WPX fun

  • 1
  • Praise
  • Updated 3 weeks ago
Hi all,

Not a big contester but I have been working on my CW so this was a chance to go and get fast.

I managed with only about 5 hours of operating to get 205 contacts.  I know that is not great but again I'm not a skilled and concentrated contest op.

But what I'm writing about is once again to praise the flex.   My setup was as follows:

Flex 6600
SPE 2K FA cranked full on
80 loop antenna
N3FJP WPX logging software
Numark DJ controller programmed myself so I had SLICE, pan and CWX controls as well as auto-increment serial number

I quickly fell into a S&P pattern tuning the  slice with the Numark knob, copy the call, type it into N3FSP, if not a dupe, hit SYNC button to send my call.  I had a knob programmed to set CWX speed.  I'd try to match the sending station.

When he/she would come back N3FJP would increment to the number field, I'd type it in as I copied it then hit my > button on the Numark to send my report and sequence number and increment the sequence number.

I quickly found I needed some hot keys for sending the number again without increment and also to ask for their call or number.  So I programmed those into some other buttons.

But the real gem in this process was the Flex.  I was able to pull stuff out of the muck like I never had before.  I scored a ton of new DX for me in this contest.

At one point a ham across town with non SDR rig and a loop began to follow me up the band and we were chatting on skype as we moved up.  Several times I'd stop and work a station and he would skype that he can't even hear them.  This ended up being the case about 6 times.

Then a non-contest friend with an Anan8000 and another loop antenna asked me where I was.  I'd gone to 15m and he joined me there.  I was listening to a brazil station and working him that my friend could barely hear.  He's not a CW op but we were just comparing what we could hear.  

I continued to move to various stations some he could not even see in his pan or hear.  Again I worked probably 6 stations he could not even see or hear and his antenna should be better than mine.

Anyway the receiver is really good.  I don't care what the Sherwood numbers are or what they mean, my 6600 receives stuff I've ever heard before and it clearly receives stuff my friends cannot in the same town.

I made huge use of the filtering to isolate the weak stations from the big strong ones.  I rarely had issues copying anyone unless someone was really wide or just being stupid and transmitting blind.

Having the ability to program my DJ controller and customize it to this contest was huge.  Oping the contest was a matter of a single finger on the left hand to move the slice to the next pounce victim and my thumb on that hand to send my call using SYNC.  The right hand typed in call signs into N3JFP.

My CW skills improved a lot and I was copying calls and numbers pretty well.  However I did run CW Skimmer as a validation tool.  There were some stations that either had QSB or were going so damned fast or sending cut numbers that I had to use the code on the skimmer to pick out what was going on.

There was a Solvania station that had to be going 45.  I listened to him for like 3 QSOs until I finally got his numbers and call then when he sent mine of course he faded so I had to guess at the # based on the prior ones as he had already moved into another QSO.

Anyway the rig is great.  Really a good receiver and it ran flawless for me for about 5 hours.

So here's to Flex.  Nice job!

I also took a break this morning, opened up my Flex to find my heatsinks nice and secure but I added tywrap to be sure.
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Mark WS7M

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Posted 4 weeks ago

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Photo of N5LB - Lionel B

N5LB - Lionel B

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10 meters was open,( E’s?) and 6400 with a 40 meter dipole was incredible for WPX. I love my C line but no way my R4C would have found the weaker signals. The Drake would have been able to copy,, but you have to find them first.
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Steven Linley

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I also found stations on 10 m because of the panafall.
Have you tried setting up the macros in n3fjp?
(Edited)
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W7NGA

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Egad .. I called CQ for an hour on 20-meters and finally worked a VE3 near Niagara Falls with a S8 report and told my audio sucks . Turns out I was transmitting into my dummy load! Sounds like your friends antenna didn’t have favorable polarization. Congrats Mark!
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Mark WS7M

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Dan, this is the WPX contest... Not the dummy load radiator context!  LOL
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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LOL! Time for confession.... about four years ago, while still learning the ropes of my 6500 in contests, I had set the tx to XVTR to make adjustments in my tx memory macros and such without making QRM. Then I left for a couple of minutes to get a Pepsi and refresh myself before the long contest....

When the contest began, I must have called about 30 stations S&P with no results...some of them S9. I just chalked it up to crowded contest conditions.

It was 20 minutes before I discovered that I had forgotten to set the tx back to my antenna! D’oh!
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roger na4rr

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Which model Numark DJ controller are you using?roger
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Mark WS7M

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I have two.  The one I used yesterday was the Numark "Party Mix".

https://www.amazon.com/Numark-Party-Mix-Controller-Software/dp/B01FHJLE6M/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid...

Works reasonably well but not a high end model.  I have a smaller Numark called DJ2GO but it doesn't quite have enough buttons and knobs.
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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The colored lights are a nice touch.  Did you also install a disco ball in your shack?  Maybe we can talk the Flex development staff into providing a reverse/scratch function which momentarily plays the received audio backward.
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roger na4rr

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Thanks for the reply.  What programming language does the Numark use?  It sounds easier than that other DJ controller that William was using a few years back. 

Roger
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Mark WS7M

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Roger, the Numark controller is automatically recognized as  MIDI device.  I used C# and the FlexAPI available from flex to translate the MIDI inputs from the control to API commands to the radio.

If you have any basic programming experience at all and with this forum it is pretty easy to make it do exactly what you want.