Flex in CQWW RTTY

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  • Updated 2 years ago
What do the stations K9CT, NR4M, CR3W, and 4O10A have in common?

Yes they are all well known big gun contest superstations.  Ok.  but what else?

They were all using flex 6000 radios to generate incredible winning multi-megapoint efforts.  I am sure they may chime in, and when they do give them a big high five. 

I wanted to congratulate the Flex management, development team, as well as the Flex Alpha team for working tirelessly in making the improvements to raise the bar for contesters that use the flex platform and all the work involved in the background to enable it.

I also want to congratulate these teams that just slayed it over the weekend! 

Scores like these are representative of this amazing platform and the operators who drive it.

Congratulations to all the RTTY contesters, small and large who got on the air and had some flex contest fun to demonstrate what this platform can do!

Its gonna be a great contest season!  Seeya on the air!

Chris
N6WM
Flex Contest Champion
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Posted 2 years ago

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Steve W6SDM

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I was at a meeting with Chris, K6OZY, last Friday and we were discussing how contesting with a Flex offered so many advantages that some even called it cheating. 

While not everyone is into contesting, they should understand what radio sport does top advance amateur radio and two-way radio technology.  First, it's an economic driver.  People who by the high-end Yaesu, Kenwood, and ICOM radios don't spend $10K on a radio for casual operation.  They want a radio with a high duty cycle, ease of operation, and integration with logging and cluster software that will give them the competitive advantage.

The few seconds that it takes to log a contact or perform some other function, repeated over thousands of contacts, could make a big difference in how well one places.  So, the manufacturers are compelled to advance technology to make the radio perform better in a variety of areas, like ease of use.  receiver sensitivity, filtering, etc.  The demand for increased performance in these areas, plus the demand for more features, benefits everyone.

Flex is a great contest radio, a great DX radio, and it's a great all-around radio in my opinion.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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There is an analogous comparison that hits closer to home.  We don't drive high-performance racing cars on the street as our family vehicles, but the technology advances in reliability and performance derived through the efforts of manufacturer backed racing programs do make it into our everyday vehicles.  I have a 16-year-old truck that just rolled over 300,000 miles and is still going strong.  That would have been a very rare occurrence 25-30 years ago.  With the FLEX-6000, you get to actually drive the race car as you family vehicle.  How cool is that!
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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Having done my first flex equipped contest the other week, in some ways it almost does feel like cheating. Certainly a big advantage. I could S&P at a rate that was in some ways better than running a frequency. 

My problem as it were, is that now I'm spoiled rotten! 

I'm super excited to do the upcoming PAQSO party on the 8th and 9th.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Haters gonna hate. It's only cheatin' when you get beaten... 

For me, the single tower+vertical+wire antennas contester who wants to go into SO2R, the Flex gives me an opening. I am also very pleased at how it does with closely spaced signals. I'm also pleased that my focus stays on the screen rather than having to shift to the radio. I also like the heads up I can get as to if any band is open by keeping several panadapters open. Maybe it's info overload but I'll find my Zen. 
Hoping to get my antennas back up by CQWW SSB. Awaiting parts. :)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Ria this is spot on one of the biggest advantages of the platform.  The architecture of the 6000 series enables SO2R for the masses and will change the scope of RadioSport and raise the bar across the board.  Enabling TB/Wires stations with SO2R is huge and a big sell point.  Other winning advantages include band awareness and a vastly reduced need for wired connections that can be a major source of RFI.   And this is just the beginning.
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Mike - N1MD

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Chris,

You asked me to give you a report after the CQ WW RTTY contest.

I logged 670 QSOs in a little over 12 hours of operating time. Participated as single op assisted, high power.

Had contacts on all the contest bands except 10 meters -- not a whisper there.

Used my 6700 with SSDR 1.9.9 Maestro and N1MM+. I also used the USB Winkeyer, not the software emulation. Everything worked like a charm except for a N1MM+ related bug that rarely caused the operator to log the "state" in the "RST" column.

The contest was lots of fun even with challenging conditions at times!

I also told you I would give you a report on latency I detected in the latest version of the software Winkeyer in SSDR CAT. I deleted the Winkey port I created in SSDR CAT previously, restarted the PC and then created a new Winkey port in SSDR CAT. I then reconfigured N1MM+ (latest version) to use the new Winkey port.

I tested the  N1MM+ function keys in RTTY and CW modes and did not detect any lag. I also tested the mouse activation of the macros and believe that there was no latency. However, I need to use this software Winkeyer in contest conditions to adequately get a feel for the operation. At the moment, it seems promising.

73

Mike N1MD
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Mike thanks for the excellent report.  Flex can do a lot, but invoking propagation on 10 meters is a bit out of scope ;-).

I am super glad to hear the feedback on the winkeyer.  there has been extensive work done to improve its functionality and a lot of alpha testing activity to try and route out as many bugs as possible.  I will also need to do battle testing with the keyer, Im very hopeful we have got it approaching the level needed.
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Varistor

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I am sorry, I don't get it. What does Winkey have to do with a RTTY contest?

The stated N1MM bug is operator error, pressing the space bar too many times.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Hes not referencing this contest regardking the winkey but other issues we have had working on the Winkey emulation.  That was the second subject of the post.  There were very real issues with the WK.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Don't forget NV9L/WB9Z and team who also used at least one Flex. 
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Thats great Ria.  I was WV6I@K6LRG.. I only had time this weekend to op 8.5 hours but managed to get 500 QSO's in the log  sorry I missed you out there.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I saw the livecast from Valerie on her facebook feed where they were using a Flex and Maestro. They also had an Icom 7851 but the Flex was clearly the star of the show. As for me, I was not on this weekend. I am a rank newbie to RTTY contesting anyway, preferring to duke it out on CW and SSB. 
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Hope you get the opportunity to try RTTY for SO2R, it is THE easiest way to learn and master SO2R workflow. Both times I won the Pacific Division for RTTY RU in most recently last January (third place world in SO/U HP), I was using not 2 but 3 radio instances.  Not having to use your brain to decode cw frees one up to focus specifically on the SO2(3)R workflow.  I highly recommend it, its a blast.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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When antenna work is completed, sure. Right now I'm off the air except for low dipoles and a Hustler 6BTV. :)