I spent some time with the new SO2R setup on 160m this weekend. You may ask how can you runs SO2R on the same band? The answer is two receivers. With DDUTIL set up like this:
Note the 160M entries
I'm using the same amp and the same antenna for both VFO's. In order to get this to work I needed to parallel the AmpKey outputs from the F5K into my amp. All of AmpKey ports come out to a patch panel, and all the Key ports from my amps come out to the same panel, so it was a simple matter to parallel a 2 into 1 cable made with 1/4" phone jacks to get the amp to key on either VFO. As you can see the way I have it set up I have the "RUN" station set up on VFO B (the upper N1MM screen) and I have the Search and Pounce station set up on VFO A. VFO A is controlled by Skimmer and N1MM and is the lower N1MM screen. This way I can be calling CQ and click either the band map or Skimmer and the radio switches to VFO A.
Presently the N1MM band map data is being fed from data decoded by Skimmer over the local host telnet connection 127.0.0.1:7300
I can also feed the band map in N1MM from the telnet connection I have to the W9AZ DX cluster connection, but I wanted to see how well the Skimmer:N1MM pair would work. The advantage is if you click the band map in N1MM, what ever call sign you click is cued up and that call is entered into a precontact area on the N1MM data entry port (in this case LZ2UZ)
once you grab the contact you simply click the call sign:
and you are ready to plug the data into the log book and immediately click back to the RUN VFO to continue CQ-ing
I have the audio for both VFO's in the head phones
Running this mode is not quite second nature yet, but I can nearly do two things at once. THe disadvantage of Skimmer is that it is not 100% perfect in its deciphering of CW so you can't just blindly click the button You have to make sure what you are logging is accurate, but you have to do that anyway in a contest. It's a very slick little interface even when looking for multipliers while running the CQ machine, and you can get 1500W on the wire all over the band. The rules for single op assisted class state:
Only one transmitted signal is allowed at any moment in time. Maximum power is 1500 watts total output or the output power allowed by your country, whichever is less.
Passive spotting is allowed. Passive Spotting is defined as (but not limited to): DX spotting nets or QSO alerting assistance of any kind. Over-the-air nets or stations that provide frequency and station information. Any device or person that provides frequency and callsign information of any station during the contest period. This includes band skimmers or similar devices. Passive spotting does NOT include band scopes, SDR receivers, or the like, which provide no information about the signal other than its presence, which is allowed in all categories.
I'm just playing with this contest to see how the SO2R system works in real contest conditions. For this contest you do NOT need a freq agile amp of freq agile band switches since everything is taking place on the same band. You don't even need 2 amps. What you get are more contacts and more multipliers in the log since you can effectively be 2 places at once
If you're interested in writing something interesting for this blog regarding your SDR experience let me know. I would like to include things like how your SDR contest station is set up, or your VHF station that uses SDR as the system center, feats of weak signal work or how well the SDR works in various challenging situations. If you are a foreign ham and would like to comment on the growth of SDR in your particular part of the world. Bring it on!
I reserve the right to publish or not, but I'm pretty open to documenting a wide variety of honest experiences from users, for readers to explore. The understanding of SDR in our hobby is so nascent, that I want the reader to be able to see the value of SDR through the eyes of YOUR experience and enthusiasm.