You have probably seen that advertisement in the Ham magazines, where the Alpha Amp’s toughness is shown by a brick on a hand key. Well I did something close to that this weekend with my K2, by accident of course. I was getting a RTTY setup ready for the upcoming VAQP Contest. Everything was setup and I had made a couple of Test QSOs. Then I walked out of the room, to check on the day’s NHL activities. Little did I know that somehow I put the transmitter in a “keyed” mode, with about 50w out on RTTY. I suspect I hit the F10 key (which starts transmission) When I sat the keyboard on my desk.

About 20-30 minutes later, I came back into the room and I smelled something hot. It was the 100w watt amplifier section of my K2. Maybe lucky for me today that I have that Amp in a separate enclosure from the K2, on top of my external antenna tuner. The heatsink was extremely hot, I could just quickly touch it without getting burned. The side panels of the Amp/Tuner were very warm. I powered-down the rig and grabbed a small electric fan. I spent about 10 minutes doing everything I could to remove heat from the enclosure.

I am still testing, but it appears that all is OK with the Amp/Tuner unit and the K2 itself has no idea….. I normally have a three-minute runaway transmitter timer attached to the power for the K2, because I use it for remote operation, where you are required to do so (although I know many people ignore this FCC requirement). On my newer rigs I always activate their built-in timeout timer, just in case. Of course the one time something like this would happen has to be when I am configuring the rig for Mobile operation and I have the timer disconnected.

I guess I dodged a bullet (am I still allowed to say that? Better check today’s Executive Orders). The only apparent damage done was the interference this may have caused. I can only apologize for that and hope it did not cause any problem for any stations. That said, the K2 seems to have made it through one nasty test. Glad I had the power down to 50 watts or this could have been a different story.