QRP Contesting

Getting ready for the ARRL SSB Sweepstakes this weekend. I’m likely only going to be on Sunday but I’ll be firing on 5-watts.

As I posted on November 1 I’ve had some issues with the old FlexRadio 1500 and we’re slowly sorting out what’s happened and where we’re going from here but in the meantime the new 1500 is percolating away and the station never worked better :)

As you can see in the photo I’ve got my Drake R8 receiver (left) with the Flex 1500 sitting on top with the WM-2 QRP watt meter beside it. The output goes to either of my QRP autotuners (LDG-Pro II or Elecraft TU-1) which are situated below the antenna switch box (bottom left and rotor control) and into an antenna switch that is connected to the 6-meter squares, dummy load, 80-40 dipole or the switch on the tower which switches the Hy-Gain Explorer with 40-meter extensions, the Butternut HF-6-custom built vertical, the G5RV-JR, 160 sloper and Alpha-Delta 160/80/40/30 sloper.

To the right is the Drake 2B tube receiver with a DSP-9+ giving me some digital filtering on the audio out. In front of the 2B is a Ten Tec 40/20 QRP rig which is a great 5-watt rig.

Under the screen (which is also a high-def TV for those days when the bands are out) is an Idiom Press LogiTalker voice keyer on the left and an Idiom Press CW keyer on the right. I found a Yaseu mobile mic in a bin downstairs so I plugged it into the voice keyer and it works. Since the Flex 1500 doesn’t have VOX I appreciate the push-to-talk on the mic.

On the desktop I’ve got a FlexKnob which is an essential accessory for the 1500 and a new toy…yes…it’s true…I bought the Hercules DJ music controller and I’m now mapping all the Flex SDR controls that are on the screen and accessed from the FlexKnob to the Hercules. They both work simultaneously which is neat.

The Hercules with the software from DH1TW (it just dumps into the Flex software folder) worked perfectly first time. Amazing.

Anyway the voice keyer is loaded. The new Flex 1500 is working. Putting a new battery into the Bose XYL-quieting headphones and I’m ready to go.

BTW the bands sound very quiet for this domestic contest. Could be a heck of a day on Sunday.

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About Peter West

I'm retired now. I was a photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and media relations officer for several major Canadian organizations. That's all in the past now. Over the years I was a long-time member and later facilitator of a variety of self-help and men's groups. Now as I age, I've returned to yoga and I am actively working to improve my immediate and long-term health. I currently a long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada.

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