My FT-950


Ain’t it a thing of beauty? heh…

Before I upgraded to general I purchased an FT-857D. I was planning on putting it in my truck but I ended up using it in the house since it was my only HF rig. I wanted a bigger system so I could put the 857D mobile and I ended up getting a Kenwood TS-430s. After making  the impulse purchase I realized that the TS-430S is not suited for digital. I kept using the FT-857D as a home unit and then I decided to sell everything for a new HF base that could handle digital. I was debating between the Kenwood TS-2000 or the Yaesu FT-950. For reasons which are unknown I ended up getting the FT-950. I am loosing VHF and UHF by getting the FT-950 But I think I made a wise purchase. So far I am loving this rig, it’s taking some getting used to but it’s amazing how a couple of adjustments makes a someone who I can barely hear sound like S9.

First CW Contact.

While my parts for my CW keyer are out for paint all I had to play with is the plexiglass base of the keyer.

CW Touch Key
Half ass assembly

I managed to get it working and I went on 7.040.50Mhz (40m) and started sending CQ TEST. All of a sudden I hear “-. .—- -… — -..- -.. . -.- -… —.. ..-. . (N1BMX DE KB8FE)”  I was happy because instead of using software to decode morse I did it by pen and paper. He was sending slow enough for me to understand even though I was sending much faster and messing up a lot. His call is KB8FE (Keith, OH). He asked me about my station and then told me to keep practicing CW. So I am please to make a contact and it makes me want to master CW now.

I’ve been noticing that I have been practicing CW more than I have been doing any other mode.

CW Project: Moving along

I just had to update.

Got around to doing some more fabricating. I laser cut the base, insert and plexiglass. The 1/8″ insert combined with the 1/4″ Plexiglass will make the glass sit flush on the 3/8″ steel base. I need to make the paddle contacts and the cover to complete fabrication. Can’t wait to test it out and powder coat it.

8/10/10 Contacts

I didn’t feel like using the radio. The office on TBS has episodes that i’ve seen many times so I ended up turning on the rig. 20m seemed dead so I went to 40m where there was a lot of PSK activity.

Start calling CQ with BPSK63 and AB4RT (Bob)  replyied. Call was familar and he just realized that he contacted me the night before. It was strange because HRD did not pick up on the logged call.  After that VE3SWS (Jay, ON) contacted me and told me that I was his first digital contact. I like seeing people get into digital. More for me to make contacts with so we rag chewed a bit and moved to a different frequency where we tried different modes out. Found out that Oliva is REALLY SLOW with a wide bandwidth. Too me it would seem great for low power long distance communication. Not for making quick QSO’s. Had a great time.


8/9/10 Contacts

I decided to do some digital work tonight. I started off on 20m (14.070.00Mhz) with some PSK 31.
I’ve managed to contact KE5PYF (David) and IV3GOW (Ervin, Italy) at about 21:30 the band started to die and I decided to go to 40m (7.035.00). PSK on that freqency was packed! Lots of people working. I managed to work on PSK63 CO3CJ (Juan, Cuba), M3XGV/P (Mike, England), PY2CX (Mauricio, Sao Paulo Brazil), WA3SMN (Ben, PA) and LU1BR (Luis, Argentina). I tried to make contact and exchanged with SE6Y (Rolf, Sweden). I Hope I did because I never made a contact with Sweden.

After a bunch of CQ’s with PSK63 with No luck I called it quits for the night. The band was still busy and their were a lot of PSK31 Activity. I just didn’t want to take part. PSk63 is great for fast quick contacts, However its hard to make out when there is QRM.

CW Keyer In Fabrication

I had a chance to get started on fabrication of my code keyer.

Code Key Project / Metal
Fabrication on my Code Key Project

It’s nothing much but it’s a start. The vertical keys are spaced 0.75″ apart. I do not have easy access to 3/4″ Material so I’ve made the spacer out of 3 1/4″ Plates of steel. If I waited I could have used two pcs of 3/8″ But I designed it using 1/4″ blocks and the
opportunity was there.

I am not going to post for every part that gets made but when it’s assembled and painted I will talk more about it.

CW Project Underway

I purchased a CW Touch Key Kit which came in on Friday. It was easy to assemble and I have it taped to my desk using drywall ceiling buttons as code keys. My plan is to design and fabricate a Code key.

So far I’ve manage to design the key around the Touch kit.  Here are some of the drawings

The plan is to have two sets of keys. I am not sure what style I wanted so I figured I’ll do both. The base and vertical stand will be laser cut using 3/8″ Steel plate for weight. The enclosure will be 16ga (.062″) Steel with welded corners and the keys will be punched out of 16ga brass.  The vertical keys will be secured using extruded plastic washers to prevent any contact with the other keys and it’s metal base. The Horizontal keys will appear to be floating. However they will be inlayed into 1/4″ Plexiglas. I plan on using a DPDT Switch to activate one set of keys while disabling the other set. The only issue I see that the wires are sensitive to the touch and the switch might cause an issue.