IARU KY1B(@WO1N) M/S LP
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Mon Jul 15 23:11:16 EDT 2002
IARU HF World Championship
Class: M/S LP
Operating Time (hrs): 22
Band CW Qs Ph Qs Mults
160: 1 0 1
80: 8 0 4
40: 115 0 25
20: 324 0 44
15: 130 0 45
10: 13 0 3
Total: 591 0 122 Total Score = 245,220
Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club
Written by WO1N
I kept a three year IARU tradition going by setting up outside Field Day style.
This year I invited Joe, KY1B over to do a small Multi. I exented an invite to
the usual suspects and two additional guilty parties showed up, Mike, KB1PZ and
Mike, K1TWF. Joe is a blind ham so we decided to use his entire station to
help him get/stay familiar with Writelog and his Kenwood TS570D with the voice
Although I helped him acquire and setup Writelog for last winters contest
season, I have yet to use it myself. His laptop runs Window XP and that
presented us with our first challenge of the day. We could not get the
Port to do the CW keying. So while KY1B and KB1PZ did a bunch of S&P I was
investigating several options including purchasing a copy of Writelog for
myself over the internet so we could set it up on my Win98 laptop and while
waiting for my registration, search the WriteLog archives for info. I learned
the problem is caused by the design of NT which makes it unable to grab the
hardware directly. While this gives NT its near world class stability it
doesn't allow ones computer to send CQ in the IARU contest!
My WL registration didn't show up in its usual 1/2 hour, so fortunately I found
in the archives a reference to a shareware XP port driver that enables
direct access to physical port hardware. After downloading and installing the
evaluation copy of this, playing with the setups for about 45 minutes I was able
to get it to work and we were off an running, literally. There are probably
a 1/2 dozen other solutions to this problem, but this one seemed the most
straight forward at the time.
Joe's TS570D is a pretty nice rig for its price class and it has selectable CW
filters all the way down to 50 Hz but it did suffer from severe AGC pump when
presented with strong nearby signals. Running the attenuator on and no
pre-amp made it tolerable, but it still happened. Just like any new rig, we
spent alot of time tweaking its setup with the biggest win being moving its CW
sidetone from the 800 Hz default to 500 Hz. We (or at least me) just seemed to
be able to zero beat the signals more readily with this setting, increasing our
ability to be heard the first time while S&Ping.
10M was totally dead until one sent CQ and then you could run a string of 3 or 4
stateside at which point the band would dry up again. 15M was pretty good and we
probably should have tried running there a little more and earlier.
20M turned out to be our money band with several good runs possible even with
the AGC pump, TA33 @ 38' and 100W operating conditions.
K1TWF came by around dusk Saturday evening while we enjoyed a dinner break.
After dinner he grabbed the chair and proceded to work JA, VR2, AH2 and KL7 in
succession on 15M! We were all jealous and sent him packing while we CQ'ed into
a now dead band. Timing is everything!
We all inadvertently bumped into hitting the numlock key which is positioned
right above the F11 key (WLog CQ key) so we would be running and suddenly the
laptop would start sending not so random combinations of letters and
numbers. Good for a laugh when it happened, but I managed to loose a Q because
of it. The keys can be redefined to make F1 the CQ key, but it was just one of
those things we couldn't get sorted out under operating conditions.
Myself, Joe and KB1PZ got into a rotation of a few hours on, few hours off,
which is great as it lets you grab some Z's and makes contesting a whole lot
more fun. KB1PZ closed out with me beating on him to try to break 600Q's
and as a result lost one or two more Q's as we didn't observe the 10 minute
rule in those last frantic minutes looking for another Q.
We worked only about 20 of the OJ guys and avoided phone entirely. There was
some good DX around. The HQ stations were like beacons, even on dead bands.
We did most of the contest using the radio speaker instead of headphones, as a
result by mid-contest we were all hearing CW in every motor, appliance and
stream of water all day.
Joe did about 10 contests last season on his own. We worked hard trying to come
up with an alternative to brailling the entire contest and then the two of us
transcribing it into a logging program. Joe knows how to touch type, but is
totally dependant on the XP Narrator to give him audible feedback on what is
happening. His two biggest problems are loosing track of where the cursor is
when entering calls, especially if he inadvertently hits a random key and
second, knowing if a call is a dupe or not. XP Narrator doesn't tell him when a
call is a dupe. The latter problem can probably be resolved with a software
tweak. We've developed recovery steps if he looses track of where he is,
usually, hit escape and then Alt-W and that generally gets his cursor back to
the home position while in WL or CT, both of which we've tried. The worst case
is when he gets sent out of the application entirely. It happens, ALT TAB can
get you back, but you have to know you are not in the application in the first
place. XP and the Narrator utility along with WriteLog have been a great step
forward for Joe and someday he'll be running them with the best of us if we can
sort out these last few problems.
Our Field Day style setup has been the talk of the local repeater for the past
few days. This is a great 24 hour contest, I'm looking forward to doing it again
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