Some changes at the W2LJ shack regarding equipment, and I have the NEQRP group and the NoGA QRP group to thank for it (indirectly). The past two weekend Sprints, combined with my lunchtime QRP operating have made me realize just how little I use my K3. I have not touched it in months. My operating for the last noticeable amount of time has all been KX3 ... KX3... and more KX3. Don't get me wrong, the K3 is a GREAT radio, a fantastic radio, a radio that has become the DXpeditioner's weapon of choice, lately. I have just started feeling guilty about letting such a great radio go to waste. It's a sin for it to just sit there and not get any use. The rig is too good and it's worth too much to just be a glorified display piece.
So I decided to part with it. And let me tell you, it was a gut-wrenching decision, for several reasons.
I put an e-mail announcing my intentions on QRP-L, quoting the price I was interested in getting for it. I thought it was a really, really good price, considering that I've had it for a very short time and that it is in pristine condition. Really ..... on a scale of 1 to 10, it has to be an 11. I really baby my equipment.
I received a couple of responses, and the second response appeared to be the most promising. I received an e-mail from Brian K3USC (who also happens to follow this blog), asking what the K3's serial number was. Brian was in the market for a K3, but was up front and told me that what I had in mind as payment was a bit more than what he wanted to part with in cash, so I thought it was a bust. But then he mentioned something in his e-mail that really started the wheels spinning inside my noggin.
"I'm in the opposite boat as you. I have a KX-3 that I'm not using like I thought I would and want a K3 !
Let's stay in touch on this..."
This intrigued me on several levels. I'm not using my K3 as I love the KX3 so much. Yet I was still a bit uneasy parting with it, because that left me with no backup radio in the event, God forbid, something should happen to my primary.
So I suggested a trade.
Well, over the next few days, after a series of traded e-mails, photos, and a twisted pair conversation, Brian and I came to an agreement. His K3 is on the way to him and my second KX3 is on the way to me. A bit weird having two KX3s, no? Not really. Brian's KX3 will be the shack rig, while mine will stay in the LowePro 150 to stay on as my portable ops rig. I have pretty much come to the decision that as long as it's not unbearably cold this winter, I will continue my lunchtime QRP sessions year 'round, even if I need to stand there in coat and gloves. I should be raring and ready to go for FYBO next year!
Since my K3 was a K3/100, will I bite the bullet and buy the 100 Watt amplifier for it? That's a distinct possibility and probability as I am still enough of a DXer (let's say one notch higher than "casual") to crank up the power to grab a country that I have never, ever worked before. Let's discuss the following scenario:
I'm working a DXpedition. It's one of the last few days that they're on site before packing up to come home, so the pileups have become manageable. They're calling CQ and I come back to them. I try and try and try with 5 Watts, but they're just not getting my call - propagation is being an imp. You think I'm NOT going to pump it up to 100 Watts if I can? Au contraire, mon frer, I am a QRPer first and foremost, but it ain't my religion, either! Scissors beats paper and a new or rare DXCC entity in the log beats 5 Watts in "desperate" situations.
But I will wait for a bit until the order for the KXPA100 start shipping on a regular basis. I have been keeping my eye on that. At this stage, the first production versions have been rolled out to the Field Testers. Regular orders will begin shipping this month or early November. I am guesstimating that the "normal" order and fulfillment process should kick in at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2014.
I can wait. I have been 100% QRP for the last 11 years. What's a couple more months?
I leave you with a link to a "queasy stomach" video for all you guys out there who use sling shots to launch antenna lines (like I used to). This was given to me by Don K2DSV, a fellow ETS of NJ club member. I realize that none of you use the ammo that the guy in the video does, but you MAY use lead fishing weights, which can be as dangerous. As Sgt. Esterhaus used to say on "Hill St. Blues", "Let's be careful out there!"
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!