The K0WA Shack
|The main operating station consistes of an Elecraft K3/100, Ameritron AL-82, and a PalStar 2000 tuner.
The second station consists of an Elecraft K2/100 and a KAT100 Tuner,
The third station consists of a Knight T-50 and V44 for a transmitter/VFO and a Drake 2B receiver.
The station is located in a 16 x 13 "workshop" area built on the back of the garage in 1994. (I did the work and it is not professional, but fairly inexpensive.) The shack has baseboard electric heat and a window air conditioner built in the wall. I have a workbench where I build kits and circuits and do general electronics tom-foolery. I have a Scope, RF Generator, several Frequency Counters, DMM, and assorted meters and gadgets.
I like CW the most and love CW contesting. I like RTTY contesting as well as rag chewing and I do pick up the microphone and talk. I am not a two meter FM enthusiast, but have a couple of mobile rigs somewhere.
The Elecraft K3 landed in Newton in March of 2008 and took me about 3 days to complete. The radio has lived up to my expectations. The radio is great on CW and SSB is very good also It works fine with RTTY and the filtering is wonderful for that mode. I have done many software upgrades that have gone very well. I have a 2.8 Khz and a 500 Hz roofing filter. The radio is everyting that one reads about. I have used the K3 in many contests and it has done very well. For the money, it is a very fine radio with excellent customer service from Elecraft.
I researched amplifiers for quite some time before I decided to get the Ameritron AL-82. It is a basic amplifier but it is different than most 3-500z amps. It really uses the tubes to their full capacity. Tubes are relatively cheap compaired to others and the way the designer built the amp allows, in my opinion, for long life. The designer used a presurrize plenum and the actual glass chimnies in the design. The power supply is very stiff using 240 volt mains. The AL-82 replaced a AL-80A which I liked a lot. I am sure that there are flaws in this amp, but it sure gets up and talks. It can put out the power and uses the tubes as they should be used. I picked this up used from a retired ham in Dallas.
Well, not every antenna can be built to every frequency I want to operate on. I like CW, RTTY and SSB, so I operate from low to high in the bands. So, I have had tuners before of various ilks (including a homebrew tuner which I still have), but none that could reach 160 very well. Enter the Palstar AT2K. I had Palstar's 1500 version of the same tuner, but it had trouble going to 160 meters. I run an Slumping Inverted-L with 16 radials and match it with the tuner. It is not the most ideal antenna and needs a little help with the tuner. I also use it on other bands to keep everything happy in the shack.
The Elecraft K2/100 is loaded up with about everything except the audio DSP board. The kit took more more than a month to build but I took my time. It worked the first time too. I was bored with ham radio and the K2 increased by interest in ham radio and I got back into building. My experience with the K2 was augmented by the use of the Elecraft reflector and the friends I have made throughout the world. You cannot get any better customer service anywhere. The K2 is not a play radio. It is a serious radio which has stood the test of time. I have used mine for contests and Field Day. I have pounded on the rig in many contests and it has not let me down. The K2 is easy to fix and help is just an email away...not only from Elecraft...but from many other hams who love the K2. The KAT100 is a very good tuner which is an LC match circuit and can match Hi-Z to Low-Z. The algorithm that runs the tuner is very fast and gets a match in seconds.
I started looking at boatanchor equipment and marvelled how this equipment was put together and restored. So, I started getting into the game. I first got an Hammarlund HQ-110 that was great condition. I then started looking for a transmitter but I wanted something rather unusual or for lack of a better word, "cool.". I chose the Knight T-50. It uses an 6AG7/807 tube combination. A classic combination in the 50s and 60s until designers started using the 6146 and the sweep tubes. The Knight T-50 is not unusual in the technology but it is fairly rare. I also found the V44 VFO for the unit. I then found a Drake 2B for a good price on EBay and snatched it up. The 2B is a very good receiver. The Drake has excellent receive on 80, 40, and 20. I am amazed at the technology used with the 2B - the use of bandpass tuning and various filters, all with 60s technology. I also got the 2AQ speaker with the Q-Multiplier. I also found a crystal calibrator for sale. The 2B is in need of some work as is the T-50 and the VFO. But working and restoring boatanchors is what is fun. I do plan to operate the station once it is all in place. So, if you hear me on the air, I might be working one of my stations. I hope to do an update on these rigs as I restore them and use them on the air. My plan is to use them on the air regularly for CW rag chews and maybe a contest..
You might hear me on the air and I might not be at my station. I like contesting and from time-to-time, you will hear me from another station.
Of course I have some equipment that has been retired and just sitting around.