Monthly Archives: December 2011

Next kit project: Four State QRP Group Station

For my next QRP kit project I chose the recently introduced Four State QRP Group Station which consists of a separate superhet receiver & transmitter for 40m along with a microprocessor-based T/R switch, which has been dubbed the “Magig Box.”.

I’m looking forward to building this kit and getting on the air because it will be the first time I’ve run a separate rcvr / xmtr since my Novice days back in the 1960’s. Back then I was running a Hallicrafters SX-130 receiver and a Heathkit DX-40 transmitter. A 60w incandescent lightbulb was my dummy load and a simple copper knife switch was a T/R switch. Simple and effective. I worked a lot of stations (and even some DX) with that setup. My antenna was a longwire.

If the “Magic Box” works as well I expect I hope to build additional transmitters, especially one for 10m now that the sunspot cycle has become more active. The Magic Box effectively makes running a separate rcvr and xmtr almost like running a xcvr according to the guys at Four State QRP.

This new station ensemble first appeared at the 2010 OzarkCon held in Branson, MO.

I’m also considering running separate xmit/rcv antennas to see whether that is a more effective approach than my current dipole cut for 40m.

John Kraus – W8JK

One of the things I enjoy most about my work as a Research Librarian at an engineering company is my exposure to all kinds of technology and related books and online resources. I recently skimmed through John Kraus‘ classic, Antennas and, although I am not an engineer, found several sections of the book very valuable to my understanding of simple wire antennas. John himself was a ham, W8JK, who is well know for his innovative antenna designs.

While reading through the chapter on dipole antennas, I came across a Beetle Bailey cartoon which, for me, captured part of the essence and mystery of antennas. Beetle is up on the roof holding an antenna while his buddy inside is telling him when it is positioned just right for a good signal. In the next frame, Beetle slips and begins falling off the roof. In the final frame Beetle is shown hanging upside down off the roof still clutching the antenna, as his buddy shouts out, That’s perfect right there!

So often, that’s what happens in antenna work. You read about all the theory behind an antenna, but when it comes down to making it work, reality sets in and the concept of “free space” goes out the window. Thanks John!