Radio W4KAZ

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Leisure Reading – PileUP!

I’ve seen his was announced somewhere before, but now I’ve got the link. The Finnish contest magazine PileUP! is available in PDF format, and has articles in both English and Finnish. I’ve only browsed a bit so far, but it is an interesting perspective on RadioSport, given their drastically different geographical situation. Good reading.

2008 ARRL Sweeps SSB

Yikes. That was a bit more like work than play, but it got better as the contest progressed.

Events leading into the test did just not come together. I missed all of the practice and audio check sessions leading up to the contest. Once the test started – too late! Also had the beginnings of the common cold during the day Saturday. Got worse on Sunday, but the voice held up.

The game plan was to start on 20m and 40m with about 60 minutes of S&P. One thing led to another, and the first QSO wasn’t logged until about 45 minutes after the start of the contest. That probably cost a few possible mults, but none that I didn’t pick up later. When I migrated to 80m, I got a quick call and a report of bad/muffled audio from someone I had worked on 40m. I suspect that in adding the 160m module to the K2, I went too far in adjusting the output filter. Since I expected the bulk of my QSO’s to be on 80m, I decided to move back to the FT-920.

Moving to the FT-920 required moving all of the audio and antenna connections. That took a bit longer than it could have if I had been feeling better. Then I had to dork around to get the audio levels from the sound card an the mike equalized on the FT-920. This is going to be a bigger problem if I ever seriously try […]

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SSB Sweeps On Deck

Only a couple of days out from my-crow-fonie SS, and woefully unprepared. Coming down with a cold too. Damn.

Hopefully I’ll get a shot to test out the computer audio/mike connection. I’ve always had trouble matching the levels for the heil headset to the computer. Now I have two new variables. The first is the K2, the second the hand-me-down shack computer N1LN donated to the KazShack when he replaced his own.

If the cold induced head congestion gets bad I’ll be at a disadvantage right out of the gates. I hope this Xycam stuff can work its magic.

Missed the PVRC “audio net” last night. Got to see the Capitals cream the Hurricanes. The Caps controlled the puck completely in the second and third periods. Ugly.

I did manage to get a nice “pre-fills” file set up for the coming SSB sweeps. It damn well ought to be as accurate as possible. It was built from the ARRL score database for the last six years, both modes, plus log data from N4AF. I loaded the N4AF logs first, them applied updates from the scores database. CW log data first, then SSB log data, both applied in chronological order. I came out to be just under 7000 unique call signs when all was cobbled together.

Next year I’ll prep the data for CW by applying the SSB logs first, CW second. That should add a measure of assistance to my feeble CW skills – although there are a […]

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K2 Impressions – Part 8 – The K2 in SS CW 2008

I got a chance to really work out the K2 in the CW Sweeps. The radio is really a joy to operate. Now that I have learned to use the features, it is perfect for the way I operate. The filtering is outstanding for S&P. If conditions for the ARRL 160m contest are good, the K2 should really pick them from the piles.

I have found I need to adjust my operating habits some. The pass band on its immediate predecessor was very wide by comparison. While running, I find that using the RIT is essential. The CW filters are set at 1.2kc, 700hz, 400hz and 200hz. It was best to run with the 700hz filter when possible. That required less use of the RIT to pick up stations not quite zero beat. It was essential when using the 200hz filter, which I found necessary once the band grew crowded. The 400hz was a compromise. I found that to be the setting most often dialed in during the runs, simply because of the activity nearby.

For S&P, I found the 200hz to be useful. The replacement tuning knob I added to the radio make going up and down the band a lot of fun. For punching spots, I found the wide 400hz setting best. Many of the spots were not quite zero beat, or had migrated slightly before I got to them.

I was able to run with stations as close as 250 hz up or down from me if […]

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Seeing Spots

This would be a Good Thing


Well, SS CW went a bit beyond my expectations. I had a modest goal of simply improving the score over that of 2007. Instead, I had my best ever QSO total for any contest from W4KAZ, logging 608 QSO’s, 78 mults, for a raw score of 94000+. Pretty good for a CW contest from the KazShack.

O’course, I did it by “cheating”.

What I mean is that I cheated myself by setting up and using packet spots, and entering the contest as class “U”. Although I operated unlimited, I did not use an amplifier. I couldn’t bring myself to cheat THAT much. So the score is nice, but it will need to be be footnoted.

There is no class in Sweeps for low power assisted, but that’s okay. I also expect my log to be torn up by the log checking process, but I was going for quantity instead of quality. Since my copy is not ever even close to 100%, I’ll lose quite a bit in the end. I can live with that too.

Using the spots helped in a number of subtle ways. I did use them to find most of the 5-land mults. I did that by combing the bandmap for the 5-landers while I looked for run frequencies. I also worked AK and AB that way. Using the bandmap of spots also showed the gaps between stations, Some of these gaps were occupied by stations that had not been spotted. Many times there was a clear […]

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