Begali Traveler Light

IMG_1083After a few weeks of trying to not be too anxious, my new Begali Traveler Light paddle came this morning. Many thanks go out Pietro Begali, and to his lovely daughter Bruna who offered, as always, some of the best customer service available anywhere. I ordered mine with a black base and added optional slotted red aluminum finger pieces. I like the look and feel, and it more closely matches my desktop paddle, a Begali Simplex Pro. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m working diligently on improving my CW ability, and decided to treat myself to a new key for use with my portable Go-Bag FT-817.

The Begali Traveler Light certainly looked like it was a perfect for for what I wanted. Yes I’m a Begali aficionado, but I have other brands and types of keys, both iambic and straight that I use when the mood strikes. That said, I keep coming back to my Begali. It not only looks beautiful, but it feels amazing to use. Other makes of keys and paddles are nice, but I just can’t seem to get the same feel on any of them that I so love on my Begali.

The Traveler is another fine example of the quality that I love about the creations of Pietro Begali. It’s design, though more utilitarian than some of their other offerings, is still very Continue reading

Posted in CW, Equipment, Portable, Reviews

The Cub Is Done!

cub3The MFJ Cub QRP Transceiver lives! A neat little kit to put together. Only had to wind two toroids, and all surface mount components were pre-installed. The instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Since I don’t own any thing pertinent to this radio that has an RCA jack on it, I opted to install a panel-mount BNC jack for antenna connections. Luckily, MFJ has anticipated the desire to do so, and have punched an extra hole in the chassis specifically for this purpose directly over the RCA antenna port. They didn’t include the optional connector though, so I had to source one on my own. A few bucks spent at Amazon and I have a whole bag of the things. Alignment was fairly easy, utilizing a dummy load and my FT-817 working as a receiver. While no substitute for a real set of test equipment, it’s what I Continue reading

Posted in CW, Equipment, Kits, Portable, QRP, Reviews

2016 North American QSO Party (CW)

begali2So as previously mentioned, I’m trying to improve my CW skills. I’m improving gradually, and am pretty happy with my progress so far. Since this weekend is the North American QSO Party contest, I thought I’d give it a go and see how bad I’m doing. Well, so far I’m not very impressed with myself, but I have managed to make 4 contacts so far and all were upwards of 20-25 WPM. I’m okay sending that fast (when the nerves of an actual on-air contest aren’t there), but I’m still working up to copying that fast on the first go-around. Luckily, I’m doing the hunt-and-pounce thing, so I listen to the guys running a frequency Continue reading

Posted in Contesting, CW

New Kits Came Today

One of the things I enjoy most about Ham Radio and electronics in general is kit building. Over the years I’ve built quite a few kits such as memory keyers, TNCs, QRP transceivers, and even a couple of repeater controllers. Every so often I get the bug and start looking for a new kit.

mfj_cubA few days ago I came across the MFJ Cub kit, which is a low power, or QRP, transceiver. Available in several frequency bands, this is an inexpensive, CW-only kit that’s tiny but boasts surprisingly good performance. I took advantage of a “Happy Birthday” coupon the ARRL sent me for $10 off at the ARRL web store and ordered one for 20 meters. I debated getting the 40 meter kit instead, but I’ve already built a Ten Tec TKit 40 meter QRP transceiver that works great, so I though it best to diversify. I’ll be firing up the soldering iron soon and will have this little beastie cranking out it’s Continue reading

Posted in CW, Equipment, Kits, QRP

I’m Back!!!

FullSizeRenderSo, after a long hiatus from blogging ( and ham radio in general ) the K8YSV blog is back online. I took a break for a while to focus on other facets of life and other interests and let the blog slide. In the meantime, my hosting company ( made some changes which forced me to migrate the blog to new servers running a new system. Unfortunately, the tools they provided me to do so didn’t work as expected and I ended up losing most of the old site. So, after sitting on it for a while, I finally decided to bring it back! Stay tuned for more updates as I’m back to Ham Radio with a renewed passion and am looking at the hobby from a new, refreshed perspective.

Posted in General