Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Icom 7610 is here!!


The long awaited Icom 7610 is now available, the spec's on this rig are very impressive. I would say that for all this rig offers it is priced VERY COMPETITIVELY! I won't list the spec's just provide this link that gives you the run down........see what you think?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

WOW those high end rigs!!!

Had some time today and for some reason I had a look at the top of the line dream HF rig's. First off is the  Elecraft K3S with the contest and DX package priced at 5900.00 (all prices in Canadian dollars) to be fair to all the other high end rigs you would have to add a power supply bring the price in at 6050.00.

Next in the line up is the Kenwood TS 990S priced at 7995.00 ( or as I like to say 8,000.00) for the price this is a nicely packed rig and unlike the Elecraft or Flex radio it does not need a power supply. Like the Elecraft you get 2 independent receivers but you get the added bonus of 200 watts of juice to send out your call.

Moving along to the Flex radio 7600-GPSDO in at 10,800. This rig is the top of the line for Smart SDR rigs and the one feature that sticks out to me is the 8 slice pan-adpater. Having said that just a bit of over kill for me. Here is a link for all the features of this amazing Smart SDR rig.  This rig also needs a power supply so I will add another 150.00 (same supply that was priced for the K3S) now you are looking at 10,950. The price does include the GPSDO module which is not cheap and also this rig has VHF an option not included in the K3S price.

Icom has a heavy hitter when it comes to high end rigs and it's the IC-7851 and a break the bank price at 17999.00 ( or.......you got it 18000.00) It does have a great TFT display, two receivers and 200 watts out.....but really 18,000.00 freaking dollars!!!!

The Yaesu FTDX-9000MP comes in next at 14,500.00 as with the other rigs 2 independent receivers and a whooping 400 watts output.......oh hang on just been checking and the 9000 and 5000 series rigs have been discontinued by Yaesu!!! The only rig that is left for the high end category is the FT DX 3000 at 2499.99 (lets call it what it is 2500.00).
Please correct me if I am going down the wrong path but I think Yaesu may has seen the light in that the cost to produce the very very high end rigs is just not drawing the sales to make it profitable? Now the DX 3000 rig is (in my humble opinion) a mid range rig and hopefully Yaesu will produce a rig above the DX 3000.....independent receiver and so on. BUT maybe Yaesu has taken a step back to move forward with a  "high end rig" that is within range of more hams.

In closing as my readers know I am an Elecraft nut!!! Not to be tooting my Elecraft horn but they do have a great concept and that is you purchase a radio and in time add to it. The purchaser may add to the rig in time maybe due to budget restraints at the time or maybe your ham experience changes and you may want to dive into the digi modes or VHF.
In conclusion I just can't understand rigs that cost 18K or 10k for that matter but as I said before this is my humble opinion.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR.....I have a plan

A belated Happy New Year to all the readers of the blog! So now that we are 2 days into the New Year what is the long range forecast for VE3WDM? While we are on the subject of forecast the weather up this way has been to say the least DAM COLD!! There does not seem to be a break anytime soon with the forecast this weekend temp's are to be in around -30 with the windchill.  Lets warms things up with some 2018 plans. This year Julie and agreed that it's the year to cut back starting with our cable TV that can run way over 125.00 per month. I purchased a small HD antenna and am able to pickup (for free) close to 30 channels. This week the cable company will be getting a disappointing call with our cancellation. We also have Apple TV 4k and pay a minimum for Netflicks and Crave TV. The other cord we are cutting is the eating out which we are planning on moving to only once a month as eating at home is cheaper and can be healthier as well. Regarding ham radio I have all I need and some but my plan this year is to get on the radio and pound out some CW! With the conditions not being so great I have still been able to make contacts both here in North America and over seas.  I worked dam hard over the years to learn CW and get my speed up and it's like a language that if you don't use it you loose it. I am also set up for the digi modes just to change things up a bit. Finally with less TV and going out it looks like I am going to catch up on my ham radio  reading. These are not drum roll type plans for the New Year but it's a start!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

CW key dilemma

Well here we are it's almost the end of 2017 as I was out for a pint with my Ipad and looking at some of the blogs  I follow. I came across PE4BAS's blog and after reading his post I checked out the blogs that he follows to see what else was new in blog world. As I scrolled down I came across the blogs that have not posted in over a month. Low and behold there was VE3WDM.....it has been over 4 weeks since my last post!! I have to be honest this is not the first time I have gone for a month without posting. There was a time when I was posting twice a week and for sure once a week, since our move to Toronto I have not been on the radio as much as I would like. In the evenings  after dinner I just feel too tired to get on the radio. Anyway......I did get on the radio this weekend and found the RAC Canada Winter contest in full swing. I was not prepared to give the contest a full out go but I was able to make a leisurely 7 contacts. With my modest setup I was able to contact CW coast to coast in Canada and a station in France. What I like to do is have QRZ.COM going in the background on the computer as I make a contact I look them up and read about their station.

Some time ago I purchased a Begali Key, the Contour key. I have read lots about having a good key, of how it makes sending the code an art. I have to say that from day one the Contour key and I have had a love-hate relationship! The craftsmanship of the key is next to none as are all of the Begali keys. I am not sure if it's just this key or the contour keys but for way to long when ever I use this key I send extra dots and dashes or the spacing gets screwed up. I used to think it was just me and my sloppy fist until I did more portable op's and used the Mini Palm paddle.  I just never seemed to miss a beat with this paddle there was no extra anything and the code was very smooth all the time. I have contacted Begali and exchanged many emails about adjusting the key, cleaning the contacts on the key and spacing the contacts on the key. It just seems to be the same old frustration with the Contour key. When I got on the radio today for the RAC contest I started out with the Begali key and after sending some very simple but very embarrassing exchanges I switched to the Mini Palm Paddle and exchanges were sent with not one error. I would put the Begali key up for sale in a second but it has my call engraved in it. I still think nothing can be said for a good quality key but it seems the Begali Contour is just not for me.