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ARRL June VHF Contest   2017   Jun 10   Claimed Score

Click on a call below for a list of all the contests for which that call sign is listed as an operator. Click on the [email] link to send an e-mail to the contester who posted the claimed score.

Call: K9CT
Operator(s): K9CT
Station: K9CT

Class: Single Op HP
Operating Time (hrs): 26
Radios: SO2R  

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:749293Total Score250,515


Club: Society of Midwest Contesters

Comments:     [email]     2017-06-12 12:24:00
This was the first big contest since the antenna change out to 2 and 6 meter Innovantennas and the SO2R setup of the FlexRadio 6700. The goal of the contest was to evaluate the performance of the changes. In the past, I did invest more time in using multiple antennas and EME operations. I backed off on EME this year because I have a rotator change out yet to do and I needed some sleep! On a couple of occasions, I did regret not having two or three other antenna choices available as 6m opened in multiple directions. This required following some gut instinct in just pointing the stack in the right direction….DXMaps is your friend! Picking the operating category can be an issue. There are not many stations in my area that have bands over 432 MHZ. The cost per QSO on 902 and 1296 is very high. 222 MHz is another lower QSO band for the same reason. So picking High Power allows for all bands or I could choose the HIgh Power 3 Band category. The contest had its ups and downs. This was one of the better experiences….just enough going on to keep me in the seat. Six meters started slow and it was concerning. Then the E cloud appeared between us and the SW where we had a good rate Friday afternoon and early evening. Sunday morning was really quiet on 6m. Mostly scatter and some MS using MSK144. There was about an hour of decent prop mid-morning. Right after lunch, The window opened to the NE US. Lots of 6m stations there and both phone and cw had great payoffs with higher rate. Later in the contest, the band opened to the SE and portions of Texas followed by another good opening to the SW and closing to the Pacific NW area. Many stations were sometimes worked on scatter as a result of these good openings. Even split on 6m between phone and cw contacts….what a difference from just a few years ago. The higher bands had several effects. Not much tropo enhancement noticed except early Sunday morning or the multi-path on 144 and 222 in the last hours of the contest. 902 and 1296 had some good and bad times but so little activity it is hard to judge. I tried with some stations out a ways but was not successful...just no enhancement. We had a few rovers in the area that kept interest and they did a very good job. K9JK and AC0RA are really smart and efficient. They made sure everyone knew where they were and where they were going next and when. Kudos to them! Several other rovers were worked and their effort was appreciated….most were out of local area. I thought the Innovantennas were pretty good. There patterns are sharp and they null out the noise and QRM very well. In this contest, that sometimes can be a problem! All in all, there is no way to make any comparison to the previous antennas but I felt pretty good about the investment. DX was worked very easily and MS is a dream. This was my first contest using the FlexRadio 6700 on VHF. I set it up so that one slice/receiver was always on 6m and the other slice/receiver was on 144 to 1296. It was very easy to find openings or see activity. I interfaced the USB port of the radio to a Denkovi relay board. This was wired to switch the PTT and IF lines to the DEMI XVTRS. It was a breeze to run stations from band to band….many times I was waiting on them to transition. The DAX (audio) setup on the Flex allows for simple connection to the WSJT-X suite which uses the API connection to the radio. It was easy to move from SSB or CW or Digital, MSK144 during the contest. No wires! Clean audio, etc. I was testing the next release of software to the public that allows for remote capability...Flex has made a refinement in this release that also really improved the front end on 6m….just as good as the SSB Electronics preamp...nice touch. One thing that is getting worse…..noise. It is getting worse and worse each year as the noise floor moves up with home gadgets flooding the world. It is not just a power pole any more, it is everything. Sometimes when pointing at a neighbor nearby or a mile or two away or propagated is getting to be awful. Although it can’t solve all of this, I can’t tell you how much the WNB, Wideband Noise Blanker in the Flex gave me many more DB to allow for more QSOs. Sometimes, it makes so much difference that I can’t believe it. Still the noise floor when the WNB is invoked is still too high compared to years ago. The activity was very good in this contest and there was plenty of time to visit with friends. It is nice to make a few calls on the FM simplex frequencies to stir the local pot also! There were a couple of times I had to stop and fix a couple of things. Thank goodness there were no show stoppers. The tower quit rotating at 11 am Sunday morning and with some quick sleuthing determined the reed switch that detects motor rotation had failed. Thank goodness for spare parts! The best part is that this didn’t happen in the dark or on a snowy day in January. So I lost maybe an hour or two here and there sorting things out. I just don’t use the VHF setup very often and things don’t show when they are tested…..they show up in the contest! Now that there is so much interest in MS with MSK144, not much time for sleep! Crashed at 2:15 am and got back on at 6:15 am. Lots of fun…. Thanks for the QSOs and being patient with the QSB and repeats. 73, Craig K9CT