My KWM-2 Story
Receiver evaluation as expressed by statistics of the current crop of digital wonder toys (D.W.T.), occurs under pristine laboratory conditions. High quality, low noise sources supply specific frequencies. Specific products there-of are carefully evaluated...Life in the ether, however, is some orders of magnitude more complex.
A few years ago, I went out to my radio club's field day sight in hopes of operating the all night shift on fone. When I got there, several hours into the start of the event, there were two big tables of brand new fancy equipment, sitting there, idle, with the op.s just sitting around talking. I asked what the problem was, and they said that neither of the new stations could receive because of being blocked by the C.W. station, a little way up the hill. They turned one of the D.W.T.'s on and sure enough, all you could hear was power supply ripple at about 20 W.P.M. This even though Mr. C.W. was on a different band.
I asked them if they really wanted to operate. They affirmed, so I said slide that stuff over and make room for the field day emergency KWM-2*. We fired that venerable puppy up and worked 259 stations in the next 60 minutes. I was vaguely aware during the hubbub of the Magic Button Boys (MBB) packing up and leaving in a huff; or maybe it was a Buick.
Much later, out of curiosity, I tuned MR.KWM-2 off the edge of the band to a quiet spot to look for overload or desense. The only thing I could find was a just detectable rise and fall in the background hiss.
Now, what defines a radio? Is it fantasy specs and a million features? Or real life performance?
This is a true story. But, if we're not having too much fun yet, this expanded, and "sort of true" part occurred to me while I was trying to make the above legible.
* We fired that vulnerable puppy up, basking in the glow of the empty state devices. A masked operator, clearly insane, materialized at the controls of the KWM-2 and began screaming QRZED Field Day, Mike gain wide open...Later, three exhausted loggers, mildly insane themselves by the time we broke, confirmed that we had worked 259 stations in 60 minutes! Logger - Someone who keeps a running record of the contacts. Field Day - Is an emergency communications exercise. To Brake - To stop operating the radio for a time. The Ether - Was early science's attempt to explain the travel of electromagnetic energy - Radio Waves. There was thought to be a magnetic flux, like water, that was everywhere.
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Chuck Felton KD0ZS
Felton Electronic Design
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Cheyenne, Wy. 82007