Friday, August 29, 2014

Relaxing with DX

Fall is pretty much here.  I moved my daughter out to Kansas for her Freshman year in college, a sure sign of the season.  Tonight I got to spend a little time on 40 CW.  I restarted my DXCC this summer using the Flex 6300 and now the Anan 100D.  Here is a shot of the 100D in action, a thing of beauty.

I had it all rocking with CWSkimmer and the diversity phaser (though this guy was so loud I hardly needed diversity)  My diversity set up on 40 is a half wave end fed 40M vert for transmit and RX1 and a 43 ft all band ant (about 3/8 wave) on RX2  I can peak or null as needed.  With a station this loud in the null the station sounds like FM radio as far as static is concerned.  The Anan with HPSDR has a great number of signal enhancements.  I run the bandwidth virtually always at 100hz.  This in itself enhances the S/N considerably.  I also always run the APF and noise blanker since I have a couple of S units of noise worth blanking,  I also tune the AGC-T for best AGC performance.  This is the point where band noise just starts to rise.  The idea is to have the AGC loop not engaged as the best RX performance occurs before compression starts.  I can fine tune AGC-T using the diversity phaser  

I heard SV0XCA/5 on 40 

and he soon showed up in DXLab's spot collector, so I clicked the spot and it loaded SV0XCA into the log program but did not log him yet.  You can see the Map, his S/P distance of 6000 miles, his local time (UTC + 2)  heading etc

I'm surrounded by lightning tonight and the band is pretty noisy

You can see it's clipping in the - mid 90's as far as dBm goes.  Note diversity is disabled.  A gent I met last night, Gary WA1OXT  suggested this on/off switch be added to the diversity form.  I downloaded the latest software release tonight before I started on 40M and low and behold there it was, and it turned out to be quite useful.

I switched diversity on and proceeded to tune SV0CXA for best signal to noise in the headphones.  This wound up being a point considerably weaker than without diversity,  Diversity is not about being loudest its about being most copy-able.

-117 dBm was about the best.  At this point the lightning was down farther than SV0XCA and the AGC-T was optimized.  I called him once and logged him.  

Next came Christian J28NC in Djibouti.  

7800 miles S/P and getting to be his sunrise

I did the same routine of best S/N using the phaser

-97 dBm became -113 dBm when tuned to best S/N.  He was listening up 2 so I clicked A>B which sent VFO A freq into VFO B clicked the khz up 2, set the TX and 2 calls later he was in the log.  I also worked PZ5RA in Suriname

He was a lot closer and a lot louder, only 2300 miles.   He had quite a pileup going

You could tell by all the 599's in skimmer he was working up and down the pileup, so the best bet for him was to figure out where he would be listening go there and tail end.  

Skimmer with this radio through DDUTIL v2 has a nice feature If both VFO's are on and you are running skimmer through the CWS port in DDUTIL and VFO B has the TX set you can click around on the skimmerfall and it will tune VFO B and leave VFO A on the DX.  This means with on click you are ready to tail end, just wait for the 599 to appear and click.  It was an idea I had several years ago and K5FR made it happen in his fine program DDUTIL

I soon had PZ5RA in the log too.  

I switched to 30M and heard YW5D.  On this band the lightning static was minimal so I used the phaser to peak YW5D and to minimize the strength of calling stations since he was working simplex.  I bagged him in one call.

As I said I zeroed my DXCC and started over on June 6th   I'm approaching 5 band DXCC rapidly 

30M and 17M have been a surprise especially 30M.  I hear all kinds of stuff on that band.  I can't wait till winter when the low bands improve.  Not too bad for a bunch of vertical antennas.

73  W9OY

As I was toddling off to bed 3D2TR came up on 30M

8000 mi S/P

2 calls and in the log.  Diversity provides considerable advantage, locking in a solid Q5 signal.  Glad I stopped by the shack!!