I’m up around 100 or so contacts to around 10 countries. I operate mostly in late evenings on 40 meters, usually rag chewing in the extra voice region. I use Ham Radio Deluxe for logging and digital modes.
The transworld antennas, two now, are running great. One is on 40, the other on 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10. I haven’t had a lot of time on the upper bands recently, but both antennas are now up. They are compromise antennas, small, portable, etc., but perform quite well given their size. Highly recommended.
The Ameritron AL-80B is still a champ. I’ve had a strange shift in where the load tuning dial likes to live, but it still tunes up on every band. I’m not sure what might have happened. The plate/load tuning capacitors are properly closed/meshed at 1 and open/unmeshed at 10. No idea why the load tuning would have shifted a few points… However, everything seems to be working. I’m keeping an eye on it.
I purchased the MFJ tuner saver, which pulses a CW key input to provide a consistent signal for tuning with much less than 100% duty cycle. This makes me feel more comfortable tuning and seems to work great. I do most tuning into the dummy load, where it probably isn’t needed. However, quick touch ups into the antenna would otherwise exceed its power ratings. Plenty of headroom on SSB, but the antenna doesn’t support the tuning carrier level.
Following up after a couple of weeks and revised after a couple of months.
I’ve now tuned the amp at a few points in each band into a dummy load. This gives me a good reference chart on initial tuning, as well as a record of output, grid current and plate current. This makes it easy to tune, but also easy to tell over time if anything has changed.
I’ve since installed the 10/12 meter modification and installed the grid overload protection board. The 10/12 mod was easy, following Ameritron’s instructions after sending them my call sign info, etc.
Since establishing my station a few months ago, I had planned to add a linear. I did quite a bit of research and finally settled on the Ameritron AL-80B.
I liked the power range, 1000W SSB, a 10db gain from barefoot, while still running almost comfortably on a household 120V circuit. I liked the price, under $1400 shipped from hamradio.com. I also liked the 3-500Z based design. It seemed like a good design around a tube originally designed for this purpose. It can push the tube hard, but I believe mainly within its specs. Operator error is another thing altogether…..
I received my amateur extra license by passing the three exams on March 12 of this year. About ten days later, my FCC issued call sign, AK4GX, was issued. As standard issue call signs go, this one wasn’t bad.
However, I quickly became interested in shorter call signs that were easier to say phonetically. A few checks of AE7Q.COM made me realize that shorter call signs were not readily available in my area – region 4.
I decided to compromise, requesting a ‘3’ call sign with a small phonetic weight. Whiskey Golf Three Oscar is definitely one of the easiest call signs to speak on the air.