Monday, November 23, 2009


Just nailed VK9XX on Christmas Island on 40 AND 80. I've been listening to him build on 40 for an hour and even turned on the Acom 2000A to get that last couple of dB. If you look at the pileup on the panadapter it shows a pretty remarkable splotch of RF. He was tuning all over the pileup and I basically put myself in his path based on the last 599 on skimmer and my perceived sense of his next direction. This radio is so much fun to DX with. It seems Skimmer is catching on with the DX crowd as I could see the pileup build around the last 599 as he moved up and down the pile. The NAY sayers complain and bitch about skimmer, but I bet every one of them that can run skimmer IS running skimmer because of the advantage it gives you in pileup analysis. The days of Bob Locker W9KNI and his starting at the bottom of the band and tuning to the top are history as far as I'm concerned.

Here is a shot of the path from FL this time of day. Note I am still in daylight and his daylight is still approaching:

I've been struggling lately with excess noise in my neighborhood as well as some lightning problems especially out in Texas and the Atlantic. Usually by now lightening has quieted down enough to become a non problem but not this year. Even so the bands have been remarkable with all the DX available this year especially on 80 and 40M

I no sooner got him in the log on 40 and started this blog entry than he came up on 80:

I switched the antenna to 80 and touched the paddle and the ACOM tune immediately to 80. There were almost no stations calling at this point so I had to figure out the split. It was a little under 2khz A couple calls and he was in the log on 80 as well. Here was the path at QSO time

The perfect gray line shot!!

My other project lately is to rebuild the control head of my Ameritron RCS4 antenna switch so it can become a random access remote control antenna switch run by my F5K using DDUTIL. The RCS4 is a cleaver switch that sends control voltages down the coax so you don't have to run extra control cables. It has 4 positions that are controlled with a + voltage, a - voltage, an AC voltage, and no voltage. The problem is the voltages can not be effectively managed randomly they have to be chosen in a sequential fashion or the PS shorts out and blows the fuse. I figured out a way to make this work and now its time to get some hardware to bring my idea to fruition.

DDUTIL has all the band following capability I need in a BCD format that is displayed on a LPT port. Now the rub. My new computer has NO LPT port and no header or any hardware on the MB. What's a mother to do?

I thought I would just be able to use a USB to "LPT" adapter but in fact those ports enumerate as LPT under Ports in windows but as "windows printing" under USB. Fortunately Joe Levy turned me on to this site:

and I ordered a couple of the V 1.7 kits to give this device a whirl. When the kits arrives I will see how they performs and let you all know. It looks very interesting as it is made to allow up to a 20 pin I/O device. I'm going to try and work with Steve K5FR the creator of DDUTIL and see if I can get this bugger working as it would be a nice addition to the Swiss army knife of a program called DDUTIL

Finally here is a shot of the VK9XX pileup on Christmas and the 9V1YC pileup in Singapore just above:

How much fun can you have?

Stay Tuned :)