External Microphone for Elecraft KX2

I bought my Elecraft KX2 as a bundle which should have included also an external microphone, the Elecraft MH3. Unfortunately, Elecraft is not able to deliver this microphone for several months now, so I was looking for a replacement.

It seems that there are no real replacement microphones for the MH3 on the market. I found the AlexMic, which can also no longer be delivered and a Heil microphone with an adapter for the KX2 which is offered by Lutz Electronics in Switzerland, but this is really expensive.

By accident, I did find an instruction by Richard (2M0NEG) how to change a Retevis microphone to work together with the KX2. The Retevis microphone itself looks identical to the Elecraft MH3, although I am not sure if it is also technically identical.

However, it is working fine for me. I am only using the PTT button, the up/down buttons are NOT working (I did not try if it can be used somehow, as I do not neeed it).

Here are the links to the

microphone

and the

TRRS plug

which I used. The wire colors of the microphone have changed compared to Richard’s instructions:

Mic+ (Tip)Red
Ground (Sleeve)Black
PTT logic ground (Ring 2)Green
PTT (Ring 1)Pink
<unused>White
PIN assignment

In the Elecraft KX2 configuration I set “MICBIAS” to “ON” and “MIC BIN” to “PTT”.

The total cost was under 30 EUR, which is much cheaper than the original mic or the Heil microphone and it does work pretty well for me.

By the way, in addition to the external microphone, I am also using this Sennheiser headset which does also work very well with the KX2.

Testing my new AlexLoop

Today I was portable QRV on a small hill near my home QTH and was testing my new AlexLoop Magentic Loop Antenna. Unfortunately the band conditions were not very good today due to some magnetic turbulence, so I am not able to really say something about this antenna.

I made only 7 QSOs, all within Europe and the farthest contact was to the island of Thassos in Greece, which was about 1600 km (with 10 Watts, SSB).

All reports, I got, were not really good. I was readable but with a very low signal.

However, I really had no QRM at all on all bands. Even on 40 m, where I have S7-S8 at home with my random wire antenna during daytime, there was really no QRM at all. There was some QRN from lightning later in the afternoon, but I still could read signals where the S-meter did not move 😉

The antenna has one real benefit: It comes with a handy backpack with some smaller pockets were you can store all the stuff you need. I am QRV 6 minutes after arrival and it does not need much space. I will not be able to do so with a wire antenna 😉

So, I will try again if the band conditions are in a better shape and we will see how this antenna compares to a random wire antenna in a tree.

Testing my new AlexLoop

QSO with FR4KR (Reunion Island) finally confirmed

The QSL card for my connection from Maintal to Reunion Island (9160 km) has finally arrived. It is the furthest distance so far I was able to make a contact to. SSB on 15m with 10 Watts into a random wire antenna. If the conditions are great and the other station has big ears, then this is possible even with QRP. However, the 59 report is not the real report I guess as this connection has happened during a contest.

QSO with FR4KR (Reunion Island) finally confirmed
QSO with FR4KR (Reunion Island) finally confirmed
QSO with FR4KR (Reunion Island) finally confirmed

My ham radio log analysis after 4 weeks of activity

It is now 4 weeks since I got my small Elecraft KX2 shortwave transceiver and I heavily worked with it during that time. Time for a quick analysis of my over 600 contacts I made the last 4 weeks:

I made about 600 contacts and worked 54 DXCC countries. The table shows the countries and the number of QSOs:

My ham radio log analysis after 4 weeks of activity
List of worked DXCC countries

The following map shows the the locations of my QSO partners. The green markers are SSB voice contacts with 10 Watts, the yellow markers are FT8 digital contacts with 5 Watts:

My ham radio log analysis after 4 weeks of activity
Location map of the QSO partners

The longest distance was 9153 km in SSB with FR4KR on the island of Reunion.

Most of the contacts did happen during three contests (ARRL International DX Contest, Russian DX Contest, CQWW WPX Contest) and that explains why I was able to work all these countries. During contest times there are many stations with very big antennas and they will be able to hear me even with only 10 Watts and a EFRW antenna 🙂

Long time no see …

I couldn’t believe it, but it is almost one year ago, since I posted something on my blog. There was no specific reason for that, I just didn’t have the desire to post anything here. This blog has changed more and more to a technical blog about IBM software and especially IBM (now HCL) Connections and nothing really happened in the last months which I thought would be worth to post here.

Maybe this will change again in future. During the Corona pandemic I spent more time at home and I rediscovered an old hobby of mine. I am a licensed radio amateur since 1982 (I got my license at the age of 17). However, I was only active for about 4 years and with my class “C” license I could only work on the VHF/UHF bands which was not so exciting. Then came study and profession and interests changed.

But now, after more than 35 years I am QRV again 🙂 And during that time, my old class “C” license has been converted to class “A” and I am now allowed to work also on the shortwave bands.

So I surfed a lot in the Internet, read many articles and blogs about ham radio, looked many, many YouTube videos about ham radio operations to get a feeling how things have changed during that 35 years 🙂 And really a lot has changed. especially all the new digital modes were not existing at the time I got my license.

So back in September 2021 I first bought an Anytone AT-D878UVII, a small portable device for the 2 m and 70 cm band which supports FM and also the new digital DMR mode and made my first QSOs just to get the feeling again. However some weeks later, it was clear that I need to get a device for shortwave operation as well. As I am living in an apartment house where I am not allowed to build big antennas, I thought, it is better to buy a portable device for shortwave as well, so that I can go somewhere outside and work from there. My choice fell on the Elecraft KX2 as it is very, very small and light, allows 10 W for SSB and also has a built-in antenna tuner.

I am using the KX2 now for 4 weeks and I am really impressed. I did not use it portable so far but only from my Home QTH with a 17 m random wire antenna with an 9:1 UnUn as Inverted V (mounted on a 6,5m fishing pole). During these 4 weeks I made over 600 QSOs (about 2/3 in SSB with 10 Watts and 1/3 in FT8 with 5 Watts) and worked 54 DXCC countries. Did I say that I am impressed what this small device can do? Ok, the conditions need to be good and the other stations need to have big antennas and a low noise level, but anyway …

I hope the weather will become better now in the upcoming weeks, so that I can also do some portable activities with the KX2. I will keep you informed, if there are any news 🙂

You can also visit my QRZ.com site, where you can see also some pictures of my “shack” and my “antennas” 🙂

Mouse Without Borders

If you do have more than one windows PC on your desk, you might find “Mouse Without Borders” helpful. It does allow you to share one keyboard and one mouse with up to 4 PCs and also share clipboard content between these PCs.

You need to install the app on all PCs and then connect them together. After that you can use mouse and keyboard from one PC on the other PCs just by moving your mouse pointer over the edge of your screen.

Main features:

  • Control multiple computers seamlessly using a single mouse and keyboard
  • Peer-to-peer system: Any machine can be a master machine
  • Multiple mode: Keyboard/mouse repeat in all machines
  • Shared clipboard: copy text/image/screenshot from one machine and paste to other machines
  • Drag/drop file across machines
  • Selective screen capture
  • Support on logon/UAC desktop

You can find more information about that tool on this site. The download can be found here.

Virtualbox: Fix Slow Boot Time

I experienced a very slow boot time (up to several minutes) for my Windows 10 VMs with Virtualbox on my Windows 10 host machine. As all tuning of the VM settings did not help, I finally solved the issue with the following command:

After that, the boot time was only a few seconds. You need to run that command for all your Windows 10 guest machines.

Create encrypted space on USB stick

I needed a possibility to create an encrypted space on USB sticks so that the data is not readable if you loose such a stick somewhere. Although there is BitLocker To Go and VeraCrypt, I ended up with a tool called SecurStick as

  • it is available for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • it does not need an administrative account
  • supports also unencrypted files on the same stick

Update:

Daniel commented below that Cryptomator also has a portable version which does not need administrative rights. I tested it and it looks good. As Cryptomator is still a supported tool (SecurStick is old code which is no longer maintained) I will us ethat for my USB sticks at least if the data exchange is between Windows computers only. I think that for the Mac and Linux version it is not so easy to use it without installation. Currently I have no machine to test so that I could not try it by myself.

HCL Connections 6.5: Error CLFRN1198E

Today we had a user who was unable to edit his profile information in HCL Connections 6.5. As soon as he clicked “Save” on his profile page he got the error

"CLFRN1198E: Your session timed out or a server error occurred. Please resubmit your changes."

In the SystemOut.log of the Profiles server we saw the following error regarding to that user:

[18/01/21 10:28:31:041 CET] 0000042b APIErrorActio E com.ibm.lconn.profiles.api.actions.APIErrorAction execute Illegal character in authority at index 7: http://- / -                                 java.net.URISyntaxException: Illegal character in authority at index 7: http://- / -        at java.net.URI$Parser.fail(URI.java:2858)        at java.net.URI$Parser.parseAuthority(URI.java:3196)        at java.net.URI$Parser.parseHierarchical(URI.java:3107)        at java.net.URI$Parser.parse(URI.java:3063)        at java.net.URI.<init>(URI.java:599)        at com.ibm.peoplepages.webui.actions.EditMyProfileAction.validateURL(EditMyProfileAction.java:277)

The reason for this problem was, that the user did enter the characters “- / -” in all profile fields, where he would not want to enter any data to show that there is no data available. Unfortunately he did also enter these characters in the field “Blog URL”. Connections wanted to convert the value into a valid HTML link and was unable to do so. The error message, which was displayed to the user, did not give a real hint to the root cause of the problem.

As soon as he removed the characters from that field, he was able to save the profile again.

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