TS-2000 crashes on 160m

This weekend I joined the Stew Perry contest on 160m for a few hours. Conditions were not very well, I heard one JA (wkd by PA0O), P49V (I heard him, he did not hear many stations …), KV4FZ which is KP2 and some W’s from zone 5&4. No zone 3 heard here. No other zones heard also. Not much activity. I think this is a bad weekend for a contest because of Christmas.

I made 70 qso’s with 352 points. DX was 16 points (over 8000 km I think).

But the nasty thing I found out is
– my reception – sensitivity is bad. Most USA-stations I worked I had to give them one time my call. So with my power (600 W, 100m Aircell-7, inv.L) I’m strong enough. But I could not hear stations worked by other EU-stations. I definitely need beverages or K9AY-loops. Or maybe a FOoAA, is smaller. That will be the summer project 2010.
– The TS-2000 crashes: the signal is distorted by Intermodulation which sometimes makes it impossible to get the calls right. I can understand that there will be problems when some signals in the band are over S9+40, but even with the pre-amp off the IMD products are still there.

Listen to IMD on TS-2000 this morning.
(mp3)

I think the main cause is the MF of the TS-2000, which is to close to 1,8 MHz.
So I have to think about a new trx? Beverages will help to lower the local (EU) signal-strengths, and directional systems (K9AY) can suppress strong signals there are some nice examples on youtube.

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QSL Easter Island

Today I received the qso card for my qso’s with Lars SM6CUK. He was on easter Island just after we were there with XR0Y.
I was lucky to work him on 3 bands (one on sked) in CW.

The message on the back is very nice, we helped eachother

The end of ‘qsl direct’? Yes!

This morning I received a confirmation of a qso with A61BK via E-qsl. With a note:
>> pse paper QSL for DXCC marry christmass tu

No buro in A6 so have to send to his manager. “Direct only”.  So I have to pay a stamp of € 0,95?
Why not use LOTW for confirmation? Is valid for DXCC, it will cost you only $1-2 for a copy of your license to the ARRL.
And uploading/downloading once a month can be done everywhere, at home or in a Internetcafe. A program that can manage qsl-cards sent/received can also manage LOTW sent/received.

So there is no excuse for not using electronic qsl. I have sent more than 100 qsl direct in the last 5 years, spent $140 on IRC/$$ and more than € 100 on stamps. Return rate is 80% which is acceptable, but there are stations who refuse to sent a card (3B9FR, sent 2 times; A71A, T80B, ET3AA, ST2M, 9Y4VU) and even refuse to react on email-requests.

I know that there are a lot of countries without Buro.
And there are Buro’s who refuse to accept cards for qsl-managers (LX-buro: only cards for LX-stations are accepted).
QSL-managers can be very fast but also very very slow (I have sent about 80 cards to EA7FTR the last 5 years and have never received any qsl).
And there a lot of postman who like foreign enveloppes, especially to radio-amateurs.
And some hams like $$$$

There are a number of stations who are in LOTW but do not send their logs. Like JT1CO: last upload Jan 2008. Why? A qso without a conformation is not a complete qso, if a ham is chasing DXCC or WAS he needs that LOTW-qsl.

And last but not least: Last year I sent 220 cards to the Dutch card checker for Verification (DXCC). Preparing and sorting the cards took me more then 40 hours. A LOTW-application for 194 QSL’s (did that just 2 weeks ago) took me 3 hours, only because I prefer to follow my logbook (DXlab-application) rather than clicking on the LOTW-list. But if you click the LOTW-list it takes only one minute to add Verified DXCC’s to your account.

Eqsl has become more important since CQ-magazine decided to accept confirmations from Authenticity Guaranteed amateurs. One of the most known certificates (WAZ) is now available via E-qsl confirmations!

I spent a lot of money on my hobby. But paying for a qsl-card is something from the last century.I rather spent my money on improving my rig and my antennes (that is necessary, especially on 30-40-80-160).

Any exceptions? Yes, I know at least one!
Many dx-peditions offer OQRS: online QSL-request. By paying some money you get your card Direct and support the Expedition. And I know, the costs can be quite high….

Back to my set

Experimenting with RTTY

I wanted to start with RTTY and ended up with a lot of experimenting and testing this week.
On Easter Island I did some RTTY with MixW and decided to do some RTTY at home.
Because I usually work with N1MM as logging software, I first started with MMTTY which integrates nicely (so nearly no button training).  But I found it hard to setup and also it is very difficult to ‘catch’ a station. Compared to MixW on Easter Island it was difficult.

So I downloaded MixW and tried that for a day. The program is much easier in handling, the interface is easier (click on the lines and qso). I programmed the macro’s and worked 40 qso’s this morning in the TARA-contest.
Setback: no integration with my central logging engine N1MM/DXKeeper.

Yesterday I experimented the whole day with HRD-DM780. These programs are ‘heavy’ but are OK. I started with HRD4.
I also installed the DM780-bridge to DXKeeper so added qso’s are entered in DXK also. This is working fine, although I needed some help from the developper Howard, K7JNX. Now I also have to start Commander (part of the DXlab-suite) and it works OK.
My architecture is complex with N1MM&HRD-DM780 running on PC1 and DXKeeper etc. running on PC2.
One annoying point: DM780 triggers a lookup which slows down the logging in DXK. Not suitable for contesting.
I upgraded to HRD5 but this does not change so I go back to HRD4 because the new logbook in HRD5 gives a very heavy load on the machine. DM780 in HRD4 has its own logbook, which is enough.
However I did make just a few qso’s with this setup because programming the macro’s takes time and the learning curve….

So which program to choose?
The jury is still out.
Which program is the best? MMTTY    –     MixW   –   DM780????

That is a nice letter, thanks!

CQWW CW 2009 and some DX

In preparation of the contest we had very stormy and rainy weather. I was unable to prepare the 160m vertical which was

destroyed by the cows. For 80m I still have no good solution. For the time being the G5RV-long version is in the back of the garden but much to low (3m above ground!). Worked some Europe and Middle East but that was it.
SoI concentrated on 40m and played around on 15&10m for some nice

CQWW CW 2009, HP-assisted

Zones/multipliers or DX.  In the last hour of the contest I worked VK9XW Christmas Island on 40m. It was quit then, after hours of big pile-ups and working split. That takes to much time works as a lottery.

On 40m had some nice DX into the America’s and VK/ZL. This band gave me problems in the refrigerator!, the RFI was so heavy that it started shaking… The antenne for 40m (modified D30/40) is to close to the house and has to be replaced. Work to do.

In the week since I came back from Easter Island worked new DXCC’s TX/c (Chesterfield Island) and Easter Island thanks to SM6CUK. Also a lot of Sierra Leone, Christmas Island (just worked on RTTY) and Ghana. All in all a nice week