Operating at the K5QE Contest Station

Operated at the K5QE contest station last weekend in the ARRL January VHF Contest.  The bands were flat all weekend but had a great time operating and visiting with all the ops.  Below are a few pictures of the station and some of the ops.

Using the Flex 1500 QRP rig tonight

I have not used the Flex 1500 in a couple of years,  I had a friend buy it for me when they were introduced in Dayton in 2010 (I think).
The Flex 1500 is a very fun rig.  The receiver is one of the best out there.  When I last used the Flex a couple of years ago it was connected to a computer running Win XP and had latency problems while running CW.  I got around the latency problem by using an external CW keyer.

I have connected the Flex today to a newer computer running Win7 and the CW latency problem is gone.  I am able to use the internal keyer up to about 25-30 wpm with no issues.  The newer computer is one that I confiscated from work after a hard drive failure.  I had an old 80gb sata drive that I used and re-installed Win7.  The computer has a decent processor and 4gb of memory. I guess that is what the Flex needed.

The “new” computer is now getting 172 windows updates after the Win7 OS install earlier today, so I thought I would take a moment to make this post.  Hope to be on CW at 5 watts with the Flex tonight.  Running into a 115 foot end fed wire with the Emtech ZM2 tuner.

Flex 1500 Front

Flex 1500 Back

Flex 1500 Computer Display

Emtech ZM2 QRP Antenna Tuner


Icom 7000 remote tuning shortwave

Icom 7000 Remote – When I was a teenager I loved listening to an old Zenith M660A shortwave receiver.  The receiver belonged to my older brother and I “inherited” it when he went off to college.   When I was in my early 20’s I started listening to the old Zenith again and actually learned to copy CW using that receiver.  A couple of years later I got my ham radio license in 1985. I still spend time tuning the shortwave bands and enjoy listening very much.

My ham shack is in a building about 60ft behind the house. Below is a video of the Icom 7000 remote tuning the 49m shortwave band.  Using TightVNC and N4PY Icom control software  to control the rig from within the house.  Am using Skype for remote audio.  Antenna is a 115ft end fed wire with a 9:1 unun.

Icom 7000 Remote



JT65 reception on 12 meters

I have left the Icom 7000 on lately and receiving JT65 signals.  The automatic reporting is turned on in WSJT  and the signals that I receive are uploaded to pskreporter.info.

Well today I left the Icom 7000 receiving JT65 on 12 meters for about 10 hours.  I very rarely work 12 meters here so I was not sure of what activity would be on JT65.  The results were more than I would have expected for 12 meters.  I heard 178 different stations.

Rig here Icom 7000 remote-controlled and Antenna is 115 ft end fed wire with 9:1 unun.

JT 65 Psk Reporter 12 meters Jan 4 2015
Pskreporter.info map screenshot for K5MQ – Stations received

JT65 Psk reporter 12 meters jan 4 2015 text log by distance
Pskreporter.info text log sorted by distance

Solar Date Jan 4 2015 JT65
Solar data for January 4 2015


9:1 unun with 26ft end fed wire

First antenna up at the new station is a 26 ft vertical wire supported by a fiberglass telescoping mast and fed with coax via a 9:1 unun.  Works well with the Icom 756 Pro II internal tuner or the Icom 7000 with external LDG IT-100 tuner.  Will tune 40-6 meters.

Seems to work amazingly well for such a simple antenna. Have made QRP < 5 watts cw and digital qso’s with all continents and many stateside contacts, all within a few days of putting it up in early December 2014.  Have since added a second antenna, a 115 ft end fed wire fed with coax via a high power 9:1 unun.  The 115 ft antenna feed point is at about 60 ft supported by a tree and slopes down to the northeast.  The 115 ft end fed wire will operate 160-6 meters with the rig’s internal tuner and it seems to outperform the 26 ft wire on all bands except 30 meters where the shorter vertical antenna is about 1-2 s units better.

Fiberglass Mast 9:1 unun
Here is a pic of the 26 ft end fed wire temporarily attached to a fence.

9:1 unun
Closeup of the 9:1 unun and the bungee cord supports.  I added a short wire to the ground terminal of the unun and attached it to the fence. but it did not seem to make any difference.  Works just as well without the ground wire