Wednesday, June 11, 2014

6M is TMF (too much fun)

The Flex 6300 continues to amaze me on 6M.  The receiver is fantastic.  I am working stations down to -149 dBm which is the limit of my noise almost daily.  I have heard Dominican Republic and Canada.  My station hears much better than it transmits.  I use every available means.  The first indicator is the waterfall.  It is amazing how useful this new addition is to weak signal work.

Here is the waterfall shot of VE2IR calling CQ

He is the signal on the right in the waterfall.  His signal strength is -147.1 dBm

And the band noise is

I have the AGT-T tuned precisely for best reception and I am using the 50hz filter.  (50hz gives best signal to noise)

I tune this by clicking the waterfall as a first measure at 100hz filter bandwidth and use the knob to peak the signal on a 450hz sidetone note using the FlexControl.  Its very easy to tune in at 100hz.  I then memorize the freq in the Quick Memory of DDUTIL.  This station is liable to slip in and out of the noise and I want an absolute zero point so as I try to peak him I can always recall from DDUTIL if I get too far off.  I then switch to 50hz filter and try to tune more precisely for peak signal in my headphones.  I also center the signal in skimmer.

Once I have him tuned in within an inch of his life I re-memorize that freq in Quick Memory.  With this technique a station 1 dB out of my noise is Q5 copy in this radio.  And if I bump something recall is a button press away.  It's absolutely amazing!

I designed along with Steve K5FR the behavior of Quick Memory.  It allows for memorization of up to 5 slice specific frequencies in SSDR.  Here is an example:

My active slice is slice B indicated by the yellow arrow in the slice flag.  If I press save this is saved as 50.125000 in memory 1.  Note the Load button in DDUTIL has a B "Load B"  this means if I press this button 50.1250000 will be loaded into slice B.  I can click the Recall button and the memory will move to the next memory.

Memory 2 contains the 50.094420 memory in slice A.  If I hit "Load A" that freq will be loaded into slice A even if I have tuned off freq in that slice.  The memory displayed can be moved up and down by means of the up/down arrows on the keyboard when DDUTIL has the focus.

In addition I asked Steve to code a V<>M button.  This allows you to tune up and down the band with the VFO and immediately toggle between the VFO freq and the displayed memory freq.  This is immensely useful.  If you are all tuned on a DX station but waiting for his signal to build you can tune the band and make other contacts and at a button press you can switch back to any of the memories and see what's happening on the memory freq.  Since you have 5 memories you can follow up to 5 pileups even on different bands.  You can then toggle back to the VFO and continue tuning from where you left off if nothing interesting is happening.  Many times DXpeditions especially in the Indian ocean will follow the grey line across Europe.  I can hear Europe here on 40 and 80 in the afternoon here in FL before sundown.  I can listen to the pileup in Europe and get an idea of propagation and follow the grey line as new signals farther west start calling, so I use this V<>M button to listen off and on as the moment of truth approaches (when I enter the frey)
Also if you are reading the mail on 2 stations that are not on the same freq, you can memorize one station and tune the VFO to the other and simply toggle V<>M and both stations will be tuned in as the QSO progresses.  So Cool and so useful!  I'm indebted to the master coder Steve K5FR and his Swiss army knife of Flex radio for making my idea a reality!  Now back to knocking them off on 6M.

73  W9OY