[TenTec] Requirements for a top tier DXing rig

Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP Rick at DJ0IP.de
Fri Oct 18 17:47:34 EDT 2013

I strongly agree with Jim.

The radio gets set up before the contest, then hardly touched.
I rarely touch anything during the [cw] contest.
And I spend 50% of the time with my eyes closed, intensively listening...
listening... listening.
Couldn't see anything anyway! My eyes are closed. :)

The only time I open them is to read the band map.  I rarely even look at
the radio.  No need.  The computer tells me what I need to know.  Even when
I twist the VFO, I'm still watching the slider on the Band Map, not the
radio's display and not even the digital frequency display on the computer

You place high in contests by knowing who is on the band(s), not managing
the parameters of your radio at all times.
We're not flying a jumbo jet.

I recall one year in CQWW CW, running my Orion with the Remote VFO knob next
to the keyboard.
The Orion was positioned a bit higher than it should have been on the shelf,
difficult to reach.
Didn't matter.
When the contest was over, I couldn't remember ever having touched the
I operated with the Keyboard and the VFO knob.

What on earth are you guys twisting all the time?
What are you looking at?
I'm listening intensively and working stations, not playing with my radio.

James, you suggested hiding screens of N1MM to make room for radio
It's the other way around.  You need to know as much information about
what's going on in the contest, how you're doing, what your run rates are,
what multis you are missing that should be simple to work, that kind of
stuff. Who's on the other bands that you're not on? (packet window).
Look at the multi windows.  What zones are missing.  "When" do you need to
be on "what band" to work them?
INFORMATION is key to placing high in a contest, but its information about
your progress, not about your radio.

If you're only in it for fun, then playing with the radio is part of the fun
so forget everything I just said and have yourself a ball.
But if you are trying to turn in the best possible score that you can, you
have to stay focused on the stuff the matters.
Playing with knobs is usually counterproductive. 

Rick, DJ0IP

-----Original Message-----
From: TenTec [mailto:tentec-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Jim Brown
Sent: Friday, October 18, 2013 11:10 PM
To: tentec at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Requirements for a top tier DXing rig

On 10/18/2013 12:04 PM, Barry N1EU wrote:
> The form factor of the K3 means a lot more space on the desk but a lot 
> less space on the display - no full time display of important 
> parameters like bandwidth, shift,

My ears tell me what I need to know about bandwidth and shift.

> power,

The K3 remembers power by band and mode.  How often do you need to change
it?  And why do you need to know?  I set power output to whatever it takes
to drive my power amp to full output, and to do that, I look at the power
amp, not the rig.

> mic gain/compression,

In TX mode, the display can be set to provide a readout of compression (in
dB) and ALC, or power out and SWR.  That compression in dB is what we need
to know, not the mic gain and compression knob settings that it takes to get
there. So you're asking for stuff that simply does not matter.

> monitor level,

That's the loudness of your voice in your headphones. Again, my ears tell me
this -- I don't care what the "dial" says.

> etc etc.

etc. what?

> You have to push a knob to see each value.

But I contend that a good operator simply does not need to know that these
things that are not displayed except when first setting the rig up for an
activity (like contesting or DXing). For example, when I'm preparing for a
contest, I study the rules, decide which category I want to enter, run
through all the bands setting power, bandwidth of the P3 display to fit that
contest, verity that my computer playback and mic levels are right, and
tweak them if necessary. By the time the contest starts, all the controls I
need are the bandswitch (or N1MM), tuning knob (or N1MM), RIT, XIT, and IF
bandwidth, AF and RF gain. Every one of those functions has a dedicated knob
or button. On 30M and below, I may also switch in an RX antenna or put the
rig in diversity mode. Again, there are front panel buttons for that. Yes,
the front panel does not tell you whether you have a separate RX antenna on
the sub-RX, but if your ears don't tell you that, you don't understand
diversity. :)

> And no parameters at all are visible about the subreceiver unless you
switch the display from main to sub.

I agree this is a shortcoming, but a few things about controlling the 2nd RX
are the only things I think they missed out on. BUT -- two fast pushes of
the "copy A to B" button copies ALL of the settings of the main RX to the
second RX, which gets you 90% of the way to where you're likely to want to
go. For example, if I'm using the 2nd RX to monitor my frequency in a
pileup, I may want to listen wider than I'm listening to the DX. But even
that's easy to do. Simply set the wider bandwidth before copying A to B,
then set A narrower to hear the DX better.

> There's plenty to like about the K3 and contesters have adopted it in 
> droves, but the form factor doesn't work for me.

You're right, that's a personal choice, but I've articulated the reasons for
my choices.
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