One week before the contest, an update of the todo list

As published about 2 months ago my next contest will be the EU PSK63 QSO Party on november 21.

Time to have a look at the old todo list:

  1. Make/buy and put up antennas for the missing bands: 40m, 80m, 160m
    => mostly done, 3 inverted V dipoles on 3 separate ON7FU current baluns (and 3 feedlines), only thing left to do is retune the 80m dipole for the digimode frequencies
  2. Study the rules of the contest and try to figure out a good strategy
    => done (I guess)
  3. get my shack cleaned up:
    1. make/buy a rack for all the gear
      => done (see the pictures in a previous post)
    2. reroute and label all cables (for the moment I must have enough cables lying around the shack to wire up a full Boeing 747)
      => mostly done, some cables are still fieldday style but everything is working
  4. Install a second display on the PC
    => done
  5. Get the 2 transceivers up and running with the Signalink USB interfaces
    => done
  6. Set up N1MM with 2 instances of FLDigi (and learn to operate SO2R efficiently with this setup)
    => N1MM running, SO2R will be trial and error in the first hours of the contest I guess
  7. Install the Array Solutions Sixpak antenna switch and find a solution to switch the bandpass filters at the same time as the antennas using the Array Solutions manual switch
    => separate controllers for Sixpak and bandpassfilters are not an ideal solution but I’ll not have enough time left to find/make a better solution. Let’s hope I don’t make too many mistakes during the contest!

    I had some trouble after installing the Sixpak… when transmitting on the low bands (40-80-160m) the leds on the Sixpak controller flashed like a christmas tree. As my shack is on the second floor there is no easy way to get a good RF ground in my shack. The switch itself is in the basement and there I installed a decent RF-ground but to no avail… So what solved the problem? Yes, installing 100nF capacitors inside the control box between all wires of the control cable and the ground stopped the leds from flashing. Thanks ON7FU and Array Solutions for suggesting this!!! But I’m still wondering, why doesn’t Array Solutions put these capacitors in its control box by design? It seems weird to spare for 2USD in capacitors on a 480USD switch?

  8. Test how hot the transceivers get at 100W digi and figure out a solution for extra cooling (the extra temperature controlled fan I installed on the TS-50S seems to do a good job and the FT990 seemed to do well in contest conditions at 100W RTTY in the past, but this needs some more testing)
    => Done
  9. Time permitting: make/buy and install a second antenna for each band or at least for most of them (how will I switch the antennas/bandpass filters now with multiple antennas on the same band?)
    => 4 band vertical is ready to set up, fieldday style will have to do for this one

So, lots of work left but getting there (I hope…)

Please all look for OQ6A in PSK63 next sunday!

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