My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


About a month ago, I mentioned that the Bing Maps Streetside car came through our neighborhood and that my daughter, her boyfriend and I ran up the road to greet it as it made its return trip. (It had to make a return trip because we live in a neighborhood of dead ends.)

As the car passed us by, we waved and the driver honked its horn.

I have been checking Bing Maps ever since to see if we are on the map and today I discovered that we do indeed make an appearance. The screen capture of the Bing Maps Streetside image above left shows me using my iPhone to capture the photo above right of the car as it passed by.

To see us for yourself, go to Bing Maps, look up "477 Beecher Rd., Wolcott, CT 06716," then use the Streetside function and see us standing at the corner of Beecher Road and Glen Avenue.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Yesterday, after I finished updating the Wolcott Historical Society website, I performed maintenance on this website.

When I moved my old blog from Wordpress to Blogger, the links to the images on the WA1LOU Pages were broken, so I fixed those images and also corrected and updated the text where necessary. As a result, the WA1LOU Pages (listed below) are now up to date and fully functional.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My First QSO with My KX3

My first contact using my Elecraft KX3 was today at 1523Z with Joe at W1AW on 50.145 MHz.

Friday, June 26, 2015

It Works!

Eight days after I received my second dead-on-arrival MFJ-4225MV power supply, I received a third unit and it works. I would have been very surprised if it was also DOA since the folks at MFJ powered it up and tested it before shipping it to me, which I assume was not done with the two DOA units.

The power supply is light in weight and small in size compared to previous high amperage DC power supplies I have owned and does not cover much territory on my crowded desk space. It features lighted meters that monitor the voltage and current and a front-panel knob detented at 13.8 volts, that adjusts the voltage between 9 and 15 volts. A continuously running "whisper" fan cools the unit; some folks might object to the volume of the whisper, but it did not annoy me.

I connected the power supply to my Elecraft KX3 transceiver, powered up and searched the radio bands for any noise caused by the power supply, but found none. The wall wart that I had been using to power the KX3 previously made its presence known on the radio bands, especially on 50 MHz, so I was happy, but not surprised that the MFJ-4225MV did not.

The MFJ-4225MV is a keeper.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Building the KX3

The "correct" standoffs for my Elecraft KX3 kit arrived in Monday's mail. When I opened the package, I thought that the correct standoffs looked exactly the same as the incorrect standoffs. Did Elecraft send me the wrong standoffs again?

I doubted that they could make the same mistake twice and upon further investigation, I discovered the error of my ways.

Although, the five standoffs look the same, four take a 2-56 size screw while one takes a 4-40 size screw. I could not tell the difference until I tested each standoff with a 2-56 and 4-40 screw.

The inventory list in KX3 assembly manual deserves some of the blame for my error. The list shows the 2-56 standoff as being hexagon-shaped and the 4-40 standoff as round (see figure above). In the kit I received, all five of the 5/15-inch standoffs were round, so when I saw there were no hex 5/16-inch standoffs, I assumed I had five 4-40s and not four 2-56s and one 4-40.

Anyway, now that my inventory of kit parts checked out, I began assembling the kit.

I took my time and assembled the kit very carefully exceeding the 3 to 4 hour estimates for kit completion by about two hours.

I held my breath when I powered up the radio and was happy to see the KX3's LCD light up and display a cacophony of information, while its speaker emitted the sweet sound of ether. Instead of referring to the manual, I plunged right in and started pressing buttons and turning knobs and in a short time, I reached the conclusion that the KX3's receiver was deaf.

I monkeyed around with the buttons, knobs and various menu settings trying to bring the receiver to life without success. I opened the radio and reseated some of the pc boards, but still no luck. Getting nowhere fast, I called it quits for the day, but penned an e-mail to Elecraft describing my radio's predicament.

The next morning, Howard, K6IA, from Elecraft phoned me. He guessed that I had fouled up the KX3's settings and deafened the radio's receiver. He emailed me my radio's default settings file and suggested that I use the KX3 Utility software to load the defaults into the radio and then call him back, which I did.

Howard was correct and the receiver came to life after loading the defaults. I asked him a few questions while I had him on the phone and then thanked him for his help.

Next on my to-do list is to install the 2-meter transverter in the KX3 and build the PX3 panadpter. (I held off installing the transverter while assembling the KX3 because I wanted to be sure that the KX3 worked before complicating matters with the addition of the transverter.)