Monday, September 26, 2011

Holy High Bands Bat Man!

Woah, almost forgot to make my entry for this week!

With all the increased solar activity, it has been another fair week for QRP ops world round.  This weekend's flux was nearly 200, resulting in a number of DX QSOs on 10 and 12m.  I don't think I've had more than 5 contacts on 12m in the 8 years I've been licensed so that was a nice change of pace.  Throughout all this activity this week, I've come to the conclusion that my OCF Doublet that I use as my main antenna is pretty worthless on its off-bands (the antenna is "resonant" on 40/20/10).  Looks like I may need to begin looking at improving my situation for those bands soon as well, though my main focus in the coming months will be low bands in preparation for the winter months here in the northern hemisphere.

My parents came to visit on Sunday to give me my birthday present (it's Tuesday, I'll be 25!) so my wife and I spent the morning cleaning the house a bit.  While we were at it, I decided to reorganize the shack a bit as well.  I have a very large desk that I use but I always seem to need more room!  I think part of the "problem" is that it is a dual use area - building and operating - while many other hams have a separate bench for building.  I think the current setup will be work well for now until I can find another bench for the soldering station. 

From left to right: HW-16, K2/10 with an Icom HM7 mic, the white cables are my digital interface, Heathkit VF-1 (not attached to anything yet), Macbook, American Morse KK-1, EF Johnson/Speed -X Bug, Begali Simplex Basic, Czech military key, Hakko FX-888 soldering station.  The desk is an IKEA Jerker table which they don't make anymore unfortunately.  It has survived several moves and I've had it since 2006.

I like the setup but I think I could use some more ergonomics.  It's difficult to tune the K2 so close to the table but my little wooden stand doesn't give me room to put the bail up.  I also have to pull the keys up to the edge of the desk to use them then push them back when I'm done operating.  I have some ideas for a  more flexible shelving system so maybe I will have something more fitting once we move to the new house.