Last weekend another edition of the Dutch PACC contest was active on the bands. Every year it is an exciting time around the second weekend of february. This year for me it extra exciting because as new contestmanager of clubstation PI4RCG. A few months ago I had the idea to build a simple multi-multi-station at our NERA club facility. Just 5 seats with a few wire antenna’s. It turn out to be much more work then I aspected.
We have a shack at NERA (called Radiokamer, literally: radio room) with one seat. It has a dedicated radio for HF, a Kenwood TS-870S. We only had one CW-operator who want to participate in the contest so I decided the shack was all his. Only problem with the shack: it did not had a low ceiling. So light was shining in from the glass roof and it never gets nice warm because it was too high. So we build a little ceiling of wood in it. That ceiling would also be the spot where the band filters would be positioned.
The remaining four seats for voice where created in th part of the clubroom usually used for building/repairing stuff.
We already had a 3 band beam for 10-15-20m and a 80m monoband dipole wire up in the air. Of course this is not enough for a multi-multi-station. So I hung up a mono band dipole for 40, 20, 15 and 10 meter. Big issue was we had to supply 2 antennas for each band (cw & voice). Eventually I put up a long wire of about 35 meter with a SG-230 antenna coupler to provide a good solution for the low bands. So the general idea was: CW works with the beam on high bands and on the long wire for low bands.
The “voicers” had to use the dipoles for 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters. Problem that risen was the CW-signals had real impact on the receiving voice signals on other bands. So we had to put CW trough the band filters. Therefore it was possible for the voicers to also use the long wire (160M) or the beam(20m when the CW was elsewhere). I got a little nuts from climbing up the ceiling and reconnect this antenna to that seat and vice versa. We have to address this issue before the next contest! I think it’s better to just stay on each band and accept the fact that the guy on that band has busy times and silent times. But we all need to grow into this multi-multi thing and each of one is inclined to switch to the band with the most multipliers. We have to learn to trust each other that he will work the multipliers on his band when they are present.
So in the shack there is the permanent Kenwood TS-870S. But the voicers all bring their own transceiver. That turned out a little messy because of the voice keyer functionality in N1MM we wanted to use. I did bring my brand new Kenwood TS-590S and I got the voice keyer functionality up and running in a few minutes. Marco PH4M did bring his Icom IC-7200. It was a little hassle to get N1MM‘s voice keyer working with the Icom but we managed to get it working.
Sadly we didn’t get it to work on Peer PA2PBT’s Yaesu FT-2000 (just no sound interface available) and Hans PA3FYG’s Kenwood TS-870S. For Hans we had made a home made cable for only audio on the ACC2 Kenwood plug but it wouldn’t play any sound from the computer.
Before the next contest we need to fix this issue because even Peer agreed at the end of the contest that a voice keyer saves your voice in a contest 😉
With a little research and practice we’ve got N1MM into multi mode. All PC’s worked fine and N1MM was humming all contest without problems. It’s too bad that N1MM is not available for Linux. Then we could build a really low cost
Catering and sleeping facility
My lovely XYL voluntary agreed to supply the food and snacks during the contest. The guys where surprised with all the nice food, so at least one thing that went perfectly 😉
Marco PH4M had arranged 4 field beds. So when someones want to crash for a couple of hours, it was no problem. All of us went for a few hours of sleep during the contest, so the beds where perfect!