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Sunday, November 25, 2007

CQWWCW 2007 Contest

I played around in the CQWWCW (CQ World Wide CW(Morse code)) contest this weekend. It is a Morse code contest for amateur radio. The object is to contact as many stations as possible, preferably from another country. It ran from 00:00 UTC Saturday (7pm Friday for EST) until 23:59 UTC Monday (7pm Sunday Night). I didn't contest, instead I relaxed and got as many contacts as I could with my station under no pressure. I did decent for only operating a few hours with my QRP radio that I bring to RIT.

My radio is a Ten Tec 1340 QRP CW Transceiver running about 3 watts into an 80 Meter Off-Center-Fed-Dipole (OCFD) that I built over the summer. The radio operates in the 40 Meter band (7 MHz) and is a kit that I built about a year ago.

The radio has a few modifications. I installed a NORCAL Keyer to allow me to use a paddle and electronically create the dit's and dah's, a lot faster than a straight key. I also modified the output coax connector from the standard PL-259 (UHF) connector to a better BNC-type connector. This required some metal work to make a new mounting bracket, the hole was to large from the PL-259 previously installed. My paddles are homemade NB6M PC-Board paddles, my favorite mostly because I built them from scratch, but they do work incredibly nice and is designed for portable use.

This is all powered by a modified PC-Power supply. I wired it up to put out an even 12V at about 7 amps max (the regulator IC would not go up to 13.8V! Maybe I'll get around to modifying the circuit). Normally, PC Power supplies are noisy switch-mode power supplies, and oh boy... it was! I modified the output by putting massive inductors from old DMC microwave radio power supplies in series on each output (+12V,-12V,+5V,-5V) and a 6000uf capacitor to ground from the output I am using. Worked like a charm! There is little noticeable hum on the power supply and I do not get any comments on my signal about a hum, problem solved!

So the contest went really well, I enjoyed the low power operation and simply using Morse code. If anyone happens to have any questions or wants to know more about the Ten Tec 1340 and it's modifications just leave a comment! Questions about the Off-Center-Fed-Dipole and amateur radio are also more than welcome!

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