My Hilltopper 40 is alive (sort of)

Gary Kohtala <gary.k7ek@...>

I finished my Hilltopper 40 last night. It really looks good. When I put power to it I got a blast of CW as expected. Hitting the paddles brought forth some 
beautiful code.  Power output seems to be more than adequate. I was spotted several times on RBN, even as far west as Utah. I was running my 135' OCFD.
Unfortunately, as others have reported, the CW sidetone and freq readout are excessively loud, so loud as to cause my tinnitus to ramp up. I will most certainly
be changing that resistor in order to put the side tone at a more pleasant level.   Tuning the band brought some CW signals. My first impression of the receiver
was that the sensitivity was way low. Also the receiver audio is unacceptably low. Having the gain wide open brings very low audio to the headphones. I tried
several pairs and settled on the best one I had.  I actually get more audio out of my Cricket 80a.  One thing I did notice is that strong signals jumped up
noticeably loud in the headphones and are quite copiable, however weak signals were very difficult to copy much of the time. I wish there were a few more decibels of AF
to spare. Then I could back off on the receiver gain for a comfortable experience.    Now there is the distinct possibility that I have a problem. I am going to
go back through and reheat all of the solder joints in hopes of uncovering a cold one.  I'd like to get a first impression of the Hilltoppers from others that have
built and use them. I must say that I absolutely love the built in keyer. It works exceptionally well with my single paddle. And I really appreciate the CW frequency
readout. That's very innovative. If anyone has any suggestions as to what to look at and where, I'd appreciate hearing from you.  I expected to end up with adequate
receiver audio but alas, have not. More than likely it is my problem. Thanks for any suggestions.

Best regards,

Gary, K7EK

Radcliff, KY (EM77at)

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