TX7T was strong for the first time since they have been on the air, and it was an easy Q
I’m still amazed at how easy most of my QRP QSO’s have been. Sure – there are stations that didn’t hear me at all or tried hard to get my full call and didn’t – but I expected a much higher “frustration level”. It has not been frustrating at all. I have even competed successfully in quite a few pileups – nothing like if it was a Top 10 DXCC entity – but DX IS DX.
I’ve even had a few nights now where whatever was causing all bands to get wiped out – stopped, and I have been able to use the rig. Luckily, there are enough hours during the day and here in the wee hours of the morning – where DXing is possible.
Optibeam OB2-40M-P 40M Moxon – 77 pounds and only ~35′ wide
Its funny, I keep looking at the various gear – like I used to – and while there are several things that look nice, the cost for these things are too high as far as “bang for the buck” goes. I have never had a problem spending money on ham gear – in the past – but all of a sudden, the high price of the new gear is just too high for what I do ham radio and DX wise. The Free Range QRP DX 300 Challenge was created so I would have a very interesting and fun challenge – and it is really paying off – both figuratively and literally. My Elecraft KX-3 and SteppIR UrbanBeam are just PERFECT for the FREQ 300.
The Yaesu FT101MP 200 watt transceiver – great ratings and nice ergonomics
The nicest laid out transceiver I ever had was also the worst performer – the Yaesu FT-2000D. I was so angry because of that PEP upgrade bullshit – all of the advertised “QRM fighting features” just didn’t work. Having to modify the rig with that AC0C mod made me angry since I feel I was duped into buying a rig that was flawed in its design from the get go. But I will say – the Yaesu heavy weighted tuning knobs in their newer gear are the best. Much better than the Elecraft gear – which have always felt “plasticky”. The problem – when you need those “QRM fighting features” – they trump nicer ergonomics.
My favorite camera is a “New Old Stock” Lumix GX-85 – sold for a song
After our Colorado trip in September, I got back into photography big time. I had a couple of digital cameras – one from about 5 years ago, and the other 9 years ago (yikes!). Since I have had no desire to make large photo prints for more than 10 years, and since I only use photos in my blog, I realized I could skip the expensive larger sensor “new” cameras and buy something new that has been discontinued for years now – and also concentrate on a really good lens (also on a bargain basement sale). You could say that this is the photography “QRP Equivalent” – just like purchasing a QRP rig like the KX-3 and the SteppIR UrbanBeam – the combo cost me a LOT less than other options, and I am getting all of the fun and a great value – or bang for the buck. Gone are the days where I “clamored” for the latest and greatest – in fact – I now see what a trap that is (was). BTW – my Lumix GX-85 plus the 20MM prime lens is way more fun than the bigger sensor Sony A6000 that I have. I really should sell the A6000 . . . I use the GX-85 all the time now.
The Elecraft K4 – great looking rig – I am sure a great performer
Its still fun to drool anyway – and doesn’t cost anything – heh heh. I had that weird nostalgia “jag” last year and while I still love my National SW-3, I guess the Gold Dust Twins were a “bridge too far”. They were fun to get up and running – and I learned how to use test equipment – especially my oscilloscope – but beyond that – I guess I’m not as nostalgic as I thought I was – that was a passing phase. Oh well – the money I have in these is the same as one of the 1500 watt amp’s I have owned over the years. And the value proposition is about the same – I can only recoup about 50% of what I put in them. I do have have one person very interested in the Twins – and fairly close to what I paid for them – so they might be gone by the end of the year.
I’m probably not going to help the DX ham radio market much any more – as I have in the past. QRP rigs are very cost effective – I can do all the DXing on the cheap (the KX-3 was $900 used) – and even the UrbanBeam – which I purchased for $1700 has turned out to have great bang for the buck. I also am not donating to DXpeditions any more – I have even been having a hard time opening my wallet for the 3Y0I – I guess I really don’t care much any more – even the little voice in my head that says “follow through and finish DXCC #1” has faded almost into oblivion. I guess once someone say they really are going to Bouvet or Glorioso – my wallet will creak back open. But I won’t be buying new gear for these last two – I will go to a neighbors house. Yes – I’m at that point now . . .
I noticed that the Yaesu FT101MP has had a price drop (already). I am wondering if the market for high end rigs will start dwindling. I have found out that the Gold Dust Twins market has dropped out – there just aren’t many who cherish these old rigs any more. The ham radio population continues to age – and these “niche” aspects of the hobby seem to have fewer and fewer hams interested.
I wonder if the high end DX rig market is on the wane. I kind of think so. There are so many used K3’s and even older Ten Tec rigs – all still very good rigs in their own right – that it almost seems like we are saturated with high end gear.
I think watching prices will tell the story – when prices drop significantly, that will be a clue and a marker.