CQ WW SSB 2015 Results

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I just finished the Contest and am preparing to post my scores by email.
My back and backside are really sore and tired!  
I was on vacation this week, so I had a few more hours to play.
I put in 25:22 Hours, which is about 5 hours and 10 minutes more than last year.

Here is my score summary.


(Pts = Points, ZN = CQ Zones, Cty = Countries worked)


This is 70% more contacts than last year!
and the score (unprocessed) is 173% higher than last year!
The new antenna, and better band conditions combined to make for a much better result.
Another year of experience with the Flex-6500 and N1MM+ helped, too!.

Let's see some more scores, guys and gals...
Celebrate the continued evolving of a very capable contest rig.

Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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  • Very satisfied...but tired!

Posted 3 years ago

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Mark - WS7M

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It has been years and years since I contested.  I'm not sure family and life would allow it.  It was fun today peaking at the panadaper and seeing just jam packed bands.  

Congrats Ken.  It sounds like you will be a powerhouse with the new rig, antenna etc.  I have no idea if your score is good or not.  But 173% more is certainly worth bragging about!  Nice job.

I don't think I will have the antenna or persistence for a while to complete in these contests.  Maybe in a year or so.  For now I'll try to add a contact to two for you guys and watch my radio go crazy with activity while they are going on.

I love my 6300.  While I know the 6500 and 6700 have more slices and more SCUs I can't imagine needing more than I have in my 6300.  But then again I've spent more on ham stuff in 6 months than I figured I'd spend in 5 years!

I started building an Rx and Tx but they sit unfinished on my table.  Just no time and the first test of my Rx failed pretty badly.  Rx building is an art and one that I don't have the skills for yet.  I've built Tx before and had not much trouble but frankly I'd spend way more than $2600 of my time on both and have a far less able radio.

I bought a 600w solid state linear but I think I'll buy myself a 3-500Z and build a tube amp for fun to keep me warm this winter.  I just have to make sure I don't kill myself in the process.  I always hated those voltages!

Anyway good work Ken.  You are proof that the Flex will be the wave of the future in contesting I think!
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David Warnberg

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talk about jam packed... yes id say a couple qso's there...

(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I forgot to mention my category: Single Operator, low power, assisted. I used N1MM+ and only one panadapter & slice for the most part. I had enough to mess with. I may try SO2R or SO2V next time. My goal was to beat 600 contacts and 500,000 points this year

This is probably an upper-mid tier level score for my region.
I have a long way to go to break into the top-tier with the big guns.

Ken - NM9P
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David Warnberg

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FYI... no need to post via e-mail.. they now have a way to post right on the web site.. just FYI...
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Yeah. But I'm "old school!" Hee hee!
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Mark - WS7M

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Well Ken,

In my book you did just great!  Nice job!
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Mike Hoing

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Well done Ken. I knew the beam would up your score. Now I need one that is a huge limiter for me

I scored 582,416 in bout 25 hours as well. About a 20% improvement from last year

Mike
N9DFD
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Nice job! Ooooo. You almost beat me! Ha ha!
You did this without a beam? Nice!

I would have scored more if I had remembered K6TU's advice... It's all about RATE! I tended to make several errors...

1) wasting time turning the antenna between contacts as I went up and down the band. S&P. Instead of setting the antenna one direction and quickly working all the stations in one quadrant, then turning the antenna and going up and down the band again, working those I can work in the new direction.

2) getting stuck in the "I can break this pileup" mentality, spending too much time trying to work a station deeply buried in a pileup. My rate went up when I would just try a couple of times and move on, coming back later then the pileup shifted.

3) spending too much time focusing upon multipliers. I later found that if I just worked up and down the band, hitting everyone I could, perhaps taking double the time on good multipliers, then my rate went up some more, and my score rose more rapidly. The multipliers came naturally.

4) feeling that I needed to "milk" the higher band dry before I moved down to the next band. Had I shifted from 10 to 15 earlier, I would have scored better. Likewise for the shift from 15 to 20. I missed some good DX by waiting too long. By the time I got there, the band had shifted.

Eventually I got into a better rhythm and the rate began to rise. Next year I will do even better.

I didn't get to run any frequencies for long. It seems that high power or better band timing is needed for that. So until I get an amp, I am a S&P contester.

Any of you big guns want to weigh in on my assumptions? I have the station...now I need to go to "Contest University." I have been home schooled long enough!

Ken - NM9P
(Edited)
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km9r.mike

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Not a contest big gun but one through four sound like good areas of self critique.

#1 I was discussing this with another on a separate interwebby page but he appeared to have his hackles up over the topic of directivity is both a blessing and a curse. Overall directivity has appeared to enhance your score greatly. You could do your quadrant approach or you could play the numbers/best propagation game. Things always slow down as the contest wears on so perhaps running the numbers into the heavily populated EU/JA is best for Sat and seeking quadrant multipliers is best for Sun.

#2 I have found much better scores not falling into that trap. Two to three calls max then I am on my way especially while operating qrp but the principle applies the same .

#3 Keep an eye on your 1 mult = xQs calculator in the n1mm score window. Never really thought about it but if #2 is worth say 3 attempts then 1 mult = 1.8Qs would be worth 5 attempts.  A good understanding of when your propagation into that area is strongest helps a lot as well. I volunteer to do qsl cards for a local big gun and you would be amazed how times and bands and specific areas of the world repeat over the years.

#4 Many will simply use rate to determine when it is best to change bands vice milking the band dry. Say your sustained rate was 50/hr for the the past 3 hours but now it has dropped to 20/hour. You get the point. Say you started on 10 rate has dropped and you have moved to 15. Once you see the rate drop on 15 then on to 20 or perhaps a 30min re visit to 10 if it should still be open especially to a new quadrant then hit 20 till rate drop and do a 30 min re visit on 15.


70% more contacts is something to be very happy about.

(Edited)
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Asher - K0AU

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Ken: you and I have been building out our stations at the same time.  I ran single op high power unassisted this year.  Didn't some smart person say "Life's too short for QRP."  I don't care what anyone says: 1500 watts gets through when 100 watts does not.

Just to compare notes: I had a few other things I needed to do on Saturday and Sunday so I lost some daytime operating.  On the West Coast I can run a frequency with JAs on 10 and 15 in the afternoon my time.  On 20 I can usually get through pileups but can't run EUs. On 40 I'm still learning the ropes with my new antenna.  On 80 I mostly listen to noise. 

This year from my QTH 10 was great to South America and JA .  15 was solid during the day with strong openings to EU during my morning before their sunset.  20 was ok with some strong polar paths after dark to OH and UA0.  40M at night was like 10M during the day: hit or miss to EU with great Pacific openings before my sunrise.  Africa was tough on all bands- got CN, ZD7, D4 and ZS.  South Asia was completely AWOL.  More VKs.

CQ WW SSB is probably my most fun contest.


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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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As you can tell. The beam kept me active on 10/15/20 and I didn't get to 40 for much. I went to bed about 2 pm each nite and was not an early riser the the pre-sunrise DX on 40. That cost me, but I was really worn out. With only a vertical and dipole on 40/80 I wasn't competitive on those bands. An amp would have helped a lot there. An inverted 'L' on 80/160 would have as well.
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km9r.mike

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I do not do many phone contests. What mic were you using, what Flex SS processor options were you using and do you remember any unsolicited replies of good audio  ?
(Edited)
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km9r.mike

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Thanks. No I was not asking from the standpoint of extended ssb hey great audio but just like you described clean, strong punch contest audio. I too will limit the top to 2700 but have left the bottom at 100. I will try 300 next time. Again thanks.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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We use RadioSport Headsets for contests at NX6T contest station
Much better quality than any Heil. They are available with multiple different elements so you can experiment and determine which element combination gives your voice the best contest punch. Interestingly enough different peoples have different voice characteristics so the need for different elements.

I have a collection of maybe 10 different elements that I accumulated over the years. I find that I use very different elements and very different EQ settings for Ragchewing, DX and Contests.

I get superb audio reports with the 6700
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km9r.mike

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Thanks Howard. I know you put a lot of effort and thought into comparison testing @ nx6t and your findings sure do help in preventing the reinvention of the wheel or costly trial and error especially since I have about zero baseline in this area.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Unfortunately I missed the big contest radio shootout we had planned for this years CQ WW SS SSB because of an important family obligations (I am taking my Grandson to the Tesl Factory in Fremont on his 12th birthday) and the fact that we could not get a sample Maestro to run against the K3's.

FYI. We use the Radiosport's with the Flex and K3.'s.

EQ adjustments and choice of elements are extremely specific to each operators voice. We try to target a contest voice to sound a like a female as that tends to have the best contest punch.
However even that rule of thumb does not work for everyone. Ultimately it takes a lot of experimentation to find your contest voice sweet spot.

I should add that you very different voice characteristics for running (which can have lows) vs Mults for S&P (which needs a lot of highs)
(Edited)
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km9r.mike

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Interesting that you see different results for running vice S&P wrt voice characteristics. I would have never considered that. Almost a welcoming aspect vice an attention getting aspect. Good food for thought.

I know so very little about eq settings but do understand that they can be specific and unique and now have a better understanding that is dependent upon the individual voice characteristics and the actual sweet spot may vary from op to op depending upon the quality of their voice.

From a state of the art standpoint, I would imagine the Tesla factory is a must see.


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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The other thing we do is make a plan and then work the plan. We know from previous years that bands play the same way at different times of the day to different parts of the world. So we setup a plan of operations to capture Mults at different times if the day and on different bands. On a run station we know we can say work JA's on 40M for an hour before sunset to an hour after sunrise. So we point the 40 M beam to JA and collect points. - easy to do since the JA are so disciplined in a piileup. Middle East is usually good on 20M middle of night - great place to collect Mults. .
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km9r.mike

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I am learning in the world of very tight results , a knowledge base like that is key. I am trying to gleam insight from my elmer but he seems to  guard his secrets very closely or perhaps it is just his teaching style or perhaps he is withholding tips until he knows exactly what will help the best.

I too am a firm believer in make the plan work the plan. I even have predetermined times allocated to bands but they can be variable +/- . While I concede my plans are probably less detailed than yours, I agree that they are key in building the knowledge base that I mentioned earlier. While things can be very fluid from test to test, a reference provided by a plan helps me ascertain areas that I need to improve from test to test.

It really is a fascinating pursuit of goal and trying to exceed that goal. In the big scheme of things other things are more important like quality time with your grandchild but at the same time contesting is a far better use of my idle time than say running a meth lab just for example. While a meth lab probably has a much greater financial return for investment than contesting, a single meth lab has destroyed more lives than contesting ever will and I can not numb my conscience to do that.

(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I had to chuckle at your flow of consciousness from contesting, to grandchildren, to meth labs!

I would imagine that the DXing plan would be much different in Indiana than it is in San Diego due to the different geography and time zones. One thing I noticed was that on all bands, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America were hot most of the time at the same time, making it difficult to know where to aim the antenna.

But This was the first time that I noticed the potential of targeting different regions. It sinks in more readily when you must turn the antenna a lot rather than using an omni antenna. Now I understand why many big gun stations have fixed antennas pointing at their favorite areas and simply switch between them. It would have been simple to just push a button to go from South America to Africa to AK/VE7, etc.

There was a time period that I could have kept a good rate going simply working the Brazilians. There were a ton of them. Someone must be having an effective ham radio recruitment program down there! The same for former Soviet block countries.

I worked several JA's but never cleaned up on them. I guess I quit too early. Not much In the way of Vk, ZL, and other Oceania. I DID work a station in CHINA, which was a big one for me. It took about ten exchanges for him to get my call correct, but it was more satisfying than just the points. Signals were very weak, but I would never have heard him on my dipole & vertical.

Well, I learned a lot about the performance of my antenna system that I would not have learned without this contest or the RTTY test last month. Simply from sheer numbers. Sure the reports were all fake 59, but I could see the signals on my own rig and draw some fairly accurate conclusions.
It was very interesting to swing the beam and watch the relative signal strengths rise and fall across the panadapter.

This was especially interesting as a band was dying. There were times on ten meters where no signals were showing until I turned the antenna and found the active zone by watching the pips pop out of the noise. How cool is that?!?

Now I need to compile my thoughts and begin making my localized plan for the next contest. The exact times may vary due to band activity, but the east-to-west pattern shift should be somewhat steady.

There is certainly a lot more involved in breaking the 500,000 point barrier, and ultimately the million mark, which will be next year's goal. There is probably a practical limit to the achievable score for a single op low power running without SO2R.......

Ken - NM9P
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km9r.mike

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Yes the lab was in jest. I was trying to come up with a wild extreme : )  I would imagine a very cost effective alternative for the Caribbean and SA for you would simply be a dipole broadside north south for 10,15,and 20. Not ideal but would provide quick switching while the big gun is aimed elsewhere.


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Asher - K0AU

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Ken, thanks for starting the thread.  From the West coast I can point the antenna to 60 degrees and get reasonable performance to EU (20 degrees) and Carribean (100).  Doesn't take long to rotate to dig out a weak one when I need to.  Pacific side 250 degrees is a good compromise.  140 degrees works well for SA and Caribbean.

Even with strong signals all my China Q's took multiple repeats.  Not the same skill level as the Russian and East bloc ops.  Those guys are good.

Did anyone else notice the Pan slow down from time to time?  No crashes but occasionally slowed down for a few seconds.  Not sure if cause was long operating sessions or lots of signals.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Something I noticed, post 1.5 us simply depressing the mouse button, just trigger button down event freezes the pan momentarily. There could be other innocuous operator or even data actions that would slow it down.
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David Warnberg

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I tinkered, put in maybe 4 hours total, I know the operating period shows more but I just never shutdown the program....  but found it VERY easy to bust a pileup and make a contact with the 6300, and finding a nice signal to contact was also very easy (love my 6300).. anyway, most contacts were 10 meters for me on my 29' vertical (in an HOA so have to hide it) also I attempted to make a contact in every CQ zone rather then total contacts... as I said was just playing.



 KK4QOE's Contest Summary Report for CQ-WW
 Created by N3FJP's CQ WW DX Contest Log
 Version 4.8  www.n3fjp.com

 Total Contacts = 101
 Total Points = 27,398

 Operating Period: 2015/10/24 12:32 - 2015/10/25 14:41


 Total Contacts by Band and Mode:

 Band       CW   Phone     Dig   Total       %
 ----       --   -----     ---   -----     ---
   20        0       8       0       8       8
   15        0      25       0      25      25
   10        0      68       0      68      67
            --   -----     ---   -----     ---
 Total       0     101       0     101     100



 Total Contacts by State \ Prov:

 State       Total     %
 -----       -----   ---
                97    96
 AK              3     3
 HI              1     1

 Total = 2


 Total Contacts by Country:

 Country                      Total     %
 -------                      -----   ---
 Brazil                          10    10
 USA                              7     7
 Federal Republic of Germany      6     6
 Venezuela                        5     5
 Argentina                        4     4
 Mexico                           4     4
 Portugal                         4     4
 Spain                            4     4
 Alaska                           3     3
 Aruba                            3     3
 Chile                            3     3
 European Russia                  3     3
 Morocco                          3     3
 Sicily                           3     3
 Canada                           2     2
 Canary Is.                       2     2
 Cyprus                           2     2
 Ecuador                          2     2
 Hungary                          2     2
 Ireland                          2     2
 Japan                            2     2
 Uruguay                          2     2
 US Virgin Is.                    2     2
                                  1     1
 Aland Is.                        1     1
 Bulgaria                         1     1
 Cape Verde                       1     1
 Ceuta & Melilla                  1     1
 Colombia                         1     1
 Curacao                          1     1
 Czech Republic                   1     1
 England                          1     1
 Finland                          1     1
 France                           1     1
 Hawaii                           1     1
 Iceland                          1     1
 Latvia                           1     1
 Mayotte                          1     1
 Netherlands                      1     1
 Poland                           1     1
 Puerto Rico                      1     1
 Serbia                           1     1
 Sint Maarten                     1     1
 Slovak Republic                  1     1

 Total = 43


 Total Contacts by Continent:

 Continent   Total     %
 ---------   -----   ---
 EU             36    36
 SA             31    31
 NA             20    20
 AF              8     8
 AS              4     4
                 1     1
 OC              1     1

 Total = 6


 Total Contacts by CQ Zone:

 CQ Zone   Total     %
 -------   -----   ---
 14           19    19
 15           12    12
 09           10    10
 11           10    10
 08            6     6
 13            6     6
 33            6     6
 03            4     4
 06            4     4
 01            3     3
 05            3     3
 12            3     3
 16            3     3
 20            3     3
 04            2     2
 10            2     2
 25            2     2
 31            1     1
 35            1     1
 40            1     1

 Total = 20
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I checked my ACLog this morning and discovered that I had worked 105 different countries over the course of the contest.  WOW, I don't think I have ever done DXCC in one contest before!  Of course many of them will not QSL via LOTW, which is the only way I QSL any more.  But I thought it was another milestone for my contesting effort! 

Ken - NM9P
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Walt - KZ1F

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And a distinct benefit to having an 11 ele lp even at 38'. You'll be shocked at the results when its at 55+.
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Mike Hoing

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I also had 105. We were pretty close

I knew I should have not hit snooze that last time. LOL

Mike
N9DFD
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Whoo Hoo! I just saw my latest LOTW report and the scores are starting to be recorded. The contest just needed me #'s 99 and 100 on 40 meters! That makes four bands, 10, 15, 20, & 40. Now I need to build a good antenna for 80, where I only have 38. All of these are LOTW confirmations, BTW, and most of them since I got the 6500 two years ago.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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You would be surprised about lotw. I made about 1400 qso and have received so far 800 lotw confirmations. I think, like with sdr, people are finally realising the convenience of a new way to do radio and specifically to confirm contacts.
(Edited)
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Ross Biggar

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Thanks to you all for your comments. 
My first SSB contest and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I only worked 24hours. It is more difficult from down here, trying to compete against you all, working into EU or Asia. But the  new 4 element Steppir and the Acom 2KA helped. It was nice to see 10 wide open, and 20 showed up as wall to wall signals on the 6700, it was hard to break in.
418 QSO's, 30 zones and 69 countries.
Next year another go and I will have a beam on 40 as well.
Best wishes, congratulations
Ross
ZL1WN
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David Warnberg

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you might test out a hex/spider beam.. I'm hearing many many guys using them with great success.....  This was also my first contest outside of the "rookie round up"... man if I would have had access to a flex-6300 during that contest.. holy smokes...   :-)

David
KK4QOE
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Mike Hoing

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I have been seriously considering it. Just don't want to upset the neighbors. The wires are well hidden in trees. There will be no hiding the hex beam. Decisions decisions

Mike
N9DFD
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David Warnberg

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Mike... you and me both.. I got away with the vertical.. could I tell the HOA it's a old time clothes hanger to dry my cloths????  hummm.... not sure I could get away with that when it's 20 feet in the air... drat...  specially in Florida... hahahaha
(Edited)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I love the hex, it is a great antenna. If you had a telescopic pole... Would you be able to lower the antenna below the tree line when you are not using it? There is also the possibility of the portable spiderbeam and just put it up for the contest.
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Tim Hill - KI6LSB

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Hi Guys,

This was my first contest, I was not doing it for the points I was doing it so I could get 100 Country's, I made 81 contacts in 52 Country, not bad for my first time, I must say that I learned some tricks to help me since I am in Oregon and every time I point the beam 95 degree I have to go through everyone on the east coast to make a contact.

I have to say that using the Tracking Notch Filters is a game changer, they eliminate 98 percent of the Noise coming from everywhere.

Tim
KI6LSB  
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David Warnberg

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amen... very easy to get rid of the "deliberate interference"  and pick the call you want to answer.. I found it very very easy to pick and choose, make my contact and  move on to the next one.. Way to go FLEX radio...
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Jon - KF2E

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I worked about 9.5 hours and here are my results.



I would have liked to work more but I had other commitments. I was pleasantly surprised that after working TO4K on 2 bands I found they were in St Barthelemy. I got a new country...and they already confirmed via LOTW. I hate the contest calls that confuse the country they are operating from.

Jon...kf2e
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I contested this year Single Op, Low Power Single Band (15m) Assisted.
We are legally limited to 500w in Barbados so trying to compete in the High Power with a third of the power is just not doable. I imagine it is the same case for UK hams.

Nonetheless my aim was to improve on the score I got on the same contest I run last year with the Flex 1500. This year doing it with the 6300 was great.
I am quite happy that I added about 50,000 points to my final score. Last year it was 391,368 points SO, Low Power SB (20m) Assisted which yielded #1 in Barbados, #1 in NA and #4 World for the category.

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Very nice, especially for single band!

I worked you on 15 meters on 24OCT2015 at 19:44:25 UTC. Last year I got you on 20 Meters on 26OCT2014 at 22:54:33 UTC. Thanks.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Yes, indeed you did. Next time we cross paths outside a contest we need to have a chat Ken. I was using proc and 200-2300 narrow with no eq to try and squeeze through. How did it sound? Not sure if you recall.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I'm afraid that I don't remember. In fact I was going so fast and furious that I didn't even recognize your call from the forum.

I would be happy to help compare audio profiles for you next time we hear each other.

Ken - NM9P
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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That would be great. This is the 3rd year in a row you start this thread. Thanks Ken, I really value the content and advise that all of you provide in this forum. Particularly, these threads with advice on contests is great.
I am relatively new, licensed (callsign) only since 2013 (even though I pass my exam back in 1989) and I am already having a blast in the contest and now the proud owner of a 6700. It arrived a couple of days late for the contest, which I guess it was a blessing because it allowed me to run the contest with the 6300 which made it a great send off for that radio. The point about the new 6700 is that I would be more than happy to have a QSO soon Ken. I would love to get your feedback on my different audio settings.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Thanks, and congratulations on the 6700.  Just think how much fun the next contest will be!  Not to mention everyday operations now with dual SCU's and the ability to listen to 2 Meters.  
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km9r.mike

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+50k FB OM !

(Edited)
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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15m was odd for me this year. I had times were I was copying with S7-9 and they couldn't hear me back, at all, and there were sudden drops in propagation and weird openings. I would be working Europe and all of a sudden get Reunion Island. 20m was way more consistent last year. Which is also the nature of the bands.

I like this contest because there are so many people out there that it tests the radio in a truly crowded environment and because cq is smart enough to have tons of categories. It is not that difficult to get a #1 in one of the many categories.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Do they allow a person to enter multiple categories at the same time? I have always entered in the ALL category.

It would be nice if they would automatically run every entry through all the categories that they might qualify for. For example, if they ran everyone through the scoring for individual bands, even if they were running multiple bands, it would make for more interesting competition in additional categories.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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As far as I know, you can enter in the CABRILLO file the category that you want even if you have made contacts in other bands. For example, you could enter single band 15m, and the rest of your contacts will provide the points-confirmations for the others but your final score will be computed just with the contacts in that specific band.
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Bob KN4HH

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Ken, I am not as fortunate as you with a fine antenna system.  When we get our Maestro's I'll be your remote second op for next year.  Congrats.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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It looks like am going to be stuck at 38' for a while. I wish I could have gone another 20-30 ft. That was my initial goal. But life has limits, and my yard and pocketbook did too.

I have always used the term Alligator (all mouth and no ears) or Elephant (big ears, small mouth).

With the excellent sensitivity and filters on this rig, I am certainly able to hear stations that I cannot hear. But was amazing that during the contest, I had many stations down in the noise that I was able to work fairly easily. My guess is that they were barefoot with verticals & wires, or using inefficient antennas. A few must have been QRP, but didn't say so.

If I were only trying to add power for low-band rag chewing, or DXing, i.e. would go for a medium tube amp of 600-800 watts.

If I were confident that I were going to mostly "run" frequencies in a contest, then a medium or larger manual tune tube amp might be good. But currently I am S&P which would drive me nuts retuning all the time, so I would like to get a solid state amp. But solid state with built in tuner is very expensive. At this point in the gam I refuse to pay more for my amp than I did for my rig! There is something that just sticks in my craw about that. Some are even more than my rig, tower, and antenna system combined!

I guess there are only so many "splurges" available at my income level. Ha!

Whatever amp I may get in the near future will be a compromise. Perhaps an ALS-600 if I can get a good deal on a used one. I have some folks I know with old Collins amps that are not too badly priced for a tube amp, the same for SB-200/220. But none of those old tube amps have 160 meters, which is the band I need most power.

It really is a never ending process of improving the station.

I will weigh in on legacy vs. SDR in effective contesting in another post.... But I must get back to work for now.

I am writing and recording radio devotional spots for next week.

Ken -NM9P
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Walt - KZ1F

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It will always be that never ending loop of station improvements. Alligator did ring a bell. I use an Elecraft kpa-500 and kat500. I believe both new assembled are around $900. I think it was $700 and $200. You can save around $300 if you are willing to scree the thing s together. They got can be no solder kits. The amp can be pushed to 700w and the two together work flawlessly with ddutil. You can even tell the atu to bypass for 20-10 as the lp is no tune. The atu supports three antennas so 20-10 can be ant 1 in bypass mode, leaving 160-30 to work through the tuner. Again, works great with the Flex. This will give you abt 1-1 1/2 s units. For me, east coast, it helps tremendously working the S. Pacific up thru KL. Helps in middle East as well.
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Simon Lewis

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Hey Walt I had a look at the KPA500 ... as you twigged my interest on a back up amp .. the KPA500 is 2300 built and the ATU 700 ... about 3K all up .. I think I will stick to my plans - I am building some bricks from Jim W6PQL and will buy a band decoder so I can drive the amp relays off that - I have the SPE 1K amp now and love that .. I'd love a 2K one but the NZ-USD been hit hard recently so I'll be building an additional amp for low band ops rather than buying a complete one ... LDMOS too .. the way to go these days :)  What does those KPA500's sell like second hand??
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Walt - KZ1F

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Apologies Simon (and Ken). I can't believe I was that far off on price. My Bad!!
I think if I were up 100' or so I'd go with a 2KFA , or Alpha 9500. I am sort of height limited as well. But 1 wavelength up isn't too shabby. The antenna doesn't clear the surrounding trees. That'll make EME a tad problematic. I bet there would be an active used market for people who want to push out 1500w into the nearby hill. It works well for me, I do well in pile ups, rarely get a 59+10. Used they appear to be around $1800. My point was they work very nicely with the flex and don't break the bank like a Prometeus or 2KFA would. Most people just don't need 2,000 watts. I haven't had a hint of any issue with either of them.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I was going to ask where I can buy the HPA500 and ATU for $900!! I think the new SPE 1.3k is a very sweet spot as far as power and functionality. These guys in the UK are building an interesting solid state amp http://www.linamp.co.uk/gemini_HF.html



They are using the new NXP LDMOS.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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This wasn't at the highest rate by far, and you can hear one of my twin boys in the background, the band was just opening but at least I was able to have a video-memento of the contest. The audio I hear is better than what the little mic on the cellphone is capturing. I normally don't have the speakers on if I have the headset on, I turn them on for the video.

(Edited)
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philip.theis, Elmer

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Hi Ken, I also played with the contest this weekend and managed to squeeze in a little more than 18 hours.  The 6700 was flawless and absolutely no ADC overload with all of the strong signals.  I particularly liked the ability to sharpen up the filters when going after the weak signals with very strong signals in their passband.  Used N1MM and the integration was great.  Looking forward to the next contest with this great radio.
Phil K3TUF
btw, broken antennas on 160 and 80, gotta fix them for CW next month
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Very nice effort!  Congratulations!

My guess is that you were you running high power and able to hold a run frequency for much of that time?  That is a total Q-rate of 45 per hour for the entire contest!  

The last few hours I started to get wise to the importance of keeping my rate up, even if I had to skip stations and come back later.  Once I got my act together I was able to pull about 40-50 and sometimes even 100 Q/m for a few periods with S&P, but not for the whole contest.  My total Q-rate was 25 for the whole contest, which is much better than I have ever done.  But next year will be even higher.

Roughly where are you located?

Ken - NM9P
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philip.theis, Elmer

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I'm in central PA.  I did run for some of the time, but if I wasn't spotted it was often more productive to S&P, especially on 10m in the afternoon when it was open.
It certainly is an art.
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Steve Jones

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Warning long! and flexless this time - but missed my flex 6500 bandscope and filtering

Its a while since I did single op all band in cqww ssb and as my current valley bottom home is not competitive, due to just having wires and vhf beams up and a huge hill to the west, I was kindly hosted by local friend GW6LHF in Cardigan, who has a fully automated station with a large Optibeam on HD homebrew tower (see the photos on his qrz.com page of him building new replacement tower sections this summer at the age of 73 years! Along with his clever disk brake idea to lock down the rotator in high winds).

Preparation and strategy is key to this contest and I failed, due to lack of time, to do enough of either. My band moving strategy came out of my head based on previous experience on Anglesey Isle at my last home. Preparation was limited to setting up an older version of n1mm which I had used at gw6lhf in IARU as it was quicker than loading my usual N1MMplus and setting up all of the automated stuff from scratch. At least N1MM is just as stable so no issues with the  software all weekend. The Friday was spent in work with a full Board meeting most of the day so it was only around 8pm that I confirmed that I would be doing the contest and rushed to the supermarket to pick up some provisions before the drive down to Cardigan.


The large Optibeam at gw6lhf had been upgraded during the summer to a longer 36ft boom model and the elements of a 2 ele 40m Optibeam were reused on the new boom along with the addition of a third element on 40m. The tower has large auto winches on it and a microham auto switch at the bottom is driven by a band decoder off the back of the ic7800. I had had limited operating time with the ic7800 previously so I took a bit of time to find my way around the radio and testing the N1MM software controls out for turning the beam etc. The beam covers 10-20m with 4/4/8 elements plus has the 3 elements on 40m.


I decided to do low power section to see how the large beam and high dipoles for 80m and 160m over the salty earth approx. a field away from the tidal estuary of the river Teifi would play. The bonus aim was to set a new low power assisted soab record without having to do the full 48 hours. Its a while since I did more than 24 hours in an hf contest and the week in work meant I was likely to need sleep on the second night.


I started on 40m and moved around 20 80 and 160 as well as 40 during the night before looking for greyline mults on 160 and 80 before settling down for a split freq run on 40m after sunrise. As planned I stopped for breakfast after 40m and then moved to 20 15 and 10m. I did a mixture of s and p and running, but finding and holding a frequency with low power 100w was hard at times and I missed the large bandscope of my flex radio. The big beam helped hugely though on 40-10m in hearing the weaker mults and getting the qso with very few calls, which helped the zone and country scores to rack up.


I stopped for lunch and evening meal and then continued the same pattern on Sunday but did sleep for 5 hours or so after midnight - always looking for 3 pointer runs but found that the decent run rates of up to 400 q per hour were short lived and mainly due to being spotted on the cluster. I finished the contest around 9pm as I had to tidy up and drive back home to get sleep before work on the Monday - but the draft score was 1,3m which is the previous record times 4; so I was happy to happy to have a final cup of tea with my kind host and then head off home.   


Draft score summary is as follows:
 Band     QSOs     Pts  ZN    Cty
   1.8             74      79    5   31
   3.5         171     254   12   55
     7          281     522   19   81
    14         376     858   26   90
    21         228     493   25   82
    28        153     356   22   64
 Total      1283    2562  109  403
Score: 1,311,744
1 Mult = 2.5 Q's


Plenty of lessons learnt in terms of poor band move choices and poor energy levels at times but still enjoyable to use a large antenna system again  which was  turn up and play. Major mistake was not setting up the voice keyer so I ended up with a very sore mouth! Compared with the previous 2 ele optibeam the upgraded longer boom and extra third element on 40m made a big difference. The reports I was getting from usa on hf were very complimentary, and I am sure that if I had used the auto amp and entered the high power section the ability to run for longer periods of time would have  made a big difference to the qso total. I enjoyed the instant band moving ability and was moved several times by some of the dx stations to give them the gw mult on another band by simply typing in their requested frequency into n1mm entry window - made a change from having to manually change antennas and re tune a manual amp.


Thanks to Danny GW6LHF and his wife for being great hosts and allowing me to have a play in the contest from a better location for USA and with a decent set up. Still nice to be back in my own shack today though with my flex 6300 and 6500 radios watching on hf and 4m bands whilst I catch up on emails:-) 


73 and roll on cqww CW weekend for the best contest of the year


Steve GW0GEI / GW6J @ gw6lhf .

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Hunter - K3IE

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Hey Ken - This was my first CQWW contest w/ my 6300.  In a fit of delirium, my grandiose plan was to test the SO2V capability of the 6300 in the Low Power (A) category.  After the first 45 mins of the contest I came to my senses and switched to the HP category w/ my Ameritron 811.  100W and a HexBeam @ 24 feet is as much fun in a phone contest as dropping a bowlingball on your foot.  Since my amp requires manual tuning, I did not pursue the SO2V approach.

In my advancing years, my enthusiasm for phone contests is dwindling but my love for CW lives on.  I look forward to next month's CW contest.  That mode is more appropriate for the LP category and I look forward to trying the SO2V capabilities of the 6300.

BTW - I really enjoy your instructional videos.  They have been very helpful to me for adjusting my EQ settings.

All the best - Hunter K3IE
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Burt Fisher

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:(
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Burt Fisher

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Salvador I totally admire your command of TWO languages.  I cannot learn another language and you clearly are so good at it. It was and is a true compliment. I am not going to respond to some comment on You Tube. Nor am I going to be goated to respond to insults posted here.If I were indeed a "troll" I would respond to many other comments, but your guys are really enjoying bragging about what you have done and I am sorry for the disruption by posting a :(.  I too like to brag, but about my students. One little girl sent a note to me while I was in another class, "you are the meanest strict teacher I ever had." I went to her class to ask why she said that. She said she knew I would come see her so she could give me a hug.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Awwwww
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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OK Burt Thanks the compliment then. I went to the university in the US. I started to learn English at 18 (I am 40 now). It is never too late. My kids are bilingual and I hope they learn a third language. Learning a new language is one of the most wonderful things you can do in life. It's not about communicating alone, it is about learning a different culture, getting to know people from different countries and truly understand them, getting to enjoy their humor, their literature, their approach to life... 
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Burt Fisher

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I admire those that can do what I cannot. Everything you said is so valuable.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I took a lot of German in high school. I was tech lead on a project in Rotterdam late 80's and dutch is very close to German. After a couple of trips I started speaking German to people there. Turns out despite the similarities, German is the WAY wrong language to be speaking in Rotterdam. I am very much apposed to the prevailing notion if people in their own country want to communicate with Americans they are expected to speak English... or American in the case of Sarah Palin.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Burt

Please join us for the Zombie Shuffle Contest

http://www.zianet.com/qrp/zombie/zomb...

This is a perfect contest to begin your contest career. Being that it's a QRP contest you don't have to worry about anyone actually hearing you contesting.

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David Warnberg

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one big hangup for me... CW only.. still trying to force myself to learn CW
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Sounds like a hoot! I had never heard about this, or have forgotten if I did. I haven't played QRP CW for a long time. My 1500 has been used mostly for SSB and Digi. Unfortunately I have other plans for Friday night.
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Burt Fisher

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Ken I guess you are making one of those great videos Friday night. I thought I was good at videos but nothing compared to you.


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Walt - KZ1F

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David, check out the koch trainer app for ios and Android.
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Mark - WS7M

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I got my zombie number!  Not sure how much op time I will get friday night but I'm 1192.  A member of the undead.
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Simon Lewis

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"What IF the performance numbers of the 6700 and the performance numbers of the K3S are as good as they get, either ever or for the foreseeable future? What if he technology has hit the wall. We won't know that until there is a radio that blows what we know and love now into the scrap heap."

Well Walt .. working in technology now for the past 30 years or more I know one thing ... there is no wall .... brick by brick the wall gets moved, some times faster, sometimes slower. The worlds been moving forward, slowly but surely.  AM to SSB, tubes to transistors, diode to uprocessor, to FPGA. Step by step, little by little, the wall moves a bit further.

Even the K3 has been developing. Better phase noise, better audio. I am quite sure that the 6K will move forward too. You can be sure at some point a Flex 7000 will appear which moves the bricks forward another row or 2 :)

But what we do know is that right now the bricks can be moved with software improvements and with some tweak and that's the exciting bit!

I love downloading the latest version when they come out .. even if there is some odd bugs or features not quite right or being developed, all very cool  :)

I think when I had my IC7600 I got maybe 2 minor updates before I sold it. Now my radio gets an update every few months :)

So ..no wall ... just a steady chink of the bricks :)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I disagree though Simon. That's the whole point of Moore's Law (the real one) or Butter's Law or Wirth's law. In a sense, reducing the size of something could be seen as making it better, maybe but maybe you just made it smaller. Lowering the cost of production ditto. The reason I used those two examples is they represent different technologies with roughly the same performance specs. Yes, one could argue...but let's not. Simon, I've worked in the technology field for over 40, so perhaps we have some professional overlap.

Yes, tubes to solid state, solid state to integrated circuits, integrated circuits to rom, rom to eprom.

Yes, technology moves on but I'd argue it moves on slowly. There are people alive today that don't know what a cd is. But is the music any better or was it just technology changed It's after midnight here... What are we discussing again, and why isn't it EME.

I was very bummed the last of the Phase III-C went SK before I could get a HEO station set up. But we do have a satellite that is impervious to radiation and requires no batteries. I suspect you know the one I refer to.
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Simon Lewis

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Yes Walt I miss good old Oscar 10 and 13 :)

EME has been fun ... and very interesting using JT65 and 4 yagis, that technology step thing kicked in too, moved all my amps from tubes to transistors I now used LDMOS devices in all my amps at 1KW level even at 23cm!


One of the reasons I moved to Flex actually.

I have managed to get WSJT working perfect using DAX that's been a dream as setting up on a normal soundcard always seemed problematic DAX  has been awesome in that respect.

MAP65 seems to have a problem though as it crashes on running the setup  menu so will see what K1JT says


Technology here has helped JT65  reigns supreme and has opened  the door to moonbounce to even the smallest  stations. Single yagi qso's would have been unheard of before WSJT now all very real. One ON station even has DXCC with single yagi.!

My 16 ft dish is computer tracked using an Atmel mprocessor, a feed designed by PC, made using CNC, a HEMT for the preamp, LDMOS in the transmitter and DSP signal decoding. WOW its come a long way!!!

You should look at EME Walt its fun and the Flex will be awesome too :)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Simon, I encourage you to look at my qrz page.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Of course I totally disagree with Walt because I speak from ACTUAL contest experience

We use K3 with P3 panadapters at NX6T contest station and a 6700.

There is no doubt that my unassisted rate in S&P is significantly higher on a 6700 than the K3 and P3. The 6700 panadapters with high resolution waterfall makes all the difference

However in the assisted S&P when I use NaP3 software which places spots directly into the panadapters then the K3 rate is significantly higher.

For Run situations the 6700 ergonomics suck as you have to take your hand off the keyboard to move the mouse to make minor adjustments. Hopefully Maestro will make the 6700 competitive.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Actually, much of my contention came from things you've said about Dennis and and nx6t. You disagree with me because you enjoy it.. The words I was circling around last night was disruptive technology. Was the DVD disruptive technology? One could argue yes but the music sounds no better, there is just more of it. DXExpeditions use k3s but no pans.. Every now and again technology lurches forward. However that happens infrequently.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I thought I'd circle back to Howard's dig. I've been licensed since 82, I've done my share of ACTUAL contesting, even with the Flex as well as TS-530SP w/o benefit of panadapter.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have been contesting with at least a spectrum display since the Heathkit Panadaptet ant 1970.

It always improved rate if you can see.