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This weekend I switched on the K3S and operated in the CQWW SSB contest. It wasn’t a serious entry as family life still needs to continue. Sam managed to keep the kids safe, fed and entertained for most of the time allowing me to operate. I had a couple of technical issues at the start of the contst. My Ultrabeam was showing a high SWR which almost stopped me taking part at all. In the end, I remembered there is a calibration routine built into the controller. Once I recalibrated the antenna all was well. The other issue is RS232 stopped working around the time I was fixing the antenna. This turned out to be a hardware fault. I hadn’t screwed the DB9 into the back of the P3 and it had fallen out. Doh! Fixed and no more issues.

My target was at least 400 QSOs, 55K points, 20 Zones and 80 DXCC. I didn’t reach the zone or DXCC targets this time. I made 3 QSOs as a result of a CQ call and the rest were all S&P.

Contest         : CQ World Wide DX Contest
Callsign        : M1N
Mode            : PHONE
Category        : Single Operator - Assisted (SOA)
Overlay         : ---
Band(s)         : Single band (SB) 20 m
Class           : Low Power (LP)
Zone/State/...  : 14
Locator         : IO91CN
Operating time  : 12h15

  160     0   0   0   0       0  0.00 
   80     0   0   0   0       0  0.00 
   40     0   0   0   0       0  0.00 
   20   400  18  78   0     577  1.44 
   15     0   0   0   0       0  0.00 
   10     0   0   0   0       0  0.00 
TOTAL   400  18  78   0     577  1.44 
         TOTAL SCORE : 55 392

Dupes are not included in QSO counts neither avg calculations

Operators       : M1DST
Soapbox         : A fun but not serious entry.

Contest : IOTA Contest
Callsign : M1N
Mode : PHONE
Category : Single Operator – Assisted (SOA)
Band(s) : All bands (AB)
Class : Low Power (LP)
IOTA : EU005
Operating time : 11h55


80 0 0 0 0 0.0
40 0 0 0 0 0.0
20 148 1 46 1350 9.12
15 78 0 25 720 9.23
10 6 0 4 70 11.67
TOTAL 232 1 75 2140 9.22

TOTAL SCORE : 160,500

Dupes are not included in QSO counts neither avg calculations

Operators : M1DST
Soapbox :

Suffered with wideband noise at various times during the contest on Sunday and had a headset mic element fail which needed repairing.  Should have considered entering unassisted as I almost never used the cluster.

Contest : CQ World Wide DX Contest
Callsign : M1N
Mode : PHONE
Category : Single Operator – Assisted (SOA)
Overlay :
Band(s) : Single band (SB) 20m
Class : High Power (HP)
Zone/State/… : 14
Operating time : 18h30


80 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
40 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
20 620 25 93 6 1017 1.64
15 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
10 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
TOTAL 620 25 93 6 1017 1.64

TOTAL SCORE : 120,006

Dupes are not included in QSO counts neither avg calculations

Operators : M1DST
Soapbox :

A few of us from the Swindon Radio Club each entered CQWW in various sections. So we could each follow progress we submitted our realtime scores to which was great fun to watch.

Had some issues with RF killing the Universal Serial Bus (USB) which broke CAT, keyboard and mouse control making logging difficult in the first few minutes. This was quickly solved with a single ferrite.

I decided to “fiddle” during the contest with Win-Test scripts. I wanted to allow PTT from the keyboard instead of using the footswitch. I did this using a modified script and the pause button. If I press the pause button then it toggles the PTT. I can also use ESC to always kill the PTT regardless. I was using the internal voice keyer on the K3 using the F1 – F3 keys on the keyboard.

Had plenty of fun but as usual family needed attention so time was limited. I should have spent more time calling CQ and less time getting distracted on webpages, within apps etc. There is always next year.

Oh and whilst tinkering I also reloaded the K3 firmware in the hope that my scripts would work properly. The problem was F1 would trigger the CQ and ESC would stop it. If the CQ was in repeat mode, the ESC wouldn’t cancel it. Very odd. I found a bug in the script which I fixed but it still didn’t work properly even if triggered from the radio. A firmware updated fixed the problem. Phew.

Uploaded log to CQWW, LOTW, ClubLog, my Log, and [email protected]. Also submitted claimed score to 3830.

Contest : IOTA Contest
Callsign : M1N
Mode : PHONE
Category : Single Operator (SO)
Overlay :
Band(s) : All bands (AB)
Class : High Power (HP)
Zone/State/… : EU005
Operating time : 11h39


80 0 0 0 0 0.0
40 0 0 0 0 0.0
20 226 2 45 1770 7.83
15 14 0 8 140 10.0
10 13 0 7 145 11.15
TOTAL 253 2 60 2055 8.12

TOTAL SCORE : 123 300

Dupes are not included in QSO counts neither avg calculations

Operators : M1DST
Soapbox : Conditions very difficult. Lots of QSB and I struggled to hear stations calling me.

I arrived on site around 10am and started work erecting the antenna and getting the radio ready. The first problem was I had forgotten a stub mast so there I couldn’t deploy the rotator. Although I was so early I did have enough time to pack everything back up, go home, get a stub mast and start again but I decided against that. I decided that it was one thing less to pack away at the end of the evening.

The site I operated from (IO91CL) Barbury Castle is a public site owned by the council and they lock the gates at 9pm. This meant I would need to cut my entry off by a few hours to ensure I could escape the gate keepers.I was setup in about an hour which left be 4 hours to play before the contest started. Having a tune around I could hear that conditions were favourable. I managed to work a number of European stations with ease.

After a couple of hours the Europeans disappeared and the band sounded quite quiet. Not what you want to hear right before a contest. The sun was also slowing moving around the shady area I had parked in and was now beating down on me.
I decided to pack up the radio and move everything into the car where there would be shade. This worked out quite well in the end.

I started the contest at 14:00 UTC and eventually gave in and used the DVK after receiving taunts from 2E0SQL via twitter after becoming tongue tied a number of times whilst trying to call CQ, and surf the web for last years results.

I had a few visitors pop in to ask what I was doing or say hello. Frank, (G3JOT) and his wife arrived late afternoon and said hello too.

At around 19:45 the generator ran out of fuel so that is the point I called it a night. I refilled the generator and packed up the car and was home by 21:15 where my lovely wife had a double steak burger waiting for me.

This year I kept the flag flying for SDARC as our usual contest crew were committed to a Raynet event but hopefully we’ll be able to enter as a team next year.

Contest :VHF NFD 50 MHz
Section :R (Restricted Section of VHF NFD)
Group :Swindon & DARC
QSOs :69
DXCCs :6
WWLs :16

This evening I built a handheld PTT switch to use whilst portable with a headset as a footswitch isn’t always practical. I have large hands so it is still possible for me to hold the switch and type on a keyboard to log the QSO.

I decided to build one as commercial units can be expensive. I purchased a few parts and estimate the entire build cost less than £5. I used a Speedfit 22mm x 15mm reducer as the main unit and added a switch and a chassis mounted phono socket. To hold the phono socket in place I used a material called PolyMorph.

Polymorph is a thermoplastic polymer which melts at 62°C and consists of small off-white plastic granules. By heating these granules in hot water the user can easily melt the pellets to form a transparent flexible material. Once melted the opaque white pellets fuse together, become transparent and soften, allowing the user to form the plastic by hand into unique shapes. Once it cools it becomes solid and hard again.

The whole project took about 10 minutes from start to finish to complete and is very robust. Now I need to find other things to do with the PolyMorph as it was fun to use.

Tower Winch Project

Categories: Amateur Radio, General
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This weekend saw some great weather so I finally added a Goodwinch electric winch to my mobile tower. Oh for an easy life.

I got great service from David at Goodwinch and the delivery was very quick!

I had to manufacture a mount for it out of 6mm stainless steel plate and bolts as the existing winch mount was far too small. I have left the manual winch mounted just in case it is required in the future. Still need to make a weather cover out of sheet aluminium although I doubt strictly necessary.

M1DST CQWW SSB 2011 Report

Categories: Contesting
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Contest:  2011 CQ WW DX SSB CONTEST
Call:     M1DST
Category: Single Op 28 MHz Low Power

************************** Summary ***************************

     350 Claimed QSO before checking (does not include duplicates)
     341 Final   QSO after  checking reductions

     815 Claimed QSO points
     723 Final   QSO points

      66 Claimed countries
      66 Final   countries

      27 Claimed zones
      27 Final   zones

      93 Claimed mults
      93 Final   mults

   75795 Claimed score
   67239 Final   score
  -11.3% Score reduction

       0 (0.0%) duplicates
       8 (2.3%) calls copied incorrectly
       0 (0.0%) band change violations
       1 (0.3%) not in log
       0 (0.0%) calls unique to this log only (not removed)

IOTA 2012

Categories: Amateur Radio, Contesting
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I had a go at the IOTA contest although in the shack the heat was incredible for some of the time. I also had an willing “helper” who wanted me to play with her toys too!

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