Activity

This is a little distorted (showing less activity than actual), as I do a lot of operating without CQing, which is what the RBN picks up...but interesting nonetheless.

NoGAQRP KX3/PX3 Stand

I'm a member of the North Georgia QRP Club - a loosely organized group based roughly out of Atlanta, GA. I've had more enjoyment being a member of this club than any other in my 40 years as a ham. Part of that is due to the wide variety of talents shown by the various members. We've got members who have won the FDIM home-brew competition, at least two past presidents of QRPARCI, some good contesters and DXers, some fine programmers, superb CW ops, and even a few woodworkers in the group. The meetings generally detail some activities from each of these groups, all of which are impressive.

Original side-by-side stand
One of the woodworkers is Paul Kelley, W4KLY. In addition to other woodworking projects, Paul has built a number of nice operating desks for Atlanta area hams. Another radio-related line he produces are wooden stands to fit a variety of QRP rigs. His latest stand is a stand designed to hold both the KX3 and matching PX3 panadapter. Early in this project, I commissioned Paul to build a side-by-side stand for my KX3/PX3. Ever since I'd gotten the PX3, I was bothered by it and the KX3 not staying in exact alignment with each other...not a real big deal, but I wanted the two connected more solidly. In talking to Paul, I also ordered a slightly more angled stand to fit my desk/chair heights and where I was planning on using the KX3. The resulting stand was awesome - just exactly what I ordered - and I was a fairly happy customer. The biggest problem I had with the side-by-side stand is that it's difficult to access the headphone jack on the KX3. My plan was to build an external amplifier/speaker and just leave that connected to the KX3 full-time with a switch to choose speakers and/or headphones. All in all, not a bad problem.

160 Meter action in the "Big Stew" about 7am local
Well, at the last NoGAQRP meeting, Paul approached me with a new stand he wanted me to try.  He's gone through a lot of iterations trying to get his combo stand dialed it.  This stand places the PX3 above the KX3, which eliminates the problem of bad headphone access.   The KX3 is held at a shallower angle than my side-by-side stand, but because the stand is narrower,  I can keep the radio right next to my keyboard, where the shallower angle works.  I find this particularly comfortable during contests - the side-by-side stand requires a reach that isn't convenient during contests, or working split for that matter.

Nicely finished, including the NoGAQRP brand
Paul is known for his craftsmanship, and it shows in these stands.  He uses two thicknesses of Baltic Birch plywood, micro-nails, and uses a CNC router to ensure consistent results in cutting out what really is a complex shape.  The stands are branded with the mark of the North Georgia QRP Club, and several coats of clear lacquer are applied.  The stands are strong, but lightweight.  I've seen other stands for the KX3, both commercial and home-made, and in my opinion, none of them hold a candle to Paul's stands.  I recommend Paul's stands whole-heartedly.

As I mentioned, I'm a member of NoGAQRP, and Paul does donate a portion of the proceeds of each stand to NoGAQRP.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure, while I paid full price for my original stand, Paul did give me the latest version to try.  None of which detracts from the fact that these are truly nice stands.

You can order your own stand from NoGAQRP Club, just follow the links on this page for pricing and ordering information.  In addition to the over/under stand pictured here, Paul will entertain custom work as well, like he did for my original stand or you have an aftermarket heat-sink or other ideas.  If you have any questions at all, I'm sure Paul would be happy to address them, as he's quite passionate about these stands.  If you have any questions for me, just drop me an email via the addy listed on QRZ.

Cows Over the World


I absolutely love this!  This is how you should do a DXpedition.  Tom, KC0W is traveling across the Pacific, with no set-in-stone agenda:  “The determining factor will be when the pileups die down it’s time to pack everything up and move along,”  Read more about it here:  ARRL

Aven Circuit Board Holder

In May, at the North Georgia QRP group meeting's show & tell, Phil, K4PQC showed a circuit board holder he'd recently purchased off Amazon.  After he passed it around, a couple of us were inspired to order one - from our phones at the meeting!

Well, a couple nights ago I started to put a 80/30 kit into an Elecraft KX1, and decided it was time to try the circuit board holder, and I've got to say, I'm really glad I had it! It was especially helpful in holding the board vertical while I applied the solder sucker to clear some PCB holes, and also for threading on the two little sub-boards onto the main PCB. I can't imagine how frustrated I'd have been without this gadget or something similar.

Here's a photo of the holder in action with the KX1:

Aven Circuit Board Holder - click below to order one for yourself!

K8CR

Y'know...I really do need to post something positive here soon...but stuff like this shouldn't be passed up!

This is K8CR pretending to work VK0EK in the hopes that his call will end up in the DXpedition's log (which it apparently did) - he probably doesn't even have his volume turned up!


Friends, this is *not* the way to work DX! I had a boss one time tell me that no one is totally worthless, they can always serve as a bad example. Apparently K8CR has found his calling!

More Fun With Scammers

The scammers continue to try to steal my money...

I got an email overnight from JOHN P CHWALEK <johnk2iw@gmail.com> - or at least someone claiming to be John Chwalek - you may recall he's one of the ones who answered my WTB ad for a 2-NT and passed me along to a "friend" of his.

As it turns out, "John" has a Collins 75A4 that, for some reason, he thinks I might be interested in buying!

Here's the exchange:

<"JOHN">:  I have for sale  Collins 75A4 radio receiver. if still
interested let me know Thanks.
73;s

<ME>:  Nice radio!
I'd love to call you and talk about it....give me your phone number and I'll call later today.  In the meantime, could you send some photos?

Photo sent by "John"
<"JOHN">:  sorry am having hearing problem that is the reason am clearing up my shack.... here are some photos for your view
ASKING PRICE $955 + SHIPPING
73;s

<ME>:  How long have you had that radio....it looks to be in very good condition....did you have to replace the DSP module, or is the original OK?

<"JOHN">:  the radio is 14 months old and it still have the original DSP module..

<ME>:  Are you the original owner?

<"JOHN">:  i am the original owner


This was actually fun!  There are several things wrong here, that I suspect most of the readers have already figured out!  Additionally, the photo "John" sent is actually a photo from rigreference.com, from which that website's name was cropped out of the file.


And the kicker is that OM John Chwalek has been a Silent Key since 2012!  I don't think K2IW showed as an SK last week when I looked him up, but the QRZ record definitely reflects that now, so perhaps it was just recently brought to the attention of QRZ.   RIP K2IW.


And for the sake of folks looking to not get scammed, when I asked for the PayPal address to use, "John" said to use kaceyag@yahoo.com.  Hopefully it will get picked up by Google ...or you may want to send him some email yourself!


"Want to Buy" Scammers on QRZ, QTH, eHam, etc.

You may have read of my interaction with that less-than-honorable radio seller K1VVC while trying to buy a Drake 2-NT a few months back.  Well, after several more tries, I finally won an eBay auction on another 2-NT, but that deal fell through too...in a fishy manner.  Disgusted with eBay, I decided to post a "Want to Buy" ad looking for a 2-NT.  I posted on the Drake Yahoo group, QRZ, eHam, QTH.com, and maybe one or two I don't remember.  Apparently there are a lot of scumbags out there, as all these sites warn you to be careful buying and selling through their services.  QRZ even prohibits WTB ads for items worth more than $250 due to the rampant number of scammers.  But post a WTB, I did.  Warning - this may get a little convoluted....

Here's a timeline of the answers to my WTB ad.

12/10/15 - WTB ad placed.

12/11/15 - Received email from "Larry T. Williams <larrytwb4nadATgmail.com>" - this was my first response, and after an exchange of info and such, a deal was struck.  I had done a bit of looking around via Google and it appeared that "Larry" was legit.  He asked for payment via PayPal friends/family, and I said I'd send it as a purchase and add in an amount for the fees...to which he said no, just send friends and family.  This was a red flag, but stupidly, I chose to ignore it, and sent him 120 bucks via PayPal friends/family...still feeling uneasy.  Right after I sent the PayPal, I remembered Google's reverse image search, uploaded the 2-NT photo, and was rewarded with the info that the photo was from an eBay auction back in March of 2015 that didn't appear to involve "Larry" - plus the eBay description and the one "Larry" gave didn't quite jive.  So, less than 10 minutes after I sent "Larry" the money, I logged back into PayPal and discovered that "Larry" hadn't yet claimed the money, and I was able to cancel the transaction - that was close!  A little more digging revealed that someone had been using WB4NAD's identity to scam via the ham boards.  I sent "Larry" a message that something had happened with my PayPal account and the transaction didn't go through.  He made no offer of alternative payment methods.

12/11/15 - Received email from "Douglas P. Orr <douglaspw6tyATgmail.com>" - I told him I'd already made a deal on a 2-NT and would get back to him if it fell through.  I called the real W6TY and he assured me that the email wasn't from him - we had a nice brief chat - he's been off the air for a number of years.

12/18/15 - Received email from "Carl F. Groner <carlw2tzATgmail.com>" - hang on, this is where it starts to get confusing!  "Carl" sent an email that included a description that was a direct quote from a QRZ ad from 10/7/15 by K0JY stating “As you can see in the one photo it was putting out 80 watts on 40 meters.” Funny, there was no photo showing this. He said the price was $220.


Funny looking crystal!
Also funny was that he said “I have just used it very sparingly and on crystal control”. Funny because here is the 2-NT plainly sitting on top of an HG-10 VFO, and there is a wire coming out of the crystal socket!

Not the same transmitter!
In a later email, he mentioned that he had a 2-C as well and sent a photo of it and a 2-NT.  The photo of the 2-NT alone (with the HG-10 VFO) is from AB0CW's qsl.net page depicting a 2-B, 2-BQ, and 2-NT with an HG-10 VFO.  The photo of the 2-C/2-NT pair is from an eHam ad by VE3AZQ dated 5/11/10.

I asked the price of the 2-C and was told “price of the 2-NT is $112. i can sell both for $400, and it will be shipped to your doorstep.” - wow, that's about half the original asking price for the 2-NT!

1/2/16 - Received email from "John P. Chwalek <johnk2iwATgmail.com>" - the offer here was to sell me a 2-C.  The description was a direct quote of an ad by K0JY from 11/3/15.  This is the same RX K0JY had listed in his 10/7 ad.  And the photos are also from the K0JY ads.  

So, I mentioned to "John" that I was really just interested in a 2-NT, and he responded that he had a friend with one for sale: W2TY, whose email address was alanw2tyATgmail.com.  

1/2/16 - Received an email from "Aaron Aragon <aarounkj4vhsATgmail.com>" offering a 2-NT.  When asked for photos, he responded that he had a 2-C and a 2-NT, and sent the same photo from VE3AZQ that was sent earlier by "W2TZ".

1/2/16 - Received an email from "Alan J. Gottesman <alanw2tyATgmail.com>" offering a 2-NT.  This was the same description that "W2TZ" had given me earlier, and the photos were again from K0JY.

Whew!

So, I'm not sure if there are a lot of scammers out there or just one.  As you can tell, there is a lot of similarity in the email addresses.  They are all first name, followed by callsign and are gmail.com addresses - several also strangely include the middle initial.  Also, not plain in the descriptions above, but the language often just isn't "right".  Again, not 100%, but more often than one would expect, the emails close with "73's", not "73".  Once, maybe...but not as often as I saw it here.  In each and every case, PayPal was the only accepted form of payment - not even money orders, presumably because of the address discrepancy with QRZ and/or the ability to track down the scammers via a physical address.

Also, on QRZ.com, none of the scammer callsigns have email addresses associated with them.  With enough digging, you'll find that all of the scammer callsigns except K2IW have been used in scams.  [ETA: unfortunately, I just learned that VU2WAP was scammed out of $455 by someone pretending to be K2IW.  Ouch!]

Make no mistake about it, WB4NAD, W6TY, W2TZ, AB0CW, VE3AZQ, K2IW, W2TY, KJ4VHS, and W2TY are all victims here.  Their identities have been hi-jacked.  I have seen nothing that indicates any of these folks are scammers, and have either spoken with, corresponded with, or otherwise seen indications that they are victims here.

So the bottom line is - do be careful.  Do speak with the seller on the phone.  Do not use PayPal without buyer protection.  Do check to see if the seller has an email address on his QRZ page.  Etc.  I realize that this scammer(s) may get tipped off that his MO is pretty consistent and obvious.  If so, he may change his tactics a bit.  Just be very careful.

I got very lucky - I hope you don't get burned.