Much-Needed Escape

A quick note to let you know that I'll be off the grid this weekend for a little "staycation", as we go camping up at Green Peter Reservoir (hey, no snickering you immature guys out there...LOL). I'm going to pack the FT-817ND, 5 AH gel-cell, the PAC-12, and a few end-fed wires to toss into the trees. Hopefully I can find some time between lounging around, swimming, napping, and eating like a pig to do some QRP operation. See you on the flip side!

Inaugural pQRP Portland Eggs & Coffee

This morning we had the first Portland-area version of the Pie & Coffee, which we have informally dubbed the Eggs & Coffee since we are meeting at breakfast time. The meeting (and I use the term informally) was at the Peppermill restaurant in Aloha. In attendance was Dave W8NF, Carl WS7L, and myself. Not a huge gathering, but it's a good start.

Dave brought along his very impressive solid state kilowatt RF amplifier. He designed this amp while working for Erbtec Engineering, and happened to find one for sale at the Dayton flea market. The amplifier has about a one square foot footprint, but most of the bulk of it comes from the substantial heat sink on the underside of the PCB. You can see the amp right in front of Dave in the photo below. Not QRP by any means, but very cool regardless.

July 2008 pQRP Portland E&C

We also got a chance to see some prototype PCBs (you can see them above just to the right of the big amp) and documentation for Dave's upcoming LogiKlipper RF clipper (to be released soon by Idiom Press). It was extremely interesting to learn about the design choices and trade-offs that went into the design.

Carl didn't bring any projects, but did bring along an obviously extensive knowledge of ham radio and other technical topics. This was my first introduction to Carl, and I found out that he's pretty involved in the local ham radio community, including his role as the local VE coordinator. I think we were able to share some of that QRP/homebrewer excitement, as he seemed very interested in the projects that we brought along and discussed. He also gave us a very nice overview of his impressions of operating the Elecraft K3.

I came with an armload of projects and components, as I threatened that I would. I got a chance to show off the pQRP LC Meter, the Willamette DC transceiver, the Tualatin superhet transceiver, my QRP EFHW antenna tuner, and an AVR-based SWR meter. The hit of the E&C seemed to be the LC meter, so kudos to NB6M for producing such a great kit. I also brought along a huge grab bag of components that I tried to pawn off, but the other two were too smart to take any of it off my hands. I did get a chance to give Dave some copper clad to use for Manhattan pads, so I'm happy that they will go to good use.

July 2008 pQRP Portland E&C

We chatted for about 2 ½ hours, but it went very quickly with all of the interesting discussion. Our table was smack dab in the middle of the restaurant with radios and parts scattered about, so we got our share of curious looks. Fortunately, the restaurant is very ham-friendly since they already host some other meetings here. I had a great time, and I think that the other guys did as well. I hope to make this a regular occurance, and that we can convince some more of you Portland-area hams to stop by next time.

Field Day 2008 a Bust

No luck in making it to FD this year. Had some more important things come up at the last minute that took priority, so I couldn't take the time out for FD. After seeing some of the comments about how welcome the slower CW ops were, I'm not too sure it wasn't for the best that I didn't even try. I guess this little fish will be staying out of the pool until he can swim with the big 35 WPM sharks.

Field Day 2008 Plans

So it looks like I will be heading up to Stub Stewart State Park to spend some Field Day time with OTVARC and some of the hams from Tektronix. Seeing that the current forecast is for temperatures near 100° in the valley (it may not be much cooler up in the mountains) and that my allergies are killing me right now, I don't predict that I will be spending a lot of time out there. I'll see if I can work up the nerve to man the key for a little while, although I have no idea how that will work out. My code speed is only about 13 WPM comfortably, and I'm sure that most CW ops working FD will be a lot quicker than that. I will probably have to troll the upper parts of the CW bands for some slow speed QSOs. Wish me luck, I'm pretty rusty!