The Christmas Train

K8NY

Since 2012 I have been running the Christmas Train on Christmas Eve and now Christmas Day. The “train” is actually a virtual train, I am still here at my station but am welcoming hams from all over the world to participate.

The purpose and message of the Christmas Train is simple: Sharing the Joy and Happiness of the Christmas Season with other radio operators. Our big hope is that we hams also carry over that joy into our daily lives.

Starting on Christmas Eve 2014 and continuing, we have another Christmas Train “engineer” who will be operating on alternate frequencies. Randy, W9RWB, will be operational from his station in Missouri. The pictured QSL above  is available for an sase (stateside) and will be complimentary sent to any DX stations.

Operations will commence for DX  on 24 December at 1400Z. As we have posted on our QRZ sites, please check the Cluster Spots for station frequencies. We look forwar to working you this Christmas Season.

 

 

QSK and Boat Anchors

20151206_153456

I was on 40meter CW last week using my Boat Anchors (DX-60 & SB-303). Called CQ and KK4RF, Marty in Suffolk, VA, replied back. When we exchanged info on our rigs, discovered that he was also running a DX-60 and we enjoyed a very pleasant qso. (QSO video here). During that QSO, Marty told me about this homebrew QSK switch that he had built and was using. It provided full QSK break in as well as receiver grounding and optionally, muting of the receiver on transmit keystrokes. The circuit was designed by Phil, AD5X, who is a prolific designer and QST article author.

I found this QSK switch interesting as I was not happy with my current setup of manually switching my xmtr & rcvr with my DowKey relay. Since Marty had mentioned how well the unit worked, I decided to take a look at the circuit and construction layout to see if I was going to attempt construction. The article appears in the Feb 2012 issue of QST and is also on Phil’s website (AD5X QSK article). I found the circuit and hardware to not be all that difficult so I decided to go ahead and build it.

As is visible, there is  a complete parts list with Mouser part numbers if any parts are needed. I had most of the resistors, caps and all of the diodes but I needed to order most of the hardware, the Omron high speed relays and one of the transistors (the PNP).

The parts arrived relatively quickly and I decided to start immediately. After scribing the positions for the hardware I set to drill things out on my drill press.

Enclosure
Aluminum Enclosure ordered from Mouser

Pretty easy work and was able to borrow the larger drill bits from my buddy Mick, W8MLS.

 

I had a small Radio Shack PCB that I utilized and went ahead to determine parts layout. This was the most difficult portion of the project.

PCB with components laid out.

After setting up I soldered the circuit, installed the relays into the 16 pin sockets and tested functionality.

PCB installed in enclosure All hardware wired in

 

Completed Project Rear View

It worked very well. I then finished with installing the board and wiring the board to hardware (a bit tedious I might add).

 

Completed Project Front View

I tested the completed project and then installed it at my Boat Anchor position. The project worked flawlessly (QSK video here) and I now have updated QSK capability for these old radios. Thanks to Marty (KK4RF )for bringing it to my attention and Phil (AD5X) for his circuit design.