Attending Contest University and the VHF sessions, Joel Harrison, W5ZN, had recommended that most new transceivers need a preamp on six. Plus, I was getting some reports from meteor scatter contacts that they could hear me long before I could hear them. Both those things gave me a clue that upgrading receiver capabilities was a good next step.
Naturally, I looked first at the Elecraft options. I found their description along with Fred Cady, KE7X, is his Elecraft book to offer excellent insight into what it could do along with installation and set up instructions. What I didn’t readily find was what was included with the unit.
As you can see from the photos, the two BNC adapters are provided, a DB-15 adapter, a DC power splitter (phono plug/jacks), and a DB-15 connector. The DB-15 connector is used to set up the unit so it can be automatically switched in for six meters. Instead of doing that, I elected to just use the RX Antenna switch to turn it on and off for six. That avoided trying to do a Y-connection at the ACC jack, since I have RTTY cabling going into that jack for FSK and PTT.
I’ll also note that I selected just the six meter preamp rather than the 6 and 10 preamp that also covers 12 meters. First, didn’t really feel I needed it on 10 and 12. Plus, the noise figure was a bit better for the six meter only version.
So far I haven’t really tested it out in action. I can tell you that the noise level really jumps when I turn it on. So it must be doing something. I’ve been watching lots of TEP activity lately that included VP8 contacts. So far, those contacts have only made it to the Texas Gulf Coast. It would sure be nice to test this preamp out with a QSO to VP8!
I’ll keep you posted on how it works.