My Most Recent QSO's

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Small QRP Key

I enjoyed the drive to see the K-3 station of Art Ellis (W8PBO) in Ravenswood WV. I also enjoyed talking to Eric (AC8LJ) as we drove up the Interstate to Arts home. It was a very enjoyable trip and I was pleasantly surprised with the entire days events.

Art uses the latest Elecraft K-3 K Line gear at this home. A brief demonstration had me hooked with the first note coming from the speakers. I'm very impressed with the "graph" feature on this radio. Being able to visually "see" the signal on the band, and automatically "tuning" the radio to this frequency is VERY useful. With the accompanying "signal strength" displayed on the screen, it would be easy to spot "QRP" signals.

We chuckled when hearing "Bens Best Bent Wire" from a station near Chicago. 

I had no idea that Art (W8PBO) was a collector of many fine, and unusual Morse Code Keys. I plan to return here to take a closer look at them when the water situation returns back to normal in Charleston. This trip was a much needed refreshment from the chemical spill here in the valley. 

Although we visited Art to take a look at his fine station, both Eric and I returned to Charleston with one of Arts many keys. I chose the very small Vibroplex Code Mite. Most hams would keep this key just for the collectors value but I had every intention of using it with my QRP station. 

I'm not sure how many of these keys were produced but I have # 490 on the table alongside my Iambic paddle. I'll use it for SKCC and slow speed NAQCC events. 

Every new day I spend on the CW portion of the bands makes me appreciate the development of Morse Code equipment. We've certainly advanced from the original "straight key" days of early radio.

I'm looking forward to another visit to Art's radio shack. I had no idea there was such a fine display of both a good CW station and a collection of great keys in West Virginia. I'm overjoyed to find the small Code Mite key and Eric came home with a "Sideswiper" which has a very distinctive sound.

Art will be at the Dayton Hamfest in March; I'll be looking forward to seeing him there.

Art and his wife were perfect hosts to our visit. His wife served us coffee, tea, and cookies before we left for home. They were both teachers before retirement. You won't find finer folks anywhere in this state. They were both a real joy to meet.


VE9KK said...

Good evening John, very nice shots of the keys and the photo of Art sure does give you an idea of all the keys that he has. So on another note… are impressed with the K3 and it's goodies!! I have as you know the P3 and K3 and it's a great combo. I am also a fan of putting the P3 up on my PC screen.

This Winding Road said...

I LOVE that Vibroplex straight key (Code Mite)! You have officially opened my eyes to that key and I will be on the hunt for one! I love my Vibroplex keys. I've collected a handful of the Flameproof's to date, always on the hunt for one I don't have. I really enjoy the straight key. I also liked how Art has his keys displayed, very nice! Looking forward to hearing about your test drive with that thing!

Jspiker said...

Hello Phil,

I need to check and see how many of them were originally manufactured. Art knows, and told me, but I forgot. (senility)

I worked some SKCC stations last night and it performed beautifully. I'm very surprised than it's balanced well and can be used without holding the base with the other hand.

I worked CL8CF (Cuba) on 40 meters last night. He is in Guantanamo and the first "CL" I've worked.

I'll write it up on the next post for this blog. I'm listening for the K3Y stations now that I have the new Vibroplex Code Mite.

This Winding Road said...

Yea, another I found I like along the lines of the Vibroplex is the QRP J-38.

I was on this weekend for the 6 meter contest doing a bit of CW with my Vibrokeyer. I did listen to Max, K3Y/KH6 yesterday on 15 meters but I did not have enough umph to make it to his location. I have only worked a few K3Y stations this year and need to get looking again.

Thanks for the update on how it worked. Makes me want one even more. :)

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

I had forgotten about your P3. It's a wonderful addition to your rig. It's a great accessory!