Nice surprise: W9KNI

It’s been raining non-stop since last week now, except for Thursday. Total for today at my QTH is 65 mm and counting, but other locations nearby have seen rain upward of 90 mm. I can only dream of SOTA right now.

But, there is a silver lining: rain reduces the power line noise that is plaguing me and so I’ve been on the bands from home in the last few days. 40 meters normally has a S9 level of noise, but now a little less and conditions on this band have been great the last 24 hours (I check my WSPR beacon daily).

I called CQ on 20 meters tonight and worked a Chinese and a Thai station. Then later I switched to 40 meters and got some fab signals from Japan. Worked JL1UCH and after that some other station called me. I almost fell of my chair, because nobody ever calls me: who wants to QSO with me, a small gun from Taiwan? But it turned out W9KNI did want a QSO with me and so we did. Simple exchange of the basics, but we also told each other what equipment we were using. Bob - because that is W9KNI’s name - was blasting 1500 Watts from his K3 + amp into a 4 element 40m yagi.

I, on the other hand, was using my KX3 with 12 Watts into a V-dipole, which is mounted too close to my roof, so not working optimally at all. I normally use my TS-2000 in the shack, but I wanted to test several things with my KX3 and become more familiar with it so that my next SOTA activation will go even smoother.

But then I looked up W9KNI on and found out that Rob is the founder of Bencher and Idiom Press. Both companies are famous for many amateur radio products and Rob is know for his books “A Year of DX” and “The Complete DXer”. He is retired now and his companies have been absorbed by others, but still nice to have worked him and glad to know he is enjoying his retirement being on the amateur radio bands and calling my puny station from Taiwan.

So, not exactly SOTA, but shack preparations for SOTA and it made my day.

P.S. sorry for Bob, but I wasn’t using a Bencher paddle, because I don’t own one. In the field I use a paddle made by my friend BX2AB and in the shack a straight key (Flameproof, Junker or a Chinese key).


Thanks Hans!

Nice to be mentioned in dispatches. Our QSO was a real pleasure for me - especially when I found that you were running 12 watts! You were Q-5 the whole time. And thanks too to JL1UCH, who graciously let me use his frequency to work you. After we completed our QSO he and I had a good QSO as well.
I enjoyed looking at your neat web site too.
Thanks again.

Grants Pass, Oregon


I gave my keyer built in about 94 from the Idiom press partial kit (CMOS Super keyer was it?) a run a few weeks ago for a contest using my IC706. I still remember the essential commands to set up and store memories but I wasn’t sure of some functions. It is so good having a speed-adjustable keyer with memories outside the radio.

I see that the current owner of the business no longer offers partial kits. That’s sad, the keyer has worked flawlessly for me for so long.

I put it all into a box with speaker and a triple-AA cell case that came out of my PK232 when it was changed to a lithium cell.

It just keeps working…. Thanks Bob.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2DA


…an absolute ‘must’ if you want to do some successful DXing - and it helps chasing SOTA, too :wink:
My copy of ‘The Complete DXer’ dates back to 1983. I read it several times and there is always something to learn. Thanks Bob!

73, Roman


Hello Bob,

Good to see you lurking around here and happy to be the reason for your first post on the reflector. But does that also mean we might have a S2S QSO in the future?

I did really feel bad for JL1UCH, so I’m glad you still had a QSO with him. Later I thought I should have told you to go QSY 1 up, but the last time I tried that the other operator didn’t understand. Difficult to deal with these situations. BTW, I think I erroneously gave you a 559 report (that’s what my scratch pad says), but you were actually 599 the whole time. My noise level was S7, so you put in a really good signal.

My website is simply a way for me to document the stuff I do. But I like to share, so it’s for anyone to read and I’m happy you enjoyed it.

73 from Taiwan and please call me again when you hear me.


Thanks Andrew! Glad you continue to enjoy the keyer after so many years.
Unfortunately the processor in the keyer has gone obsolete, and are virtually unobtainable at any price approaching reason. There may be a change in the situation but right now it is bad.



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Thanks Roman! I really appreciate the endorsement. The books were fun to write - reliving my own DXing adventures




GA Bob -

Saw your call sign on this thread and immediately recognized it. Your book “The Complete DX’er” is one of my favorites! So much so I bought it twice! Once when I was a new ham in the 1990s. Second time a few years back when I found a mint autographed copy at a hamfest.

73 - Chris