KWS-1 – 700 Watts Out on 40M

I am having the most fun in Ham Radio since working my last ATNO – VK0EK back in 2016. This time around I’m just making a few calls in the 2019 WPX CW contest and enjoying running the rig full bore.

Its great that the contest give us smaller stations a way to test our antennas and gear.

Siglent SDG1000X Function / Arbitrary Waveform Generator

The Siglent SDG1000X Function / Arbitrary Waveform Generator

I got a really great deal on this unit, and I really like Siglent – my Siglent SDS1000X Oscilloscope is superb – and so much fun to use when testing my KWS-1. Now I want to take my troubleshooting – and just my basic electronics education to the next level. I finally learned that the oscilloscope shows you voltage plus frequency – always important when playing with RF circuits.

The combination of these two Siglent products is superb – and the price is as good as it gets.

KWS-1 in 2019 CW WPX!

This is huge fun – using the KWS-1 running about 550 watts ( I could go as high as 700 watts). With a contest on the air – what a great time to test the rig – last weekend it was like pulling hens teeth just calling CQ.

Keyer and N3ZN paddle 

I jury rigged a keyer and one of my favorite paddles so I can send at the speed that I want to. I have come to learn that all the nostalgia in the world can’t get me to use an old keyer (like the TO Keyer) or a Bug if my sending is crap. This is where “retro” and “living history” takes a back seat in my world.


New Shack Shelving

KY6R Shack – cozy and fits the gear just right – with no space to spare

On the right of this picture, the parts bins fit the shelf I built just over a year ago – and I had re-arranged the shack specifically to fit the Gold Dust Twins. I even cut an old kitchen table and moved the legs so I could put that little “return table” in front of the KWS-1 Power Supply.

I have a bookshelf to the left of that picture, and right now – there is just art and trinkets on it – I could take lumber I purchased to extend the operating shelf – that I never used a year ago – and build an “on top the bookshelf” shelf that would enclose and hold the parts bins. Then, I could put my test gear above the small workbench – it would be perfect for projects where I need the bench, and would also keep me from piling stuff on the workbench as I do now.

This Memorial Day weekend will have several fun things in store – fixing the KWS-1, building this shelf, playing guitar, going to the gym and going on a couple bike rides.

Cub Cadet String Mower

The Cub Cadet Walk Behind String Mower

I have a nice Echo weed whacker, and while that unit is great for small areas, this year the weeds are 4′ high because of the amount of rain that we received – including this past week. The Cub Cadet has separate oil and gas tanks (no mixing required), and the string is much easier to replace than on my Echo weed whacker. Also – this baby will cut thick brush – something the Echo just doesn’t do.

I will have to wait until June to use it though – we just received several days of significant rain – late in the season, and unseasonably cool too – this was (I’m guessing) the last of the big Winter storms – we sometimes have gotten showers into June (not normal but I have experienced it a few times since moving to California in 1982) – but such a cool late storm with it being this cold is unusual.

40M Bobtail Curtain

Besides weed abatement for fire prevention reasons – I will also enjoy making fast work of the weeds so I can start planning on my 140′ wide Bobtail Curtain – with Collins 180S-1 remote antenna tuner – set to 40M. While I really love my DX Engineering DV-40P 40M array, I do have to try the 40M Bobtail Curtain – because this will no doubt be my last chance at trying it. Once we move from Orinda, my antennas will have to be much smaller and simpler. I doubt I’ll be able to use the Gold Dust twins where we will move – they take up a lot of space (although many people do stack them). In fact, I will be using the KWS-1 almost exclusively on 40M – since it is a “museum piece” transmitter – one I will use from time to time for nostalgia sake.

Collins KWS-1 replacement part that I will have to fabricate

This Memorial Day Weekend will be filled with trying to fix the KWS-1. The ground is way too wet for me to use the new Cub Cadet – so I’ll try to wrap up the KWS-1 repair. That will mean after this weekend I will be more outdoors on weekends around the house – getting the yard in better shape – right now it is overgrown and needs some attention. We have been weeding all winter, and its been really hard to keep up with.



Ham Shack Constraints

Surly Pack Rat Bike

I don’t like rats, so I was glad when I saw that there is a bike called the Packrat. But this post is not about bikes – but about pack rats. I am not one – and after my divorce – when I learned its best to travel as lite as you can in life and keep only the things you use – that I would “have” only what I need and use regularly.

The uncluttered KY6R Ham Shack

While I was waiting for my KWS-1 to be restored, I re-arranged my shack – and it can fit only what you see here. This has a limiting effect on what I can keep. Recently I did purchase a few cool things – only because they became available for a great price – such as the Hallicrafters TO Keyer and the Multiphase RF Analyzer. The problem? There just isn’t enough room. The best thing about this – what fits in my shack is exactly what I need – and nothing more.

There are a few things I will be selling soon – the “overage”. This time around I will make a couple hundred since the items I am selling I got at “steal” prices, and there are a few sought after items.

Brave New World: a 1931 and 1958 Coincidence

Brave New World Revisited, 1958

A very cool coincidence is Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931 (same year the National SW-3 was first sold) and Brave New World Revisited was written in 1958, (the year my Collins KWS-1 was sold). The reason that this is important to me is because Huxley was a “channel-er” and “chronicler” of his time. I have read some reviews of Brave New World where they thought Huxley disapproved of this or that and that is why he wrote the book – but what I am learning is that there were technological advances as early as 1929 nuclear fusion and fission were being discussed, to be figured out in detail in the 1930’s. There were so many things changing – in some ways it makes our world today look relatively tame – because while we have technological innovation and innovation in the arts as well – today it could be argued that our problems (i.e. Trumpism and Brexit) are self inflicted local / moronic wounds – where back then the world was in between WWI and WWII – with things building and leading up to WWII – where the entire world would become very volatile and unstable.

In this book, Huxley explains that he is mostly an observer who took in all that was going on at the time:

  1. Great Depression
  2. Population growth
  3. Assembly line process
  4. Fascism, totalitarianism, isolationism, fanaticism and other forms of political control
  5. Rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, Stalin, etc
  6. Personal freedoms as exhibited in various countries – sex being mostly a metaphor for personal freedom
  7. Many technological innovations in many different scientific areas
  8. The institution of marriage – he seemed to be touched by what seemed like a high divorce rate
  9. Stability – politically and socially
  10. Indirectly – religion

To me, Huxley’s main tenet was that man has choices, and that some countries oppressed their people overtly, but others may not have been that much better – it seems the automation and assembly line and working conditions might have come across to Huxley as a corporate control mechanism – he talks about how people who work would work hard and have incentives to work even harder – sort of like “being on a treadmill” or being a “wage slave”. “Our Year of The Ford” instead of “Our Year of The Lord” is telling in many ways.

In fact, he was saying “Beware the industrial-military complex” 20 years before that phrase was coined by Eisenhower. AHA – Googling this pops up exactly the same conclusion I have reached – this is excellent:

America the Brave New World: The United States Is Realizing the Dystopian Nightmares of Our Best Science Fiction


I see Huxley as an observer and a philosopher who used a touch of science fiction to describe aspects of many different societies in the world – including what must have been a visit to New Mexico and even to Chimayo and the “penitente’s” – who are a New Mexico (and no doubt other areas) Spanish Christian group who make the march during the Easter time liturgy and where they act out Jesus carrying his cross and later being crucified – and who act out the struggle even to the point where they self flagellate as Jesus suffered the whip on his final march. This was the “Savage” aspect of the story. This aspect of the story seems the most odd to me – but it surely shows that he came to America, toured New Mexico – which would have been a pretty remote place at the time – maybe he was visiting Santa Fe (?). Later he would settle in Los Angeles. Coming from Britain – that must have had a real strong effect on him. I can only imagine that the “New World Order” in Europe was far different than visiting New Mexico at the time – night and day.

What is most attractive to me is that he gives a good idea of what times were like back then. Even though there were lots of challenges in the 30’s – I also think it was one of the best decades in terms of innovation – both in science and in the arts.

These books are great ways to “get inside of someone’s mind” who really studied what was going on as it happened.