Keeping your butt in the chair is an important part of contesting. Sometimes the chair is the source of discomfort that leads to diminished BIC time. The chairs in my shack were a mixture of cheap and hand-me-down office task chairs that were not very comfortable.
Yesterday my wife KW5MOM and I were shopping for a new bed for the guest bedroom. I saw some used chairs in the corner and asked about them. The proprietor told me they were $50 each. So I made a deal for five of the Herman Miller chairs.
I hope my shack guests will find them more comfortable. At the very least, all the chairs are the same now.
If you have thoughts or experiences regarding chairs for the contest station, please comment below!
A year ago I wrote about my Christmas 2018 “self-gift”, the pair of JBL Control 2P powered monitor speakers that I integrated into my shack with a Mackie 1202-VLZ Pro. This continues to be enjoyed in my shack because I can listen to multiple sources without being tethered by a headset cord.
Similarly, I’ve been tethered by headset cord to all my microphones because they are all headset mikes. For some time, I had desired an articulating boom + microphone setup. However, I did not want to pay for brand new equipment just to try something out, and I wasn’t really sure how or where I would mount it to not be in the way when not using it.
I had read on the Elecraft reflector some interesting commentary about brands of microphones. As the K3 has a built-in transmit equalizer, it seemed the consensus leaned away from the brand that is marketed as the elite microphones for ham radio. I studied some other brands and the frequency response and cardioid patterns of several microphones.
Soon, I found one that I was willing to buy and try. I found a new condition, open box Shure PGA48 with a 15-ft XLR cable and mic clip on eBay for $33 to my door.
At the same time on eBay, I found a used mic boom, Heil PL2 missing the cable covers and any type of mount, for $50 to my door. Tiny zip ties will hold the cable just fine.
The items arrived, and I was left with figuring out a way to mount the boom. An ‘ah-ha’ moment struck, and a simple solution was found. My radio desk has a brace under the tabletop in just the right place. I drilled a 5/8″ hole through the tabletop and into the 2×4 brace for a total depth of 2 inches. After vacuuming the shavings out, I pressed a steel sleeve bushing O.D. 5/8″, I.D. 1/2″, Length 1-1/2″ ($3 at the local hardware store) into the hole, creating a flush-mount for the boom to sit in. It works perfectly!
Next was to listen to how I sounded with the existing TX EQ settings in the K3. I had a set of “rotating” TX macros set up to allow me to quickly step through five different TX EQ settings.
Yesterday afternoon, I enjoyed many casual QSOs on 17m and 20m using the completely “untethered” accessories. I even experimented with VOX and improved the settings to work effectively with the Shure mic.
Summary: This is a worthwhile purchase and it will enhance my casual operating enjoyment.
Once again, a group of LCC members tackled the M/S HP category. Jim W5LA, Bobby WM5H and Scott W5WZ were on hand for the event. Prior obligations took all 3 way on Sunday morning for about 4 hours. Consequently, QSO count was down, but we still had fun!
I made my 7th trip to Chesterland, Ohio to the fantastic station of Tom, K8AZ for the 2019-CQ WW SSB contest. Yes, it is a long drive – 16 hours or so. But the camaraderie with the gang makes it all the better!
As usual, I spend some time on Friday helping Tom with various maintenance, repairs, or installations of new items. This trip was no exception. Many hands do indeed make light work!
Tom takes a pre-contest walk around the antenna farm. This time, we found the rope supporting the SW element of the 80-meter transmit 4-square had broken, and the result was a rope tangled up in the elements of several yagis on a rotating tower.
In waning day light, we worked to free the rope from the tower such that the 80-m antenna would be usable. The rotating tower is 15 and 20 meters, so we parked it toward Africa for the night. Once the rope was free, we managed to get it positioned such that the 80-m antenna functioned for the overnight operating period.
The next morning, it was raining. The forecast called for increasing winds throughout the day and into the night. K8AZ and I ventured with bow and arrow to get a string over the appropriate tree. First challenge was using a sling blade to clear walking paths and work areas in the raspberry thicket, then cross a creek to find the loose end of the rope. Second challenge was to place the string. First shot success! Then pulled a larger string, and at last the final rope. With the antenna repaired, back to the house for shower and then operating time again.
Near sunset on Sunday night, suddenly 80-meter 4-square SWR went really high. Upon inspection, we found the NE element had broken loose from the feed point. Hauled a ladder out and worked beyond sunset to complete the repair with 20 minutes left in the contest.
Highlights of this contest: seeing my friends K8AZ, K8NZ, W8CAR, WT8C, AA8OY, K8RR, W8WWV, K8BL; riding in and driving a dual motor Tesla Model 3; meeting KE3X and talking contest strategy; and working CN3A on 160m with my own call!
11/24/2004 | W5WZ Our family was on a camping trip to Daisy State Park on Lake Greeson in Arkansas. I had hoped to spend a significant amount of time in the contest. However, as my first solo portable operation, it wasn’t as successful as desired.
I brought an fan dipole for 80/20, and also a trap dipole for 40/15. But, I didn’t bring any soldering irons or antenna analyzers. The 80/20 antenna was up about 25 feet, on the east side of a steep slope near the edge of the lake. The 40/15 dipole had an unknown problem; it wouldn’t tune up anywhere. So I gave it a shot with only the 80/20 antenna.
My station was an IC-756 ProII, a laptop with NA by K8CC for logging and rig control, with the requisite Heil proset and footswitch, all on the picnic table at the campsite.
My family had other plans for the camping trip; as much rain was expected, during the non-rainy periods I was expected to be with them. The first evening, the temperature was falling quickly ahead of the rain, which soon followed, so I packed up and went to bed in the RV. With 4 kids under age 7 in the RV, indoor operating was not going to happen on this trip.
The next morning, it was very damp and windy, so I decided to set up in the cab of the truck. With the 756 on the dash, laptop in my lap, the passenger seat was mighty comfortable. The kids provided plenty of interruptions, along with the nature hike and my turn at cooking for the family, so once again operating was not the priority. After all, this was my vacation! I did learn that an automobile bucket seat should be considered for an operating chair.
My operating position had one heck of a great view! And the rest of the trip was beautiful, too! — W5WZ
A late Sunday afternoon QSO with W7IFG on 2018-10-08 via 20M USB yielded an unexpected surprise! I had just completed a previous QSO with intentions to QRT for supper. W7IFG asked for a quick QSO, and I obliged.
Scott told me (his name is also Scott) that he had a QSL card from W1AW/5 that listed me as an operator during the ARRL Centennial QSO Party, and he also knew that the two QSOs on the card were made with me, because he had asked for my home call sign. We briefly discussed how much fun the Centennial QSO Party was for all the participants, then signed off.
The following Friday, Oct 12, I received an envelope in the mail from W7IFG. I was quite surprised to find not only a QSL card for the recent QSO, as well as the original W1AW/5 card!
QSL from W7IFG for QSO with W5WZ on 2018-10-08 20M USB, and QSL from W1AW/5 for QSO with W7IFG on 2014-11-xx on 17m USB, with W5WZ as the W1AW/5 operator.