I didn’t take the new TX-500 to the park yesterday, but I did the next best thing. I took it into the backyard. I attached a single conductor wire to my push-up pole and set it up on the patio. 30-feet high then stretched another 30-foot single conductor across the yard. These were connected to my Elecraft T1 auto-tuner that was connected to the new transceiver.
I powered this setup with a 12-volt, 6ah, Lithium Ion Phosphate battery that had been fully charged the night before. Bioenno, of course.
Using the microphone as a loudspeaker along with expensive Italian paddles that would never accompany me to the field, but didn’t seem so out of place on the patio, the work of shaking down the new portable transceiver got underway.
Band conditions must have been at least tolerable, I rarely check the numbers anymore. I started off on 40 meters where the T1 seemed pretty happy, but then, it always does. I called CQ a couple times there with no response. Same thing on 20 meters and I was beginning to think the power setting might be too low to be usable.
I double-checked and it was set at ten watts. I’m a low-power operator not a QRP purist, sue me.
Tuning around it became obvious there was a CW contest underway. Great, a band full of high-powered CW operators, that’s bound to churn up the waters where I was trying to paddle a kayak. I needed some advantage so I checked the POTA spots. If I wasn’t activating a park I might as well see if I could hunt one.
The good news in this pursuit is that there’s almost always park activity if you can find it and the POTA spotting network is top-hole in this regard. In just a few minutes the TX-500 was hauling in it’s first catch and over the next 45 minutes a small handful of others were added to the basket as well.
On 30 meters it was VA2EO in Quebec (VE-1031).
And on 20 meters it was K7CO in Utah (K-6079).
Five CW contacts, all with park activators and me in the backyard playing the role of hunter using just 10 watts and a wire. I thought that wasn’t half bad. And to top it off, I heard a couple of loud phone stations calling CQ in the Maryland QSO party and since the microphone/speaker was right there I worked them too.
Seven contacts, three bands, two modes; all in the span of 45 minutes that didn’t put so much as a dent in the battery charge. I was happy enough that I left the wire in the air overnight as I’d like a little more patio time early Sunday morning on the radio with coffee before the rest of the world wakes up.
It’s early in my evaluation of the new little transceiver and I need a lot more face time with it to understand everything the front panel is trying to tell me. And it wouldn’t hurt to set up a few CW memories and make some other menu adjustments before taking it to a park. It’s early, but I like it…