Been neglecting my weblog for too long! Some minor reconfiguration occurring along with some additional metrics around contesting planned here.
To catch up, I have been quite enjoying my IC-7600, learning more and appreciating it with each operating session. I am not quite setup for SO2R, but I have added some I.C.E 419B bandpass filters along with the YCCC SO2R+ controller. I have a sneaking suspician my FT-857D-as-second-rig is going to be less than stellar, but I intend to give it a go before committing additional funds toward another radio (although that new Kenwood sure looks like it would work great…who knows, there might be an IC-756ProIII floating around out there with my name on it!)
As to antennas, I really really need to fix up my situation on 20 through 10 meters. I have been thinking about constructing a gossamer yagi antenna much like the Optibeam wire yagi and sticking up in the air on something nice like a Penninger mast system. In the interim I have my G5RV up a bit higher and straighter and working nicely. I have a 20M EDZ sitting just below it and it is a fair performer (I use this primarily for Thursday Night Madness and the G5RV as a Marconi for 160M). My NE doublet is getting little play so I am likely to take this down. My R5 vertical is crap on 20M although not bad on other bands. That said I never use it so it is likely to come down as well.
I am getting surprisingly good results from my G5RV-as-Marconi for 160M since I put down about 500′ of radials. I want to put down another 500‑1000’ before spring mowing season starts but as it stands the current configuration is working really well domestically and has even gotten me a few EU contacts as well. I might be able to complete more DX QSOs if I had a receiving antenna of any kind (and await the epiphany of having such capability). My first milestone will be to finish WAS needing only HI and AK on LoTW.
During SS I put up a 40M wire vertical fed against my radial system tuned by an MFJ-927 autotuner. It worked really well, even on the higher bands. That said, it sucked for 80M but it made me want to throw a longer wire up to see how it would play. Also dithering about what kind of N/S antenna is needed for 40M…basically it am learning I can’t have too many antennas for 40M.
My backlog of construction projects has grown…I need to finish the Ft. Tuthill 80, get my various Softrocks and what-not done. I did put together a little QRPp beacon for 30M but have not put the thing on the air as of yet (no suitable antenna for 30M as of yet.) I an excited to get the softrocks up and running as they can be used as panadapters coupled with contest and rig control software. A secret little pistol contest weapon? Perhaps…
Drake twins were sent off to WB4HFN for refurb…more about this later but I am very very happy with the experience with Ron so far! Seems my R‑4C was barely working (if at all) and now it is restored to glory.
And with that, I think I will go try to work more straight key contacts toward my SKCC Centurian certificate.