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 on: Today at 01:22:38 AM 
Started by WA2EHV - Last post by W1JKA
 I run all my QRP rigs and old FRG 7700 off rechargeable $38.00 (on sale) Wally World auto jump start batteries with small solar panel, rugged, carry handle and I usually cut off jumper cables and use them for other purposes.

 on: Today at 12:50:04 AM 
Started by OK1RP - Last post by VA7CPC
I tend to divide paddles into two classes:

. . . Those that have "real bearings" -- balls, or trunnion bearings, and

. . . those that use "plain bearings" -- a cylindrical pin, fitted into a hole.

Two paddles in the "real bearing class":

A used Baby Black Widow (I don't think they're made any more -- kit-built, brass, small single balls for bearings), or a used K8RA "P-2jr" (brass, "real" ball bearings -- out of production) would probably be fine for anyone doing QRP work.    They're both light (the K8RA is less than a pound, and the BBW is lighter), and they'd be priced reasonably, if you could find one.

The AME paddles (which are very neat designs, and very rugged) are "plain bearing" paddles.  They might work fine, or they might have perceptible play in the bearings -- I haven't tried them.  There are lots of favorable reviews.

My point (which has been made by others):

. . . You don't _have to_ spend Begali prices, to send good CW.

.      Charles

PS -- I used to troll eBay for paddles.   I set up a saved query, and ran it weekly, until I bought all the paddles I could _ever_ need.  Two Benchers (single-paddle and iambic), and an Autronic.  Nothing cost me over $60.   I suppose that's "conspicuous consumption", but it's on a very small scale.

PPS -- I see that prices have gone up in the past 6 years.   And eBay is a good place to see what happens when somebody says:

. . . "Those commercial paddles are too expensive!  I'm sure I can do better in my basement."

 on: Today at 12:46:50 AM 
Started by WA7IRY - Last post by WA7IRY
Wow, what a response!   Thanks very much, everyone, for all the interesting and very informative ideas on this.  Now I've got plenty of other things to think about before moving ahead with the 6BTV idea.

One thing I didn't think to mention in my initial posting is that I'm not concerned about 80M performance.  I'm sure it's a fun band, but I've got a high local noise level here on 80, about 6 to 7 s-units of white noise coming from somewhere in the neighborhood.  I've tested my own property by shutting down the AC completely and running on batteries and verified that it's coming from outside my lot.  No matter, though -- 40 through 10 provides for plenty of interesting hamming, so I concentrate my efforts there.

Also, regarding "ground clutter" considerations:  I have a half-acre lot in a residential neighborhood of single-story wood-frame houses.  My vertical is in the exact center of the back yard.  There's a six-foot chain link fence around the yard, but the antenna is 100 feet way from it at the nearest point.  The closest metal building is my next-door neighbor's shop building, which is about 13 feet high at the roof peak and covered with aluminum siding and roofing.  It's at least 115 feet away at the closest point.  All other buildings in every direction are wood frame and there's a few tall oak and maple trees.

From reading all the responses, it pretty much sounds like swapping out my 23 foot wire vertical for a 6BTV would work, but wouldn't really gain much on most bands, other than maybe 12 and 10, and possibly 15, and even those improvements would be marginal. 

Maybe I need to think in a completely different direction.  It wouldn't be much effort to string up some additional wire and try out an inverted L configuration.  I could easily extend the fiberglass mast to say, 35 or 40 feet, then go over to a nearby tree about 55 or 60 feet.  The radial system and autotuner that's already there should be able to handle it well.   

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for their input.  I need to think this thing through a lot more before plowing ahead.

Rod  N7ZR  (ex-WA7IRY)

 on: Today at 12:34:54 AM 
Started by VK5CQ - Last post by ONAIR
Some operators are also using 

 on: Today at 12:34:54 AM 
Started by AUSSIE - Last post by PBPP
Real classy there Lane. 
Since you can't defend the quality or performance of this antenna with real world data, you insult and denigrate me instead. 

Thanks for playing.
~ Mitch ~

 on: Today at 12:27:49 AM 
Started by K5TEN - Last post by KJ6ZOL
I almost snagged a Swan Cygnet off Ebay when I first got my General ticket. I bid somewhere around $100. Sure enough, 10 minutes before the end of the auction, two guys pop up out of nowhere and start a bid war. Oh well.  Cry I had somebody give me a Heathkit SB201 with matching speaker and power supply, but it turned out to be too far gone for a noob like me to tackle. The guy who gave it to me moved to Texas six months later, so no help from him. He also gave me a Kenwood TS130, which I used for maybe 12 months before the RF board croaked. I had no clue how to fix it, so it got sold on Ebay to a guy with a nonworking 130. He simply pulled the RF board and speaker from his other rig and put it in the rig I sold him. Right now I use an Icom IC735, a great radio. I would like to try my hand at a Heathkit restoration eventually, old Heathkit transceivers pop up on Craigslist in my area every so often. Occasionally a Swan will pop up. The Swan I bid on had an onboard transformer, unusual for a ham radio.

 on: Today at 12:17:55 AM 
Started by W1IT - Last post by PBPP
Poor W1IT has a painful case of butthurt. 
Doctors believe it extends all the way up the spinal cord to the brain cortex. 
Hey W1IT... still having trouble sitting down??  Keep those diatribes coming my friend.  I always enjoy a daily laff. 

 on: Today at 12:14:26 AM 
Started by N0PQK - Last post by G3RZP
However, unless you want to irradiate the clouds above you, said dipole needs to be at least 450 feet high! Ship antennas were basically top loaded verticals in the shape of an inverted L. The standard transmitter dummy load was 300pF in series with 5 ohms: what made the difference was having sea as a ground plane!

Some older ships in the 1960s had a top of about 100 feet and  vertical of about 60 feet feeding it: it wasn't unknown to get several thousand miles at night on 500kHz with that and 100 watts.

 on: Today at 12:10:26 AM 
Started by KJ6ZOL - Last post by KJ6ZOL
Way to go FCC! On 8/23 it was announced that a rogue CBer who refused to allow an inspection of his gear was fined $14k, an amount the ARRL called "whopping". On 8/30 some doofus in NY state was slapped with a $22k fine for jamming and using an illegal linear.

Link is to the NY case:

The FCC has looked the other way while CB has gone down the drain. The barn door has been open for a while, but it looks like the horses may be rounded up after all.

 on: Today at 12:00:18 AM 
Started by KD1I - Last post by G3RZP
When repairing, you can find funnies that got through test and QC years before. One rx I got was unstable on 15m only. Took some digging down through layers of components to find that the local oscillator coil had a capacitor across it, one end of which had never been soldered.

Another classic is the radio with 'new' 6BA6s plugged in that are really rebranded Russian tubes that have g3 and cathode connected internally. I've even seen some tubes branded 5749 (the high rel 6BA6) that were the same.

So I have a degree of cynicism at times that the radio was actually built or repaired correctly.

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