Monday, February 23, 2009


This morning as I was heading out the door for another hectic day of gas passing, I stopped by the shack for a quick listen. Tuvalu was coming through on 80. He was a good 10dB out of the noise, and the band was quiet so he was perfect Q5 copy. The F5K has 3 antenna outputs and I keep my AL80B on one of the outputs for just such an occasion. The Acom takes 3 minutes to warm up and the Alpha 2.5 mins. The AL80 on the other had is virtually instant-on and ready to go. Its tuning is very reproducible and I have some little arrows I made with a label maker for various quick tune occasions like this. I had been tuned on 160 earlier in the morning trying to bag a ZL that was working Brazil. I set the band switch, tune, and load and was ready to go in about 5 seconds with about 1000 watts into the wire.

It was early in the pileup and the station being worked was up about 1 khz. I did the FFF (frequency flip flop) by clicking <> on the F5K and then clicking the station being worked by the DX on skimmer and <> again. Usually this would set me up perfectly for a tail end, with Tuvalu in the RX register and the guy being worked in the TX register. On cue, I started banging away into the ether and then listened. Mr Tuvalu wasn't in tail end mode. He was working a guy about 100hz up the band. I watched the panadapter for a second and saw the pileup was beginning to build. I saw several Yaesus with their wide band CW banging away. If I didn't get him in the next couple of minutes I would have to hang it up for the day. Its eyeball day at the old salt mine and I had at least a dozen cataracts lined up for extraction and lens implant and I couldn't keep the folks waiting. I did the FFF again and proceeded to heat up the ionosphere. No go. He was working another guy100hz up the band. Next I heard him work my old buddy K3RR another 100 hz up the band. I set my trap, I did the FFF on Joe's freq and then advanced another couple hundred up the band into a quiet spot on the panadapter, and started banging away.

I sat down at 6:23 and by 6:31 I was backing my car out of my garage with the station secured and Mr Tuvalu in the log. The F5K and skimmer gave me a perfect and realtime understanding of this man's operating style. This radio is way TMF!!!!