W0YK NA Sprint Practice, 8 Sep
J. Edward (Ed) Muns
w0yk at msn.com
Fri Sep 8 00:09:29 EDT 2006
20 40 80 Total
12 14 8 34
There are good reasons that practices are called practices. Tonight's was
pretty funny for me. Usually I'm rushing into the shack at the last minute
to try and determine what state the station is in and how to get back on the
air. But, this afternoon I had a few spare minutes and decided to prepare
like we tell each other we should do.
So, I made sure TR-Log was properly configured and decided the safe thing to
do was to use the same configuration file I used in the January NCJ Sprint.
After all, it worked then and should be the safest bet now. The amp worked
and tracked the radio as did the antenna system. All systems looked good.
So, back to my daily routine. Even found time to walk the dog around the
vineyard changing irrigation blocks instead of taking the ATV.
Got back in the shack at 0228 and dumped in a CQ at 0230. W0BH came back
and it seemed like I didn't hear my serial number sent. Oh well, my first
contact, I'm probably not paying attention. He responds NR? Oh, I guess he
missed it too. I give a repeat, but when I try to log his exchange, TR-Log
complains. Looks OK to me: serial number, name and state. Hmmm. I don't
recall what I did to force it into the log, but I tuned for another CQ and
answered ... except that I wasn't in S&P state and the computer sent my
exchange to the other station as if I had been the one calling CQ. So,
LIDness aside, I get into S&P and finally work the station. Except he
missed my number. Boy, that seems to be contagious tonight. And, again, I
can't log his exchange. Good grief, this is going to be tortuous
half-hour. Finagle my way through that second QSO and get a new call and
send my exchange. NR? What's going on? This can't be that difficult.
It's the first minute or so of the contest and so the numbers are single
digits like 1, 2, or 3. Then, I just happened to notice the contest title
at the top of my log display ... "North American QSO Party". Oh, that would
explain the serial number problem. But how did I pick up an NAQP
OK, now for a clever recovery. How about I quickly swap in the
configuration file from NS, NCCC Sprint, which has worked great all summer.
NS was fashioned after the NCJ Sprint, so all should be fine. (Except, in
my foggy logic I forgot that I was the author of the web page on the NS site
explaining how the NS TR-Log configuration file was built on the Internet
Sprint with eight modifications. I write about this stuff and then my
memory goes blank when I try and use it.) Well, all was not fine as I
bungled through a few more QSOs. OK, shut down TR-Log again and go study my
prior contest directory. Oh, I see the problem. The file I grabbed was for
the January 2006 NAQP, not the February 2006 Sprint. Well, now I've finally
got it nailed. Copy the Sprint configuration file into my current directory
and fire up TR-Log again. Ah, now things work as expected. OK, its 10
minutes into the practice and I've pretty much blown my 20-meter slot, let's
see what 40 is like. Amp switches, antennas switch ... But the log still
says 20 meters. OK, tell it that I'm really on 40 and carry on. But in the
back of my mind, I'm troubleshooting why the software and radio aren't
tracking. It's been working fine. Muddle through 40, QSY to 80 by
separately telling the radio and the computer what band I'm on. Then, in
the last five minutes, it hits me that in the February Sprint I was using
Kenwood radios and tonight I'm using ICOM radios. Well, I guess the
configuration file needs some doctoring.
Good thing we still have another practice tomorrow night. I can't imagine
what I'll fumble up then.
Ed - W0YK
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