End of this contest…

In the last 2 weeks I have been working hard to get my band decoder up and running and to prepare for next contest: the ARRL RTTY Roundup (in which I placed first in M/S LP non W/VE in 2013).

Yesterday I made some QSOs and everything worked all right.

This morning I click on a dxspot on 12m and have my logging program turn the rotator… a few seconds later: no more signal on the receiver.

Something has gone wrong on the Big Boy Rotator and, of course, before I noticed it had overturned and broken the coax cables for my WARC rotary dipole.

The 10-15-20 beam is working OK and the rotator seems to turn but with no correct indication of the direction. I guess this contest has already ended for me this time.

Next big RTTY contest on my list is WPX in a months time…

So, todo:
– find someone to climb the 15m tower twice
– fix the rotator or find a new one
– fix the broken coax

Anyone some money to spare to help me buy a SteppIR DB-18E so I can replace the good old FB-33 while we’re climbing the tower anyhow?

Inrad HF Triplexer more news…

The news is… there is no news. 🙁

On august 30. I received an e-mail from Appellofunk (the dealer where I bought the triplexer) stating: “if you like please open the TriPlexer to see what happend.”

So that’s what I did and that same day I sent them pictures of the inside of the triplexer showing at least 2 burned (probably more) SMD capacitors.

Since then, no more news.

E-mail between Germany (Apellofunk) and the US (Inrad) must be going by boat I guess…

Pretty frustrating!

 

Inrad HF Triplexer

My new contest secret weapon worked very well… for exactly 1 QSO.

For the moment I have only these (permanent) antennas for contesting: a Fritzel FB33 3-element tribander at 16m and homemade inverted V dipoles for 40 and 80m at 15m.

So for SO2R I have always used an extra Fritzel GPA404 vertical for 10-15-20-40m. But to avoid the hassle of installing this antenna before the contest and taking it down after the contest I recently decided to purchase an Inrad HF Triplexer so I could use the FB33 on 2 bands simultaneously.

Last week I had the specs of the Triplexer tested by Luc ON7KZ and all seemed to match the specs as in the Inrad web page.

I installed the triplexer between my Sixpak and the FB33 the day before the contest but I didn’t have enough time to thoroughly test it. (I did check all connections twice though!)

Once the SCC Rtty championship started I made a S&P QSO on 20m and during the QSO I saw the SWR on 20m going up to alarming levels :-(.

Continue reading Inrad HF Triplexer

SO2V RTTY FSK

Ever tried to work SO2V using this trick? You’ll no doubt have run into the problem that windows doesn’t want you to share a serial port between 2 programs.

So, when working SO2V with N1MM and 2 instances of MMTTY it is not possible to connect the 2 MMTTYs to the same FSK interface through software.

The solution: this interface as shown on the K8UT website.

All you need is 2 com ports (one for each MMTTY instance) and 4 diodes.

Don’t forget to work me in next RTTY contest!

PL259 made in China

Today I installed a few PL259 connectors of this type:

PL 259 Connector (picture from Wikimedia)

I should have known better… the ‘barrel’ is too long so the plugs can not be tightened on most SO239 sockets… Only 25% of the price of a ‘European-made’ (???) plug but what are they really worth?

5 days left to find a good solution before next contest (SCC RTTY Championship).

I guess I’ll have to try and file/sand off some material and see if these connectors can be saved.

Again a lesson learned!

Most of the time I use N-connectors for everything, even for frequencies below 30 MHz but of course there is still some gear that is manufactured with SO239.

=> update: I grinded down the barrel 1,5mm. Now the barrel is ok but the pin is too long… {SIGH}

Working split in digi mode with the FTdx5000 (or any other transceiver with 2 separate receivers)

Do you want to work split in digi-modes using both receivers in your FTdx5000?

Pretty easy: use 2 instances of MMTTY each with its own soundcard or its own Signalink USB and configure one of them to ‘listen’ to receiver A and the other one to ‘listen’ to receiver B. Working that dx station in digi mode becomes as easy as in SSB.

Don’t forget to reread the DX code of conduct before trying to bust that pileup!

My K1EL Winkeyer USB is on its way (I hope…)

Exactly a month ago I ordered a Winkeyer USB from K1EL. It was shipped through USPS (with tracking) on July 28.

A few days later the track got lost… at the moment Bpost, the belgian postal service, took over.

Today, 13 days after shipping in the US, nobody seems to know where the package is. I can guess it is stuck in Brussels Airport and the BPOST bureaucracy needs a lot of time to send me a letter for paying the import duties.

Note to myself (and to whom it may concern :-)): BPOST sucks when you have to get a package from abroad.

Update: after being lost in cyberspace somewhere my keyer has arrived. Extra costs: €30,84 => 21% VAT (= some €12,60) and the rest for the BPOST and customs bureaucracy.
Finally my Winkeyer costs about 50% more in Belgium than in the US.