GM4ULS ham radio station

a QRM-free zone!

It’s Friday, and there’s a contest tomorrow…

Posted by gm4uls on October 25, 2013

… and it’s a big one, the CQ WW DX SSB, pronounced ‘Squdksb’! 10 metres has been lively all week – I kid you not, signals coming in from Patagonia, Saipan, St Helena, you name it. Cue for propagation to nose-dive tomorrow! I can hear the contesters cursing me and telling me not to hex it for them.

Actually, I hope it doesn’t nose-dive. Love them or loathe them, you can’t ignore the fact that contests really do show how open the propagation is. I’m ambivalent to them. For me it’s an opportunity to notch up some rubber-stamp DX without the concentrated hassle of an almighty pile-up.

Propagation on 10m brings the possibility of working some AM, or maybe FM into the KQ2H repeater. I’m looking forward to catching Greg KA2UAY (shown below with his new wheels).

Greg KA2UAY and wheels

Something rather puzzling occurred whilst I was operating on 10m this past week. A couple of DX contacts reported that my audio was distorted. Naturally I checked it, firstly by using the ‘MON’ facility on the FT-847, which is usually very faithful at letting me know if there is a problem, and secondly by listening to myself on my little Realistic DX-394 receiver. The DX-394, despite being ‘cheap and cheerful’ and rather outmoded technologically, is nevertheless a good receiver*. There was no distortion whatsoever. My desk mic is sensitive, and there is ambient noise, but that is a truck-load of dBs below my voice. Also I know for a fact that both the ‘MON’ facility on the FT-847 and the DX-394 can detect stray RF on my audio – I have used them both before to test other rig/antenna combinations. So I am fairly confident that there is no actual distortion. However, sometimes DX stations perceive distortion, and I wonder why. Let me see whether any contest stations report it tomorrow.
*How good? Well it can hear Shannon Volmet on 5.505MHz with just a whip antenna.

Oh wait. I forgot. Propagation’s going to nose-dive tomorrow.

“Shut up!!!”



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