Presentation on theme: "Collected Wisdom and Lessons Learned for the Little Pistol"— Presentation transcript:
1 Collected Wisdom and Lessons Learned for the Little Pistol General Notes – READ THISThis presentation is meant for contesters that want to improve their scores. It is not meant to be a basic introduction to contesting, and makes assumptions that the audience has basic contest knowledge.However, this version does contain a short tutorial/refresher on how contests work and are scored, as well as a few other basics to accommodate the occasional non-contester that might be subjected to the presentation. Those sections can be skipped by clicking the appropriate hyperlink button at the lower right of the slide. The home button on each slide links back to the agenda, which contains hyperlinks to the various sectionsI have other presentations mean to entice non-contesters into the fold, as well as teach the basics.This presentation created for me to give, so there is significant content not on “paper.” If the potential presenter has not heard my pitch, then my notes attempt to give a flavor of what I intended or try to add to each slide. Experienced presenters, and audiences for that matter, will tell you that reading slides to the audience is certain to put them to sleep.Finally, there is a significant amount of animation in the presentation. Don’t click too quickly – you may miss something! At the least, take a slow browse through the entire pitch to see what’s worth waiting for and what is not.Animation – some is timed and delayed, some works on clicks.The presentation needs to be played in Presentation Mode or as a PPS.73 and GL,Dan Z K2YWE (K3AU)Collected Wisdom and Lessons Learned for the Little PistolDan Zeitlin, K2YWE (K3AU)Revised July 2007Copyright 2006, 2007All rights reservedDan Zeitlin, Annapolis, MDFree use with prior permission
2 AcknowledgementsThanks to all those who shared their thoughts with me directly and through review, especially K4ZW, K3ZO, K3RA, K3MM, and KE3Q, and to the many who continue to educate me by example.Thanks to W3LPL and K3RA for awakening my competitive instincts and introducing me to PVRC.
3 Agenda What’s this about? Who is K2YWE? Elements of Success PreparationContest Basics (refresher)StrategyStation ConsiderationsAntennasSoftwareOperating Tips and “Best Practices”SO2RResourcesSummaryAppendix A – Interfaces and AccessoriesAppendix B - Best Practices Collection
4 What’s a Little Pistol? A Little Pistol in this context is Low Power Single OpModest AntennasWires, maybe a low BeamNOT big towers and/or stacksIf you came to hear about how to optimize your stack or which amplifier to buy, you’ll be bored.If you came to try to glean some ideas on how to score better within whatever constraints you may have, then you may like what follows.
5 What’s this about? Objective Improved Scores for Little Pistols (LP) Intended AudienceModest low power HF stationsParts may apply to VHF/UHF+How?Make the most with what you haveAdopt successful operating practicesVirtually all of this presentation applies to high power big-time stations too.It’s just focused on Little Pistols, because brute force is usually not an option.Much like in sailboat racing, Little Pistols should be able to outscore may of high power stations that don’t know how to “point the boat in the right direction” or “make it go fast.”
6 About Dan Licensed in 1956 (KN2YWE) Limited casual contest background Mostly CW. Mixed rag chewing and DXingLimited casual contest backgroundOccasional FD and Sweepstakes1996 FD with dyed-in-the-wool contestersBroke the ice. I took the bait. Fell in with a bad crowd.Little part of “Big Gun” team for a few yearsSame crowd at W3LPL. Set the hook, reeled me in.Little Pistol home station100W, wire antennas and recently a small low tribanderOccasional guest Op elsewhere, usually K3DICARA/PVRC FD teamPrimarily 80 CWYou’ll probably want to skip this one if you’re not me!
7 Elements of Little Pistol Success My observations are relevant to most successful endeavorsThe Right Frame of MindPreparationPracticeAttention to DetailPerseveranceLearning from Others
8 The Right Frame of Mind Don’t forget it is a competition “it's a jungle out there” de N6TRYou will not be alone“. . . contesting skill includes the ability to tolerate high levels of QRM, and if you can't do that, you might as well hang it up.“ de K3ZOThink Big“If you think and act like you’re a big dog,you will convince most of the pack thatyou are, although you may get bittenonce in a while.” de K2YWEAccept the environment, and jump into the fray.Show nor fear!QRL!
9 Preparation Have a strategy – write it down “Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.” Sun TzuHave a strategy – write it downProvides baseline guidanceTry to optimize within your constraintsModify as needed in “battle”Reassess your strategy during the contestExpect to change the detailsTake radical departures only if you have good reason to,like one or more of your baseline assumptions was wrongStrategy is simply a framework. Depart from it and change it as your environment or assumptions changed. It simply provides guidance..Strategy is kind of like Store Policy. The store policy is “we don’t cash checks,” but when the bosses wife comes in with a check to cash, we adapt.
10 INSERT key seems to stick! PreparationGet your act in order before the performanceCheck your set-up well before the startAntennas, Hardware, Software, support filesSet appropriate software defaultsProvide enough time for fixing any problemsBe well rested for the contestListen day(s) before to get a feel for CondxHave a simple means to restart softwareWhat did I call this file . . .?Re-use the same name for the currentcontest files. Rename after the contest.INSERT key seems to stick!Listen days(s) . . .Sailing the race course before a sailboat race starts allows the competitor to understand the winds and currents to make use of them during the race.Similarly, checking condx in advance of the contest on different days, bands, and times, will give you a leg up on those that haven’t and help set you strategy.Have a Simple …I learned form W3LPL to always call my contest startup file for ANY contest at hand “Contest.” and change the name afterwards. That way there is no confusion during the contest.Skip Next -Contest BasicsJump to “Strategy”
11 Contest Basics Rules are published well in advance Individual contest rules spell everything out, including scoringRules are published well in advanceValid contacts exchange two-way informationContest rules define the specific informationFinal score is composed of two piecesQSO points – Based on number of valid contactsPoints per contact may varyMultipliers – Based on a unique characteristicUsually location - State, Country, Zone, GridTotal Score is QSO points times the MultipliersTotal Score = “Q pts” x “Mults”Same stations may provide multiple Qs or MultsContacts on different bands or modes may each count31 W6IXB SCV32 W5AFX STXBasic stuff that you can skip (click) if everyone is a contesterSkip Contest BasicsJump to “Strategy”
12 Scoring Example Simple Multi-band contest Pts/QSO may differ within some contestsMight be different by mode, or by local or “DX” QTHSkip Contest BasicsJump to “Strategy”
13 Sample Exchange (CQ WW HF Contest) Stations try to exchange required info as efficiently as possible“CQ TEST PA0LOU” PA0LOU calling CQ contest“K3AU” K3AU responds“K3AU ” PA0LOU sends the callsign he is responding to, then exchange of RST and Zone“599 5” K3AU sends his exchange“TU PA0LOU” Thanks K3AU and waits for next station to callResults in one “Q” for each station, and a multiplier if the other station’s zone or country has not yet been worked on this band (CQ WW)Efficiency is the keySkip Contest BasicsJump to “Strategy”
14 High Level Thoughts . . . More Q’s are key to producing higher scores Some reasoning to frame the problemMore Q’s are key to producing higher scoresQ’s and Mults are both important but . . .Q’s fuel the engine, Mults provide the turbo boostOperating Time is fixed, so Rate must go up!Concentrate on achieving Higher RatesRate DriversSuccessful Running is best rate generatorBeing Heard and Hearing othersAt fixed power level, this mainly means better AntennasEfficiency - Less wasted time in and between QSO’sLook to Operating Practices and Shack ArrangementAttracting the other stationsOperating Practices
15 Strategy Class Selection Bands and Modes Propagation Having a game plan pays off during the contestClass SelectionBand(s), modes, assistance, number of Ops, …Leverage your strengthsBands and ModesWhich, when?PropagationWhat’s best for Q’s and MultsON/OFF times selectionTime limitsMeals, sleep, “real life” periodsOperationCQ vs. S&PRates, Speeds and TimingSOA, MUF,S&P, rates, snacks . . .Q’s, Mults, Bones . . .
16 Strategy Focus on making the most Q’s Remember that maximizing Q’s is primary to successFocus on making the most Q’sBlock out expected S&P and Run times, ground rulesBalance with occasional short checks for MultsBase primarily on expected PropagationRange of prediction tools are availableQST or CQ tables – simplestModels – most complex, better“Rules of Thumb”GeoClock can help real-time, especially on 160m and 80mTemper predictions with your own observationsAllow for time-of-day considerationsWhat’s going on elsewhere in the world
17 ON/OFF Times Choose OFF times at lowest expected Q rates Make the best use of your timeChoose OFF times at lowest expected Q ratesBase on your own or other station historyDon’t forget minimum OFF time rulesTry to ensure using your full time allotmentAllow possibility you may want a late slotDon’t get caught short of time at the endI usually leave a late half-hour insurance slotIt’s tricky, considering the bullet aboveSynch with your personal needs (duhh)
18 Rate Rules Set an average rate you want to achieve Setting Rate Rules helps you achieve QSO goalsSet an average rate you want to achieve(Total Q’s) / (Operating Hrs)Set minimum rates you’ll acceptAcceptable rate will vary over the contest periodInclude minimum rates in your StrategyMake a change if you drop below the RateChange Freq, Band, ModeSwap Running and S&PChase some Multssome animation hereChange your shirtChange Something !
19 Contest Hound Practices with CT It may not make you perfect, but it will make you better!Be thoroughly familiar with your softwareA contest is not the time for first trialGain familiarity in day-to-day useExploit helpful featuresUse practice programs and modesModify settings to suit your styleBe comfortable with Run techniquesPractice with a simulatorTry to operate “run style” (5NN MD DAN BK TU)Pick a day with a good conditions on your best bandUse the Best Practices mentioned later in this presentationContest Hound Practices with CTMost people wouldn’t enter a sports tournament without practicing between events. Radio sports is no different. Train for it and you start out ahead of 75% of the other competitors.Another boring sailboat analogy. We used to go out and perform 30 or 40 of the most difficult maneuvers in practice. We certainly had an advantage over those crews that just encountered them once or twice during a race and never practiced them.
20 Station Improvements Assess Station Strengths and Weaknesses Put method behind your madnessAssess Station Strengths and WeaknessesTake band by band inventory based on performance historyAttack Weaknesses with biggest payoffs firstIncrementally fill in the holesExpect Antennas to rank highDon’t forget to pick “low hanging fruit”Assess your Operating PracticesBounce your operation against the Best Practices (later)Adjust accordinglyImproved Antennas & Running payoff mostBut every improvement counts – they all add up
21 My Experience Operating Practices Station Performance improved with incremental changesOperating PracticesBetter exploited software features (Bandmap, SCP, …)Discovered and incrementally adopted “Best Practices”Biggest single payoff in Operation was RunningStarted Running – Had assumed not possible for an LPMy running rates improved with experience and trialsStationImproved antennas – eventually migrated to monobandersNone exotic – Delta loop, bent dipole, and lazy U wiresRecent addition of small Yagi made a big differenceMade shack changes for better” operating efficiency” . . .
22 “Better Operating Efficiency” No Help!Ugh!Mic PropLife is Good!Footswitch & PropBoom Mic & FootswitchDetails of my personal phone operation evolution.I’m a CW OP. Was not prepared for a phone contest.Needed too many hands to hold the mike near my mouth, push the PTT, and enter data in the computer log.Desk mike with PTT on base - nice unit, but a pain. I needed more sets of hands.Added a “stand” (books), then a footswitch, and finally a boom set. – ahh!(Applause sound from the computer at end of animation)
23 Station Improvements at K2YWE Improvements aimed at higher ratesFootswitchFrees hands for undisrupted keyboard useCW - Quick T-R transition without listening to QSK noiseBoom MicLess fatigue, freedom to move, respond to local “QRM” . . .Antenna SwitchingQuick band changes. Replaced connector swaps.Added or Improved AntennasMore chance to sustain Run, snag S&P Q’s with less callsMake more “second” tier QSOs“Sensible Rearrangement” of EquipmentMore efficient, less effort to operate . . .Examples of contest-driven changes that are enjoyed every day as well, and the perhaps obvious benefits.
24 Antenna Improvements What assets exist to hang antennas on? Be innovative within your constraintsWhat assets exist to hang antennas on?Use all the property lines to full advantageTry to design a system using monobandersAdd/change antenna to help your weakest bandConsider fixed antenna with gain to EU or WestEnable a new band, like 160mfor New Mults and more Q’s during slow timesPut up even a minimal Yagi if possible
25 Antenna Growth at K2YWEBegan with Multi-band loop with uneven performance and a lot of tuning.Made incremental improvements to fix deficiencies270 ft Horiz LoopTwo 40m DeltasTwo 40m Deltas and160/80m Vertical(s)vggdokpvp160804020151040m Delta, 80m Dipole,40m Delta, 80m Dipole160m Lazy-U160m Lazy-U, C3SSI did OK with the single all-band antenna, but when I added more band-specific antennas it got better. The monobanders simply worked better. Even the C3SS beam is really three two-element yagis on one boom!).I use the delta as backup all-band antenna. For example, if my beam is pointed in the wrong direction to grab and S&P station or I have trouble hearing an off-bearing response, I try switching to the delta. Often it’s louder. That kind of capability is a nice bonus.CurrentSystem with better and more balanced performance
26 on a 45’ AB-577 “rocket launcher” K2YWE Antenna FarmetteSqueezed in three wire monobanders and a 12’ boom tribander160m “U”40m Delta serves as m Rx only and Aux Ant for mSmall tri-banderon a 45’ AB-577 “rocket launcher”Force 12C3SS(12’ boom 24ft max element)75’40m Inv Delta80m Droopy-End Dipole125’You can sure cram a lot in 1/5th acre, XYL willing!
27 Software (S/W) Use your Radio and Keying interfaces Use a contest-oriented program and set it up to facilitate high ratesUse your Radio and Keying interfacesBuild or buy and integrate them if you haven’t already (Appendix A)It’s very hard to make and sustain high rates without themRecommended S/W Setup (CT shown)WORKDUPES - BANDMAP WindowCORRECT call signs - RATE WindowSuper Check Partial - SCP WindowStop on auto CQ - SCORE WindowSpotting Network?View as a strategic decisionCan be a valuable asset, especially in S&PRemember caveats about wasting time chasing MultsSome contests force you into Unlimited categoryThee settings are in synch with the Best Practices later in the presentation
28 My Favorite Software Features You can skip to the bansmap if everyone is used to computer dupe checking and using super check parioal (SCP).The bandmap is worth going over, since many people don’t use it.It’s a real boon for S&P.Skip all AllDetail- Jump toBest PracticsSkip All butBandmap
29 Dupe Alert (CT screen)Check for duplicate entries is automatic upon callsign entryAlert as DUPE with time & date of previous QSOTI3TLSTI3TLSSkip All butBandmap
30 Check Partial Call (CT screen) Call fragments yield possible known contester callsignsThe animation helps to explain that fragments anywhere are detected.It is important to point out that this is an aid to help make decisions on what you hear or think you hear. You should not take these callsigns “to the bank.”Matches callsign fragments against database created from recent contest logs and current logged contacts . . .Skip All butBandmapanywhere in the callsign
31 the Bandmap (CT and N1MM screens shown) The bandmap saves time in Search & Pounce modeTells you who is on what frequency, if worked before, and if needed as QSO or multiplierData is entered by hand orautomatically from spotsMap updates periodicallyto expunge stale dataOwn frequency canbe ‘centered’ or scrolledSkip BandmapJump toSO2R
32 Time Entered into Bandmap the Bandmap - CTTime Entered into BandmapFrequencyCallAlreadyWorkedin BlackCurrent TransceiverFrequencyNeededQSO in BlueNeededMult in WhiteThis animation steps through a scenario. Notice that the bandmap frequency changes in concert with the transceiver, and the time changes.For each step, I usually mention what has just transpired (just worked N4CW) and explain how I can see that. Then I do the same for what is going to happen next (K2YWE has not been worked and he’s close by, so I’m going after him).Radio tuned to N4CWNo # or on black bar indicates Worked beforeGoing to tune up to K2YWE, a needed QSO*21:24:48
33 Time Entered into Bandmap the Bandmap - CTTime Entered into BandmapFrequencyCallAlreadyWorkedin BlackCurrent TransceiverFrequencyNeededQSONeededMult in WhiteTuned up to K2YWERadio tuned up to K2YWEand blue indicates Needed QSOIntend to work K2YWE*21:25:03
34 Time Entered into Bandmap the Bandmap - CTTime Entered into BandmapFrequencyCallAlreadyWorkedin BlackCurrent TransceiverFrequencyUpdated Time & StatusNeededMult in WhiteWorked K2YWE (turned black, # went away, time updated)WA6AQQ is a multiplier and is nearby. He looks like good next conquest.Worked and logged K2YWEStatus changed to ‘Worked’ and time updatedIntend to next work WA6AQQ, a needed Mult21:25:15
35 Time Entered into Bandmap the Bandmap - CTTime Entered into BandmapFrequencyCallAlreadyWorkedin BlackCurrent TransceiverFrequencyNext NeededQSO in BlueNeededMultTuned to WA6AQQ, ready to work himRadio tuned up to WA6AQQ# and red bar indicates Needed Mult21:25:38
36 Tips and Best Practices “Best Practices” are what successful competitors say works for them.
37 Some CW Tips* - CWDon’t let your code speed keep you from enjoying CW contestsDo not be intimidated by stations too fast for you to copy.Start with the slower stations higher in the band.Don't worry if you have to hear a call several times to get it.As the contest goes on your will improve!Call CQ high in the band at a speed comfortable for you.Don’t be shy about sending QRS.Most stations will slow down to your speed.Try moving frequency a bit if you can’t seem to be heard.Often receiver bandwidths in a crowded band are set very narrow.*Some tips are courtesy of the 1999 YCC “Cookbook”
38 Some Phone Tips Use conventional or unmistakable phonetics Apply these basic Phone tips for startersUse conventional or unmistakable phonetics“Duck Soup” are poor phonetics for “D S”Maintain a “friendly sense of urgency” in your QSOsChattiness will slow your rate and lose you contacts.Do not be intimidated by stations talking fast or unintelligibly.Firmly ask until you get all the exchange info. Use “again?”It is usually better to ask for one piece of missing info at a time.Listen to what is on your frequency when working split.If you can hear it, you can better time your call or defer until later.
39 Best Practices Basics* - Overall Every point counts!There’s no such thing as “not worthwhile”When things are slow, call for “anybody”A rule of thumb strategyWork bands that may close first. Move with propagation.This often means in a.m. then later on.Try running rather than chasing spots when high bands are open.Go after the Mults when 20 has slowed, but 40 hasn't opened yet.Keep multipliers in mind“Move” Multipliers if you can do so efficientlyHave frequencies on each band set up for quick jauntBalance the effect on rate and total score when chasing MultsExplain that the value of a mult is not really evident when your Q count is low at the beginning of a contsts. But it will become obvious how much they count when you get more contacts in your log.Moving mults is a skill that ahs to be acquired. Pay attention so se if you need the station on another band. Ask to QSO there if it makes sense.*Some of these tips are courtesy of the 1999 YCC “Cookbook”
40 Best Practices Basics* - Overall Overall - continuedVerify the callsign of the station you're workingBV6U and 5C8N are not real callsigns (6V6U and HC8N) Don't log them that way.Always HEAR the call that the station is signing and log it correctly.Animation – some delayed, some on clicksYou mean that’s a busted call?The Master Callsign Data Base is not the Bible*Some of these tips are courtesy of the 1999 YCC “Cookbook”
41 Best Practices Basics - Overall Overall - continuedS&P rates can be high early in the contestEveryone is for you.You can quickly hop from station to station with little fear of Dupes.You are usually safe to call first and fill-in the call at the QSO end.Use early S&P to find a spot to CQYou can maintain a high rate while searching for a clear spot.It beats the alternative of establishing a frequency before the TestBe sure to try CQing late in the contestYou will be new to many of the stations that have been CQing all along.They will be seeking to squeeze out the last few QSOs.Repeat only what is missing when asked for a fillRepeating known parts wastes time and possible “clear spots.”QRL? . . .“fresh meat”Watch the fresh meat come in !
42 Do you really want to ask QRL? “Can anyone honestly believe that there is a single KHz anywhere in the relevant portion of the 20 meter band that is NOT in use somewhere in the world during the CQWW?” de K3ZOMouse click through this one, one panel at a time.It’s an important point.Pick a “clear” spot and CQ without “QRL?”You will only invite others to take the frequency by asking.You’ll find out quickly enough if the Freq is in use by calling CQ.
43 Best Practices General Use K3ZO's "Rule of TWICE" - modify as sensible If you can't get a station after calling TWICE, move onIf he doesn't ID after transmitting TWICE, move onDon’t waste time repeatedly calling DX that has moderate Sigs when the band is otherwise quiet from their part of the worldThey are probably “opening the band” with lots of ERPEnable and use the band map in your logging softwareInsist on fills until you get all the info. Use “Again?” on phoneKeep the width of an SSB signal in mindBe sure you are away enough from strong stations running not to be covered by a pileup you can’t hear“Twice” doesn’t need to be exactly twice for everyone.My signal is smaller that Fred’s – my rule is three or four . .Point is in S&P it wastes time, and when running people will tire of waiting for you and disappear, breaking your run..
44 more Best Practices . . . Running Use the widest IF bandwidth you can standLess chance to miss off-freq callers, especially on CWDon’t break a run pulling one station throughYour rate will suffer if you take too longYou will drive away impatient waiting stationsUse only a quick ‘Thanks’ if stations are waitingThey know your call. Don’t waste time on it.Throw in your call every few Q’s for the uninitiatedSend complete exchange with a partial callNearly all will correct you, good Ops without a missing a beatFix the call during his transmission
45 more Best Practices . . . Running - continued Call CQ when bands are dead for the day or worked outCall CQ when the band is active if you are able to find a frequency and hold itAlways work Dupes ("WORKDUPE" in CT)If you can't drag a station's call through after trying TWICE, ignore him and start calling CQ again.This is part of K3ZO's "Rule of TWICE." Modify "TWICE" to suit your station capabilities and contest circumstances.Enable call sign correction in your software.This will send the corrected call as part of your goodbye message ("CORRECT" in CT)
46 more Best Practices . . . Running - continued Speed up if your run is being sustainedThis is especially true in contests like SS where the exchange includes your call sign. Slow back down appropriatelyHit the SEND key as soon as the call is in your head Finish typing in the log during the automated response or while talkingTR can do this automatically after 4 charactersMove Multipliers to other bands if you have the timePick frequencies in advance
47 The Complete Best Practices Collection more Best Practices . . .Running - continuedIf another station calls CQ on your frequency, try "QRL" or "Frequency in use, QSY"Don't engage in extended frequency fightsIf QRL/QSY fails, it almost always pays to moveSometimes you can move up or down a bit in order to lessen the QRM and still hang on to "your" frequencyNEVER NEVER NEVER acknowledge a "jammer". NEVER. Just keep your pace, and don't change your tone of voice on phone or even synchronize your calls to his QRM.Often throwing in a few fake Q’s will discourage the jammerThe complete list is worth looking at.The Complete Best Practices CollectionAppears in Appendix B
48 A Word About Single Op 2 Radio Everyone has their own idea of an efficient SO2R layout . . .K1PT S02R Setuptwo radios, two computers“Special” contest switch at DF0WAFun stuffDF0WA’s switch in the vise usually draws a few chuckles - Hey, it’s exactly where he want it. That’s what counts.Old Collins station usually draws some comments.I do point out that most of us mortals are closer to my station, on the lower right.S02Rone computerAn earlier two radio setup(no PC)
49 SO2R It’s easy for SO2R to be a distraction Save SO2R until you have nearly exhausted other improvementsIt’s easy for SO2R to be a distractionKISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is keyStart with a bone simple independent setup - rigs and logsUse SO2R only when things are slowCQ #1, S&P #2Alternate CQsModify your setup operation with experienceMany top Ops swear by it (i.e. N6TR)It has potential to add significantly to your scoreSome don’t use it at all (i.e. K3ZO)p.s. I’m at stage one - less than five SO2R contacts per contest - dbzThe top bullet says it all
50 Miscellaneous Receiver Tricks Hints and Kinks that you may not have consideredIf the IF is being "pumped" by stations nearby (and in the AGC bandpass) trying running with your AGC OFF”. . . de K3RANoise limiters can cause noise or clicks when “pinged” by strong adjacent signals. Turn off unless you have no choice.*Just some info.I usually keep the RF gain down and sometimes use attenuators.I do occasionally turn off the AGC, but move if it gets too bad.Fortunately with roofing and good IF filters this does not happen very often.*On the Yaesu 1000MP, turn the adjustment knob full CCW, even when both NLs are off.
51 Local PVRC Resources Multi-Op Station Opportunities There is ample opportunity and willing help available locallyMulti-Op Station OpportunitiesK3DI in Arnold – Dick WilderWX3B in Frederick - Jim NitzburgHelp (order not significant!)K3RA – Rol AndersKE3Q – Rich BoydKD4D – Mark BaileyK2YWE – Dan ZeitlinK3ZO – Fred LaunW3LPL – Frank DonovanND3F - Brian, VHF+Single Op OpportunitiesOften “unused” stations are availablePost a query on the PVRC reflectorYour chance to volunteer yourself and others.Add or substitute your local resources.(The handsome 15 year old in the background photo is K2YWE)
52 Internet Links Contest Organizations, Calendars, Info, and Sponsors Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) pvrc.orgContesting.Com contesting.comFrankford Radio Club (FRC) frc-contest.orgCQ Magazine (CQWW, WPX, and others) cq-amateur-radio.comNational Contest Journal – NCJ (QSO parties, Sprints, more) ncjweb.comARRL (Sweepstakes, Field Day, DX, UHF/VHF, more) arrl.org/contestsSM3CER Calendar sk3bg.se/contestWA7BNM Calendar hornucopia.com/contestcalVK4DX vk4dx.netContest Logging ProgramsCT k1ea.comNA datomonline.comTR Log trlog.comWritelog writelog.comN1MM pages.cthome.net/n1mmAC6V’s Logger Links* ac6v.com/logging.htm“includes non-contest loggers
53 “ It’s not the size of your station, it’s how you use it! ” Little Pistols can successfully competeYou can do well with a modest stationPrepare and pay attention to detailRemember Sun TzuAdopt proven Best PracticesDon’t be afraid to experiment. Keep what works for you.Run, big dog, runTry to Run if at all possibleStart now making incremental changesMake an improvement list and work it downStrategies are importantPick and plan the contests. Use the plan for guidance.There are lots of resources to help youJust ask“ It’s not the size of your station, it’s how you use it! ”
54 Interfaces and Accessories Appendix AInterfaces and Accessories
55 Hardware Interfaces Complexity Functionality Interface H/W interfaces vary in complexityCan be from rig or computer. RS-232, parallel, or discretesSwitch Relays and Point RotorsAntenna & RotorTNC or Internet using RS-232 cable or no H/W at all (Telnet, etc)Annunciate and track needed Mults and QSOsSpotsVaries with DVP type, but interface itself is not complicatedSend CQ and Exchanges with DVP or cardVoice “Keying”Simple interface, usually to parallel portSend CQ, Exchanges, keyboard CW, paddle CWCW KeyingVaries from RS-232 cable alone, to simple electronic interfacesTrack & control Freq and Mode, maintain BandmapRadioComplexityFunctionalityInterfacePlans and parts for home building are readily available
56 Typical Parallel Port Keying Interfaces P/O LPT11KLow-levelpositive centerkeying to rig.Grounded onkey down.KEY DRIVE 172N2222, 2N0.01uFSTROBE 1GND 181KPTT DRIVE 162N2222, 2NLow-levelpositivePTT to rig.Grounded onPTT keyed.0.01uFSTROBE 1GND 18DVP and Band Data discrete outputs are also available on parallel ports.10KPADDLE A 12PADDLE B 13PADDLE CENTER 14KEYERPADDLE
57 Opto-Isolated Interfaces Replacing transistors with Optos can improve RF immunityP/O LPT11KLow-levelpositive centerkeying to rig.Grounded onkey down.KEY DRIVE 170.01uFSTROBE 14N25,4N35,4N37 …GND 181KPTT DRIVE 16Low-levelpositivePTT to rig.Grounded onPTT keyed.0.01uFSTROBE 14N25,4N35,4N37 …GND 18DVP and Band Data discrete outputs are also available on parallel ports.10KPADDLE A 12PADDLE B 13PADDLE CENTER 14KEYERPADDLE
58 Typical Serial Radio Interfaces to PCto TransceiverRS-232 to TTLTTL to RS32+/- 12VRS-2325v / 0v TTLMany older Rigs, especiallyYaesus, need level translationto PCto TransceiverRS-232+/- 12VMost newer Rigs only need a simple cable
59 MAX-232 IC 5V/RS-232 CAT Interface For older Yaesu and other rigs with 5V TTL I/O
60 Discrete 5V/RS-232 CAT Interface Transistors replace IC as TTL/RS-232 level-shifters
61 Some inexpensive foot switches The one I use(cheap)$ 8.70$ 6.95Best Buys, Baynesville (Balto) and other electronics stores also have inexpensive foot pedals meant for games or music.
62 Best Practices Collection Appendix BBest Practices Collection