Tuesday, September 17, 2019

QCX Joy at the Panama City ARC Tailgate

Well, it is definitely cheating to buy a QRP-Labs QCX transceiver already built. But that is what I did when I saw one at the Huntsville Hamfest. The seller said he just likes to build them. He had three for sale and when I doubled back to buy the 30-meter version was the only one left. For 60 dollars this was a good deal.

QRP-Labs QCX Transceiver

My first attempt to make an on-air contact was "No Joy."  I had no test equipment out in the field, but I listened with another rig. I actually heard an oscillator on the right frequency on receive but heard nothing on transmit. I happened to be reading the QST Review of the QCX and found something interesting.

Excerpt from QCX Review in QST 

That was a lucky break indeed as the QCX was in Code Practice Mode. I turned code practice mode off, and the RF output is working. I measured the power into a dummy load, and I am calling it 2.8 watts out. This measurement is not particularly accurate, but I will take it as nominal.

Now your luck will vary in making contacts at this power level. However, I had an excellent contact with Tom K4UTJ in Galax, Virginia when I was set up at the Panama City ARC Tailgate last Saturday. I was using the SOTAbeams Band Hopper 40/30/20 link dipole for the antenna supported by the SOTAbeams Tactical 7000 mast in the center. I had a rough time initially but gee it helps to have those link dipole jumpers correct.

I recorded most of the QSO here. The QSO went on for 13 minutes. Tom had to bail out. So catching a fish with QRP is fun even if it won't happen every time.

By the way, I am fine with the built-in key, which is a micro switch. I am a straight key guy. I also like the way the rig decodes my outgoing CW.