I removed the IC-7610 from the operating desk recently to prepare it for shipment to Michigan for a display replacement. In it’s place I have setup the IC-705 with the AH-705 auto-tuner on a more permanent basis so I can continue to play radio. By comparison, the enormity of the “hole” left by the 7610, its two matching speakers, and the ICOM power supply was striking. The entire experience has me questioning the common sense of maintaining such equipment. And it’s not just the desk space required, the double-boxed radio that I will drop off at the UPS office is massive, and the shipping bill alone, impressive. This only serves to reinforce the notion (at least to me) that smaller footprint equipment is just smart ham radio strategy.
This month-long switcheroo of equipment on my desk brings with it additional challenges. The IC-705 was designed to be used laying on a rock outside. Same goes for the Elecraft KX3. The cables all connected on the sides which is a logistical nightmare when trying to use this stuff on the desktop where you would want the transceivers sitting up for easy access to the controls. Right now I have a veritable rats nest of cables running in and out of the 705 and I haven’t even connected the microphone. All things to consider carefully when selecting equipment and building a shack. I’m going to have to quickly come up with some sort of cable management system for the 705 on a desk just to feel better about it. The same would be true of the KX3 if I choose to use it over the coming month.
Yesterday, with the replacement radio cooking along at 10 blistering watts of HF CW, I managed to easily work ten stations, most of them POTA activators in the field. To be honest, I’ve never seen much difference between ten and a hundred watts so long as I’m using a decent antenna. Hardcore QRP enthusiasts will expend many brain cycles trying to convince you that there’s only a negligible difference between received signals at 100 and 5 watts, yet most also will tell you using 10 watts instead of 5 watts is a way too much power kind of sacrilege. Go figure.
Fortunately, I’m not a purist and 10 watts falls into a category I consider to be “low-power” and I’m good enough with that. I’ve often said my long affiliation with the QRP world has nothing to do with power levels. I’d run a kilowatt if it was safe to do so in a package that I can carry in my hand and it would run off a small battery. Since that’s not possible, I fall in with the QRP crowd for the portable equipment, the kits and home brew projects, and for the whiff of self-sufficiency I get when fraternizing with the best of these. Five watts, ten watts, psh. Who cares?
Now, where is my new Elecraft KH1? Ordered it at 2pm on October 20th, six weeks ago. So far, nothing but crickets out of California…