I defer to Bill's comments as he is a real contester
and a smart cookie when it comes to receiver
performance and I surely only noodle around in that
However I did set up the latest iteration of the SDR
software and N1MM's contesting software and the
winkey-usb version for field day to see how it would
perform and I could not fault the setup. N1MM
basically did all the control so the rest of it
(rig/keyer/cluster etc) was transparent. So I'm not
sure how to evaluate the issue. The hardware was
certainly as good as the software would let it be, in
other words the experience was not hardware limited.
I don't think running the Orion would have been much
of a different experience.
It is true that for low band DXing numbers like
-160dBm are pretty meaningless. A nod is as good as a
wink to a signal burried under 20dB of noise. The
landscape changes however when you start talking
microwaves. Having a car that does 200 mph is pretty
meaningless unless you happen to have a road that
allows 200mph then life becomes interesting. You
can't exploit the possibilities if you have not made
the tools that make that exploitation possible. Sleds
were all the vogue until the wheel was invented. Yet
another iteration if a "2 knob" radio does nothing to
advance the state of the art.
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