Primary Station

I am a dedicated HF CW operator.  I don't own a microphone.  Everybody has a mouth, but how many people have a good fist?  My station reflects my interest in this niche area of our hobby.  I have two modern rigs, an Elecraft KX1 and an Elecraft KX2.  I also have a vintage station consisting of a Drake 2B and an Ameco AC-1 clone.   I have one antenna, a 135' doublet  stuffed into my 24' wide attic with an SGC-231 auto-coupler.  My station provides me with 80 through 10 meter capability, including the WARC bands.  


Here is my simple, HF CW station, tucked into a nook in the master bedroom of our retirement townhouse.  It's all I need and all I want.   As an armchair adventurer, I've been all over the world from this little bedroom nook.  Every  contact is a new adventure - always exciting.  After 57+ years in ham radio I am still amazed and speechless when I think about how I can tap my key and blanket the earth with the signal coming from a simple wire strung up in my attic. 

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Below is a closer look at my modern equipment.
The lower shelf has the KX2 and my N3ZN paddle with a custom one inch OTO finger piece and my homebuilt 600Hz resonant CW speaker. The middle shelf holds my SEC1235M switch-mode power supply, a communications speaker and a homebuilt mono audio amplifier and selector box for either the communications speaker, the CW speaker or an RS20M headset.  The top shelf is where my 100 watt amplifier lives along with an Elecraft W1 SWR/Power meter and an Alpha Delta coax switch to change between KX1 and KX2.  Most of the time I operate QRP.  When necessary I switch in the amp but usually I keep the power to around 25-35 watts.  Did you know that there is only a single S-unit difference between 100 watts and 25 watts?

...and here's my vintage equipment
On the top shelf is my Ameco AC-1 clone and next to it is a 4SQRP 40 meter low pass filter.   The AC-1 is a single tube oscillator that puts out about 5 watts from a 6V6 tetrode.  The center shelf holds the Drake 2BQ Speaker/Q-Multiplier and a homebrew manual T/R relay.  The Drake 2B is on the bottom shelf and I recapped it and otherwised refurbished this 59 year old relic to like-new condition.  

...and here's my Navy Flameproof straight key, my GHD sideswiper and my Vibroplex Presentation bug.


And the KX1?  Well that little jewel is my "take it anywhere" portable rig.  What distinguishes the KX1, in my opinion, is that the little rig contains everything necessary to operate portable and still fits in a large jacket pocket.  It's got internal batteries, an attached paddle and an internal tuner that is optimized for a random wire antenna.  Just 28' of wire and a 16' counterpoise puts my signal on 40, 30 or 20 meters.  

Sometimes, I just hook up some RG-174 to the antenna switch and take my KX1 out to the back deck or the front patio, or down in front of the fireplace.  That way I can get out of the "shack" but still enjoy my excellent attic doublet.

QRP holds a special attraction for me and I've operated QRP for decades, earning QRP DXCC, QRP WAC, all states, plenty of sought-after DX...and even scored well in contests.  But for casual ragchewing in times when space weather isn't cooperating, the judicious use of a little extra power can make it a more pleasant exchange for both sides of the QSO.