ARRL CW SS - Flex is the way to go!

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I'm not really a contester.  I'm years out of practice and these days I'm struggling to copy 20 wpm.  But getting back into radio was the direct fault of Flex Radio and these amazing rigs!

So I decided to play around with the CW SS and I had a ball!  I only managed about 200 contacts with lots of interrupts and I remained in "Search & Pounce" mode.  But the Flex was certainly the way to go.  It was so easy to see the sigs, click on them, listen and type in the call into N1MM logger and if it was a non dupe hit a couple function keys to log the contact.

Years ago (I mean MANY years ago) doing field day we had literally multiple ops, one was responsible for finding stations and keeping the log current, they would relay to us the freq and the call and we'd go work 'em.   Now days you can do all of this as a single op with the flex and a computer and some honed contesting skills.

I realize my little 200 contacts is pretty lame.  I mean near the end of today I was hearing some stations with thousands but hey, I got a 1/4 of the way there and I'm way way out of practice.  I will say that the median CW speed during the contest was about 33 and I found after 200 contacts I was copying stuff pretty well.   I had to ask for a few repeats here and there but generally I got what was needed.  It was nice to see that my little 100W flex6300 and my lame antenna netted me this 200 contacts with very few repeats and often I didn't seek the big sigs.  I sometimes focused on the small peaks and managed to get a lot of sections.  I think my computed score was 25,000 plus some change.

Anyway here is my vote for the flex!  What a machine!  Hone your skills, have a flex, a good antenna and oh man... you'd be tough to beat!

I did some short videos of the start of the CWSS.  It was funny to watch 40m just fill up.  At first the waterfall was fairly open then all of a sudden it was like packed.

Anyway good luck to all of you that were in the contest.  I hope I added to your score!

Mark - WS7M
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Mark - WS7M

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Posted 3 years ago

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Photo of George Molnar, KF2T

George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Congrats, Mark! Nice showing. Tried new tactics this year, working the panafall and tight filters for all they were worth to hunt down a Clean Sweep. Slightly fewer contacts compared to last year, but got all 83 and had a blast. Trusty 6500 was solid the entire weekend.
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi George,

Thanks.  I have only done the little QRP zombie contest recently and so my "procedures" were pretty clunky.  I think after about 15 contacts I began to get a rhythm but I'm sure the *real* contesters would scoff at my methods.

I see from my log we managed to link up on 7.006.  I think I was your 186th contact but not sure I copied it right.  However I do remember your booming signal!  It had flex written all over it!  :-)

Anyway I could totally see myself enjoying this.  In years past I found contests to be tiring and difficult and for some reason the integration of the computer along with SDR and panadapters makes it a whole different ball game.

When you mention clean sweep and 83 are you referring to sections?  This is how out of date I am!
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Mark - WS7M

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BTW... Cool QRZ.com page!  Enjoyed and your noise reduction stuff is awesome.  I'm slowly working down that path myself.

I have a lot of work to go:

160 - HORRIBLE (lots of weird stuff going on here)
80 - A little better, still strange
40 - Mostly flat but baseline of about S5.  I want to see it about S2 or less
20 - Better - About S2 typically but there is some strange noise that sometimes appears

I have not had the time to check the other bands but generally it is a noisy place.  I see lots of work ahead to get it to be less noisy!  But that's 1/2 the fun I think.

I also enjoy writing software (what I do for a living) so I have plans to automate some tasks with my own little utilities.  For example I have a little ALS-600 amp.  I rarely run it at full power.  Usually I have it in RTTY mode and my Flex at about 50W this seems to give the amp about 350 out or so.  But this little amp has manual rotary switch to change bands.  There is also an op/standby switch.  So I've broken those out into a cable and have designed a board to switch all the switches from remote software control.  Part of my fun is doing this kind of stuff.

Thanks again for your QRZ page.  I'm going to use that as a reference for what is possible.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Hey Mark,
200 Contacts in SS is not bad at all, especially for just getting back into the game with moderate antennas!  Congratulations.  Next year you will apply what you learned and improve your score.  If you increase your score by 50% each year, before long you will be knocking on the door of the big guns.  (I still have a great many years to go!)

I didn't get to participate in CW SS this year.  I only get so many weekends I can do this stuff.  This was a very busy weekend for work and family, so the contests take a third seat. 

My next contests will probably be the CQ 160 phone and CW efforts, and the CQWW CW test.  My main goals on those tests will be to get HI & AK on 160 meters for 5BWAS, and to bump up my 80 meter DX numbers.  I have finally gotten over 100 LOTW Q's on 10, 15, 20 & 40 Meters and have 40 LOTW confirmations on 80 meters.  But I need new antennas on 160 & 80 to accomplish that.  I am planning a two-band inverted 'L' to add to my tower this winter.  That and a receive loop may help me push forward a bit.

Keep up the effort and have a lot of fun.  CW contests are a great way to push your code proficiency to the next level.  So is rag chewing.

Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Congrats on the sweep, George!
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Craig K9CT

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Mike, Mark et al

Congratulations to all that operated this past weekend. I hope I am in your log.

I used the Flex 6700 in SO2R this weekend in SS CW. It was a ball. We have a lot to look forward to. Congrats to the team at FlexRadio.

My 3830 report is here

http://www.3830scores.com/showrumor.php?arg=JuaKz1fycysyH

I used the latest Alpha software released on Friday night...which is probably not recommended but i can't think of a better way to hammer on something than a contest. 

 73, Craig K9CT
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km9r.mike

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If I remember correctly, I think you called while I was attempting to run on 20. Like always, thanks Craig for having a well above average receive capability : )

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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Mark, thanks for the kind words -- and the contact! Nice work for someone who claims to not be a "real" contester. And yep, 83 sections equals the clean sweep. They broke Ontario into bunch a couple of years ago.

Ran using DogPark SDR, by the way. Don's program has really matured well and has been my primary client for a couple of months now. A pleasure to operate. 

Update: Looks like I just edged KM9R in Reno by a hair to take Nevada, Single Op Low Power. His station? Flex 6300 to an OCF wire with remote tuner. Another very competitive contest performance from FlexRadio.
(Edited)