SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Building a QRP Field Day Station

My goal is to build a QRP station for Winter Field Day in January and the ARRL Field Day in June. QRP or low power is 5 watts max for all modes during ARRL Field Day. Winter Field Day allows 10 watts peak for phone and digital. I like that. I don't think 5 watts is a problem on CW. However, on phone, it is a challenge. I have never used PSK-31 on Field Day so that will be a learning curve.

It helps to test the station set up in advance. The hub of my station is the Elecraft KX3 transceiver. A new addition is the Elecraft PX3 spectrum scope. Now add a computer and logging software, and you have a few things to integrate. My choice for logging software is N3FJP as they have a specific log program for Winter Field Day.

The Elecraft PX3 is excellent. Amazing how it integrates with the KX3. In my opinion, it gives you more capability than the spectrum scope on the Icom 7300. I like the way the markers work to let you QSY. Of course, there are buttons and features to learn on the PX3. And yes you can hook up a keyboard to the PX3. This enables you to type or use text macros for CW or PSK 31. This leverages on the built-in capability for these modes in the KX3. It is cool that the KX3, PX3 and the computer logging program all talk without any issues.

I also tried using the N3FJP software to generate CW for the first time. I bought a used WinKey box on eBay. The N3FJP software uses it to key the KX3. The WinKey also lets you hook up a paddle or straight key to go manual if you like. We will see how that goes. I am leaning toward using the PX3 keyboard do most of the work. That way I can have someone else assist with the logging on the computer.

I guess you can tell this is overloading my 8-bit brain. It will take some practice in the field to burn it in.. I have some opportunities operating portable for ARRL Grid Chase starting New Years Day 2018. Winter Field day is January 27/28. I have a reservation at a campsite in Falling Waters State Park near Chipley Florida. I have some friends planning to share the experience including Bob KK4DIV who is camping in the same park.