MFJ-464 CW Keyer/Reader

I really want to get back into CW. My hands have been hurting so much lately and I've been trying to deal with the PTSD that I've let CW slip away completely. The last few days I've done some listening and copying, but when it comes to sending I switch to the dummy load and talk to no one. The MFJ-464 will let me send with a keyboard which I think will be easier for me or at least different enough to peak my interest again.

To make the CW reader useful I've found it is imperative to eliminate as much static and popping QRN from the signal. In my setup I have the FT-950 Phones output connected to the Timewave DSP-9+ Input. I have the Timewave Speaker output connected to the MFJ-464 Radio Input. I have the MFJ Speaker output connected to my shack speaker. That setup seems to work the best. Two things help a lot. Make heavy use of the RF Gain and Noise Reduction. In my case I'm adjusting the RF Gain for minimum noise, but making sure the AF Gain is set high enough to light the 'Normal' LED on the Timewave. The goal is to get the Lock LED to turn on and off with the CW signal ONLY, not the QRN. I find that it is getting easier to adjust with experience.

Sending for me with a paddle improved greatly when I set the unit to use Iambic B instead of A. I grew up using 'B' on my Heathkit keyer.


Back to one power supply....

My Pyramid Power Supply PS-36KX's fan has started to sound like a weedeater and i need to take it apart and see what is going on in there. I'll put up pics when I open up the case.

5 Stations - 2 Power Supplies

That was weird. At first when I was typing this entry I could not see the text. It's OK now.

I now have 5 stations in my shack:

FT-950 - main HF rig
IC-718 - backup HF rig
MFJ-9420 - low power (`15W) 20M SSB rig
FlexRadio Flex 1500 QRP SDR
Kenwood TM 281A 2M Rig

I've decided to put the FT-950 on its own fused cable on the Pyramid PS-36KX by itself. The rest of the stuff will stay on the MFJ-4230MV.

I've sold the FT-817ND

Medical bills are stacking up so I sold the FT-817ND hulk on eBay. Was pleased that it sold for $405.00. It'll be an easy fix for a ham with smc skills.

MFJ-986 Differential-T Tuner

One of life's joys is getting new stuff from MFJ. My experience has been generally positive and I have lots of their products all over my shack. This unit works perfectly out of the box.

This time around I purchased an MFJ-986 Differential-T Roller Inductor tuner. Match occurs only at one setting, and is very easy to return to0 using the Differential Capacitance knob scale and the Inductance counter. For example, 7.290 MHz setting is 3 Capacitance and 50 Inductance. Both numbers are relative. One of the first things the manual had me do is turn the induction knob fully counter-clockwise and then press the reset lever through a little hole through the front panel.

Speaking of manuals. Happy MFJ products are coming with a single page sheet explaining that the manual can be found online. However, the online manuals do not contain the most important stuff. In the case of the MFJ-986 manual on page 7, 'Tuning Chart', the recommended Capacitor Value and Inductor settings are blank - that's just one example. I contacted support online and very quickly received a reply from Richard. He told me to send my address and is sorry that information is not available in electronic format. Makes sense to me they'd want to limit some info that is available for general public, but that is what the paper manual was for in the first place. MFJ is sending me a paper manual. Happy

Like I was expecting, the inductance knob is stiff. That is fine since I don't want it changing when bumped.

I took down my 40 meter single band dipole and put my G5RV JR back up. Beauty is that this is my shack and I can have whatever antenna I want. Happy

Here's some picture:

The case is very deep - 16 inches I think. I had to modify the top shelf to fit the case.

2015-05-08 21.07.56

2015-05-08 21.06.15


New soldering station

It has been a while since my blog entry. Happy

Today I finally rewired my key with another cable. I bought a Weller WES51 solder station. Kind overkill for one solder job. I got through it. The iron works great. My hands to not. Both hands were shaking. I hope to get back into CW on my little Flex-1500.