Thursday, April 08, 2010

First QSO under my belt

So here was the set up:

Newly finished PFR3A to my Emtech ZM-2 tuner, in turn to the Butternut. Called CQ for a bit and got no results. I even tried responding to a few strong CQs and got no takers. Nothing. So immediately the paranoia sets in. Did I mess something up during the final wiring and assembly? Did I mess up a toroid or something while angling the circuit board into the housing? For peace of mind, I removed the coax from the vertical and set the dummy load and QRP Wattmeter in place. Hmmm ...... still getting the 4.75 Watts out that I was getting before. Maybe for whatever reason, it's just not a Butternut night tonight? It happens.

I pulled off the Wattmeter and dummy load and hooked up the G5RV (I know some of you out there consider a G5RV to BE a dummy load!). Playing around with the menu button to enter "tune" mode so I could touch up the ZM-2, I accidentally started sending the contents of the keyer's memory, into which I had programmed a CQ call. Much to my wondering ears should I hear the sweet strains of W9HLY answering my accidental CQ!

Vern and I chatted for only about 10 minutes or so. QSB was deep and there was digital racket that came on board after our QSO started. But the RF from the PFR3A spanned from South Plainfield, NJ all the way to Decatur, IN. And I got a 589 report to boot!

I am happy and know that this is the beginning of nice things to come.

A couple of things. It is going to take some getting used to this push button tuning. 30 + years of twiddling a tuning knob makes the push buttons seem "weird". It is also going to take me a bit to figure exactly where to tune to fall in the middle of the receive station's passband. I am thinking that most likely, I will have to tune the receive station so that their note is a little on the high side.

I also had no problem figuring out how to program and use the memory keyer. The instructions provided are a little confusing (I am dense - I admit it!); but a little trial and error got me going. I haven't figured out how to program the second memory yet - there are two - but I figure "one step at a time".

I'm just happy to know the radio works and is getting out.

72 de Larry W2LJ


  1. Hi Larry,
    Congrats with you new home made rig. For me its many, many years ago I build one, but nowadays it's all to small, and I am too impatience, hi. So I admire your perseverance to build something like that. Have a nice weekend, 73 Paul

  2. Great job Larry....not a kit builder but admire those that do and have the satisfaction of using their own gear. I can only imagine the thrill of the first contact on a new homebuilt rig.


    John N8ZYA