NQ4T Field Day Setup

Due to the downfall of society and shit hitting the fan; I have been forced to operate Field Day as a Class D from home rather than going out and enjoying it with friends. I focused my anger in to getting a station setup:

iCom IC-725:

The good ol’ IC-725 I promised I’d never get rid of. After having to get rid of the 7300 it was a good decision as it still left me a radio. The radio sucks..it’s RX section is a total embarassment and it’s going to make FD so much more difficult since SSB stations 16khz each side of you bleed through.

TenTec 715:

This is an RF Speech processor…it’s just proving the screaming DX sound that boosts my average talk power.

$10 PC Headset:

I modified this PC headset to plug in to the TenTec; a second cable from the rigs headphone jack provides the audio. It’s cheap, but effective.

Clipper Foot Switch:

If I can’t make QSOs with it, I can bludgeon someone with it. A stupidly over-engineered footswitch…it’s cast iron body and heavy duty construction means it’ll put up with even the angriest of QSOs while fighing a pileup.

“Generic Sandwich Cookie” Interface:

This is the digital interface I built 5 years ago. Sound card, isolation transformers, opto isolator.

Simple Level Converter for CI-V

A simple 7404 based level converter that allows me to take an Arduino Uno board (sans ATM328) and do CAT/CI-V.

Software wise I’m running N1MM logging integrated with MMTTY, 2Tone, and WJST-X. This should allow me to oprerate both phone, RTTY, and FT8/4 during the contest.

I’m going to try and work all 24 hours. It was a tradition that I stay up and work the night shift for FD; I broke that last year along with everything else. But running solo as a Class D; well, it’s all on me.

Yes..this was a quick post; but FD starts in 30 minutes. I’m largely already set. Everything is wired; everything is configured. It’s hot…man is it hot. 90 degrees with humidity to match in an unairconditioned shack. I have a fan blowing on my legs and up my body…people are going to have to deal with the background noise. One person I did a QSO with already said they couldn’t hear it.

Oh well. Good luck everyone.

Upgrading Hotspot & MMDVM USB Tricks

I’ve been a fan of screwing around with the MMDVM hotspots ever since I picked up a ZumSPOT with my D74. Though I remember them being around when I got in to ham in 2015; they’ve gotten a lot cheaper and a lot more universal.

Anyway; I upgraded one of my hotspots and did a neat little trick with my now spare MMDVM HAT.

Continue reading “Upgrading Hotspot & MMDVM USB Tricks”

NAQP RTTY Preliminary Results & NAQP SSB

The preliminary results for NAQP RTTY were published recently. My listed score was 10,200 with 170 contacts and 60 multipliers. I have to check to see how this compares with my claimed score.

NAQP SSB is going on right now. I had briefly flirted with operating in it; but I picked up an IC-7300 about two weeks ago and I not only didn’t do any prep as far as software goes…but I didn’t get familiar enough with the rig to work in a contest environment. I did have success in getting N1MM connected to it…and I actually was able to program CAT commands to fire off the voice keyer.

But CAT control, PC connectivity, voice keyer…these are all wayy too new for a guy that has operated a IC-725 for the last three years. If I do play around with it later tonight, I might submit my low-scoring log. Otherwise, the 4 contacts I’ve made thus far are getting submitted as a check log. Though I’ve read through the 7300 manual before, I think maybe I need to re-read it and play around with N1MM more.

Field Day: N6F – Snowstorm Ranch – CN90tq

Just like last year, I’ll be heading west again to take part in FBOM’s “epic” Field Day just outside of Horse Lake, CA.

So why is this epic? Because a bunch of us are all leaving our corners of the country and converging on the other side of the country (for some of us). We’re a fraternal radio club…so it’s about hanging out with each other as much as it is the radio. We’re literally all scattered around the country, and it’s once a year the “core” of our group gets together face to face.

I fly out on June 19th from the DC area to Vegas, get a rental car, then haul ass to make Reno by morning. By evening on June 20th we’ll be pulling in to the ranch, cracking open beers, starting our bullshit sessions early, and just happy to be there. Our radio setup is much like last year; a K3 with diversity receive capability running in to a SPE 1.3k amp.

We’ll be running N6F event call for this as well as running a 1E station. We decided on E for one simple reason; we want to play with the radios early. We want not only extra time to make sure our setup is going to work and figure out any problems; but we also want to play. Some of us don’t get to put our voice behind a kilowatt on a regular basis…some of us need brushing-up/warming-up on the quasi contesting environment of FD. Choosing to run as a home station means we can set-up when we get there and work every station during Field Day. Alpha stations aren’t allowed to set up outside of a designated time, so running as a home station on emergency power seems like the best trade-off; it also allows us to count contacts with every station unlike other classes that have restrictions.

It’s hard to imagine this year possibly being better than last; last year was absolutely fantastic. I mean, I left out of there waiting to do it again. The time is approaching, everything’s booked. 9 days from now, we’re gone!