I just returned from a two week vacation, er, work trip to Oregon. Looks like I'll be going back in late November/early December to wrap things up. Unfortunately, what that meant was a further prolonged absence from operating.
While I was out there I had time to think about how little time I spent operating this summer. Spring started with a bang, but as the summer months rolled by I found myself spending more and more time away from the rig. I turned the radio on from time to time and made a few piddling contacts, but the biggest reason was that the HF bands were really crappy in my part of North Carolina nearly all summer long. And whenever I'd have a day where things seemed pretty good, the next week would be total noise.
Likewise, my big plans for erecting a directional antenna for 20-10 meters went by the wayside. Well, that's not entirely true. I've decided that I'm going to homebrew a hex-beam and I did manage to cut out the mounting plate from scrap aluminum at work. But other than that, my erratic work schedule, poor conditions, and a desire to spend more time with my family took precedence. And, of course, if there's ever a reason to NOT operate, spending time with one's family would be legitimate.
But I hope I'm not sounding as if I'm making excuses. I still managed to bag and confirm a handful of new countries. I'm sure as the conditions continue to improve and the wx turns cooler I'll be spending more time inside and in the shack. I also managed to attend the Shelby hamfest, held this year in Dallas, of course. Very impressed. It was my first time.
Almost all of the limited operating that I did took place with the K2, while the FT-1000MP sat mostly idle. For some reason, I just feel more comfortable listening to CW on the K2, it just sounds more pleasant. Also, I feel as though I'm better able to take advantage of what the K2 offers than I am the 1000. With the Yaesu, it seems that I'm twiddling knobs all the time and whenever I change frequencies, I'm adjusting again and again. I need to better educate myself with the Yaesu's features. Maybe if I just left the blasted thing alone? One more thing, I'm far more tempted to turn down the power of the K2 to QRP levels and make contacts. Is it any better than the Yaesu in that respect? Of course not. But for some quirky reason it makes me feel like I'm returning to the radio's roots whenever I do that. I find it quite fun and very exhilirating when I work a new one with 5 watts.
I discovered an odd behavior with my Winkey USB keyer and the Yaesu on 20 meters. For some reason they don't seem to work in harmony. Dahs are oddly lengthened and dits seem to hesitate, almost as if they are waiting to start and then form a string that's oddly spaced. Really strange. It does this irregardless of power output or speed. And it doesn't exhibit this behavior on any other bands. Here's something even stranger. If I'm using N1MM to generate CW through the Winkeyer, it works fine on 20 meters. It's only when I'm using a hand key. Figure this one out. It works fine with the K2.
I should probably drop a line to the designer or look on the Yahoo group.