In search of a new contest transceiver, the decision

In my previous post about this topic I started with a list of available HF-transceivers here in Belgium and afterwards I had narrowed it down to 6:

  • Yaesu FT-2000 €2500
  • Icom IC-7600 €3600
  • Ten Tec Orion II €4300
  • Elecraft K3 €5300
  • Yaesu FT-DX5000MP €5700
  • Icom IC-7700 €6000

Prices are merely an estimation for comparison, they’re based on information found on the internet a few months ago.  Some may have changed by a few hundreds of euros by the time you read this!

I did’nt have the time (or rather did’nt make time) to write more about this in the last few weeks but in the mean time I ordered (and received) an FT-DX5000MP.

The decision was a little less scientific than it started in my previous post however. Let’s say it has been partly emotional also.

These are the reasons why I bought the FT5k: (not necessarily ordered by importance) Continue reading In search of a new contest transceiver, the decision

Friedrichshafen Contest University 2011

As I wrote in my report about the Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen I attended the Contest University on friday afternoon.

The afternoon started with a welcome by the organiser Michael DL6MHW and then a discussion of contest ethics. After this the group was split in 2, the beginners in one room, the more advanced contesters in an other.
The beginners got the following parts: Contest basics, contest logging, how to get a decent score with a small station, clubcompetition and motivation.

I attended the part for advanced contesters with these parts:

  • Better logging / log analysis
    These things were discussed: preparation of the contest, on what frequency should I be, what software to use, what is a contest qso, log analysis and UBN
  • Using skimmer and RBN
    For me as a mainly rtty and ssb contester this was something I had never really paid attention to. I wonder when the RBN system will be available for RTTY and PSK.
  • VHF contesting tactics and tips
    Using a video from a big gun station in a major contest different situations were discussed and criticised
  • Contest radios
    This was a presentation by Eric ‘Elecraft’ WA6HHQ who mainly presented the differences and properties of the different high end contest radios. And, of course, his K3 is the best in the world. Of course the rig he sells is good but maybe his views are a little biased? The K3 looks tempting to me but I still have my doubts whether I should purchase it from QRP-projects in Germany or direct from Elecraft.
  • advanced rtty contesting
    here the discussion went especially about the way macros should be used and how the software and filters (transceiver and software) should be configured.

The end of the afternoon the two groups together got a presentation of the V31YN contest crew and their station and tactics.

This was a very well organised afternoon although most of the attendants thought maybe there should have been a little more time for each speaker to get even deeper into his subject. Congrats to DL6MHW and his crew!!!

I am not really proficient in the Gernan language but I got about 90% of what was said and the rest I got from the really excellent documentation provided!

Will it make me win more contests? Maybe not (the QSOs still have to be made) but at least it gave me a few more insights in the contest secrets and it was good for improving my understanding of the German language 🙂 (Learning a language is like learning CW: Practice, practice, practice!)
It was €20 well spent! Moreover for that price I got a T-shirt, the new Bavarian Contest Club ‘Handbuch für den Contester’, the CQ-DL contest special, a bottle of water and some gadgets.

Friedrichshafen 2011

Logo Ham RadioLast weekend we made our yearly ‘pilgrimage’ to the Friedrichshafen HAM RADIO in Germany. For the last few years there were always 4 of us, Andy ON7TS, Luc ON7KZ, Jan ON4KB and me. As Jan had to cancel at the last minute there were only 3 of us this year. (Jan, we missed you!)

For me it was the 18th year in a row and I can say I have seen a steady decline of the rally over the years. Every year there are less vendors at the flea market and at the ‘new’ market. I guess there are a few reasons for this: the prices for the rental of the fairgrounds and the competition of the internet sales.

This year there were only 2 halls of flea market with the second hall filled about 60%, last year it was 3 halls with the third hall filled about 50%. The following well known companies did not come back to the fair this year: Conrad, Classic International, Kabel Kusch etc. The room these companies took last year now seemed to be taken over by companies selling toy helicopters, handbags and even *very* cheap riflescopes…

But of course there were a few highlights for me at the Ham Radio: Continue reading Friedrichshafen 2011