KX3 Go Box (Continued)

Obviously, I have been slow in posting my progress and that is mostly because there hasn’t been very much progress. During the last few months with the help of information from Mark Scott, K4MV, I have been able to make faster progress. I believe I now have all the parts that I will need to finish the go-box and have begun to assemble things.

I did run into a few problems that required some imagination and patience. Mounting the power supply, the amplifier, and the USB SignaLink, were not as straight forward as I had imagined they would be. I had to obtain some rack mount brackets for the power supply which allowed me to attach the power supply to the faceplate. The length of the power supply does not allow much room inside the Pelican case so I needed to be able to adjust the mounting to get the unit as deep inside as I could. There may still be some adjustment to be done but I won’t know until I actually mount the entire radio pack into the case.

I made custom brackets for connecting the faceplate to the amplifier, which took me a couple days to figure out and make. I started out using readily available “L” brackets from the hardware store. They didn’t work to well as the metal was about an eighth of an inch thick and was hardened metal and difficult to get the screw hole accurately placed. After I gave up on the “L” brackets, I found a piece of lightweight aluminum and tried that. It turned out to be too flimsy and not strong enough. I finally found some 28-gauge sheet metal left over from duct work done on my house and that worked rather well.

I cut some strips, drilled the screw hole (4-40 size), tapped the hole and made the appropriate bend in the strip, then custom fit each one in place. They worked real well and the amplifier is now mounted securely to the faceplate.

The next hurdle was mounting the USB SignaLink to the faceplate. The SignaLink is a bit of a special case in that this build could probably have been made without it, but I chose to use one. Rather than make any holes or changes to the SignaLink box I wrapped some galvanizing tape around the case on the inside of the faceplate. The tape is about four times thicker than electrical tape and by wrapping around the case two to three times it built up sticky barrier up against the bottom of the faceplate. The case does not move now and can easily be removed if necessary. No damage either.

I’ll start adding pictures to this as soon as I can figure out how to do that. Needless to say, this is just the start of a HUGE project, and I will post as I can. If you have read this far, thanks for visiting.

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Mosley Pro 96

I spent a few weeks assembling the PRO-96, taking my time and making sure that I had all the parts in the right place according to the instructions supplied by Mosley. On the ground, the antenna is LARGE. I put it together at the base of my tower to make it easier to get onto the tower.

Basically, I had three antennas that needed to go up onto the tower and two older antennas to come down. I had already removed (and sold) the SteppIR DB-36 that was on the tower and all that was left was a Comet GP-3 vertical at the very top of the mast and a 2-meter, ten element beam a few feet below it.

We had to remove the mast from the rotator and the thrust bearing and bring it down to the ground to remove the antennas. My U.S. Tower HDX-572 was lowered to its collapsed position puts the height at about 25 feet which was much safer to work at.

On the ground we installed a new Comet GP-9, 2-meter, 440 MHz, dual band vertical. Just below that we installed the Mosley AM-56, 6-meter beam and reinstalled the mast in the rotator and thrust bearing. We realigned the mast and antennas so that they were pointing at true north and locked everything into place.

The last phase was the installation of the PRO-96. I thought it might be the hardest to install but surprisingly it was the easiest. We hoisted the antenna up the side of the tower, and it bolted right onto the mast just above the thrust bearing. After aligning it to true north we bolted everything down and finalized a few more items, such as replacing the coax cable standoff arms on the tower.

I originally bought coax cable standoff arms with the arched tops where you had to cable-tie the coax to it. This turned out to be tricky and often when I lowered the tower the cables would sometimes twist and want to bind on the support arms. I replaced them with “pass through” arms that contain the coax yet let them pass through and drop to the base of the tower. When the tower is extended the cables are supported by the top, arched support.

The picture above shows the final results, and it looks great up there after all the time I spent to get to this point. Performance wise, this beam is fabulous! My first 40-meter contact was 8J1RL, a Japanese Research Expedition in Antarctica. From my QTH that’s a little over ten thousand miles away. Granted, the contact was an FT-8 contact but my signal report was a +2, and I was running 45 watts! Needless to say, I am very happy with the performance of this beam. All the bands have an SWR of less than 1.5:1 across each band with the exception of 40. On 40 the SWR moves slightly higher at the band limits to about 1.8:1. I don’t even need to run the antenna tuner if I don’t want to.

I am looking forward to some really fantastic operating despite the poor propagation conditions we are experiencing now. I can imagine how much better things will be as the sunspot cycle improves.

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Mosley AM-56

I mentioned before that I recently purchased a NEW Mosley AM-56 Six-meter beam and now it is built and installed atop my 72-foot U.S. Tower. See the photo above. So far, the beam has been all that Mosley has said it would be. Very well manufactured and real easy to assemble. The antenna analyzer showed exactly what the instructions indicated should be expected. I am looking forward a getting my Worked All States on this 6-meter beam, regardless of the low sunspot cycle.

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KX3 Go Box (Continued)

I am still gathering components for the Go-box and have figured out a few things regarding how to mount the main radio components in the box. Still doing more research and there is a lot of it. One thing I am doing is listing each connection from the radio, pan adapter, amplifier and other components by the type of connector being used. This is necessary to extend them to the front panel and have the right connector. For example, the KX3 ACC2 jack is a 2.5mm jack. To extend this to the face of the main mounting plate you need to have another jack mounted there connected to a male 2.5mm plug which goes to the KX3 ACC2 jack.

Pretty self-explanatory but I wanted to be sure to explain just what I meant. So, each jack on the radio, the panadapter and other devices will have to be similarly extended to the main faceplate and then plugged into the related device. This will require a comprehensive list of each connection so that appropriate jack/cable combinations can be constructed and mounted. That is what I am spending time on right now.

The information I have gleaned from WB8TZ’s video indicates that I will have to build some custom extension cables, which I have yet to define. This is what is taking some time and one reason more progress has not been made. Also, the cost of the components is a bit prohibitive so I have to buy them as I can afford to.

If you are following along here, sorry it isn’t a faster project, and I will try to make updates more often.


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KX3 Go Box (Continued)

I have acquired the box for the project, a Pelican 1510 carry on case, black. I have sent emails to Jim, Wt8BZ, asking for a copy of his CAD file for the face plate that everything is mounted to in the Pelican case but have not heard back from him yet. I used the YouTube site he posted as the first contact point and then used his email address listed in QRZ.com. So far, no response and it has been almost two weeks. I believe that he is still sending out copies but if he is as busy as I suspect he is, it may take a while to get the CAD file. More later.

73, AD7Z

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KX3 Go Box

I have plans to document a project building an Elecraft KX3/PX3/KPA-100 go box for portable operations and emergencies.

Just what is a go box? It is a portable radio station in a box. I hope to build a replica of the same unit that Jim McDonnell, WT8BZ, has documented on YouTube. If time permits, I plan on listing every step of the build as I go and then the final unit. One thing that may slow things down is acquiring components and getting enough time to make progress.

I’ll try to post regularly but this is all new to me, the web site thing that is.

73, AD7Z

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