Monday, 06 December, 2004

My new radio

I don't have a decent picture of it yet, but Thursday Debra bought me an early Christmas present:  a Kenwood TS-450S transceiver.  It's a high frequency (HF) radio that covers all of the amateur bands from 160 meters to 10 meters, and supports AM, FM, SSB, CW, and FSK operation.  The unit has an automatic antenna tuner that appears to work quite well with my horizontal loop.  The only drawback being that the tuner doesn't work on the 160 meter band.  I hadn't planned on working that band for a while anyway, so it's no great loss to me.

Over the weekend I installed the permanent feed line from my operating position out to the loop around the garage, and I've been playing with it as I have time.  On Friday and Saturday I managed to contact 22 out of 108 National Weather Service stations that were participating in SKYWARN Recognition Day.  Not bad for a modest station, an inexperienced operator, and only a few hours' effort. This evening I made my first contact with a station in South America: a Brazilian station that was booming in on the 20 meter band.

This coming weekend is the ARRL 10-meter contest, where stations try to contact as many others as possible.  I won't be able to work the entire contest, but I'll spend some time trying to fill out my Worked All States card.  Who knows?  I might even reach out and touch a long lost friend.