Saturday, February 25, 2012

Straight Key Night 2012

Novice transmitter, receiver, and the venerable TS-430S with
the AT-250 auto antenna tuner round out the operating bench.
Yes! Straight Key Night. 2012 makes the sixth year in row I have operated this event. Once again putting  the "Novice" Transmitter on the air, paired with the very capable superhet receiver.

This year, I didn't have any technical problems with either the transmitter or receiver. In fact, they worked pretty much flawlessly (other than the fact that I was missing the stereo to mono adapter for the receiver and had to copy everything with one ear). The interesting thing this year is where they were.

Of course, I had set this equipment up in the Micro-Shack. While not much more than a storage closet, it actually does have just enough room to set up and operate a modest amount of radio.

With a little bit of help from a space heater, it was actually quite cozy during the January 1st operating event. Not much in the antenna department. I believe I favored the low 80/40m dipole rather than the R7000.

As I've written before, being crystal controlled means you have to call CQ. After making a couple of contacts, I decided it would be fun to make at least one contact with every crystal in my arsenal. My ten crystals span the 40m band from 7001.25 to 7121.1 kHz. Some of the frequencies are quite popular, whereas others are pretty far away from heart of SKN activity. Oddly enough, it was the popular frequencies that were the hardest to complete -- they were almost always in use.

I was successful in not only making at least one contact on 7001.25, 7006.7, 7010, 7038, 7042, 7047, 7050, 7061.1, 7075, and 7121.1 kHz, but also making one contact on 10108 kHz. I had just gotten two crystals for 30m this past Christmas, and they tuned right up in the "Novice" transmitter. Of course, the little receiver couldn't be used, so I used the TS430S for that role.

Fifteen total contacts, to twelve different states: VA, MI, FL, GA, TN, TX, PA, MN, IN, AL, NY, NC. My best ever SKN outing.