Saturday, May 31, 2014


It was an exciting morning in the Jones household!  This morning my 16 year old son, Nick, passed his Technician test!  He is pumped!  

We came home and immediately ordered him a Baofeng UV5A and a better antenna. It will be here Monday and he should be able to transmit on it Tuesday evening if things move along. 

I also passed my Extra so now I can enjoy a bit more bandwidth. 

I just got done working WA5RES, Larry, just one state away in Oklahoma. We had a nice 30 minute rag chew on 40 meters. 

That's the new for today!  So much fun!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Say a Prayer....Testing Tomorrow!

My Son Nick
Big news!  Tomorrow I will be testing for my Extra ticket.....but the bigger news is that my 16 year old son - Nick - will be testing for his Technician!

He has been studying for about 6 weeks off and on - you know how teens are.  We have spent time talking about things that he needed to actually see - instead of just read from a question/answer pool or a book.

Anyway, I am more nervous for him, than I am for myself.  He basically got me motivated to study as well for my Extra, but I want him to pass more than I want to pass!

So say a quick prayer for Nick, that he would remain calm and PASS!

In other news....I worked W1AW/7 WY last night on 40 meters with 5 watts.  He was operating split, so I dug out the KX3 manual to figure out how the dual watch/split operation worked.  It took me about 45 minutes of playing, but one I figured out that I just heard the guy he worked, I snagged him!  That was the only contact last night on 40 - and once again it was about 12:30 am local (0530 UTC).

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Antenna in the ATTIC!

66' Dipole ready for the attic!
Over the 3 day weekend I finally squeezed in some time to get my 66 foot ladder fed dipole up in the attic.  One leg of the antenna is basically straight, but the other leg had to do a bit of zig-zagging through the trusses - it gets a bit crazy up there!

The ladder line drops down into my garage and then down to the basement where my shack is located.

Last night I built the BL2 1:1 or 4:1 balun from Elecraft.  The ladder line terminates at the balun and a 3' piece of coax goes from the balun to my KX3.

Wrapped this all up last night about midnight - and then started doing some testing.  The internal tuner on the KX3 tunes ALL bands 40-10 meters almost down to 1:1 SWR.  Very nice.

I tuned around 40 meters and only heard a couple stations that time of night.  The noise level last night was between S4 and S5 - not sure if this is the normal noise level or not, but I suspect it is.

I did a bit of testing using the RBN - I called CQ on 40 meters for a few minutes and ended up with spots North, South and East of Kansas - good sign.  Then I switched antennas back to my 9:1 UNUN 30' wire in the attic and did the same thing - so reports.  So good news is that my performance on 40 meters is GREATLY improved.  The reports on my 66' Dipole were from 10-18 DB SNR on the RBN - all with 5 watts out of the KX3.

At 1:00 am local time I heard  K0GPA calling CQ - he was 559 here.  So I threw out my call and he came back to me with a 559 as well.  Turns out he was running a KX3 also - he was at 10 watts, and I was at 5 watts.  The QSB got him a bit, but I think he was using some type of loop - just missed what type.  It was a nice QSO with Bob - and it proved I was getting out!

So now I am looking forward to putting it through the paces a bit more and see just how much my reception will improve with more wire in the air!  I hope to at least have time to look at the waterfall tonight on 20 meters PSK31 to see what it looks like compared to my old antenna.

I will keep you posted!