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First ride of the 2014 season

It was nice while it lasted...

It was 72F outside on Wednesday after work so I decided that it was time to get the bike down from the ceiling of the garage. I took the bike over to the next town south of me and then rode from Dassel to Cokato and back which is about 10 miles. I had to ride around two snow drifts each directions... go figure.

This was also my first outing with the Yakima rack and bike on top of the car.

Of course now we are headed back into the winter pattern and we will struggle to hit 40F for the next week or so.

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Ozarkcon 2014

Cristy (K0AEA) and I (NG0R) drove down to Branson for Ozarkcon.

Cristy working on the regen receiver project. First time soldering since high school and she did a great job.

Pittsburgh (Kansas) style construction

The complete kit including a great wood case that we won from Jim N5IB

A great presentation about operating from northern Iraq

Larry is talking to folks about some rigs that he is selling

Jim does a great job of putting his gear into these sweet looking wooden cases

The build-a-thon Friday night after the banquet dinner

The build-a-thon Friday night after the banquet dinner

A great presentation about participating in a DX Expedition

A great presentation about participating in a DX Expedition

Power meter board, two network analyzer boards for an Arduino, and a crystal test fixture board that I purchased from Jim N5IB. 

Cristy and I dropped off our sons (Jacob, Ben, and Joe) and our dog Max with my mom and then we left Minnesota (and an approaching spring snow storm) and headed south. We broke up the 700 mile drive over a couple of days so that it resembled some more like a leisurely trip.

Cristy's friend Sabrina drove up from Tulsa to hang out with Cristy on Saturday while I did my radio thing.

We had a good time. There are a great turn out from across the country. There were six of us that made the trip from Minnesota. We enjoyed the banquet dinner Friday night and the build-a-thon after dinner. Saturday during the day was spent attending the seminars. Saturday night the Minnesota crew (along with Sabrina) all went out for a steak dinner and lots of fun conversation. Sunday was a long but eventful 700 mile drive back home.

It was fun to get away for a long weekend and relax talking about my hobby.

73 de NG0R

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Slow on blog postings

I have been a little slow about posting things on the blog since late December....

My daily hangout

I have been trying to juggle work (local and some travel) plus family time plus gym time. I hit the gym at a least once a day and sometimes twice a day seven days a week. There is not much timeline left over for projects or any significant "me time" right now.

The positive of the daily gym trip is that I am dropping some pounds and blood pressure. I am about 50% towards my goal and pretty much on track with the target date too.

Speaking of workouts I need to wrap up this post... I need to either go walk a couple of miles outside or head to the gym. (It is 20F and 20mph winds outside right now.)

73 de NG0R

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Elecraft T1

I finally found some time to work on the Elecraft T1 tuner kit

The main board tuner board (minus the control board)

The kit is pretty straight forward. I think that broke up the project over three sessions. I probably have 4-5 hours in to the kit working at a pretty casual pace. 

The finished project

I ran a quick test with a HB1B QRP rig + T1 + a random antenna from my antenna patch panel. I was pretty impressed with the range that it could cover during the tuning process. It is moderately quick too.

I have several pretty nice QRP rigs that need a resonate antenna or a tuner: ATS4, MTR, and a HB1B. Those rigs don't get the attention that they deserve from me. My CW skills are pretty poor mainly due to a lack of practice and use by me on a regular basis. The reality is that my KX3 is my main field radio when I operate away from my home. 

Playing with the rig and tuner today and listening to some CW got me in the mode to think about polishing up my CW skills (again.)

73 de NG0R

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Arduino + KX3 interface

Here is the current project....

I have currently an Arduino Nano on breadboard with a Max232 connected to my KX3. I was able to run some basic commands from the Arduino (via a serial console) to the KX3.

The picture above is the next step in the project. I am going to make a shield for an Arduino Uno that will allow me to do some software development on a more stable platform. The JP1 connection will go to an I2C driven 20x4 LCD. I will probably also look at adding a PS2 keyboard the next time that I can find a little bit of time to extend the drawing a bit further.

The plan is to convert this to a board layout and then mill it out on the CNC when time permits.

73 de NG0R