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Small, Cheap 12v Li-ion Battery for QRP Radios

The 3000mAh TalentCell lithium-ion battery provides a 12v DC jack that can be used to power QRP radios in the field (or shack). It comes with a charger and a cable that can be used by most QRP radios. AND IT’S ONLY $25!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M7Z9Z1N/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_xeo1Cb6JSMC0Y

Note: There is a general lack of truth about the true voltage of these three-cell battery packs. And the performance varies, based on the quality of the Li-ion cells used to build the pack. The Li-ion internal battery I purchased from Elecraft for my KX2 has 3 Li-ion cells, just like the battery shown in the video. It has a TENERGY-brand sticker and the label says, “Li-ion 10.8V 2600mAh”. These batteries all have an initial voltage that is close to 12v but they quickly (minutes) settle down to 11v. These cells are typically the Li-ion 18650 cells that are 3.7v each. So, it’s a stretch to market them as a three-cell 12v battery pack! But, it’s still good enough for my trail-friendly QRP radios. The 8AA NMH battery pack I’ve been using for my MTR-5B has lower voltage than this $25 Li-ion battery, was a PITA to charge, and weighs 60%+ more. So, this Li-ion battery pack isn’t perfect but I still think it’s a good solution for anyone who wants to power a trail-friendly QRP rig. – Cliff

Radio Giveaway! (10k YouTube Subscriber Celebration)

UPDATE – The winner is Harry Kidder – N8PSI.  Many thanks to the 602 people who participated in the drawing. And even more thanks for your feedback in telling me the types/topics of videos you’d like to see me make in the future!

Yesterday, my YouTube channel crossed the 10,000 subscriber boundary. To say thanks, I’m giving away one of my personal QRP radios… my Youkits HB-!B. The random drawing will be held on Friday, May 10th, 2019 @ Noon central time. [The original post contained a link here to a Google Form to enter the drawing.]

NOTE: Please forgive the left-channel-only audio on this one! I recorded my lav mic directly to the DSLR camera (I normally use an external recorder) and I forgot to tell my video editing software to render the audio as Monophonic.

How to Pick Up Chicks with Ham Radio

In this tongue-in-cheek video, I talk about how I’m swarmed with women when I work portable in a park.

The idea came about when a local realtor left a bag of marketing materials on my front doorknob.  The bag also contained a package of “Peeps”… those yellow marshmallow chickens that people buy at Easter.  I thought, “These are the only chicks that a ham could pick up.”

I probably took it too far.  If you can’t stand my stand-up comedy, skip to the last 30 seconds to see how to pick up chicks with ham radio.

Why You Should Join the SKCC

In this video, I tell you why you should join the Straight Key Century Club. It’s a great place to have contacts with other Morse Code people who aren’t speed demons! This is a great group of guys who like to use Straight Keys and the speed is usually somewhere between 12 to 17 wpm. So, for anyone who’s just learned Morse Code, this is a great place to get your feet wet! Join the SKCC at http://www.skccgroup.com

The video also includes Bonus Footage that shows my office and gear used to shoot this video.

SSB QRP during the CQ WW WPX Contest

This weekend I worked some SSB QRP on the hill at Bobcat Ridge. I don’t do a lot of voice-mode QRP since it’s less efficient than CW or one of the Digital modes. Still, I did make several 2,000 mile contacts while running only 5 watts from my Elecraft KX2. The antenna was a SOTABEAMS dipole. All contacts were made on the 20m band.

What you DON’T see in this video are the many, many times I answered someone’s CQ only to have them not hear me at all. This is just how it is when working QRP voice-mode – especially in a contest when the station calling CQ has other stations overlapping their calling frequency. The QRM from other operators makes it harder to pick out a weak signal.

SOTA Fail on Pike’s Peak

My son (Chris W4CBB) and I took our motorcycles to New Mexico and Colorado. It was an epic, father/son motorcycle adventure!

I took my KX2 with me in order to attempt a SOTA activation on Pikes Peak. Unfortunately, we had to abort due to weather. But, it’s just as well because my brain wasn’t working right in the thin atmosphere. I was sloppy and couldn’t think clearly. I’ve never been at that altitude before! Very interesting.

I worked Gary (W0MNA) but other signals were weak. The weak signals, coupled with my weak brain, and the sketchy weather made for a failed outing. We packed it up after Chris saw a lightning bolt.

What a fantastic vacation we had! I wish I had a better video for you but maybe this will be helpful to someone who anticipates activating Pikes Peak someday.

 

QCX 3D Printed Case – by W4MHZ

After I built my 40m QCX transceiver, I needed a case.  I stumbled across a 3D printed case made by Mike Erskine (W4MHZ).  I wrote to Mike, asking him how to purchase one of his cases.  To my surprise, he sent me one for free, thanking me for my videos in the process!

Here’s a photo of my QCX in the W4MHZ case.  I used my sidecutters to make a couple of little nibbles in the plastic to make mine fit perfectly.

I’m very happy with it!

Mike is only charging $20 plus $5 shipping.  This is a good price.  If I had taken the time to design and 3D print my own case, I would have spent a lot of time and used up a lot of filament.  $25 is a bargain.

To get yours, contact Mike via email at:  3r5k1n3@gmail.com

Biking and Playing Radio (NEQP 2018)

On Sunday, May 6th, 2018 I rode my bicycle to a construction site with a good location for working portable. I set up my SOTABEAMS dipole and used my YouKits HB1B Mk III to make some contacts. The New England QSO Party event was being held that weekend and I worked 6 stations in a fairly short time.

It seemed like the sidetone of my HB1B devolved into lots of clicks and very little tone after a while. Not sure why but it was annoying. A great day for ham radio!