Tuesday, December 23, 2014

X108 HF Radio Second run

So after some issues with the first run of the Xiego X108 HF radio, the builder and engineers have made some firmware and parts changes to the radio to make it more out of the box ready. I am awaiting mine to arrive but with Christmas here mail of course is delayed so if it is not here by Wednesday Dec 24th then the next mail delivery day will be on Monday Dec 29th.

Those who have already received the updated radio say it is like night and day between the first batch and the second. Audio on SSB is much cleaner and clearer and the over-driving of the front end has been fixed. AM is also much better sounding according to those using the radio.

The firmware has been changed as well so the microphone buttons can be programmed by the end user to their choice and option for buttons on the microphone, as well a cw side-tone volume control has been added into the menu options.

So see what the mailman brings on wednesday, if nothing I will update my blog once the radio arrives and load some videos to my YouTube Channel of its performance.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year one and all.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

QRP Radios-KN-850

I noticed on ebay today the KN-850 up for sale. I purchased a KN-920 quite some time ago and had trouble with it and never got any help with an exchange, partial refund or a replacement radio for the one I had.
These and the KN-Q10 radios and others are designed by BA6BF. The KN-Q radios have taken off in the past and offer both cw/ssb at 5 watts.
The KN-920 was a nice looking radio but during a qso the radio shut down and shut down my power supply. I had to reset the power supply, turned the radio back on and then noticed the magic smoke that is supposed to stay in the radio slowly making its way out and leaving a smell behind on exit. Turned out a final gave out and traces burnt up. I was sent some new finals and asked to replace them.
Once replaced I tried the radio, power down to zero, keyed the radio up into a dummy load using cw and no problem, slowly cranked the power up and ZAP, there go the repaired traces once again and the magic smoke once again escaped.
I tried 3 sets of finals with no luck.
The seller at Aliexpress ignored my emails and refused to make a partial refund or any kind of return to me despite the Aliexpress policy, so I was not a happy camper needless to say.

I asked the seller today about the KN-850 as it has been reduced in price about his return policy and how well this radio works.
 His reply was this, and I did ask who the builder was:

" HI,, this device made by one Ham, this is the second version, the first version sold several years,
this version is better , and sold server month very good
we provide tech support for life, and or return for repair .
thanks "

So I am guessing the KN-920 was the first version and this is the upgraded better version.
There are many Chinese radios out on the market now offering all kinds of bands and modes, but quality and returns can be an issue as many of us have experienced. The other issue is the cost of these units compared to the big names who have proven themselves.

 The KN-850 covers the original ham bands, plus 6 meters (no FM). So no 30,17,12 meters on this unit.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

TJ5A on cw, 3 qsos and great reports

So this afternoon I was playing with the YouKits TJ5A Hf Transceiver running 5 watts and using my Chameleon Hy-Brid up on a 15' pole feeding coax to my shack and running about 135' of wire across the yard with far end up 20' in the air. The base of the Hy-Brid and pole are grounded with a ground rod.
I called cq on 21.050 after watching the RBN to see where I was being heard, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Ted in Stockton,ME SKCC#1312 call me, he gave me a 579 with my 5 watts. QSB came in as we finished our exchange.
Then out of the blue I heard KZ5OM Jerry SKCC#10415S in California, Jerry was a 339 and he gave me a 569 and then QSB took us both down.
I then went to 20 meters and tuned the antenna and was called by Rich K4DJ in N.C., he is SKCC#11060S, he was a 569 and I was a 459 so not too bad at all..

The Hy-Brid tunes super for me and I use this set up on 160 meters as well.
Giving the new TJ5A a workout and I can say that the power stays solid and does not move and it receives very well without the filter, will be a great test when filter is installed.
Thanks to the 3 operators, Ted, Jerry and Rich for a great hour on the air.


Calling CQ with TJ5A at 5 watts

Thought I would take a quick time out and fire up the TJ5A on 20 meter cw to see how the band was reacting today. Tuned the antenna up and turned on the TJ5A and set it for 5 watts. asked if teh frequency was busy (QRL?) was on 14.055.
Called cq and brought up The Reverse Beacon Network to see if I was being heard, well I sure was.
My antenna is a Chameleon Hy-Brid coil on a 15' telescopic pole, it is grounded to a ground rod and coax to the radio room. The wire I have on it is about 135' long and is maybe 20' at the far end off the ground. This is what I use on 160 meters as well as it tunes very fast and quite easily.
Called CQ for a few minutes with no one answering me so went back to what I was doing, looking at the RBN list below you can see I was getting out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TJ5A on 40 meters tonight

December 11th 2014 at 0000z on 7.173 I had a super qso with K8QS Quin in Grand Rapids Michigan and with Tom WA9TDD in Indiana. I was running 15 watts into my end fed antenna and got a S8 from Quin and S9 from Tom.
Reports was that the audio  has way too much bass and I was clipping, so I backed off the microphone until it was about 10 inches away, the clipping stopped and my signal only dropped slightly since I was not over driving the radio. The guys said the audio needs more highs and should come up about 800hz to start.
So was a great test tonight and lots of fun indeed playing with the TJ5A on 40 meters.
I will continue to play with this radio on SSB and CW and see how well it performs. It has a great receive on it and next step will be to get the 500hz cw filter into it and play around on the cw bands.
I had to make a very slight adjustment of the DDS clock for USB, I think I still need to adjust it a small amount, on LSB it sounds spot on to my FT857.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Elecraft KX3

Well I have owned a Elecraft KX3 for just about 6 months now and I have to say this radio is a great all band transceiver.
Mine see's most of it's use on cw as that is my favorite mode of operation and I run it at 5 watts all the time. I purchased the cover and side handles for mine and it protects the front of the radio and all the knobs and buttons.
The ATU in this radio will tune anything so far that I have put on it, even in the car with the Chameleon V1L whip, it tuned lightning fast and allowed a qso with Europe.

This weekend I operated in the ARRL 160 meter cw contest and in less then 6 hours of actual operating time I made over 30 contacts and scored 1,080 points, with the best qso being Arizona with N7GP.

My antenna was a Chameleon Hy-Brid with 145' of wire, the Hy-Brid sits atop a 15' pole and I have a 8' ground rod at the bottom grounding out the pole. This setup works very well and tuning is broadband and works extremely well even with my HF ALE setup band hopping and tuning.

So again the KX3 is a great  radio and I look forward to more operating time this winter with it and getting used to all the features, like operating split SSB/CW for nets and just plain split operation etc.\

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The YouKits TJ5A


I figured it was time to show the workings of the TJ5A 4 band tranceiver made by YouKits.Canada

The radio is a 4 band radio that runs USB/LSB and cw on 40,20,15 and 10 meters. 20 watts out on SSB and 10 watts on cw. The receiver in this radio is very quiet but selectivity is good, I am able to hear everything that my VX1700 or FT857 can hear on the same windom antenna.

Various tuning steps for the radio can be used, and since I acquired the first TJ5A Yimin has changed the tuning rate one more time to allow faster tuning. There is a VFO/MEM mode as well and an RIT for tuning.

Today I fine tuned and adjusted the DDS clock just slightly to be bang on with my FT857 on cw which also lined everything up for USB and LSB as well, it was out just ever so slightly but now all is good. I was able to check into the Maritime Mobile Net on 14.300 with no problems at all and a good audio report too.

Anyone who has tried the YouKits HB1B or HB1A knows how well these radios receive, Yimin strives for quality and satisfaction in all of his products that his factory puts together and he is always wanting to come up with the perfect QRP minimalist radio and knows it is going to be a Work In Progress for some time to come.

All the YouKits products are tested and reviewed by the ARRL test lab and given workout and then a full report to Yimin, at that point he will make good any adjustments that are required to keep the radio in specs. This is also teh reason he only goes with 3 or 4 band radios, as the ARRL test lab prefers it to keep the radio simple and spurious emissions at their lowest.

Yimin will produce a band specific radio as well if there is something that you are looking for in a single, dual or multiband radio.

We have a Yahoo site that I maintain as well to keep folks in the loop and to have a place for questions and throw ideas around, and Yimin does monitor the group as well.

I have included some pictures of the TJ5A internal organs. Any other questions about the TJ5A and can be found at the YouKits webpage listed at the top of this blog.

Display Board

Front Panel (Plastic still on my display)

Side panel, microphone, antenna and on/off switch


PA Unit

Main Board

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

X-108 Update

Well looks like the Xiegu factory and builder who makes the X-108 has realized that there are some issues with the radio and are making changes to it and replacing all those radio that have been purchased in North America and Europe. All dealers have stopped sales and are awaiting new shipments. This radio really does have some great potential covering all ham bands and running 20 watts out as well as many other features.
I have worked a few SSB and cw stations with the radio but tuning is still an issue as well as over loading of the receiver.Adjustments to the DDS clock as well as a firmware update made a few changes to better the out of box unit but not enough to make the radio operable all the time with ease.
They have just updated their webpage as well an have made an english page.

The radio is very sharp looking for sure and has a nice display, it will show power out, S meter, swr, has local time clock(I used GMT time), compression for SSB, RIT, and many other features.

So will keep everyone abreast of details and how the new radio works out of the box once it arrives.