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.)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

DOA x 2

At Hamvention, I wanted to purchase an MFJ-4225MV power supply. MFJ had none at their booth, nor did any of the dealers at the convention who sold MFJ equipment, so I ordered one online after I returned home from Dayton.

UPS delivered the power supply about a week later and it was dead on arrival.

I contacted MFJ and they had UPS pick up and return the dead unit back to them. I tracked the package back to MFJ and then there was silence until I received an e-mail from UPS on Monday informing me that a package from MFJ was on its way.

UPS delivered a replacement MFJ-4225MV yesterday and it was dead on arrival.


UPDATE: I phoned MFJ and they are shipping me another replacement with a return label for the dead unit. To avoid DOA x 3, the folks at MFJ tested the replacement unit they are shipping to me.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bear With Me

I'm still waiting for the standoffs from Elecraft.

USPS originally estimated delivery on Saturday, but they were not delivered and USPS tracking indicates that they are now in transit from the Springfield, Massachusetts USPS facility. Maybe they will arrive Monday, maybe not. I am not holding my breath.

So while I waited impatiently for the standoffs last week, a black bear visited and dined on the contents of our bird feeder Thursday evening. Here are the videos my daughter and I took while sitting in her SUV observing our visitor.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Standoff Standoff

I planned to assemble my Elecraft KX3 kit this week.

Over the weekend, I cleared a place to build the kit, rolled out the anti-static mat and connected it and the anti-static wrist strap to Earth ground.

It was a very busy weekend and that is as far as I got, so I planned to work on the kit each evening after my day job.

Monday, I unpacked the kit and did an inventory only to discover that my kit had four incorrect sized standoffs. After completing the inventory, I phoned Elecraft and they shipped the correct sized standoffs on Tuesday.

The standoffs are needed early in the kit assembly (the 5th step in the assembly instructions), so there is not much point beginning the kit assembly and then stopping to wait for the parts to arrive.

I was hoping to have the KX3 ready for the VHF contest this weekend, but that prospect does not look good.

Friday, June 5, 2015


WDNB, 102.1 MHz, Jeffersonville, New York

Driving back to work from my lunchtime run to Walmart, I had the car radio tuned to WAQY FM on 102.1 MHz out of Springfield, Mass. As I pulled into my parking slot at work, the song WAQY was broadcasting was captured by a weather report for a town that was new to me. After the weather report, the station id'd as "Thunder 102," WDNB out of Jeffersonville, NY, about 108 miles to my west-northwest. My new logging was a solid S-9 unless I rolled the car a few feet forward or backward; then WAQY would capture WDNB. I tuned around the FM band, but did not find anything else unusual.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


My First Heathkit  The HR-10B Receiver

Yesterday, UPS delivered the Elecraft KX3 transceiver kit that I ordered at Hamvention. UPS also delivered an anti-static mat and wrist-strap that I ordered to use while assembling the KX3.

I have built plenty of Heathkits in the past and did not need any stinkin' anti-static devices. However, the KX3 kit is not your father's Heathkit.

The KX3 kit is a no soldering needed kit. Basically, I build the KX3 enclosure and plug-in various preassembled and tested pc boards. Those boards contain sensitive components that may be damaged by Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) simply by touching them, thus the need for the anti-static devices.

Last night, I unpacked the box from Elecraft and checked that everything I ordered had been delivered (it had). Then I began reading the kit assembly manual and plan to build the radio this weekend (3 to 4 hours are required to build it).