Sweepstakes by HRD

I live in an apartment with an S8 noise floor. So local radio operation has been replaced by locating the radio, an IC-703, and a G5RV antenna at work and using Ham Radio Deluxe and the Kenwood audio over IP software.

The week before the ARRL November Sweepstakes SSB contest I tweaked and tested the audio at the radio location. This also included a test with another person speaking from the computer I would be using back at the apartment. So I thought that the computer and radio connection was all ready to go. The first contact said nothing, but the next two complained about very distorted audio. I dropped the audio level a good bit on the computer I was using and continued to tweak those setting as I made more contacts.

Seventy eight contacts in forty six sections was pretty good for running QRP and operating with out being able to see the radio. I did forget to write down one complete callsign. So I was only able to count seventy seven contacts. We also experienced three internet interruptions each lasting at least thirty minutes. Loss of internet is pretty unusual here and the problem has since been repaired by the supplier. There were a number of short interruptions as well. On a couple of those the radio was stuck in transmit mode. So if the audio link was still active I shut that down killing any possible stray transmissions.

Most of the contacts were made on 10, 15 and 20 meters. Only a couple of contacts were made on 40 and 80 meters. Since the contest I have replaced the computer that is hooked to the radio. It was not really quite able to handle all that was needed and thus the audio cut out about every fifteen seconds. That required me to repeat myself a good bit and to ask for repeats occasionally. The contest was still fun. I would like to have more choice of antennas next year. I have been hearing some good things about the MFJ-1026 to help cancel noise. It could also make possible the ability to check the transmitted signal with a local receiver. That might make operation from the apartment possible. The only benefit then for having the station at work, an important one to me, would be the ability to use full size out door antennas.


About Tim

Amateur Radio operator, television broadcast engineer living in Minnesota.
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