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K2 - Transverter module - Night 1

I assembled the module before dinner and then applied the changes to the RF board
after dinner. The unit powers up with no warnings so I think that it is going to work.
I will need to go thru the 40/60 alignment steps and then test the transverter power
out piece as well.

Frankly I am tired enough tonight that I don't feel like pulling out the stuff that
I need to do the final tune-up and testing tonight. (160m/Top band is sounding awesome
as I type this up.) I think that I am going to call it a night.

I will probably do the alignment and tune-up after I install the AF Out mod. Maybe
I can tackle this on Saturday or Sunday this weekend. That would officially finish
my K2 project. At which point I can try to operate the K2 on a semi-daily
basis and move onto the next project. (I have lots of projects that have been on hold
while I finish the K2 project.)

The 60m/transverter module probably took about 2.5 hours of bench time to

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K2 - 160m module - Night 2

I have partially resolved my problem.

It appears that my problem is within the 80m/160m bandpass filter.

For some reason L4 is extremely sensitive now. I can detune it with my hand or a plastic
screwdriver. After about 45 minutes of poking around with an RF probe I was able to
figure out that the problem is within the bandpass filter and eventually get
the circuit tuned up.

I am still not sure that 80m and 160m are 100% stable yet. I am getting 13-15w out which
is pretty good. I suspect that there is still a ghost in the circuit that I need to
chase down. Time will tell.

Top band sounds great on the K2.

I will probably move onto the transverter module and then home brew an "AF out" circuit.
I am really looking forward to being able to operate the radio and move on to a new

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K2 - 160m module - Day 1

Since the other module went so smoothly I decided to start the 160m module as well.

This module started very nicely and was pretty quick construction. The toroids are
not a big deal any more since I have a solder pot to clean up the leads prior to attaching
them to the circuit traces.

Things were going all together too well... and then Murphy struck.

I am getting a "LO P" message on 80m and 160m. The relays work and I can hear signals
on 80m and 160m... but no RF. I am not exactly sure why at this point. I sent an email
to the reflector to see if one of the other K2 builders  has been thru this before.

I had about 60-70 minutes into this module when I got stuck and had to shift to troubleshooting

2009 MNQP

I did not work this event nearly as hard as last year. (Last year was not much effort
either... but my son operated it last year with me.) My 40m dipole is acting flaky
in the 25mph wind. The repair will need to wait until spring when I can lower the
tower to the ground. So 40m contacts were pretty much nil for me.

My original plan for today was to operate my Icom 756 @ 100w on 20m and 40m and then
operate my Elecraft K2 @ 10w on 80w. I figured I would operate most of the day.  The
K2 idea was more of a shake-out than anything else as I had not made a single contact
on it since I built it earlier this winter. Wow... did my plans change.

All of the 80m contacts were made @ 10w on the K2. The radio was awesome and the contacts
were not too hard either. (My 40' tall VHF/UHF tower is shunt feed for 80m.) I kind
of wish that I had gone QRP and run 5w for the whole event. I did make a few
160m contacts @ 100w with the Icom 756 in the last 45 minutes of the event which
was kind of fun. (My HF tower is shunt feed for 160m)

I have spent most of the 2008-2009 winter radio season building radios & kits
instead of operating. Even today I probably only spent about 3.5 hours actually operating
the radio in a casual fashion.

My score is about half of what was from last year.. go figure. On the flip side I
ran 1/10th the power and spent 1/3 the time operating. I made my first Q on the
K2 and was able to test out the new KAT2 tuner that I installed late last night. Overall
it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Goals for next year's event:

1. Be able to RUN on CW vs. S&P with the computer.

2. Operate QRP.  5w on CW is plenty loud enough to have some fun.

Elecraft KAT2 tuner for the K2

This was a three night project for me.

Night 1:

Install the capacitors, resistors, relays, BNCs, and ICs on the tuner control board.
Probably about 45 minutes of sorting parts into my little parts boxes/bins. Probably
another hour of actual work on the board.

Night one picture:

Night 2:

About 30 minutes of bench time winding T1 for the control board then off to dinner.

Afternoon/Night 3:

Some serious bench time installing the relays, capacitors, toroids, header/pins, and
the wiring harness to the second board.  Once all of this was completed I then
had to remove the heatsink the K2 and add the RF connection to the main board in the
K2. After that you mount the KAT2 into the lid of the radio.

Night three photo:

All in all there is probably about 6-7 hours into this project. The tuner is awesome.
I am really impressed at how well it works. It is incredibly fast and has a pretty
wide match range.

K2 SSB Module - Night Four

I finished up the installation of the header pins and mounted the board in the radio.
Looking at the picture it really blends in unless you notice the slightly darker green.

I went thru the basic filter and BFO configurations. I can now hear SSB signals with
good clarity. I am not ready to hookup a mic to it for a while so I will put the final
configuration on hold for a while. (The SSB module will be tied to the transverter
operation once I order & build the transverter module.)

The SSB module was about 3-4 hours of work without pushing too hard. 30 minutes of
that was probably spent just sorting parts. Another 30-45 minutes trying to figure
out the menu system for adjusting the filters and BFO.

I have the internal ATU kit sitting on my desk next to my keyboard as I type this.
It looks like a more involved project than the SSB module. I hope to start it in the
next few days depending on work and family commitments & conflicts.

K2 SSB Module - Day Two

I spent about an hour this morning winding T1, T2, RFC1, and RFC2. It all went fine
other than I probably trimmed the leads a little bit shorter then needed initially.
This made feeding a couple of the connections thru the board a little tougher
than it needed to be.

Completed SSB board



RFC1 - gives you an idea how small RFC1 & 2 are!

RFC2 (same size component as RFC1)

Time to clean up the bench for the day and then load up some stuff before I head to
the metro for the day. With a little bit luck maybe I can get some bench on Sunday
to install the board into the K2 and do some testing.

K2 SSB Module - Night Two

I spent about 2 - 2.5 hours working on the SSB module tonight. The rest of the capacitors,
all of the resistors, the ICs & sockets, diodes, transistors, and crystals
are soldered into place.

The major remaining step is to wind the 4 toroids and mount them on the board. I hope
to try to tackle that in the morning before driving into the metro for the monthly MNQRP
meeting. (Or at least that is my plan)

I will probably be in the metro all day running errands, going to the meeting and
having dinner. Maybe with some luck I can try to mount the board into the K2 on Sunday
if time permits. (Busy plans for Sunday as well.)