DX-ing Can be Hazardous to Your Health!

I’m the leader at our gym this month. I’m working off the “fat sins” of sitting in front of my radios all these years.

I’m very pleased at my progress – to work my way back from my DXer / DXCC days to something a lot more like when I was in my 40’s (hi hi). I’ll post some before and after pictures – but please remember to always get out there and exercise and don’t get too enamored with DX-ing where you end up looking like the Graf Zeppelin – like I did.

I can only write this because I’m kicking butt and getting back in shape – but its been a lot of very hard work – work I could have prevented!

73 es Gud DX,



The Project Queue at KY6R

I’ve got 5 ham radio projects “queued up” . . . 

I have today off and besides one home repair project, have three days to get some of these done:

  1. OHR WM-2 – QRP Wattmeter – this one will definitely get some time – I hope to finish it by Sunday. I want to use my new Begali single lever keys – but with QRP rigs – the Norcal 40A and Red Hot 40 (especially)
  2. National SW-3 – the “Oreo Cookie” tuning knob has worked its way loose from the variable capacitor it controls. I have used that rig almost daily since I completed its restoration late last year / early this year. I lucked out – KPIG was transmitting on 1510 kc, but alas – they seem to have stopped. They did warn us that their AM station would only be back on the air “for a limited time only”. Bummer, it was a blast to use a 1931 radio to listen to what seems like the last decent AM radio station on the air – certainly in the SF Bay area
  3. Collins KWS-1 – man, I really need to get back to that one – I have fabricated the part I need to fix the “slug rack”, but it will take a day to take it a part and hopefully figure out how to repair it without getting into trouble (I worry that it could lead to a bigger project than I expect – so I m procrastinating). Plus, I only use it very occasionally – for special purposes like Field Day. I do want to use it for 3Y0I this coming November, so I better get on it some time this summer
  4. AB-577 – I need to do some tweaking to make sure the tower is perfectly square – some settling has occurred – its close to perfectly level, but I want it dead on
  5. Replace the paddle rotary switch in my home brewed switch box. The switch is a cheap Chinese part – and while it looked and felt like a ceramic wafer – it was not as robust as the old 1950’s American made switches that you see in amplifiers, antenna tuners and whatnot. When soldering it – I learned the hard way that the new Chinese switch is really plastic – not ceramic – and one position melted, leaving the contact “OK” – but I expect it will wear out fast.

When it rains, it pours – its funny how all of a sudden I have a backlog of such projects. I’m sure I’ll get the WM-2 and the AB-577 projects done- the others can happen whenever – in fact, none of these are pressing. My gym attendance and losing the weight that I have so successfully started is my latest “obsession” besides work – and I’m also playing the guitar and learned some great things in yesterdays lesson / jam session. I’m also reading 3 books right now – yikes –

I am 100% sure I won’t be bored when I retire – oh yeah – at work I’m digging in on developing what will surely be a killer design and a killer product. Wow – I am even more inspired than I was last year at this time. The difference this year is that I have learned to work hard and smart at work – but make sure I make time to keep a more balanced life – and not put ALL of my eggs in the work basket.

Now – about that new Raspberry Pi 4 . . . ..  heh heh


40M Inverted Vee and EU

I2VRN is S7/8 on the Inverted Vee and S9 on the UrbanBeam, but . . . 

I have noticed right at the EU sunrise an the West Coast sunset – at this time of the year, EU stations are more intelligible on the Inverted Vee than the UrbanBeam. The reason? S/N ratio, and I suppose it has to with takeoff angle and the fact that higher angles are supported at this time of the morning / evening.

I’ve noticed that same thing with Tom, DF2BO, so its not just a fluke. Interesting – I did not expect the Inverted Vee to work this well.


Batter Up!

The star of this year’s 4th of July is Google’s “Doodle App”, where all of your favorite summer BBQ and Picnic foods play baseball. It’s the cutest and funniest thing going, and is just right summer spirit wise.

A Home Run!

I had a big work out at the gym today – burned 1500+ calories, and was able to watch the Orinda 4th of July Parade, which is also a cute small town event.

The weather is perfect, and I will top it off with a guitar jam with my very good friend Jeff.

My boys visited yesterday, so we celebrated the holiday a day early – since my younger son is travelling with his friends today.

I’m enjoying a “half week off” from work this week, which is needed since starting Monday, we will be cranking up the work on the new Data Catalog tool that I’ve designed and that we’ve started building.

Hot fun in the Summertime – although it’s not too hot out – in fact, the weather is just perfect.

Heathkit TC-3: Elegant Design

The Heathkit TC-3 Tube Tester

I was very lucky to stumble on a perfect condition TC-3. I was not in the market for one, but the price was so low that I just had to purchase it. I found out later that these are very much sought after and sell for more than twice I paid for it.

For the last two years I have been designing User Interfaces for Data Discovery and Cataloging tools used to help Data Scientists better understand their data, including Data Quality and Data Security. As it turns out, this same app is now all the rage with Data Protection and Data Compliance efforts in data Driven companies.

A year ago I designed my first Data Dictionary app, and I totally missed the fact that this app should have an interface more like Amazon’s shopping search app, and not be designed for the data geek or DBA that I used to be.

This year I got it right, and I demoed my new app and it hit a home run.

What does this have to do with the Heathkit TC-3? The user interface on the TC-3 is perfect. It offers an easy to use, very pleasing experience for anyone who can read from a list and flip a few switches. It never tried to be too clever or dumb things down. It is a practical pragmatic design that has just what you need and not one control extra.

This year I am celebrating becoming quite good at both designing REST APIs as well as React Single Page App user interfaces. It’s amazing how this past year has catapulted me into a new “burgeoning” market, and all while my skill set is rising at the zenith to meet this new market.

I value user interface design, and the TC-3 in my books is as close to perfect as you can get.

Begali Sculpture Mono

Begali Keys and Paddles – works of art!

I love my Begali HST III – and now I have its “art-piece” cousin – the Sculpture Mono.

The HST III and Sculpture Mono are both excellent, and they do have a slightly different feel

With my home brewed key switch box, I can use either paddle with 4 different transmitters.

West Coast Top 10 Most Wanted – Clublog

Its been a long time since I checked the “Top 10 Most Wanted” lists on Clublog, but the West Coast Most Wanted List is interesting (the global most wanted list is not, actually).

I need Bouvet and Glorioso – so I am in good company. I’m actually surprised Turkmenistan is at 10 – I would have expected it to be lower on the list. This is an interesting list for sure – I’m so glad I worked Jean at FT5WJ that Saturday morning on 20M SSB – a total chance QSO. Crozet is very hard to get permission to visit unless you are a scientist working gere. P5 was ridiculously easy – no challenge at all. That’s my gloating point. Mount Athos was really hard – harder than Crozet or North Korea! Syria was easy – one fellow was on the air on 40M CW every morning in the North American winter mornings. It’s so sad what has happened to that country. Kerguelin, Pratas were easy – Marion was hard – but epic fun . . .

Its all memories for me now – and its been so long that I have to dig hard to even remember . . . . .