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Welcome to the 2017-2018 contest season with the Flex 6000 series radio

Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
edited June 23 in New Ideas
Greetings Flex Radio Community.  Well as you can see, with the kickoff of CQWW RTTY last weekend the 2017-18 contest season is upon us.  I hope we had the opportunity to log you at ZF1A last week where I operated.  This weekend will be the official contest season shakedown, with the 52nd running of the California QSO party. Then they start coming in fast and furious. I would like to encouage all of you to leverage your unprecedented view of the contest playing field that SmartSDR for Windows/IOs/and Maestro provide to give you a competitive edge in this seasons upcoming contests.  It should prove quite interesting as the newest members of the 6000 series, the Flex 6400/6600 series add to the 2017/2018 contest season experience.  Also dont forget the Power Genius XL will be another tool can can offer an additional, err.. edge.  There are lots of Flex Radios QRV out in California on the other end of that QSO this weekend. 

Now that this years contest season has started, this is a great time to give newer members a reminder that you have an advocate in myself as pertains to using your Flex 6000 radio as a competitive tool in RadioSport.  I am here to help and take feedback, and provide guidance and assistance to you however I can.  please feel free to leverage that however you need.

Have a great contest season, good luck and lets hear those flex 6000 radios active out there!

73
Chris
N6WM/ZF2CT
Flex Contesting Champion 


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Comments

  • Allan N9ATAllan N9AT Member
    edited October 2017
    Thank you Chris. What a nice offer and yes, I am anxious to receive the new POWER GENIUS.

    73 Allan, N9AT

  • ArnieArnie Member
    edited March 2019
    Thanks Chris, but where ARE the newest Flexradios?
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    Good luck in the contest (season). 

    Already kicking this one off with a win... hoping for much more even though I have some stiff competition in W2, I want to power thru and see what I can do. 

    GL and I can't tell you to spot me on the cluster, but if that's what you want to do, I can't stop you. ;)

    And seriously, take Chris up on his offer. He knows his stuff. 

    73/88
    Ria, N2RJ
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    I am sure they will arrive soon.. I am waiting for mine as well!
  • Clay N9IOClay N9IO Clay N9IO Member ✭✭
    edited August 2019

    Chris thank you for the opportunity to lean on you if needed.
    I have put together a couple of things I think will help increase station proficiency in the upcoming DX / contest season.

    Just before I traded in my 6300 I followed threads from the community site and finished a Genovation Keypad. I have it working nicely along with the Flex Knob and Maestro, (the author of DDUTil is as much genius as our friends at FRS frankly).

    Unfortunately I am beside Arnie in anticipation of and praying for the 6600 to come as quickly as possible as I am currently "Flexless" ugh!!!.
    Having the Flex DT's......and brother does it ever hurt!

    BTW: Ria don't sell yourself short, your knowledge base is not shabby and also much appreciated.

    73'
    Clay N9IO

  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Thanks Allan.. Power genius should be a well received product
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I am sure you will do fine Ria.. its better than contesting from W6 ;-).  CU in CQP this weekend right?
  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    Yes.  Good luck everyone.
    I have a few personal goals this contest season.....

    1) 160 contests (CQ160-SSB, CQ160-CW, ARRL-160):
        + to finally work AK on 160 for my WAS.
        + to achieve WAS in one contest.  (I got 49 states in the last CQ160-CW)

    2) DX Contests:  CQWW & ARRLDX:  
        + to increase my score over my 2015 performances.
          (I was very limited in time for the 2016 contests.)
        + to bump my score to at lest 750,000, preferably to hit the 1 Million mark for the first time ever.
        + to make a better showing on 80 & 160.
        + to finish off DXCC on 80 to wrap up 5BDXCC

    3) CQ WPX:  to participate this year!  I have not been able to do much in these contests -- scheduling problems...

    4) RTTY Contests: 
        + To master (try) SO2R-style ops
        + to win 9th Region, not just the state of Indiana.

    5) Sweepstakes:  to have fun, and perhaps bump up my WAS and DXCC totals.

    6) VHF Contests:  to get my 2 meter SSB station back on the air and compete with 6 & 2.

    Hopefully my finances will be sufficiently recovered in Nov/Dec so that I will be able to take advantage of the trade-up to the 6600 when it is released, allowing me to do some honest-to-goodness SO2R, or at least get a transverter going for 2 Meters and do 6 & 2 all with the Flex!

    Well, these are my goals...

    What are yours?

    Ken - NM9P
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Estamos aqui para ganar!  ;-).
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    Ken some suggestions.  

    For WAS -- Sweepstakes and NAQP.

    AK on 160, gonna need to do it on CW.. try the CQ 160 test or Stew Perry Top Band Challenge. 

    Item 2 BIC.. and then BIC.

    Item 3, WPX is the bestest of the bestest.  a literal run fest.  You have a cool call for it as well.

    Item 4 is just BIC and experience once you have your SO2R in a box set up.

    GL




  • W9ILYW9ILY Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Chris, thanks for the encouragement. I was wondering if there a document showing the correct procedure for setting up the 6500 and N1MM+ for SO2V since SO2R is not supported by the 6500.
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited April 10
    why yes there is..  its the same setup doc as SO2R for the 6700.  you are just SO2R without full duplex.  use the radio to put both slices on one band (the N1MM entry screen wont allow it) but once they are both there all works.  If you need a link to the SO2R doc let me know.
  • Clay N9IOClay N9IO Clay N9IO Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017

    When you get a chance the link would be appreciated. 

    Thanks for posing the question John W9ILY.

  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Thanks for the encouragement, Chris. 

    SO2R and Low-band optimization is going to take some realignment of my coax feeders, too.  I currently have three runs of LMR400 type Ultra-flex to the tower.  Two are going to my crossed yagis on 2 meters. (Which I don't use very often, having fallen in love with HF contesting and DXing)  The other goes to an Ameritron 4-way remote switch that feeds my T-11 LP, my OCF Dipole, and my Inverted 'L.'

    So I need to cut (!) my 2 Meter feedlines and reassign one of them to feed the Inverted 'L,' and install a simple 2-way switch for 2 meter H/V switching.

    Then I can use a switch in the shack to go between the Inverted 'L' on 80 or 160 (whichever I have it set for) and my 40 Meter vertical on the other end of the yard.  Feed these into ANT2 of the Flex.  Then use the line that feeds the LP and OCF Dipole to feed ANT1 (Since These two antennas are mutually exclusive)

    Now I have a Macro in DDUtil that switches between ANT1 & ANT2 so I can change polarity between the dipole and vertical(s) when running 160, 80, 40 & 30.

    Add a receive antenna for 80/160 and I am off and running.  I had a tuned magnetic loop last year, but it doesn't work any more.  I am thinking of a BOG, snake, pennant, or something else that I can do inexpensively.

    Just this past weekend, I brought the 40 vertical feedline into the ANT2 port and have been switching between the dipole and vertical on 40/30 running FT8.  It has improved things.  But I would like to get the Inverted 'L' into the switching mix so I can take advantage of the polarization diversity on 80 as well.

    I may put the OCF Dipole back on 160, too.  It only takes swapping out the short wire (45 ft.) for a long one (180 ft.). the 90 ft wire can stay the same and it will tune 160 quite nicely.  It will also perform better on 30 meters.

    Now that the fall temps have arrived, it is cool enough that I can get out into the yard for antenna work in short shifts.

    Thanks for your encouragement.

    Ken - NM9P
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    8/10ths of the battle is getting that station setup right..  GL.  Consider pairing a 160m inverted L with a listening loop, One of my Elmers and fellow N6RO operator Dean N6BV, who also happens to be the former editor of the ARRL antenna manual truly feels verticals are king on 80/160 and his advise has paid off for me 10 fold. Dont forget to pair it with a good common mode choke and a reasonable radial system, above ground is ok.
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    John is in my log many times over the years.. there is the instruction sheet and let me know if you have any further questions..
  • WW1SS - SteveWW1SS - Steve Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Oh yes contest season. Those wonderful contesters that think the whole band is theirs and ruin nets and rag chew conversations because they have to be transmitting 500hz away from you and have no radio etiquette what so ever.

    I am not picking on anyone in particular and I am not a contester as you can tell. 
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    I will say this. To all flex contesters please be respectful of the KP4/KP2/J7 Hurricane and recovery nets on the bands.  they are publicly posted and you  and they will be best served by steering clear, this is real emergency business.  For other stuff.. you wont hear a contester on any of the warc bands and the contest is over with the weekend... use em! neither are going away so lets work together.

    Lets leave it at that, and not start a debate on an OT subject matter. 

    ~C.  
  • Steven LinleySteven Linley Member ✭✭
    edited June 19

    Chris,

    Yes, wish my 6600 was here.  I have the Maestro but no radio.

    Steve WA8Y

  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    hang in there.. I know the FRS gang is working super hard to get them out to us...  of that you can be sure.
  • Steven LinleySteven Linley Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Yes, I hope those 50 ARRL/ARES (WinLink trained) hams continue their good work of health and welfare reports back to family on the mainland.
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Just a little. There is a YL category I heard? Kids birthday weekend so I may not be on the radio much... but I'll look for you guys. N6RO? 
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    I had a chance to see some of them being made at the factory in Austin and believe me when I say they are really working hard to get them finished for the first round of orders. 

    Ria
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Yes absolutely we have had some good shootouts for the YL plaque.  Our call in this will be N6O, and you will likely catch up with my on 15 sideband using my 5 x 5 X 5 propagation generator.
  • Clay N9IOClay N9IO Clay N9IO Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Ahh visual verification, now I feel much better. Thanks!
  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Another option I am toying with is to change the 80 OCF Dipole into a 80/40/30 tri-band fan dipole and using only the inverted 'L' on 160.  The 160 Dipole was only 35 ft at apex and 18 - 10 ft at the ends.  It was a real cloud burner, but good close-in.

    Another option would be to put a parallel wire up with the 160 Inverted 'L' to resonate on 80 as well --  kind of like a fan dipole, but as an inverted 'L.'  I haven't seen anyone publish one of these.  I figure I could use thin PVC pipe as spacers, perhaps 6-8 inches up and over until the 80 leg is done.

    I did something similar with my homebrew 40 vertical - putting aluminum tubes alongside the main 40 meter element.  They were cut for 20 & 10 meters and spaced about 4 inches from the main element.  It gave me a 4 band vertical - elevated about 8 ft with 4 sets of radials 8 ft. above ground.  I worked a lot of DX with it -- until I got the T-11 LP!

    I figure that if it worked for the 40/20/15/10 vertical, then i figure it might work for 160/80.  I might even tri-band it with a third element for 60 meters.

    The catch is that I only have about 33-35 ft up, then the rest is across to the tree that I used to hang the dipole from before the tower went up.  I have room for 35 up and 90 over with enough to spare.  I had the 160 'L' up last winter with only two radials (all the room I have) one was elevated about 8-10 ft. above the ground, stretching along the side of the house, down the driveway, and across about 35 ft. of the front yard, all supported by 1/2 inch steel electrical conduit jammed into the ground.  It was a temporary winter installation.  The other radial was just laid on the ground in the back yard, back to the shed, mostly straight, then about 20 ft around the back of the shed.  It worked pretty well, giving me 49 states during the CQ160 CW contest with low power.  But as you said, I really need a receive antenna.  I think my shielded magnetic loop lost it's varacter tuning diodes with the lightning strike that got my 6500 a year ago.  the loop was never the same.  I may rebuild it, but am more interested in a larger wire loop, or a terminated pennant aimed at AK and South America, or at Europe.  I saw a design that was 25 ft tall and about 20 ft wide. I have a 31 ft fiberglass Jackite  pole I could support it with.

    Oh well...this is antenna season and the ideas keep coming.  I am really starting to lean towards the fan dipole, since I could prune them for best match and may not need the tuner as much.  In any case, I am always experimenting with the antennas and trying new things.   It's almost as fun as contesting and DXing!

    See you in the lists!

    Ken - NM9P
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    I don’t think the parallel wire would work. It might act as a capacitor. Plus if they share a radial field that is not going to work. If you have a tower and beam you can shunt feed that for 80 and put the 160 antenna up in a tree with some spacing to minimize the interaction. I used some ideas from Ray, K9RS for low band antennas in limited space. I am not that limited in space but some of these ideas are also cheaper and easier to do than doing it “properly.” http://www.kkn.net/dayton2008/multi-element lowband verticals 6.pdf For receive antennas the K9AY loop works well for limited space. DARA in Dayton uses one and I have a local friend who also uses one. Of course if you can do a 1000’ Beverage, by all means, do. Ria
  • VaristorVaristor Member
    edited October 2017
    Large antennas, such as 1000' beverages, are not better than some of today's RX arrays. A 4 square array of short Hi-Z or passive verticals fits an area of 80 x 80 feet and outperforms most beverages, K9AY loops, etc.

    Here's some "required reading" you may want to review as you plan your station improvements strategy. These strategies apply to both contesters and DXers.
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited October 2017
    The 1000’ Beverage was a general, but not specific example. The 4sq I have (DXE/W8JI) also doesn’t do better than the phased Beverages, at least in my experience. Tom, W8JI seems to back that up as well. Beverages are also cheaper to run, BOGs are even cheaper. For someone just looking to experiment with low band antennas and have the space they are a good, easy way to get on.

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