level minimalist CW transceiver for the 80 meter band. A good project for a new builder, or seasoned veterans wishing to just have fun with a new rig at minimal expense and effort. Note that Novices and Technicians have 80M CW privileges from 3.525 to 3.600, same as everyone else - so they also can build and use the Cricket.

CQ is currently offering the book, DITS and DAHS, a guide for those interested in learning or improving CW operating techniques by Ed Tobias, KR3E.

NEW - M0TGN Morse Tutor - functions such as letters, numbers, mixed letters and numbers. Plug a key in and use it as a Morse Code Oscillator training unit, as well as headphones. (Caught a rumor that Kanga UK might have a handful of these at Hamvention).

Some think the Internet of Things is a crazy notion - Why You Should Buy the Dumbest Appliances You Can Find - and maybe it is.

Ten Clicks


Welcome to the month of May. Flowers are blooming and things are quickly turning green and lush. If the longer days and warmer weather is making you itch to spend more time outside, perhaps you should consider RaDAR - Rapid Amateur Radio Deployment.

Best way to do that is to meet Greg Lane, N4KGL. Take a look at his blog, the RaDAR community page on Google Plus, or even better, listen to this interview from QSO Today Episode 30.

The notion of taking ham radio to the field is certainly nothing new. But like so many of our activities, it’s possible to put a twist on everything we do in an effort to make it a bit more interesting. Making a game out of any routine task has the effect of adding variety — the spice of life!

In the case of rapid deployment of radio, enthusiasts take their gear to the field, make five contacts, then walk a minimum of one kilometer, equipment in tow, where they can attempt five more contacts. I suppose this continues until exhausted or for a predetermined period of time and then results are compiled and compared with others online.

It sounds simple enough but the practice surely drives out inefficiencies in portable design. Given that the operator has to manually lug radio, batteries and antenna to each new location, there’s must be a heightened emphasis on ultra lightweight and clever design. I’m guessing that consideration is also given to minimal creature comforts, like carrying along a chair and perhaps even something to improvise into an operating “desk”.

Transceiver, antenna tuner, ear-buds, batteries, Morse key, feed line, and an antenna seem like the minimum criteria, along with logbook, writing utensil, and some method to determine GPS coordinates. Elecraft’s KX3 with built-in antenna tuner, batteries, and CW paddles seems to be a popular choice, though many operators are using even smaller trail-friendly gear.

Resonant antennas eliminates the need for an antenna tuner.

Continuous improvement and clever creativity seem to be key elements of success for this particular facet of amateur radio.

If the challenges seem endless, consider the rewards. The operator can choose where to operate from and it’s safe to assume that would be removed from man-made noise. Hanging out in the woods, on the beach, at a local park — these all seem like better places to spend you spare time than inside a radio “shack”.

Having the sun on your shoulders and your toes in the sand while working some distant station is the ultimate dream of every intrepid radio amateur, isn’t it?

I think it safe to say that most of us could benefit greatly from getting OUT OF THE CHAIR and moving. How clever that this practice provides a method to combine ham radio with taking long walks in the great outdoors.

Make it a great week!

73, Jeff KE9V