Using the Mountain Topper QRP Radio

I got the last Mountain Topper QRP radio of 2015 from LNR Precision (according to Ryan).

I’ve been having a ball with this gem for the past 10 days.  In this video, I tell you about the radio and then show you how to use nearly every feature.  It’s a long video that I made for those who may be interested in this jewel-like little rig… which should be EVERYONE!

Portable with Tim & Doug

I went on a road trip with my friends Tim Kreth (AD4CJ) and Doug Miller (W4DML) last weekend to work portable from a beautiful scenic overlook.  We drove about 70 miles, full of anticipation, only to find that the scenic overlook had been closed due to a hunting event!

We needed to make lemonade out of lemons.

Running out of time, we decided to head toward home and stop along the interstate at the first exit that looked promising.  We found a field that was on an elevated exit of the interstate.  It was getting late in the afternoon and we only had a short time to set up, make some contacts, tear down, and begin the drive back home.

I had planned to shoot some video footage for the blog but I only worked a few stations before having to tear down.  I spent a lot of time trying to scare up some DX on 15m with no success.  I did work Cuba on 15m and a couple of other stations on 20m.  Tim concentrated on working 20m and had a lot of fun contacting stations participating in the Skywarn Appreciation Day event.  Doug used the time to deploy and trim up a homebrew fan dipole that he’d built.

You can see my setup in the photo, below.  You’ll see Tim’s setup in the distance.

Is there any better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than going somewhere with friends to play ham radio?

PortableByTim

Improving Your CW Speed with Morse Runner

A fun and effective way to improve your CW character recognition and gain speed is through the software program called Morse Runner.

Morse Runner is a contest simulator that lets you work a virtual “pile-up” (multiple people calling you at the same time).  You can control the parameters so that your session is as easy or as white-knuckled hectic as you wish.  This program really makes a game out of morse code.  Note: This program assumes that you already know your letters and numbers… it’s not for learning morse code but for helping you to improve your speed.

Download it from the author’s website: http://www.dxatlas.com/morserunner/

The Case for Morse Code

If you’re into QRP, I want to encourage you to consider learning morse code. While you can make plenty of contacts with voice or digital, it’s hard to beat the “cw” (continuous wave) mode for efficiency.

With voice, everything you say is stretched out and occupies about 3 kHz of bandwidth. With morse code, that energy is compressed/condensed into a sliver of the bandwidth, concentrating the energy like a laser pointer!

Portable with the OHR 100A – 1st Contact

In this video, I show you one of my favorite places to work portable on Sunday mornings.  (It’s a business park a couple of miles from my house and nobody’s working there on Sunday mornings.)

I made a few contacts (one shown in the video) before I rode my bike home to watch football.

I finish the video by making an argument for the Elecraft KX1 vs. the OHR 100A. To me, an internal keyer is a necessity in a CW-only QRP radio.  That option pushes the OHR 100A up to $220.  For $80 more, the Elecraft KX1 is a more capable, modern radio with a digital display – and it has upgrade options that aren’t available for the OHR 100A… like two additional bands (4 bands, total) and an internal antenna tuner.