2017 was by far my best year ever in radio, in terms of contacts made from the home station, even as we approach the bottom of the current solar cycle. This is all qso’s from the home station, it doesn’t count the qso’s made at the K9CT Contest station for most of the major contests for which i’m a team member (ARRL DX CW & SSB, WPX CW, CQWW CW & SSB). In the 2017 WPX SSB contest that I operated from home, I set a new station best in terms of contacts over the weeekend.
The past year has seen quite a few improvements to the station with the addition of a LBS Quadplexer for 40-10M, VA6AM high power bandpass filtering which enabled high power SO2R capability on two key bands (40/20) and fixing the issues with my 160 transmit antenna.
The LBS Quadplexer now allows me to use my 40/20 inverted vee on both key bands during contests and the filtering was essential when using the quadplexer even at 100 watts. I plan in 2018 to add additional high power filters for 80, 15 and 10M.
In terms of other equipment in the station, in the Fall I purchased a Expert 1K-FA solid state linear amplifier from K9CT, finally retiring the trusty Alpha 76PA (it will be used as a backup amplifier). I originally pre-ordered the new Icom 7610 radio but cancelled it after I identified that the new Flex 6600 would do what I am ultimately looking to do: eliminate as much wiring as possible and do SO2R with one box. The 6600 seems to be delayed but testing is continuing, so I’m looking forward to getting that radio installed in the first half of 2018. Once that is up and running, I plan on keeping my IC-7300 for portable/field use and perhaps maybe for SO3R and will sell off the KX3 + KXPA100.