2018 Hamvention Bound!

Headed to the 2018 Hamvention in Xenia, OH today – stopped for the night at a Hampton Inn in Cleveland, TN.  While here, I operated 30-CW mins in the NAQCC May Sprint – and got 6 member Qs in 5 states using 5W to a Hamstick on the car!   This QRP stuff never ceases to amaze me.  My brother John KI4LOF is with me, he grabbed a picture of me operating in the parking lot.  Look for more!

Another Toy in the Toy Box

The QRP-LABS QCX Transceiver

The “QCX” is a 5W, single-band, high performance CW transceiver kit with WSPR beacon, and built-in alignment/test equipment. It is available for 80, 60, 40, 30, 20 or 17m bands.. It has rotary encoder synthesized tuning, VFO A/B/Split, Iambic keyer, CW decoder, and more… $49.00 USD.  See it – buy it at – http://qrp-labs.com/qcx.html


  • Easy to build, single-board design, 10 x 8cm, all controls are board-mounted
  • Professional quality double-sided, through-hole plated, silk-screen printed PCB
  • Choice of single band, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20 or 17m
  • Approximately 3-5W CW output (depending on supply voltage)
  • 7-16V recommended supply voltage
  • Class E power amplifier, transistors run cool… even with no heatsinks
  • 7-element Low Pass Filter ensures regulatory compliance
  • CW envelope shaping to remove key clicks
  • High performance receiver with at least 50dB of unwanted sideband cancellation
  • 200Hz CW filter with no ringing
  • Si5351A Synthesized VFO with rotary encoder tuning
  • 16 x 2 blue backlight LCD screen
  • Iambic keyer or straight key option included in the firmware
  • Simple Digital Signal Processing assisted CW decoder, displayed real-time on-screen
  • On-screen S-meter
  • Full or semi QSK operation using fast solid-state transmit/receive switching
  • Frequency presets, VFO A/B Split operation, RIT, configurable CW Offset
  • Configurable sidetone frequency and volume
  • Connectors: Power, 3.5mm keyer jack, 3.5mm stereo earphone jack, BNC RF output
  • Onboard microswitch can be used as a simple straight Morse key
  • Built-in test signal generator and alignment tools to complete simple set-up adjustments
  • Built-in test equipment: voltmeter, RF power meter, frequency counter, signal generator
  • Beacon mode, supporting automatic CW or WSPR operation
  • GPS interface for reference frequency calibration and time-keeping (for WSPR beacon)

Build time:  3 evenings, about 14 hours.  Here is my unit, Serial # 2481 – puts out just under 3W with 12.5V.  Easy to build, easy to align – worked on first power up without an issue!  Nice receiver, quiet….and lots to play with.  Made the first two QSOs with a straight key (#2 was K3Y/1); then using the keyer/paddle at 30 WPM (#3 was KG9X in the afternoon session of CWOps CW-T) .   A neat little radio. 

And the Inaugural QSO goes to……..W8FHF!!


QRPp – NAQCC Milliwatt Sprint

There are ways to operate contests and sprints that are more efficient than others and lead to better results. In NAQCC sprints we are concerned with helping newcomers to contesting, and we urge slower speed operation. The semi-annual, “mW Sprint” is similar in format to the monthly NAQCC Sprints (see http://naqcc.info/sprint_rules.html ) – except output power is limited to less than 1 Watt of RF Power (hence the term, “milliwatt sprint” – makes us “millimen” and “milliwomen”!!).  These pics are from the Dec 21, 2017 mW Sprint.  I wound up in 1st Place in the W4 land category.


The WB4OMM mW Sprint Station – Elecraft KX-3 Transceiver running .9W to a G5RV at 45 feet; a Vibroplex Deluxe Iambic Paddle and GenLog Logging Program. 


Here’s the radio emitting just .9W of RF Power on the 40M Band!! In this two-our sprint I worked 19 QSOs on 40M and 80M, in 11 states – amazing how so little power an a simple wire antenna can work so well – even under poor radio wave propagation.


More importantly, here are the necessary “factors” for success……Earl Grey Tea and Publix Fruit Slices!!  (and a Snowman Christmas cup!)……Hi hi hi!!  Great Stuff!!

The “fruits of my labor”!!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep!  I got me a Birthday present……. 

Porta Paddle-II Precision Iambic Paddle Kit – American Morse Equipment


Very nice!  Will bring it to my next Portable Op!

  • Updated original design features solid feel and full Adjustability in a miniature size Iambic Paddle – Now A Kit!
  • Amazing feel for it’s size and weight
  • Only 2.5 Ounces, 1 1/2 x 1 7/8 x 1 3/16 Inch
  • Choice of colors, Blue or Gold
  • CNC Machined from Aircraft Grade Aluminum
  • No machining required – easy assembly
  • Durable Mil Spec Anodized Finish
  • Gap and spring force fully adjustable to individual taste
  • Very solid, reliable design – no delicate parts to fall out of adjustment
  • Drilled & tapped in base for mounting – Leg Mount, Desk Base available
  • Designed and manufactured in the United States – Patent Pending

Flight of the Bumblebees – QRP CW Portable in Colorado!

Yes, I have conquered another state!  While visiting my daughter in Greeley, CO this weekend, I was able to sneak off to Greeley West Park at 10AM local time and participate in the 2017 Flight of the Bumblebees.  The Bumblebees (or BBs) are operating in the field with QRP (5W or less) stations.  I was BB # 60.

Using my trusty KX-3 and MP-1 Portable station running 4W (internal rechargeable AA Batteries), I was able to make 7 QSOs including 3 other BBs.  I had contacts in CA, UT, MT, MO, AZ and WI.  Heard but couldn’t work stations in TX, MS, and IL.

I ran until the batteries gave out – just over an hour.  Had a blast!  WX was great – 76 degrees with a light breeze.  Nice park…..I located it on Mapquest a few weeks ago before my trip, and it looked good.  Was actually great!  No one there but me!  About a 1/2 mile from my hotel, located in a quiet residential area.

Sorry about the selfie of me, but no one was around to take my photo…and I just had to show off my yellow and black BB shirt!!  Hi hi hi…….wore it for the occasion!

As always, click on the photos to enlarge them

72/73 to all!

Steve WB4OMM