Welcome to the 2017-2018 contest season with the Flex 6000 series radio

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Greetings Flex Radio Community.  Well as you can see, with the kickoff of CQWW RTTY last weekend the 2017-18 contest season is upon us.  I hope we had the opportunity to log you at ZF1A last week where I operated.  This weekend will be the official contest season shakedown, with the 52nd running of the California QSO party. Then they start coming in fast and furious. I would like to encouage all of you to leverage your unprecedented view of the contest playing field that SmartSDR for Windows/IOs/and Maestro provide to give you a competitive edge in this seasons upcoming contests.  It should prove quite interesting as the newest members of the 6000 series, the Flex 6400/6600 series add to the 2017/2018 contest season experience.  Also dont forget the Power Genius XL will be another tool can can offer an additional, err.. edge.  There are lots of Flex Radios QRV out in California on the other end of that QSO this weekend. 

Now that this years contest season has started, this is a great time to give newer members a reminder that you have an advocate in myself as pertains to using your Flex 6000 radio as a competitive tool in RadioSport.  I am here to help and take feedback, and provide guidance and assistance to you however I can.  please feel free to leverage that however you need.

Have a great contest season, good luck and lets hear those flex 6000 radios active out there!

73
Chris
N6WM/ZF2CT
Flex Contesting Champion 
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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  • Happy and Optimistic

Posted 12 months ago

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Allan N9AT

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Thank you Chris. What a nice offer and yes, I am anxious to receive the new POWER GENIUS.

73 Allan, N9AT
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Thanks Allan.. Power genius should be a well received product
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Arnie

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Thanks Chris, but where ARE the newest Flexradios?
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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I am sure they will arrive soon.. I am waiting for mine as well!
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Good luck in the contest (season). 

Already kicking this one off with a win... hoping for much more even though I have some stiff competition in W2, I want to power thru and see what I can do. 

GL and I can't tell you to spot me on the cluster, but if that's what you want to do, I can't stop you. ;)

And seriously, take Chris up on his offer. He knows his stuff. 

73/88
Ria, N2RJ
(Edited)
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Clay N9IO

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Chris thank you for the opportunity to lean on you if needed.
I have put together a couple of things I think will help increase station proficiency in the upcoming DX / contest season.

Just before I traded in my 6300 I followed threads from the community site and finished a Genovation Keypad. I have it working nicely along with the Flex Knob and Maestro, (the author of DDUTil is as much genius as our friends at FRS frankly).

Unfortunately I am beside Arnie in anticipation of and praying for the 6600 to come as quickly as possible as I am currently "Flexless" ugh!!!.
Having the Flex DT's......and brother does it ever hurt!

BTW: Ria don't sell yourself short, your knowledge base is not shabby and also much appreciated.

73'
Clay N9IO

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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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I am sure you will do fine Ria.. its better than contesting from W6 ;-).  CU in CQP this weekend right?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Just a little. There is a YL category I heard? Kids birthday weekend so I may not be on the radio much... but I'll look for you guys. N6RO? 
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Yes absolutely we have had some good shootouts for the YL plaque.  Our call in this will be N6O, and you will likely catch up with my on 15 sideband using my 5 x 5 X 5 propagation generator.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Yes.  Good luck everyone.
I have a few personal goals this contest season.....

1) 160 contests (CQ160-SSB, CQ160-CW, ARRL-160):
    + to finally work AK on 160 for my WAS.
    + to achieve WAS in one contest.  (I got 49 states in the last CQ160-CW)

2) DX Contests:  CQWW & ARRLDX:  
    + to increase my score over my 2015 performances.
      (I was very limited in time for the 2016 contests.)
    + to bump my score to at lest 750,000, preferably to hit the 1 Million mark for the first time ever.
    + to make a better showing on 80 & 160.
    + to finish off DXCC on 80 to wrap up 5BDXCC

3) CQ WPX:  to participate this year!  I have not been able to do much in these contests -- scheduling problems...

4) RTTY Contests: 
    + To master (try) SO2R-style ops
    + to win 9th Region, not just the state of Indiana.

5) Sweepstakes:  to have fun, and perhaps bump up my WAS and DXCC totals.

6) VHF Contests:  to get my 2 meter SSB station back on the air and compete with 6 & 2.

Hopefully my finances will be sufficiently recovered in Nov/Dec so that I will be able to take advantage of the trade-up to the 6600 when it is released, allowing me to do some honest-to-goodness SO2R, or at least get a transverter going for 2 Meters and do 6 & 2 all with the Flex!

Well, these are my goals...

What are yours?

Ken - NM9P
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Estamos aqui para ganar!  ;-).
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Ken some suggestions.  

For WAS -- Sweepstakes and NAQP.

AK on 160, gonna need to do it on CW.. try the CQ 160 test or Stew Perry Top Band Challenge. 

Item 2 BIC.. and then BIC.

Item 3, WPX is the bestest of the bestest.  a literal run fest.  You have a cool call for it as well.

Item 4 is just BIC and experience once you have your SO2R in a box set up.

GL
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Another option I am toying with is to change the 80 OCF Dipole into a 80/40/30 tri-band fan dipole and using only the inverted 'L' on 160.  The 160 Dipole was only 35 ft at apex and 18 - 10 ft at the ends.  It was a real cloud burner, but good close-in.

Another option would be to put a parallel wire up with the 160 Inverted 'L' to resonate on 80 as well --  kind of like a fan dipole, but as an inverted 'L.'  I haven't seen anyone publish one of these.  I figure I could use thin PVC pipe as spacers, perhaps 6-8 inches up and over until the 80 leg is done.

I did something similar with my homebrew 40 vertical - putting aluminum tubes alongside the main 40 meter element.  They were cut for 20 & 10 meters and spaced about 4 inches from the main element.  It gave me a 4 band vertical - elevated about 8 ft with 4 sets of radials 8 ft. above ground.  I worked a lot of DX with it -- until I got the T-11 LP!

I figure that if it worked for the 40/20/15/10 vertical, then i figure it might work for 160/80.  I might even tri-band it with a third element for 60 meters.

The catch is that I only have about 33-35 ft up, then the rest is across to the tree that I used to hang the dipole from before the tower went up.  I have room for 35 up and 90 over with enough to spare.  I had the 160 'L' up last winter with only two radials (all the room I have) one was elevated about 8-10 ft. above the ground, stretching along the side of the house, down the driveway, and across about 35 ft. of the front yard, all supported by 1/2 inch steel electrical conduit jammed into the ground.  It was a temporary winter installation.  The other radial was just laid on the ground in the back yard, back to the shed, mostly straight, then about 20 ft around the back of the shed.  It worked pretty well, giving me 49 states during the CQ160 CW contest with low power.  But as you said, I really need a receive antenna.  I think my shielded magnetic loop lost it's varacter tuning diodes with the lightning strike that got my 6500 a year ago.  the loop was never the same.  I may rebuild it, but am more interested in a larger wire loop, or a terminated pennant aimed at AK and South America, or at Europe.  I saw a design that was 25 ft tall and about 20 ft wide. I have a 31 ft fiberglass Jackite  pole I could support it with.

Oh well...this is antenna season and the ideas keep coming.  I am really starting to lean towards the fan dipole, since I could prune them for best match and may not need the tuner as much.  In any case, I am always experimenting with the antennas and trying new things.   It's almost as fun as contesting and DXing!

See you in the lists!

Ken - NM9P
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I don’t think the parallel wire would work. It might act as a capacitor. Plus if they share a radial field that is not going to work.

If you have a tower and beam you can shunt feed that for 80 and put the 160 antenna up in a tree with some spacing to minimize the interaction.

I used some ideas from Ray, K9RS for low band antennas in limited space. I am not that limited in space but some of these ideas are also cheaper and easier to do than doing it “properly.”

http://www.kkn.net/dayton2008/multi-e...

For receive antennas the K9AY loop works well for limited space. DARA in Dayton uses one and I have a local friend who also uses one. Of course if you can do a 1000’ Beverage, by all means, do.

Ria
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Varistor

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Large antennas, such as 1000' beverages, are not better than some of today's RX arrays. A 4 square array of short Hi-Z or passive verticals fits an area of 80 x 80 feet and outperforms most beverages, K9AY loops, etc.

Here's some "required reading" you may want to review as you plan your station improvements strategy. These strategies apply to both contesters and DXers.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The 1000’ Beverage was a general, but not specific example. The 4sq I have (DXE/W8JI) also doesn’t do better than the phased Beverages, at least in my experience. Tom, W8JI seems to back that up as well. Beverages are also cheaper to run, BOGs are even cheaper. For someone just looking to experiment with low band antennas and have the space they are a good, easy way to get on.
(Edited)
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W9ILY

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Chris, thanks for the encouragement. I was wondering if there a document showing the correct procedure for setting up the 6500 and N1MM+ for SO2V since SO2R is not supported by the 6500.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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why yes there is..  its the same setup doc as SO2R for the 6700.  you are just SO2R without full duplex.  use the radio to put both slices on one band (the N1MM entry screen wont allow it) but once they are both there all works.  If you need a link to the SO2R doc let me know.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Makrothen rtty this weekend.. have fun!
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W9ILY

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Perfect, Chris. The tilde  ~ did it.
John
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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no problem. now for some advanced rtty contesting config.

dont forget you can have up to 4 additional decoders per DI, they can prove useful in rough copy conditions.  Using 2Tone in various configurations is the most popular.  make sure you make a copy of 2tone for each configuration instance.  you can add them from the N1MM DI interface

Setup > add RX windows. > open additional rx windows.  Select MMTTY as window type and browse to the instance of 2tone for that RX window. 

Very useful in difficult copy conditions and often pulls one out the others miss.

Doing this is a breeze with the flex virtual audio...
(Edited)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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see http://www.aa5au.com/rtty/ for 2 tone and its different configs.
(Edited)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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here is a pic with 2 slices setup with MMTTY and 3 instances of 2tone each.  1 spread, 1 flutter and 1 selective
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Steven Linley

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Chris,

Yes, wish my 6600 was here.  I have the Maestro but no radio.

Steve WA8Y

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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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hang in there.. I know the FRS gang is working super hard to get them out to us...  of that you can be sure.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I had a chance to see some of them being made at the factory in Austin and believe me when I say they are really working hard to get them finished for the first round of orders. 

Ria
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Clay N9IO

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Ahh visual verification, now I feel much better. Thanks!
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Clay N9IO

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Ditto
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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same here waiting for my Flex 6600 , tick .....tick .....Nov 2017 maybe! ordered 25 May.
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Steve Gw0gei

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I will be hosting a multi two tx semi casual effort to set some GW records hopefully with a few friends and a local 2w0 novice station who I have offered to mentor in contesting.

Will be using my personal short contest call gw9j and my flex 6300 so2v along with either my ic7300 or a friend's k3 as the second radio. Just need the weather to stop raining so I can get an inverted l up for 80m my spiderbeam yagi up for hf and a k9ay rx system up.

Look forward to working everyone in the big contests and to hear how the new radios play

73

Steve gw0gei / gw9j
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Douglas Maxwell

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Hope to see you all in the RSGB DX Contest on Sunday starting 0500 - 2300UTC.
http://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/rules/2017/rOctoberDX.shtml

This is a new contest with UK and Crown Dependencies as multipliers, anyone can work anyone for points so great fun for all, incentive points for higher band contacts. I think this will be a very popular contest and intend to give out GM on all bands SSB/CW.

I'll be active as MM3T with my 6500/KPA500/80M OCFD setup.

A new contest with loads of categories so a chance to grab a record!
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Oh! I may try it for a bit. Still prepping for CQWW here, more antennas being installed. Maybe one day I can operate from your side of the pond too.

73
Ria, N2RJ (&M0RAJ)
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Steve Gw0gei

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Look forward to working you on some bands Douglas - I will be ssb only high power as gw9j. Probably starting on top end of 80m Hopefully conditions will be good enough for some dx on the low bands.
73 steve gw9j
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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we were making the shot across the pond from California just this last weekend during JARTS RTTY..  
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Steve Jones

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After a very wet weekend, working in the field on both days, we managed to get the 80m inverted v up to 65ft in the biggest tree (lucky first cast with my fishing rod!) and put up my spiderbeam wire yagi on a guyed mast with three elements on 20/15m and four on 10m. 10db snr RBN spot this evening into w7 with just 100w beaming over south America so looking forward to cqww now. Multi two in the ssb leg as gw9j
73 Steve gw0gei / gw9j
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Steven G1XOW

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See you in the scrum this weekend Steve. New SCC is M1C 

73 GL
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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See you this weekend. I'll be single op. I have 2 elements on 80 beaming Europe, the SteppIR and some other antennas aiming South. We'll see how that plays. 

88
Ria
(Edited)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Fine business.  I probably will be on part time from my hilltop station, may zero in on a single band effort.. 15m is my specialty.. when it plays.