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Zero Beat Circuit/Misc. - Keynote # 9, 1998

Well, as Nancy mentioned in the last Keynote, my column was pre-empted in the past two Keynotes for some much more urgent information about license restructuring. She offered me an extra full page in this issue, and I probably could fill it, but I won't because I am not the only one who got preempted, and there is much other material to get caught up on as well.

I'd just like to bring to your attention two matters I think are of interest. As you know, my whole ham life is QRP. I operate 100% QRP on all 9 HF bands. Because of that, I am not overly enthused with the little one-band QRP kits. Oh, they are great for the casual QRP operator or for use on camping trips, etc., but I want something that operates all 9 bands. Recently such a kit has been made available. In fact, two such kits have come on the market. I have looked at the specs on their Internet sites, and they look quite good. Both are in the same price range around 600 dollars. If you are seriously interested, you can find out more by visiting my web site and following the links to their sites. The companies are Elecraft and S&S Engineering. The links are on my QRP Equipment links page. If enough of you are interested who don't have internet access, I'll give more info about these rigs in a future column.

Second, we have discussed zero-beating quite a bit lately, and W6OWP sent a diagram of a clever little device that can aid in zero beating a signal. It works by lighting an LED when the received tone is at a certain frequency. For example if your transceiver uses 700 Hz as an offset, you set the device so that it triggers at 700 Hz. Then when you tune in a signal and the LED comes on, you know you are tuned to zero beat. I haven't tried it myself, but it looks really neat. It only uses a handful of parts and would be very simple to build. If you'd like a copy of the diagram with a parts list and instructions, send me an SASE plus an extra loose 20 or 32 cent stamp (to cover my cost of making copies), and I'll send it to you.

Soon it will become much easier to work DX with our QRP setups. In fact, I have already worked 100 countries this year with my QRP and simple wire antennas, so conditions are definitely better than they have been in several years now. Of course, you'll want to get those QSL's as quickly as possible when you do work the DX. If you haven't already discovered it, I now have an all in one QSL route finder on my web site that provides direct access to about a dozen callsign servers and a couple dozen other sources of QSL info, managers, lists, etc. Check it out. I've gotten many favorable comments about it.

Next month, hopefully we'll be back into the regular routine here in the Keynote. Remember, if there is anything you would like to see discussed in my column, let me know. Ideas from you keep the column interesting. I'd still like to hear from you about your most interesting QRP QSO or achievement with QRP so I can share it with the readers here. There is still a lot of interest in reviews of various QRP rigs. If you own a QRP transceiver, and want to try your hand at writing a review, give it a shot. Those reviews are not part of my column, but are to be sent directly to Nancy to be included elsewhere in the Keynote.

You can contact me in any of three ways. My web site is at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/, my regular mail address is John. H. Shannon, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304. Hope to hear from you soon. -30-