My 2016 CQ WW RTTY Effort - 6500/SSDR/N1MM+

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  • Updated 2 years ago
This was my first CQ WW RTTY and first time using N1MM+ in a contest with the Flex-6500. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out and thankful that I apparently didn't get hit with the Win10 update. I've always heard it is important to avoid any kind of change just prior to a contest (or long motorcycle trip). Stick with what's tried and true. Unfortunately, it's not that easy when last minute fixes arrive and updates are forced. Besides, ignoring my own advice I'm one of those that need the latest and greatest even if it is done ten minutes before needed.
For much of the normal operations I think things worked as expected. I had to correct some log entries that had the state in place of the RST. I also got myself into RIT mode without realizing it. Some accidental key combination within N1MM+ I'll need to figure out. It took me a while to notice RIT was on.

Two or three times during the event I somehow locked up N1MM+. It was usually when my finger rested on a keyboard F-key and I hit the <esc> key. It wouldn't stop sending and I'd have to quit N1MM+ and unclick MOX on SSDR.

This was a QRP effort for me. As a QRP operator I think I would like to have a scale setting for RF Power so 5 watts has a much higher deflection. 5 watts looks almost like nothing on the SSDR meter. I'd also have appreciated some way to lock or set the maximum  power. I had tried to use profiles and found that the same profile on a different band changed the RF Power setting on SSDR. Worse, changing which antenna I was using also changed the power. Profiles are VERY confusing to me. I have tried, read, experimented and failed. I won't use profiles. I can't understand how mic, transmit and global profiles interact or how they change across bands. If I were to point out one thing about SSDR that is poorly implement (in my opinion guys!!!) it would be profiles. Not just useless, dangerous. I could talk for hours about profiles and the mess they cause me even on daily ops.

Some of the things I dislike:

* I had a very hard time quickly identifying the active window. I'd press F6 and CW would start coming out (from CWX)a when I'd expect my callsign in RTTY. I mention this in another post.

* Because it is hard to keep track of focus some keyboard actions do very odd things. I found that using the up/down arrow keys on the keyboard goes up/down in frequency. Excellent! Except when SSDR has the focus. Then it switches the antenna?? I heard relay clicking but I had no clue what changed until I saw ANT1, ANT2, XVTR cycling through. I also got into RIT mode and still not sure how I did that.


Some things I like:

* Arrow keys change freq! Now that was convenient. It reduced the number of times I had to reach for the mouse or activate the SSDR window.
* Typing frequency in N1MM+ to change frequencies/bands/modes. That's a nice feature!
* Fish in a barrel. I have the spectrum display set quite narrow and the waterfall set to about 30 seconds. With this, I could tune in a station even if he's quiet at the moment. That was a boon for fast QSOs.

This was a fun weekend. I didn't go nuts, got good night's sleeps and got some other things done but managed 269 QSOs and hoping not too many broken Qs. QRP RTTY is very doable. I thought I'd be ignored (and I was often) but I found that many of the stronger stations were deaf while many of the weaker stations required no repeats. There's a lot of keyboard work and everything is decoded by the program but there was quite a bit of skill and patience required for a smooth workflow.

Now back to some serious ragchewing. 
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Kevin thanks for the valuable feedback.  Lots of first time stuff going on.. and as with everything there is a learning curve.  Mastering the N1MM Logger plus workflow will take some time, but its a very robust application that I have won many titles with.

Extra kudos for being a QRP iron man, adjusting the scale of the meter is something I will bring up with the alpha group.

Chris N6WM (WV6I in CQWW RTTY)