Saturday, July 15, 2017

FT-8 a new digital mode freom K1JT and K9AN

There is a new mode from K1JT and K9AN  called FT-8.  The TX/RX windows are 15 seconds instead of the 1 minute toggle in JF-65 and JT-9 modes.  The downside FT-8 presently has a slightly worse S/N compared to JT-65.  Download v 1.8 rc1 from the K1JT site 

Setup with any 6xxx series Flex is simple.

Under General fill in the your particulars and make your choices 

For radio I use TS-2000 protocol and SmartCat port 4 to get band data, freq and PTT control 

Audio is on DAX 1 and DAX TX.  Make sure DAX 1 is turned on on the freq flag of the panadapter, and turn on RX1 and TX in DAX.  Set mic input to PC.  Set DAX RX1 level to give 50% on the FT-8 client and DAX TX gain to keep you just out of ALC, and use the power control on the radio to set the power level

Go make a contact

These modes require a pretty precise timing so I keep my computer clock trained to the correct time using this program 

73  W9OY

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

13 Colonies Contest

This year I decided to give this contest a whirl.  It is a week long contest with several dozen stations signing the callsign of their colony K2A through K2M, 13 in all.  In addition 2 bonus stations WM3PEN in remembrance of Independence Hall and GB13COL which is a RSGB special event participant are on the air through July 6th

I worked the lot in about 21 hours 20, 40, and 80 both SSB and CW.  So stations availability is plentiful but it still took some diligence.  

I wish I could have swept them all on 40 CW but you fish where the fish are. 

Flex released the latest Alpha version of the  V2 software last night, and I thought this test would prove to be a good way to beat up the software and search out the bugs.  

73  W9OY

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A71EM Quatar

Heard Juma A71EM on this evening from Quatar on 40M  I didn't expect to hear him as he was a good hour into his daylight but he was working mostly US stations one by one simplex at 35wpm   Excellent op, and a nice signal.

Shortly after I started writing this post he was gone.  My good luck!

73  W9OY

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TN5E Republic of Congo

Kenneth TN5E is on from Brazzaville Republic of Congo.  I heard him tonight on 40M while completing some correspondence.  The gray line just hit before I started to hear him.  He is peaking 1 to 5 dB out of my noise but perfectly Q5

About 15 minutes with the 6700 and he was in the log.  Good op!  Well behaved pileup!

73  W9OY

Saturday, May 27, 2017

CQ WPX 2017 CW Goofing Around

I decided to mess  around in the CQ WPX CW this weekend.  The propagation from FL looked promising.  My interest was to make band fills for my DXCC totals and in general  play with the latest Alpha version and try to wring out any bugs in the software.  

I have a new computer with a fresh install of Win10 pro and didn't have N1MM+ installed.  15 minutes before the contest I downloaded N1MM+, did the update, and followed the directions from Flex or at least enough of them to get things rolling.  I used the SO2R guide from Craig K9CT and Eric KE5DTO to set up the ports.  I didn't need this much information for my minimalist install  but this is the correct dope on how to set up the ports.  I've done this before so it only took a couple minutes.  

I use Telnet to populate my N1MM+  I'm running low power and mostly interested in populating DXCC band fills,  so I'm not using internet based spots, only over the air spots from CWSkimmer

Skimmer outputs it's telnet spots on port 7310 of (localhost)  

So I set up Spot collector to gather the spots in the spot collector config screen

and turn off my other spot sources.  Once logged in this causes Spot Collector to populate and lets N1MM+ populate the band map

F1EX-# indicates a localhost spot.  If I had other spot sources active this column would be a mix of sources.  

The Flex ecosystem as a Winkey emulator built in and allows N1MM+ to operate as if it had a Winkey attached.  The emulator coordinates speed between N1MM, the paddle input on the front of the radio and the built in CWX keyboard and memory program.  I pretty much only use N1MM memories for contests but occasionally I'll say hi to a friend so it's nice to have all this functionality.  The Winkey emulator works great smooth as butter.  

Here is a shot of my 15M 2 monitor desktop

And here my 20M desktop, a single click changes bands and repopulates my spots automatically

 I made a quick video of how it all works 

A ton of work has gone into making this setup into a world class contesting platform, but which is also directly accessible to the average Joe ham.  You don't have to be a world class contester  to play.  I'm running a single radio and a vertical with low power and having a blast.  Most of my contacts are single call.  This setup as I've described will work with a 6300, 6400, 6400M (connected to a computer to run the ancillary programs), 6500, 6600, 6600M (connected to a computer as above), and a 6700.  It will also allow you to work remote and when V2 is released allow you access to your radio from virtually anywhere.

 Now back to noodling around 

73  W9OY

Sunday, May 21, 2017

E31A Eritrea

My kid graduated HS tonight.  After arriving home I messed around on 80M and l glanced at the cluster and there was E31A on 40M.  I figured fat chance as it was a couple hours into his daylight yet he was a solid S6 against a band noise of S2.  

Very good op.  I called twice and he was in the log.  I gave a try on 30M but no joy, and though he was spotted not a pee p on 80M.   I'll take the 40M contact!  Give a listen because his station is workin quite well

73  W9OY

Saturday, April 22, 2017

5A5A Libya

RA9USU Dima has been on from Tripoli Libya for the past few days.  He has been loud especially on 40M but thus far I have been unable to crack the wall till tonight.  

He showed up on the cluster on 80M but no copy here in FL, just a little ESP.  I guess he wasn't hearing much either and in a few minutes he switched to 40M.  He was peaking S4 (-96 dBm) with signal to burn and some QSB.  I was about 1 minute into the 40M operation tonight, in other words before the pileup and EU/Russian wall had formed.  I set my TX +1 and called once and he came right back.  Right place right time.

I figured if I didn't get him tonight it wasn't going to happen for me.  TNX OM Dima!

73  W9OY