Easier CW

I recently purchased an addition to my portable gear that makes CW much easier. The item is a Ultra Picokeyer kit from HamGadgets.

Ultra Picokeyer - Available Colors
Ultra Picokeyer – Available colors

My favorite portable transceiver is the Yaesu FT-817ND. One of my not-so-favorite things about it is that it has no CW memories. If you’re contesting or working a POTA pileup, it can wear your hand out!

The Ultra Picokeyer solves that problem. It has CW memories, and a continuously variable speed control, in addition to lots of other features. In addition, it’s a pretty simple kit to build … I didn’t time myself, but it couldn’t have been more than an hour or so. It went very fast, and the only tools required were soldering gear and some flush-cutting wire cutters. Easy-peasy!

73 de Dick N4BC

Miscelleney …

The repeater antenna has been repositioned and braced against excessive sway, and all repeater operations are back to normal. If you recall, high winds had blown the antenna into the tower and one of the elements had hung on the tower structure.

Six meters FT4 and FT8 were busy this afternoon. Seems like Cycle 25 is heating up

I picked up a new “Pocket Portable” iambic key from CWMORSE this week. It’s 3D printed and is really nice quality. I’m looking forward to getting out into the field with it soon.

Field day is coming up soon. Our club, in concert with several others, is mounting a combined operation, as we have in past years. Hopefully, it’ll be a great event.

73 de Dick N4BC

Oops …

Not good …

Somehow, out main repeater antenna has flexed a bit too much! From the picture, it looks like the top may have flexed into the tower structure and gotten caught. We’ll be going to the site on Saturday morning to further evaluate the problem. I haven’t seen the actual antenna yet … just this photo that was sent to me. We’ve still got the backup antenna if needed.

73 de Dick N4BC

Spring has Sprung …

The days are longer than the nights, propagation is trending better, the trees and flowers are in bloom, and the temperatures are beginning to feel spring-like … Spring must surely be here!

The first blossoms on my Dogwood tree

It’s time to break out the portable gear and give it a good going over and cleaning. I anticipate being more successful in getting out into nature to operate this year … last year was a TOTAL failure due to the pandemic.

73 de Dick N4BC

New IC-7300 Firmware

Icom has finally released new firmware for the IC-7300 transceiver. Version 1.40 is available here. Lots of nice new features. Make sure you follow the instructions for the upgrade (back up your settings first, put the downloaded .dat fie in the IC-7300 folder on the SD card, etc. The manual has complete instructions on how to upgrade, and you can find innumerable videos on youtube showing how to do it. Youtube is your friend 🙂

73 de Dick N4BC