Elecraft PX3, Mid Year 2016 Notes

2016 has seen a lot of new additions to the WT2P station, including a revamp of the main permanent antennas, addition of a new HF amp and finally the purchase of a PX3 panadapter to round out the full KX-line (KX3, KXPA100, PX3). This year has also been an extremely busy one in terms of radiosport from my location. The new 40/20 dipole antenna is completely homemade and tunes perfectly across all of 40 and 20 with a SWR of less than 1.8. The new antenna also includes a 3KW balun (which was necessary to facilitate me running in the CQ WPX SSB contest using the new amplifier).

Elecraft PX3

The Elecraft PX3 is a very handy tool and complements the KX3 very well. A previous homebrew panadapter I made was an interesting experiment – except for the fact that it caused a lot of interference and noise, especially on 80 meters. This panadapter integrates directly with my radio and even in the first few hours of operating it on Thursday evening, it proved itself to be quite handy. I worked TA3D in Turkey just by seeing that there was a signal there, well before the skimmers and packetcluster had picked him up. This will definitely be a useful tool for the upcoming WPX CW contest at the end of the month, and again useful for Field Day to find stations and clear spots in which to call CQ.

PX3 in the NS RTTY Contest on 40 meters

PX3 in the NS RTTY Contest on 40 meters

PX3 + KX3 at WT2P

PX3 + KX3 at WT2P

WPX SSB & Alpha 76PA

In preparation for the WPX SSB contest, I decided to set my sights on surpassing the old IL/IN/WI record for Single Operator, Single Band (40M) High Power. Myself, K9ZO, KB9UWU were originally scheduled to operate that contest from K9CT’s superstation near Peoria but with the contest falling on the Easter weekend those plans were scrapped. KB9UWU mentioned that I could use his idle Alpha 76PA amplifier for the contest, to which I readily agreed. Operating a SSB contest with 100 watts can sometimes be a pain especially when you have a marginal antenna. I drove down the Friday of the contest to Decatur to pick up the amp (and enjoy a delicious Tangler burger from Perkins) and got back home just right after the start of the contest. Long story short, after shaking profusely while tuning the amplifier (I had not used an amplifier since the early 2000’s), it tuned up and nothing was smoking. I was in business! The contest was fun, operating 40M Fri/Sat nights and Sunday afternoon. I also gave the amp a workout using WR9D on 20M Saturday/Sunday during the day. In the end, I had 390 contacts and a claimed total of 173,484 points (the old IL/IN/WI record was 99,000).

There’s a SH5 analysis on my WPX SSB log and full audio available on my contest results analysis page.

WPX SSB with Alpha 76PA

WPX SSB with Alpha 76PA

 

2016 Mid Year QSO Count

This year has been excellent in terms of contacts and countries. As we approach the end of the first half of the year (and not including upcoming WPX CW) I have made almost as many contacts as I did for all of 2015. The country count this year for the first half of the year has already exceeded all of 2015 as well. 2016 is the year that I have also been entering into more RTTY contests and that is definitely reflected in the mix of contacts as shown in my Clublog stats. The latter part of 2016 is going to be chock full of contests as well, starting again in July when we do the summer versions of the NAQP contests (RTTY, CW, SSB) and heading into the major contests during the busy Fall contest season. It’s been nice to focus on improving my operating skill in a variety of contests and the results are beginning to speak for themselves in terms of increased contacts and standings in contest rankings.

WT2P QSO Count as of May 20, 2016

WT2P QSO Count as of May 20, 2016

 

Looking forward to working many of you in the upcoming WPX CW contest on Memorial Day weekend!

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