Trying to get Foxy

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Posted by w0ep on November 18, 2017 at 8:04 pm

[Thursday: 3.5 miles; today: 6 miles]

The QRP fox hunt people have been on the email and on facebook asking for more people to sign up as the “fox”.  Every fox hunt event has two fox stations.  They are the ones that everyone wants to find and contact.  So the fox has to operate for the whole hunt and listen carefully for “hounds” calling.  It is not really a contest, but the foxes with lots of contacts are more “winner” than ones with few.  A fox with over 50 contacts is doing pretty good.  (this is in 90 minutes remember…  usually things go pretty furiously for about 30 minutes and the rest of the time contacts are relatively sparce.)

I’ve been the fox a few times before, not many.  My big issue is that my equipment is kind of old and flaky and may not work correctly for the full 90 minutes without a break for encouragement of one kind or another.

So anyway,  I signed up to be a fox because of their pitiful pleas.  This has added to my list of projects the need to get into better shape in the equipment department.  In that line I’ve been exploring an option to “dial down” the output of my Kenwood TS-820/TS-520 radios from their normal 80-100 watts to the QRP standard 5 watts.  It involves adding a variable resistor (called a potentiometer or “pot”) and a 9v battery with connections to the amplifier ALC (automatic level control) line.  When a person hooks up a big amplifier to one of these radios there is a connection on the back which allows the amplifier to tell the transmitter to dial it down a bit in order not to exceed the input expectations of the amplifier.  This QRP modification uses that facility in the transmitter and the port on the back as a means to control the output level and turn it down.

I found a schematic online.  And I’m fooling around with the thing.  So far no joy but I think my problem is in figuring out the connection on the back of the TS-820.  Stay tuned.


Filed under Ham Radio, Operating
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