Flex 6300 in cqww cw soablp assisted - gw0gei

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Contest report using Flex 6300

Finally got round to writing up my cqww cw effort after heavy work days.

I had planned a semi serious effort in cqww cw this year in order to try my new Flex 6300 out in the biggest cw contest, having been impressed with its performance on 40m ssb in cqww ssb. However, a heavy week in work and a bad cold were leaning towards my fallback position of a single band entry on 10m low power. I took Friday off work and got the antenna work done - put up my 10m moxon plus reconfigure my dipoles for the cw end of the bands. The weather was kind for a change and I was back to final testing of the Flex 6300 integration with n1mmplus software and a manual atu. I managed to doze for three hours prior to the contest start and ran successfully on 40m for the first hour and a half before going mult hunting through the RBN fed bandmap. I then dropped down onto 80m and a mixed sweep plus 30min run before dropping down to 160m for a good mix of sweeping and running (mainly europe but some stronger W stations. After sunrise I hit 80m again for a short run of W stations and then back to 40m for a short session before a breakfast break. I then hit 20m for an hour before going up to 15m/10m,

The Flex performance on the low bands in pulling out the weak ones sat next to strong signals was amazing with filtering down to 50hz or less, and using the TNF notch filters either side of the desired signal.I took 5.30hrs sleep on Sunday after midnight in order to rest my cold infested head and felt better at 0530 when I hit 40m, and 160m before settling into a nice run on 80m.The rest of the day was a similar pattern to Saturday band hopping and a mix of s and p and running.

Despite running just 85w barefoot I managed to hold my run frequency for 95% of the time and only gave up when the run rate was being effected heavily. Tiredness started to creep in again by late evening when a massive pile up on 80m became difficult to handle due to stations not heeding my request for dx or the station I had gone back to. I need to learn how to handle these big cluster pile ups better! Lack of cw activity on hf due to limited hobby time available plus still being on the initial learning curve with the Flex 6300 didnt help. I finished on 40m and 160m picking off last few mults.

Over all I enjoyed my first multi band cqww cw single op entry in over 5 years, and the Flex is proving to be better than my previous ft1000d, ts590s and current pro3 radios for cw and ssb under difficult qrm conditions in a major contest. I am happy with my score totals which exceeded my modest targets for countries and zones. I should have run more perhaps as I had set a target of 2000 qsos which I failed to reach. However, in the context of currently living in the very bottom of a river valley in west Wales, with no towers and only simple wire dipoles and verticals in trees plus a 10m moxon at 10ft agl and only 85w going out into long coax runs I am happy with that and had fun. I know the big hill behind my house to the NW restricts my hf performance to usa//ve but the Caribbean mults all came in well on all bands apart from 160m. Conditions seemed down on the two lowest bands and I heard some aurora type rasp on some stations on 40m on Sunday evening.  N1mmplus software played very well with the Flex 6300 and no knob, with macros to drive the Flex cwx keyer which eliminated my microham middleware and keyer. Time and work committments will tell whether it will be multiband or single band next year. Score summary below, which may or may not be a new GW lp assisted soab record (previous record was 300k odd points).

 Band     QSOs     Pts  ZN    Cty
   1.8       240        272    9    49
   3.5       328        545   13   67
     7        309        552   18   68
    14       335        562   20   66
    21       161        272   21   64
    28      216        406    23   76
 Total    1589    2609  104  390
Score: 1,288,846
1 Mult = 3.2 Q's

Antennas:

160m - dipole in tree at 15m

80m - dipole at 10m

40m - wire 1/4 vertical hung in tree with two elevated radials

20m - dipole hung off the 160m antenna feedpoint

15m - 40m vertical used as 5/8 wave

10m - 10m alu moxon on 10ft agl rotating pole

Radio: Flex 6300 plus bencher paddle

Software: N1MMplus with api macros to key the cwx in the flex 6300


73


Steve gw0gei io72wc Lampeter, West Wales

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Steve Gw0gei

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Posted 4 years ago

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Steve N4LQ

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Steve
Re: N1MM and CWX. I just tried that program and it did key CWX ok but when I tried to use my paddle, directly connected to the 6300, it stumbled and delayed as if it couldn't seem to get started. Sometimes it took a split second to send the first character. I closed N1MM and still had the problem! Finally I powered the 6300 off and on. That brought it back to normal. It scared me so bad that I removed N1MM. Any ideas?
Steve n4lq
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Steve Gw0gei

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Hi Steve,

I don't think I had an issue like that. I had my bencher paddle plugged into front of the flex 6300 as usual and used it a lot to go back to partial calls. I am out of regular practice on cw so any poor manual sending was probably me but I will check it out again this coming weekend and test. I had one instance when the radio cw went off piste and started sending something different than the message and the smartsdr programme crashed, plus one instance of losing connection early on the first evening which I thought was my broadband router so rebooted it downstairs but the software still wasn't seeing the radio until I switched my elderly 16 port lan hub in the shack off and on again which seemed to solve the issue. n1mmplus was stable and worked well but it was a pain that the escape key did not stop the cwx cq message being tx on occasions. I noticed a delay between hitting an F key and the cw message starting late on Sunday, which was probably a laptop memory issue I guess but it wasn't severe enough to require a reboot of the pc. I am planning on a shack pc upgrade in January as current laptop is a 3 year old i5 dual core so hope that will also help the ongoing bandscope latency issues and its also an excuse to buy a large widescreen monitor.

73

Steve gw0gei

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Barry N1EU

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Congrats Steve on a fine job with LP and very modest antennas!  And very happy we ran into each other for 5 qso's on 80-10M!

BTW, I wouldn't be so quick in removing the Microham keyer - current discussion on Logger+ Yahoo Group suggests it would provide a better interface to N1MM Logger+ than CWX.

73, Barry N1EU
(Edited)
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Steve Gw0gei

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Yes nice to work you on 5 out of 6 bands Barry. I hope to be qrv this coming weekend in arrl 160m test and will be running high power this time so should be louder your side:-) also planning to put my 5 ele mono yagi for 10m up on a /p alu mast ready for arrl 10m contest the following weekend. I still use my microham keyer with my pro 3 radio so i might try making up a lead to use with the flex as i agree its probably a better option as would enable the n1mm cw speed change and a manual pot to quickly drop the speed. First priority before that is wiring up a new microham six port antenna switch to manually switch my lf and hf antennas between the 6300 and pro3. Band decoding will automate that later on.

Hope to work you again over next two weekends.
73
Steve gw0gei
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W5XZ - dan

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great job, steve!  73, w5xz, dan
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DrTeeth

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Many thanks for an interesting post Steve.
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Barry N1EU

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Thanks for the 160M QSO Steve.  You didn't make it easy  ;-)   FYI, I had solid copy on your good signal with my 160m long Beverage and was transmitting with 1kw into a inv L. 
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Steve Gw0gei

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Yes sorry for the long winded qso Barry , I don't have a Rx antenna up at present although I do have a very quiet rural location . I was running high power into 160m dipole as in cqww. I didn't stay up all night but did set the alarm and got up at 0530 after a few hours sleep to work some more w and be stations over onus sunrise - managed north and south Texas and Idaho along with others so am at 27 mults so far. Hope to be on this evening and tomorrow morning again.
73

Steve