Thursday, November 5, 2009


Ok, I think I'm pretty much ready to go for the ARRL Sweepstakes CW Contest this weekend, with a few minor exceptions. The checklist:
  • I'm pretty comfortable with basic operation of my new Elecraft K3. I can do all the things I *think* I'll need to do to the radio during the contest: tune either VFO, adjust the filter bandwidth, adjust receiver audio, use RIT. Other stuff I need to do via the computer: turn on/off subrx, log, etc. I think I'm good to go. The manual is handy if needed, though.
  • N1MM logger is set up reasonably well.
  • I've practiced with the SO2V support in N1MM enough to believe I can tune around for S&P QSOs while CQing. The KRX3 has some restrictions about which bands it can be on relative to the main RX that may make it hard to do multi-band SO2V in the heat of battle, but I'll see how I do. If all else fails, I can abandon SO2V (so I'm not "Single Operator Distracted").
  • The Secret Weapon (2-el triband wire yagi) has been built and tuned. I just need to hang it from the tree Fri or Sat, and I should hopefully be one S-unit louder at 70 degrees.
  • And last but not least: the shack is CLEAN (it was a real pig-sty last week):
I'm planning to operate from 9pm Saturday local time until the end of the contest at 7pm Sunday (22 hours). I realize this will leave me out of the initial action, but I've got to referee my son's soccer game on Sat afternoon, and this schedule just worked out best for the family duties.

The overall goal is to make 500 contacts between the CW and SSB weekends, although now that I've secured 22 hours for CW, I think I should raise the bar a bit.

Still to do:
  • Get all the Butt-In-Chair support ready, which I think will be: energy bars, water, ham sandwiches (no pun intended - I often crave them*, a pot of coffee, and some leftover Hallloween candy for late in the contest.
  • Look over W0YK's packet spot filters and figure out how to use them.
For the curious:
  • That's a Yaesu FT-857D next to the K3 (in case a meteor lands on the K3 during the contest).
  • The WinKeyer and paddle are to the right and behind the wire inbox tray.
  • No, I don't have an amplifier (yet).
  • Yes, the shack is narrow: the room is 5 ft by 10ft. It's a little room at the back of a detached garage on our property. I like to think of it as "cozy."
* - When I've done 24-hour cycling distance events, I always seem to end up craving ham sandwiches with about 6 hours to go.

1 comment:

srmorrison1 said...

Wanted to send my best from Shell Beach going into Sweepstakes weekend. I have a few chores around the shackadelic to finish before the starting line tomorrow afternoon.

I'll deploy my doublet in the morning before the winds and one goal is 12-hours butt in the chair time before my 1st break.

Good luck. Kick butt!


P.S. I like the photograph of your shack.