On Friday, June 12, four of us met down at the station for lunch and then to work on the K3. The K3 that the club uses is a radio that was used in the WRTC-2014 contest held in New England last summer. As contest radios don’t really need a second receiver or a digital voice recorder (DVR), this K3 was not fitted with these options. As we also like to DX with the radios at SPARC, NY4I procured the parts for the radio to add the second receiver, upgrade to the new K3SYNA synthesizer and add the Digital Voice Recorder (SSB and CW memories).
Adding this kit took about 4 hours using the very well written Elecraft instruction manual. Dave KR4U led the build team with assistance from Tom, NY4I, John KI4UIP and Club President, Bob, N2ESP. We had the radio buttoned up but not tested plus Tom forgot to add the DVR so after taking the radio home for final testing, NY4I ended up taking the sub receiver out two more times to get it to work (I gave Dave some bad instructions on the order of filters). After the source of the issue was located, and a quick test on the trusty HP service monitor, it was time to tackle the DVR. This required removing the front panel of the radio and removing a board. The unfortunate thing is this was the exact same procedure that was used to add part of the second receiver. The moral of the story is when installing two kits at once, make sure you read both sets of instruction FIRST!
After about 2 hours (being extra careful), Tom, NY4I installed the DVR and all checked out well.
You might be asking how this helps the general club member. Besides this being one of the K3s we are using at Field Day, you now have access to world-class radio complete with a fully-independent sub-receiver and DVR. This makes DXing easier as you can also hear the other side of the pile-up. The DVR means you can record your voice and push a button to give your call in a contest. This is also the radio we use in the remote HF station available to SPARC members.
Our hope is that members want to get on the air and operate the station. We normally open the station the Saturday after the club meeting plus for contests. Other times are available—just ask someone. If you haven’t been down to the club station lately, make a point to come down during Field Day and see the setup. If you are a seasoned HF operator or a new general class ham looking to learn, we can help you use the station however you like. It is there to be used and the more the merrier.