Radio W4KAZ

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2009 CQ 160m CW

Totally unexpected results. This was nowhere near a serious attempt to maximize the score, but rather have fun playing with the K2 on160m. It turned out to be a lot more fun than I really expected.

I did not operate long Friday. I was just too tired. But I was on long enough to realize the conditions were very good. The noise level was very low on the transmit antenna. It was possible to turn on the pre-amp for the weak signals. The big surprise was that most of the weak stations could hear me. Yikes.

But it just got better. I planned the day better on Saturday, and was more prepared to stay up a bit later to play more radio. Conditions did not seem quite as good as Friday, but the noise level was still low. I worked some new states for 160. Even more unusual, I also worked 14 European stations. Their signals seemed to come up with their sunrise. I knew I could hear them, as I had been listening to a couple of run stations, and I could copy most of their EU QSO’s. Tuning around with the K2, I was able to find several EU stations calling. The booming US signals made some of them too hard to copy, but several others were easy copy.

Low and behold, a handful of those were also able to hear the 100 watt tin whistle. Way fun. Apologies for the guys that really had to struggle to copy my weak signal, but I sure do appreciate the effort! Some of those guys must have really good RX antennas, because they didn’t miss a beat, and got it on the first try.

So I spent the last hour digging through the US QRM for the EU pearls. The K2 is really an S&P operators friend. With the filters cranked down to 200hz, it was easy to find the stations. Not so easy for them to find me, but that is an antenna/ERP problem unlikely to change soon.

The Good: The antenna repairs worked. The extra radials on the 160-L probably didn’t hurt either. Currently 18 radials, between 16 and 45 ft long. The K2 really shines for S&P. Conditions seemed as good as I have ever heard on 160m, but my experience down on 160m is very limited. K2 is generally much better at keeping NT4D out of the front end than the FT-920(exception below). Worked RK2FWA…on 160m! Finally worked ON4UN on 160!

The Bad: Missed a golden opportunity by not planning to operate more. Discovered that NT4D causes a mild overload when listening on the xmit antenna with the K2 pre-amp turned on. Discovered an NT4D image 20kc below his run frequency. Gotta get with Jay and do some testing to see if it is an artifact generated in the K2, or if I can hear the same image in my FT-920. (NT4D is a nearby neighbor, close enough to be inside a 500 meter multi circle. We’re gonna pull the trigger on that one day)

The Ugly: Nothing found – yet.


  • Rig: Elecraft K2, 100 watts
  • TX Antenna: 160 ft Inv-L
  • RX Antennas: Homebrew K9AY, 20m dipole
  • Homebrew antenna tuner
  • Logging: Writelog
Station: W4KAZ
Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): ~9

Total:      QSOs = 203     State/Prov = 38     Countries = 17
               Total Score = 33,220

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