Wow - it works. Not only "works" but works very FB! Building a K2 was one very big step for me as I'm a spankin' brand new-newbie to amateur radio and to QRP - just been licensed since February this year, and about ready to upgrade and maybe even take a 20 wpm CW exam before that benchmark evaporates.
Everyone's already slung all the superlatives there are about this rig and I'm not a big one-upper anymore so I'll just say a couple maybe new and different things; but they've probably already been said as well....
Just about everything about this rig was positive - in fact the only real negative thing was my own confidence I could put it together and make it work. From the get-go, it was clear the guys who designed this radio were going to give me my best shot. Everything about the K2 exudes quality -- the parts, the packaging, the very excellent manual, the rig design itself, the detail, the detail....the Elecraft people (Eric, Scott, Wayne, Lerma - I hope I spelled your name right L.), and of course the good folks on this list are a key support link as well. And did I mention the detail...?
I'm being too much of a windbag here, so just let me get to the nut
of my story.... All along the way, I kept faking out my negative
view that the thing was going to blow up. Alignment Steps I and II
went FB, everything checked out. Wow, hard to believe! Then
at the end of Assembly III, cockiness was quickly readjusted with the sobriety
of an INFO 090 at power up. There it was -- exactly what I predicted
would happen -- the damn thing doesn't work. Check Appendix E, Troubleshooting.
INFO 090 says the EEPROM test failed - "what the hell does that mean?"
Check the voltages -- I start checking voltages all over the place, I'm
feeling sick. I e-mail Scott, call
Eric, e-mail Eric, e-mail Wayne -- why are these guys so calm?? --- this feels like a bad landing.
Fast forward 24 hrs, several e-mail exchanges, a couple phonecalls - INFO 090 flashing in my dreams - even my golden retriever's staying away from me. Eric says, "come on down and let's take a look". Uh, did I say I live in Santa Cruz, about 8 miles up the road from Elecraft?
At Elecraft World Hq., Eric inspects my work and makes some extremely
tactful suggestions about my soldering technique, particularly on the pins
connecting the Control & Front Panel Boards to the RF Board.
Actually, he demos how it oughta be done so I can see for myself.
He also kindly points out a few missed solder points on the slug-tuned
inductors and even touches up my ground jumpers to the crystal cans....duh!
Eric checks some more things out and finally says, "let's replace that
25LC320 EEPROM at U7" and calmly snips the leads, removes it from the Control
board, cleans up the connections and puts in a new one. It would've
taken me a day just to screw
up the courage to do that. We get ready to power up. I'm sure - K2 # 141 is dust --- I've probably destroyed enough RF neurons & dendrites in this rig to even keep it off the junk table at the Livermore flea market. But, guess what...? Yep, an INFO message again...this time INFO 201, and y'all know what that means? Everything worked, even the INFO 090 - pointed right at the problem. What else can I possibly say? Wow! I could've been living in "Jabib", 'cept of course for the FB solder job on those crystal cans ;-)
Muchas gracias Eric, Scott, Wayne, Lerma, and Reflector folks too...Maybe I'll see you on the bands. Now this K2's goin' to Fort Tuthill...
Oh, and did I say special thanks to Eric?
73 de K6JMB
FISTS #6537 - K2 #141 - QRP-l #1845 - Rode hard, put away wet.
Old Chinese proverb says, "Over the course of a long life, a wise man
will be prepared to abandon his baggage several times."