Another firmware drop from the folks at Lab599 for their excellent portable transceiver the TX-500. From the changelog:
- Improved CW decoder function
* Increased maximum decoding speed
* Font fixed
- Added CW encoder function â€” character input of CW messages
- Improved work with memory cells: the transceiver saves the current memory mode when turned on/off
- General fixes and improvements
It’s great to see a company continuing to improve features in their products. Looking to get this loaded up later today and take it for a test drive.
I took some time away from work and family to decompress in nature.
I’ve previously written about Afton State Park (K-2466) near my QTH here in Minnesota. It is a beautiful park located on the shore of the St. Croix river which separates Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The hike into the campsites is not tremendously long at just about 1 mile, but there is both a steep downhill and uphill section that can get the heartrate up a bit, so I chose to go lightweight this trip.
Elecraft KX2 (new to me – more on that in a follow up post)
Elecraft AX1 antenna
BaMaTech BaMaKey TP-111 (see previous post for a review)
I knew going into this that the AX1 is a severely compromised antenna, however I didn’t want to haul in a throw line to run an EFHW or dipole, nor did I want the weight and mass of one of my larger verticals.
This was going to be, and was a challenge.
In the end, I logged 5 contacts. Signal reports weren’t great – as expected – but I greatly appreciate the effort those old men put forth to pull my signal out of the ether. Given I was on 20 meters, no surprise to see the distances for each contact.
You can see a quick video I did upon returning this morning showing the area, the setup, and some of the flora and fauna I encountered.
Even though I failed the activation, it was a great time and beautiful scenery. Just what the doctor ordered!
Along my CW journey – which I am still trudging along on – I have benefited greatly from Kurt Zoglmann (AD0WE) and his site Morse Code Ninja (link).
Kurt has produced literally weeks and weeks of audio files of various categories in speeds of 15-50wpm (*gulp* – that speed just sounds like noise to me still), all of which is freely available for download. You can see the dozens of categories on his Practice page (link).
His YouTube channel additionally has videos of the audio files so you have multiple options for playback.
Given how many hours I’ve spent using his work over the last year plus of my learning CW, and how many others I’ve spoken with that have also benefited, I am suggesting that a small donation to continue to fund his efforts is a good thing that, if able, you should consider doing.
No I am not affiliated with him or his site, just a very grateful consumer of his efforts.
Having a software development background I know how time intensive projects like his can be, and for him to put it out there for everyone to use freely speaks to his love for the hobby and desire to grow it even more. Hosting a website and having bandwidth for file download isn’t cheap, and I like to encourage people like him to continue so that we can all benefit for years to come.
This is probably old news to many, but I’m posting here to increase visibility and keep as a reference for myself.
Hopefully it is useful to you and you never need it.
This is what the ARRL has published on the matter:
The Wilderness protocol (see page 101, August 1995 QST) calls for hams in the wilderness to announce their presence on, and to monitor, the national calling frequencies for five minutes beginning at the top of the hour, every three hours from 7 AM to 7 PM while in the backcountry. A ham in a remote location may be able to relay emergency information through another wilderness ham who has better access to a repeater. National calling frequencies: 52.525, 146.52, 223.50, 446.00, 1294.50 MHz.
ARRL ARES Field Manual pg. 87 (linked above)
I am hoping that this is helpful to folks, especially now as temperatures are warming up here in the northern latitudes and more people are getting outdoors.
Have fun out there! (safely)
The featured image in this post is from Yosemite National Park, taken during our family road trip in 2019