Tuesday, May 19, 2015

6M Season is Upon Us

I was fooling around in the shack and noticed the above in DXLab's DXview map.  The short black lines means VHF/UHF is active!

I reconfigured the 6500 for 6M mode.  I usually open 2 panadapters.  The lower pan shows a wide swath of the band.  I can see SSB CW and beacons on this pan.  The upper pan is for QSOs.  

I have skimmer hooked up so I can rapidly scan where the opening is, although down here in FL many of the local stations sport callsigns from northern states (yours truly included).  SmartSDR has a built in keyboard/paddle/memory keyer so I filled out the memories for a typical 6M CW exchange and proceeded to knock off a dozen contacts mostly from PA NY and VE3.  There was also some SSB activity but I didn't listen in.  My antennas on 6 are horrible.  I use a 80M vertical or a W5GI version of a G5RV.  I normally tune with a MFJ-998 tuner, but since I don't run any power beside the exciter I decided to use the built in tuner on the 6500.  The MFJ cranks and cranks to find a match but the Flex tuner found a match in three clicks.

In the last software release Flex redesigned the Tuner to include multiple memories which also include remembering tuning solutions for multiple antennas.  So if you are on 6 and have one antenna on ANT1 and a second on ANT2, when you switch antennas the correct tuning solution is remembered for each port/antenna.  Very handy.  This is also the case for other bands so if you set up some tuning solutions for lets say XX.025MHZ of every CW portion of every band the tuner will recall the correct solution for a given antenna port with no need to retune.  Ideal if you run a contest barefoot with a multiband antenna for example.  Click and go!

I recently added a ALA100M loop antenna from Wellbrook.  I have the masthead preamp connected to a 23ft circumference loop up 25ft in a corner of the back yard.

This thing works very well on 6M.  I'm pleasantly surprised.  Looking forward to more openings this season

73  W9OY