Milton Flea Market

Perfect weather for the annual Milton flea market with lots and lots of real bargoons available for the discerning shopper.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For example I picked up a 15 amp Amston power supply for $20 and a Nye straight key on a heavy plastic base for $10.

Best of all I grabbed another NorCal20 (and this one with tons of mods) for half the original asking price. While not quite the giveaway I got on my first NorCal 20 bought at Dayton, this one still comes in at a great price.image

The NorCal 20 was hearing all of Europe yesterday afternoon during the IARU contest and surprisingly was pretty much single signal and not prone to overloading in the midst of pileups. Very impressive for a rig that costs way way less than the Bengali paddles I was using.

Interestingly the two NorCal 20s seem to be about the same in A/B testing on the same antenna so think I’ve got a couple of winners here.

The NorCal 40 on the other haOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnd is an entirely different radio. At just under 2 watts this rig on 40 meters is optimized for low power consumption.

You could take this rig to the cottage or camping and depending on your usage get weeks of action on an 8-amp gel cell battery.  The receiver on the NorCal 40 is exceptional.

So all you guys with your 100 rigs might consider a QRP rig just to keep your CW sending and receiving skills up to par.

Back to Milton: Bob Heil of Heil Sound (In photo above) gave several enlightening talks thanks to sponsorship by RadioWorld. Thanks RadioWorld for sponsoring Bob who BTW is a genius when it comes to audio.

There wasn’t the usual food booth this year which was a disappointment as I look forward to a greasy hamburger around 11am with my free coffee.

Also missing in action was the Radio Amateurs of Canada table. Seems there was some issue with the $20/table the organizers wanted. Next year if nobody else can find the cash I’ll fund the $20 out of my pocket.

Radio Amateurs of Canada is our national association (I wore my RAC golf shirt yesterday.) and despite how we may feel about how it’s being run (Why not email your local RAC director and tell them what you think of the current situation!), we need to support it.

The current situation can’t last forever especially as it seems nobody but nobody is stepping in to volunteer and once we’ve got some new thinking installed we’re going to need all hands on deck to turn the worrisome future for Amateur Radio in Canada around.

Getting cheap over a $20 table isn’t the answer and it’s a pretty small gesture 😦 It also lessened the fun at the Milton event.

QRP Powerhouse

Here’s the new QRP triple threat:image

On top is the 3-watt rock bound on 7030 CRK-10a.

In the middle is my newly acquired 2-watt NorCal 40a.

On the bottom is the 5-watt NorCal 20 at 5-watts.

Stacked in the centre is my Logikit keyer on top and Logikit SCAF-1 filter.

The new Wilderness Radio has amazing ears. Seems to hear signals at the noise floor that my Drake 2B isn’t hearing at all. This needs further exploration.

The NorCal 20 now has been upgraded to include a Tick memory keyer.

The SCAF is a treat on the CRK-10a. The switchable capacitive audio filter has the ability to roll off all frequencies above a certain point. On a direct conversion radio it eliminates a whole lot of interference.

Just worked W1SFR in Vermont on 40 with signals 569 both ways so the NorCal40 is fitting in just fine.

3 Watts Of Joy

Three watts and a dipole make for challenging QRP especially when you’re rock bound on 7030 but I finally did it!

I actually had a whole QSO with Saul running a special event 13 Colonies station WM3PEN from Philadelphia PA where American independence was declared.

How cool is that? And happy Independence Day to our American cousins.

Saul was running an old IC-730 (which was one of my first rigs way back when) and I was running my CRK-10A CW transceiver.CRK10A

Saul, BTW, is a pretty good operator. Due to QRM which I couldn’t move away from due to being crystal controlled signals were okay but QRM was louder. We started the QSO with neither of us getting the other guy’s callsign straight and I missed Saul’s name the first time around. But like I said, Saul seems to be a pretty good op and we pieced our information together.

I’ve been running CW for years in contests and I can copy pretty well but I can’t send with a darn anymore. You see when contesting we use the software logging program to send the reports by pushing a button. I’m real good a button pushing but not so good with a set of paddles. Thus the emphasis on ragchewing with the QRP rig to get my sending back.

Thanks Saul for putting up with my bad fist. It will get better and happy 4th of July OM.