[TenTec] QSK or not?

Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP Rick at DJ0IP.de
Mon Mar 17 16:15:59 EDT 2014

The experience the guys in my club (BCC) made was that the vacuum relays
were more reliable.
That was about 15 years ago.
What's changed?

73 - Rick, DJ0IP
(Nr. Frankfurt am Main)

-----Original Message-----
From: TenTec [mailto:tentec-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Kim Elmore
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2014 7:14 PM
To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment
Subject: Re: [TenTec] QSK or not?

Why use relays when we have PIN diodes?

Kim N5OP

"People that make music together cannot be enemies, at least as long as the
music lasts." -- Paul Hindemith

> On Mar 17, 2014, at 11:43, "Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP" <Rick at DJ0IP.de> wrote:
> Different relays have different life cycles.
> AND, keep in mind that this spec was specified for a relay when 
> switching between two STABLE STATES.
> If you run full QSK with the relay following the keying, sometimes the 
> relay is in transition when it gets a command to go the other way.  It 
> must overcome inertia and change directions. THIS IS ADDITIONAL WEAR 
> AND TEAR on the relay.
> THIS type of operation is not considered in the specs.
> Also, when Phil wrote that paper on QSK, he was referring to the 
> open-frame relay used in ALL Ameritron amplifiers.
> I guarantee you that this relay will  NEVER WEAR OUT  when trying to 
> follow QSK keying. . .
> I would remind people at this point to keep in mind that there are 3 
> VERY different kinds of relays used for T/R switching in the linear 
> amplifiers that we use.  The differences are HUGE!
> You'll find pictures and short description of these on my web site,
> Here: http://www.dj0ip.de/ten-tec-stuff/misc-stuff/linear-amp-relays/
> ALTHOUGH AMERITRON publishes a switching time of 15mS for its relays 
> and [falsely] advertises them as "fast- nearly as fast as some QSK relays"
> [puke], these relays are DIRT SLOW.  
> In reality they switch with 17 to 20mS delay, depending on the situation. 
> Phil is absolutely right!
> (sorry Gary)
> NEVER-THE-LESS, there is still a way to have near QSK with the slow 
> Ameritron Amps (without the expensive QSK-5) and still hear in between 
> words; just not in between dit, dahs, or characters.  It's just a 
> matter of proper time sequencing.  I've been doing it with these amps for
30+ years.
> As long as you can hear between words, there is no tangible 
> disadvantage between QSK that can hear between dits.  OK, perhaps you 
> notice someone is transmitting when you are...  1/10 second later than 
> with true full QSK.  If you are willing to accept this, you can avoid
burning the relay.
> In order to do this, you will need an external keyer that has 
> adjustable time sequencing.  There are a few of these on the market 
> (i.e., WINKEY, MFJ-495, etc.) AND several rig interface boxes such as 
> the "MicroHam MicroKeyer II" have adjustable delay (time sequencing) 
> parameters.  If you understand the timing, it's a piece of cake to set 
> this up.  With devices like that, you may use any keyer - EXCEPT the rig's
own built-in keyer.
> 73 - Rick, DJ0IP
> (Nr. Frankfurt am Main)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: TenTec [mailto:tentec-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of GARY 
> Sent: Monday, March 17, 2014 4:40 PM
> To: TenTec Reflector
> Subject: [TenTec] QSK or not?
> I operate QSK and have the past thirty years using TenTec equipment.
> One reason given by others for not running QSK is that the relays wear 
> out sooner in the transceiver and amplifier.
> from http://www.ad5x.com/images/Presentations/QSKals500als600RevA.pdf
> How Long will the Relays Last? 
> What kind of life can you expect from the relays? The relay life is 
> specified at 100 million operations minimum at 36,000 operations/hour. 
> The service life increases as the operations/hour decreases. So let's 
> use the standard PARIS text that is used for determining code speed.
> PARIS has 10 dits and 4 dahs = 14 relay operations/minute at 1 WPM. 
> Assuming an average of 25WPM code speed, you would have 360 relay 
> operations per minute. So, 100 million operations = 4630 hours. Now 
> you normally operate 50% transmitting and 50% receiving during a QSO, 
> so your relay operating time should double to 9260 hours. There are 
> 8760 hours/year, which means you could operate 1.057 years at 25 WPM 
> before the relays exceeded their lifetime spec - IF you operate 24 
> hours/day! But when you operate, you are probably listening more like 
> 75% of the time and in a QSO 25% of the time. So this says that your 
> relay operating life will be over 4- years if you operate 24 
> hours/day. So what do you normally average in operating time/day? I 
> bet it is not more than about an hour/day. But let's say you average 
> 4- hours/day of operation (i.e. you are not married and have no kids, 
> you don't shop or eat or sleep much, and you don't hold a full-time 
> job). So the relay life will extend to about
> 25 years! The bottom line - Don't worry about wearing out the relays 
> anytime soon.
> 73 ES DX,
> Gary - AB9M    -...-.-
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