Saturday, January 28, 2017

CQ 160M CW

I've been running the 160M test this weekend, and it's been a blast.  The bands aren't super good, and I have a fair amount of noise @ -103 dBm.  Flex has done a LOT of work streamlining the contest aspect of the software, and it is really paying off.  I'm running the latest alpha code.  Flex sent out an update to test in the middle of the contest and I decided what the heck and updated in the middle of the test.  It was flawless.  I'm running N1MM+ and I'm using CW skimmer to populate my N1MM+ bandmap 

Skimmer copies only what I can hear with the radio, the internet is shut off at this time.  As you can see there are plenty of activity.  This is 160M at 17:00 Eastern.  Skimmer telnets the data into N1MM+

The band map sorts what skimmer hears v what I have worked and it lists new stations and DX so I just click down the list picking up countries and mults.  The 6700 does a REALLY good job of hearing things.  I'm running with the filters set at 50hz and its very easy to click a station and work it.  If it's off a little I have a Flex Control (aka a knob) to fine tune.

Here is a shot of my desktop

Included in the mix is DXLAB.  Skimmer is also acting as a server to DXLabs spot client "Spot Collector"  Data is sent to SC and if I work some new DX I can import that data immediately into my DX log from SC without missing a beat.  SC compares spots as they roll by with stations in my DX logbook so I can immediately bre alerted to something I need.  This contest is mostly domestic but I'm seeing more DX than I anticipated. 

Another advantage of DXLab is the world map.  Since the only stations I am spotting are stations I can actually "hear" on the local antenna it's worth while to cruise these red dots.  Very often it yields a new country.  In fact I worked 25 countries in about 6 hours of contesting. 

Flex has been working on a Winkey emulator.  The emulator is a software version of Winkey.  It doesn't completely emulate Winkey but for the objects emulated such as the keyer and memories and keyboard keyer it is excellent and it integrates tightly with N1MM+.  Very nice.  I could set up a version of SO2R but I'm rather enjoying a very laid back contest experience.  Other programs include SDR-Bridge which I use to interface my Flex Controls. and DDUTIL.  In DDUTIL I have  sevral custom macros programmed which allows me to change things like screen resolution AGC-T, filters (I have created several custom defined filters)  and others that tailors the entire experience to my liking.

73  W9OY 

Redux:  I worked 159 stations in 12 hours of S&P, 43 sections and 25 countries.  I found new ways to utilize the information my station gathers as the contest progressed.  I was disconnected from the internet, so the information I gathered was strictly in my own universe.  I was able to hear more than I could be heard and left between 5 and 10 countries on the table.  It was interesting to hear EU  Russian and Middle East countries working each other in the contest.  QSB played a role which is common on 160M and I had to keep rolling by trying to work stations as conditions changed, but I could immediately and randomly survey the band and persistent checking and then calling generally paid off.  I heard nothing out of Asia or the Pacific.  I left the robot running while I slept and then reviewed my accumulated  data and no contacts to the west beyond CA were noted in the data.