"Alaska QRP Club"

News Letter

Winter 1998


Table of Contents
-----------------
Alaska QRP Club Update...
Letter From The Editor...
Mailbag Feedback
Member Profile: Al Weber - KL7AG
Product Review: PIXIE-2 QRPp Transceiver
QRP Reference List
Alaska QSO Party
......AKQRP Club QSO Party Awards
Alaska QRP Club Round Table Schedule


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ALASKA QRP CLUB UPDATE


The Alaska QRP Club is an organization dedicated to the promotion of low power Amateur Radio operation, "QRP"... One of our major goals is the proliferation of Alaskan QRP operations... Our membership, however, is not restricted solely to KL7's... From our beginnings of just over a year ago, we have grown to over 350 members, many in the "Great State of Alaska"... Rounding out the membership is a group of hams from nearly all 50 states and more than 25 countries... Welcome one and all... We will be looking for you on the bands...


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR


.....Hello from one of the "Frozen Chosen"... In early January we have passed the shortest day (in Fairbanks, all three hours and fifty five minutes of it)... The temperature is well below zero but we are gaining 5 minutes of sunlight daily...

.....AKQRP's first newsletter received favorable comment, many members giving it a warm reception... It was accessed more than 750 times... There has been only one request for an ASCII version so it would appear that we are indeed becoming a linked global community through the Internet... I can only wonder what exciting things are in our future...

.....Here's hoping you enjoy our first "Member Profile"... The club newsletter will try to include a sketch of one club member in each issue... If you have a club member you would like to see in the spotlight, send us a name, call, and short summary for consideration...

.....Please remember the Alaska QSO Party in March... This is our time to make Alaska available to the "Outside" and have fun at the same time... Look for details in this issue...

.....As with all newsletters, we actively seek articles from our members and readers... Please send us your ideas and comments... Help make this your newsletter...

Thanks - Bruce - KL7JAF



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Mailbag Feedback


... Here are some comments received in your membership applications... Why not take this opportunity to send us your feedback

* * * * *

Great to see a QRP Club in Alaska. I lived in Mt. View in the late l950's while at Elmendorf AFB. I use a QRP Plus but have had HW7-HW8-Tentec 505 and now the plus. Hope to work some of the AK stations soon.
Cal KF7ET Shelley Idaho 72.
*****
Hi! Been off the air for a few years, but looking to reactivate soon from home in Hooper Bay. Not much QRM here and as "sea level" as you can get, hi hi.
73, Mark - WL7BCT
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I got my ham license while I lived on ADAK and would like to keep up with things in Alaska
Jim - WL7BSD
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Great Web Site! I use a Sierra with all band modules to an inverted vee. CU on the bands!
Mark - VE3HJA
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I`m new to QRP operating but learning fast! Thanks for all the info! Hope to hear you on AIR!
Robbie - EI2IP *****
Nice work guys. My QTH is a cutter rigged Sloop on the Chesapeake Bay. Hope to hear u on the air
73's Mark - KB3BMU
*****
Lived on Kodiak for @ 10 years with the Coast Guard, hope to head back north in 2 years when I'm done with this assignment ... for now it's QRP fm KS
John - NL7ER
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Seeing that scenic picture on the welcome page makes me homesick for my home in Wasilla ! Glad to see some QRPers active in the Great Land.
72, Mike KL7IXI
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MEMBER PROFILE


AL WEBER - KL7AG


AKQRP #008


..... When I first moved to Fairbanks 22 years ago, Al Weber - KL7AG - AK/QRP #008, was one of the first hams I had the pleasure of meeting... He and his wife, Florence - KL7AZ (then KL7AZJ) made me feel welcome and at home... My early remembrances were of Al, Flo, and numerous other hams around Alaska using QRP to not only have fun, but to fill a communication need... I thought it would be fun to interview Al as our first "Member Profile," since he was instrumental in starting me down the path of QRP operation...

.....Al was first licensed in 1936 as W1JXD... He later held the call signs W6RLJ, W7KFY, and KL7AEQ... He obtained his present call when he upgraded to Extra... He came to Alaska nearly 50 years ago as the Alaska factory representative for Intervox, a manufacturer of "tube" type fish finders used by the commercial fishing fleets... Al worked in electronics throughout his career... He now enjoys spending time with his music, computers, and electronics...

.....I asked Al about his early recollections of QRP operations, and was delighted to learn about a "Type 26" triode rig he used to work Alaska from California on 7080 Khz with a dipole... He told of using a 90 volt battery to supply the plate voltage... Later rigs he designed used the early CK-722 transistors...

.....We tend to think of our latest craze of building small radios into Altoids boxes as being very original... It was more than 25 years ago Al and the gang started placing their QRP rigs in Sucrets tins, much to the amazement of QRO hams like myself... As I recall, an entire station was packed into two tins; one for the transceiver, and one for the antenna/key/accessories... I have not seen the schematic for these rigs for many years but am sure the similarity to our present day "Pixie 2" would be striking...

.....Al told of Florence's field trips into the "bush" for the USGS... Her tiny QRP radio would often be the only communications link to the outside world... A pup tent served as Florence's ham shack... Her antenna was routed through a hole in its roof... She and Al kept a nightly schedule on 3735 Khz, a commonly used frequency for many Alaskan hams wandering about the wilds...

.....Al, who just turned 81 years young, told me he has so many things he wants to do he hopes to live to be at least 120... Everyone who knows him hopes he gets his wish...

by Bruce - KL7JAF

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PRODUCT REVIEW


PIXIE-2 QRPp Transceiver

HSC Electronic Supply

3500 Ryder Street
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408)-732-1573

160 - 10 Meter QRPp Transceiver
Overall Size: 2.0 x 1.25 x .25 Inches
200-300 mW Output
8 Ohm Audio Output
Power: 9 to 12 Volts DC
.....The PIXIE-2 QRPp transceiver is a miniature / minimal parts count crystal controlled CW transceiver that operates on any band from 160 - 10 meters with just the change of the crystal and one choke... As they say on TV: "But wait, there's more !!!"

.....When I first started writing this review I planned to do a brief bio on the original design by RV3GM and then a critique of the kit version as supplied by HSC, followed by a list of references for further study on this tiny rig... In the interim, at least two new variants of the Pixie 2 have come on the market so I will try to give them equal time as well... It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... It speaks well of the original design that so many have decided to make it "new and improved"...

.....First, the HSC kit... This kit is supplied with all board-mounted components except the crystal for operation on the 80m band... There is no transmitter offset, sidetone, or VXO control and the receive audio is headphones only... It doesn't get much simpler than this... Can it really work ???

.....After assembling my Pixie 2, I tied it to a dummy load and a stiff 8.4 volt battery. It read nearly 200 mW on the WM-1... A pleasant rushing sound was in the headset on key up... Listening to the signal on the Kenwood with the attenuator on and RF gain reduced, it had a nice clean note and good sounding keying... A brief transmission with the 706 nearly deafened me. There surely isn't any AGC on this radio !!!

..... I had the Pixie spread all over the bench with clip leads running everywhere... Time was getting short; our statewide 80M net would be starting on 3.920 soon... 6PM rolled around and my headset crackled to life... "This is KL7GG Eagle River for the Alaska Snipers net, roll call follows". I was dumbfounded as one after another I heard all those familiar voices from around the state... Now for the real fun, "KL7JAF and KL7WW Fairbanks ?", I banged away at the straight key, "KL7JAF KL7WW QRP QRU QSL ?" and there was old Uncle Mel "Got you in there Bruce a little light tonight, hi to Tosh"... Let's see, 300 miles as the crow flies at 190 mW should make a dandy entry for the 1000 mile per watt award... Are we having fun or what ???

.....At $9.95 U.S. Dollars this is a good value... For those with any kind of a junque box, you could roll your own for little or nothing... Either way I recommend that your try this circuit if for no other reason than as a lesson in simplicity

.....Over the next few days I put together a small circuit board with a TICK keyer and a transistor switch to automagically change my offset... I now have a very useable transceiver with sidetone via the TICK, 700hz transmit offset, and a built-in keyer... Next I plan to try the audio filter mod from W1FB's schematic, and perhaps a simple VFO...

.....If you look at the references at the end of this review, you will be able to keep busy for some time perfecting this little rig... Several clubs and individuals have been doing just that. A couple of new Pixie variants are on the market, with more to follow...

Part II


KnightSMiTe

Unpopulated PC Board


.....The Knightlites QRP Club out on the East coast has come up with a surface mount variant that they call the "SMiTe"... The first 100 kits have been shipped but I have yet to receive mine... I understand that the parts for the second batch of kits is on order and expected in soon... I will quote from a post from the Knightlites to give you their offering...

".....For those unfamiliar with the KnightSMiTe project, it is a Surface Mount technology transceiver kit. The board measures 1" X 1-3/4". The circuit is a much revised Pixie II, that is, a DC receiver and about 100 - 250mW output. It uses a 3.6864 MHz crystal. Our version has a Variable Crystal Oscillator and offset, so the received signal can be heard even when it zero beats the KnightSMiTe signal. Power is supplied by a 9V battery.

.....This kit consists of a board and the parts to go on the board. It doesn't include jacks for the Antenna, phones and key or an enclosure. Instructions are minimal, but a unique system is used which makes assembly simple. Extra parts are included for practice soldering the SM chips.

.....The price is $10 plus $3 shipping in the U.S., $5 for DX. Those who order more than one kit pay only one shipping fee. Make checks payable to Bob Kellogg.

Bob Kellogg, AE4IC
4708 Charlottesville Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27410..."

Part III


"TIXIE"


Prototype Board


.....The next Pixie 2 variant comes from those same fine folks that brought us the TiCK keyer chips: Embedded Research... At this time their offering, the "TIXIE" is not a full kit... The "TIXIE" is a printed circuit board mating the Pixie 2 with a TiCK keyer... Included in the price is the bare board and the TiCK keyer chip... Prices range from $10 TO $15 US. depending on which of their chips you choose... This offering is not quite out yet but looks good in the prototype photos... Last projected date is February 5, 1998... Stay tuned to their web page for more details...

http://www.frontiernet.net/~embres/


Part IV



.....One other QRP club was offering the HSC kit along with the rest of the parts needed to build a complete Pixie 2, but this offer I am told, has expired... Rumors abound about other commercial offerings of Pixie variants. As these materialize, look for updates on the AKQRP web site...

.....The following list of references should get you well down the road to Pixie Nirvana... Watch the AKQRP web site for a new page dedicated to the Pixie/Pixie 2/Tixie/Smite etc...

In Print


Magazine Issue Year Pages
QRPp June 1995 pg. 45, 46, 47, 48
QRPp March 1996 pg. 62, 63
QRPp Sept 1996 pg. 63, 64, 65
QRPp Winter 1997 pg. 74, 75
SPRAT Spring 1996 pg. 32, 33
SPRAT Autumn 1996 pg. 12, 13, 14
SPRAT Winter 1996/97 pg. 7
SPRAT Spring 1997 pg. 20, 21


On The Web


The WE6W - Web Site has one of the most complete selections on the Pixie 2...
http://www.qsl.net/we6w/text/pixie.html


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QRP REFERENCE LIST


.....Each AKQRP newsletter will give you some internet sites of interest found by our members... Check them out... If you find some good sites you would like to share, send them to us for publication in the next newsletter or on the AK/QRP Web Site...

* * * * *


.....This issue we would like to point you towards the one organization that best qualifies as an umbrella organization for all national and regional QRP groups...

.....QRP ARCI is one of the first groups to help spawn the modern QRP movement... They deserve our support...

.....For more details check out the QRP-ARCI web site at:

http://www.qrparci.org



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.....Antennas have always fallen into the "smoke and mirror" category for me... That is, until I started reading the antenna posts on QRP-l provided by L.B. Cebik - W4RNL / AKQRP #343...

.....Point your browser to LB's web pages for an outstanding treatise on the design and modeling of antennas... There you will also find a wealth of information on additional topics as well as links to other sites of similar caliber...

http://funnelweb.utcc.utk.edu/~cebik/radio.html




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ALASKA QSO PARTY
March 21-22, 1998




.....The South Central Amateur Radio Club is again sponsoring the Alaska QSO Party... Details of this event are given below... We encourage all Alaska based members to spend as much time as possible on the air to help make this event a big success... To our members outside the state, this is your opportunity to work that elusive KL7 either for the first time or perhaps on a new mode or band... Look for Alaskan stations on the frequencies listed below as well as on the QRP calling frequencies...

.....Jim Wiley of the SCARC stated that any station submitting 5 or more contacts with Alaskan stations would be issued a certificate... For QRP stations, that certificate is available for working at least one Alaskan station and showing at least 4 more Alaskan stations heard... Indicate the date/time/freq/station worked in your log to allow SCARC to cross check your "heard" report... At the time of our conversation he said these numbers were not yet cast in stone so check the AKQRP web site for any updates... Jim also said that logs could be submitted electronically. I will post the address for this at the AKQRP web site as soon as it becomes available... Logs for the special AKQRP awards can be e-mailed to < akqrp@eagle.ptialaska.net >... Don't forget to also submit your log to the SCARC, which is the sponsoring club for the QSO Party...

Sponsored by the South Central Amateur Radio Club

Type of Competition:
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Alaska stations work non-Alaska stations; non-Alaska stations work Alaskan stations only. Work stations once per band and mode

Categories:
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- Single Operator
- Single Operator, QRP (< 10W output)
- Multi Operator

Date:
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Third full weekend in March: from 0000z Saturday March 21 to 2400z Sunday March 22, 1998

Bands:
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160m, 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m,10m

Mode:
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CW, SSB, SSTV, Digital

Exchange:
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Alaskan station: RS(T) and city Other stations: RS(T) and State/Province/City (if DX)

Points:
-------
One(1) point per phone QSO, two(2) points for CW/SSTV/digital QSO, ten(10) points per satellite QSO. Contacts on 160m count triple value; contacts on 80m double value.

Final Score:
------------
Alaska station: multiply QSO points by total number of States/Provinces/Countries worked per band and mode others: multiply by total number of Alaskan cities worked per band and mode.

Deadline:
---------
Logs to be received by June 30, 1998

Address:
--------
South Central Amateur Radio Club
c/o Jim Wiley - KL7CC
8023 E 11th Ct.
Anchorage. AK 99504-2003
USA

For further details:

http://www.servcom.com/worcester/


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ALASKA QSO PARTY

Alaska QRP Club Awards



.....To help promote QRP activity during the Alaska QSO Party, the Alaska QRP Club will be sponsoring three special "QRP" awards...

.....High Score - Alaska QRP Station

.....High Score - US QRP Station
............................(includes all US territories & states except Alaska)

.....High Score - DX QRP Station (excluding Alaska)

.....To be eligible for these special awards your log must certify that all contacts were made at 5 Watts Output or less for cw/digital contacts, and 10 watts PEP or less for SSB/SSTV contacts... Stations worked need not be QRP...

.....For further details on the Alaska QRP Club Awards contact us at:

akqrp@eagle.ptialaska.net


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80m/40m ROUND TABLE SCHEDULE


Wednesday @ 9:15 PM (0615 UTC - Thursday )..... 3.560 MHz
If no propagation on 80m try 40m - 7.038 MHz @ 9:30 PM (0630 UTC)...

Sunday @ 9:15 PM (0615 UTC - Monday)..... 3.560 MHz
If no propagation on 80m try 40m - 7.038 MHz @ 9:30 PM (0630 UTC)...


.....This is a preliminary schedule that can be moved to the best days and times to satisfy the largest number in the group... Suggestions are requested...


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.....The "Tundra Telegraph is the newsletter of the Alaska QRP Club... No item may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the Alaska QRP Club...
.....Please address any comments or questions to the "Alaska QRP Club"...2598