Monthly Archive for January, 2016

UKEICC DX Contest CW 2016

I’d been doing an awful lot of engineering in the shack since I got the antennas sorted and everything worked very well. I was SO2R for the first time ever, which was only due to a fortunate ability to collect an incoming parcel on Friday – also a day off. The parcel contained band decoders to hang off the K2 as a second radio.
Much soldering on Friday afternoon and early on Saturday morning and I had built the KRC2, wired it up to the Dunestar filters and modified the Six-pak controller for external inputs. I also had to add another high-side driver to my K3 band decoder box, which is now pretty cramped!
I’ve only got one amplifier here, a KPA500, and I have planned to build a clone of the 4O3A 1A2R box, which should let me share the amp between both radios. I am planning on switching the BCD band signals as well as PTT and RF in my version. All the parts arrived by Friday but just didn’t have time to get the thing built.
My modifications to the Cobwebb worked very well, I have 3 feeders on mine, one for 20m, one for 17/15m and one for 12/10m. Interaction was present, for example when the K2 was on a harmonic band lower than the K3 I was getting s9 phase noise. Then I found the filter control lead had come off. Getting the filters in line got me to s5-7 phase noise and a safe amount of RF on the 2nd harmonic itself both ways round.
The aerials are pretty close to one another, with the 40m dipole directly under the Cobwebb on the mast and the 80m inverted-l about 3m away, so interaction on LF seemed worse – no doubt due to the larger near-field.
I drove the K3 and K2 at 100W with a Microham u2r, all controlled by DXlog, which worked very well. Only one hiccup this time when the keying stopped working and I had to complete a QSO by hand while hitting ‘ESC’ several times. This resumed normal function. I really like the way I could swap radios by up and down between the two log lines.
I’m still getting used to how I want the audio switching to work and found that at various times I swapped around so I could try and make best use of the 2nd radio. I think about 60q on the 2nd rig, so worth having for sure.
Overall 467q, with 14q lost to dupes or busted. I am amazed at how fast the results came out.
I spent about 9.5 hours in the chair, I’d not been in great fettle on Friday and early Saturday so decided for the better that I should go to bed for a full night. Pretty happy with the result, though 10m only gave me 3q – 2x 5B and an EA1. The other bands somewhat better.
The SO2R station at M0PCB, Elecraft K3 as main rig with ELecraft K2 as 2nd radio.

The SO2R station at M0PCB, Elecraft K3 as main rig with Elecraft K2 as 2nd radio.

RSGB AFS CW 2016

The 2015 AFS CW left a bit of a sour tatse, which lasted rather longer than I had hoped. Thankfull over the Christmas period there were some major changes at the RSGB Contest Committee announced. With that backdrop I am hopeful for the 2016 series of RSGB contests and decided to put an effort into AFS.

The 40m band has been added this year, I was a little sceptical over whether this was necessary, but actually it did add to the fun and the QSO total.

I used DXlog.net for logging, which worked pretty well. On a couple of occasions the F keys stopped working until I’d hit escape a few times. Likewise I managed to wipe a QSO by hitting the wrong keys trying to log in ESM mode without sending anything.

Had I had a bit more prep time I would have had a bash with SO2R, but I had trouble getting Omnirig to talk to the K2 and also hadn’t managed to wire up the 2nd set of band-pass filters to the K2. The dilemma of high or low power was settled by tossing a stick of laptop memory – in lieu of a coin. I ran ~200W in the end, which I think helped.

Overall 281q with 5 dupes, so 276q total for 2760 points.

Looking forward to the Club Championship series for a more regular dose of CW contesting.