“The changes are good ideas. I also stopped using an autotransformer and do not use the +/-/AC control voltage. When I added a 3-relay termination adjustment, separate control wires were required, and I also put the direction control on that cable. This allows me to use a preamp that is powered via the coax. There will be a product review in QST soon, describing the Array Solutions product that uses my design. The information on RF chokes is very useful. I have seen the power supply problem before, but it is usually fixed with a good EMI filter on the AC input. However, in the past, I have needed a larger RFC as PG0A has discovered. With DC control voltage, this is not a problem, and I typically use a 220 uH RFC. 73, Gary K9AY”
Richard PA7FA and Remco PG0A wanted to test their 160m setup, strategy, and ideas during this contest. That is, not fully participate, but experiment, and see how we can learn. Our goal was to beat Dutch stations in pile-ups, and to ‘DX’, i.e. to work DXCC countries and experience the propagation during a fully saturated band. Nice aspect is that you can sleep during the day ; -)
We prepared the following (Google Maps overview here) setup (click on the picture to enlarge the shack ; -) :
- inverted L TX-antenna with a few radials, and 10000 sq. m. of aluminium greenhouses
- 250m US Beverage, made of welding wire, 4 bamboo sticks, a tree at the other end, and stretched with a bucket of stones.
- ICOM PW-1 amplifier
- ICOM IC-756 pro 3 (I think .. ; -)
- N1MM logging software
- headphone (<- mandatory!!)
The setup functioned very well and we think we were the first Dutch station that evening to work into the US (VY2KM not included ; -) with K1LZ @ 22.21 UTC. Our ‘competitor’ PC5M logged their first US station for that evening (W2YE) @ 23.34 UTC, one hour later (!)
Experiencing this contest, I think it must be possible to work your 160m DXCC within one weekend.
Nice contacts were MD4K, UP0L, T77C, OH0Z, CU8A, CT9M, 4Z4DX, EA9EU, ER5GB, TF4M, 7X0RY, CN2R, C4M, VP9I, KP2M, TA3D, and XE2S.
Statesside we worked about 50 stations including K9AY himself. (Sorry Gary, you were louder on the Beverage ; -)
HK1X and C6ANM were actually the only two stations heard that couldn’t be worked before I fell asleep @ 02.30 UTC.
We did not hear Japanese stations that evening but worked JT1CO (!) easily.
The next evening we gathered a few new ones like 4L2M, JH4UYB (!), IS0OMH, a lot of EU and some new US stations.
Our score will not be high but N1MM showed 204/27/63, i.e. 204 contacts, 27 ?? and 63 mulitpliers??, resulting in a 116820 points claim.
We considered the experiments to be very promising and perhaps we will participate in the 160m SSB contest too.