Radio W4KAZ

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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 SO2R, because the level out from the sound card needs to be set much higher for the FT-920 then for the K2. I guess a simple resistor will suffice set the level lower for the K2.

Anyway – transfer to the other radio and associated dorking around put me about 90 minutes later into the contest. 80m was beginning to pick up, but I was able to squeeze into a 4khz gap I found, and establish a decent run. I pulled the plug a bit early, and was behind where I wanted to be.

Saturday morning was spent running 40m and S&P mults on 20m. Saturday afternoon was a real mixed bag. I at no time received any answers to CQ’s on 20m. Too crowded for a LP/dipole station to be heard.

Sunday evening was back to 80m, plus the occasional foray off the band for a possible mult. Picked up OK and WTX on 40m that way.

I was happy to break the 500 QSO point this year. Using packet helped me get six extra mults over the 69 in 2007. That brought the point total up to almost equal the 2007 level. Good enough.

The Good: The FT-920 was on hand to fill in for the K2. New computer sound card was fine. 80m was floor to ceiling full of QSO’s.

The Bad: Probably the K2 problem. Since I’m almost certain it was self induced, its not a show stopper. And it seems fine on CW. Need to do some testing, and re-align for 80m.

The Ugly: Hmmm. Gotta be the head cold. Luckily, maximum “Ick” was not reached until Monday.

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