Fort Tuthill 80


Fort Tuthill QRP rig

I took advantage of having the day off and finally finished up this nifty little rig.

The build went great. No problems at all. I ended up removing 3 turns from L9 and now have the rig tuned for 3523-3568 kHz.

It’s currently burning in as recommended but I just got off the air having finally installed it into a case. Called CQ…no answer. So I tuned around till I heard a CQ which I then answered from Josh 6Y5WJ down in Jamaica, mon. I think it’s a good omen for any new rig’s first contact to be DX! Josh was 579 and gave me 559.

I mentioned previously that I was going to make a single front panel decal and apply it as one piece. That I did, but I should have practiced this first on a piece of scrap metal. The problem with such a large decal is that its stretch factor is greater than a smaller, “single item” decal would be.

The result was that when I slid the decal off the backing paper and aligned it onto the Ten Tec case, the labels no longer matched the holes! I was able to get them to line up eventually but the process of application and then smoothing (to remove air bubbles) is better practiced first.

I guess I’m going to have to recalibrate my WM2 although I’m pretty sure of its accuracy. I seem to be getting quite a bit more power out than others describe. For the CQ and then QSO with Josh, I had it turned down to a bit under 3 watts.

But before turning it down, the WM2 shows 7 watts with a 13.8V supply. Is this possible?

The reason I think it may be is that initially, when determining the VFO freq to see how far off L9 was, my other wattmeter (HM-102) was showing as much deflection as my FT840 does when turned all the way down, that is about 5 to 7 watts. I say “about” because this is a 100W meter and resolution at lower power levels is difficult to determine.

Also, the heat sink got very hot after only a few seconds of key-down. This also leads me to believe power is higher than it would otherwise seem capable.

The only thing left to do is buy a set of knobs, so a trip to the Shack mañana. Later, I plan to install a FreqMite from Small Wonder Labs.

Initial impressions: an excellent, economical and very functional little rig!