After a few years without contesting, my friend Roeland PA3MET convinced me to participate in CQ WW SSB last weekend. Quite busy at work with radio, so at home radio has become a little less important. It was a really busy weekend, but I managed to find some hours here and there to participate in the contest. Limited to QRP since there is quite some RFI in the shack. Monitor and mouse go out when I make more then 20 watts or so. The last time I decided to participate in a contest (last minute), I really bummed out because I couldn’t get things working. Always struggle with N1MM Continue reading

This weekend I entered the ARRL DX CW contest. It started out as a challenge to score 100 Q’s. But actually it went quite well and I just closed N1MM with 350 Q’s in the log. It was a nice picture to see all the American and Canadian amateurs all lined op in my band monitor. The propagation was quite good so I got a habit of CTRL+[down], call the station, do the exchange, CTRL+[down], next. It seems like the higher bands (20 – 15 – 10) are favorite, I never scored the most Q’s on 10 meter before! A good thing I left my Antron 99A on the roof. It turn out to be an excellent antenna for 10 and 15 meters. Only with a very few stations that didn’t copy me, I switch to the ZS6BKW on these bands. And that’s no guarantee I will work them.

Great adventure and my CW-skills are a little better now!

After a few months of radio inactivity I picked up a little idea I read a while ago on the N1MM wiki. Of course I could buy a Winkeyer, but since I’m just a CW-novice with not many miles on the paddle, I want a cheap and simple solution first. I could always buy a Winkeyer in the future. Besides, I really dislike all kind of separate little boxes in my shack. I’m more of a Zen-fan.

When I read the N1MM wiki, the described serial interface for CW was simple enough to put into a DB9-connector. Just solder two parts and off you go. I bought the parts (and the DB9-connector) on a local ham marked for a few euro’s and put things together. Result? It works like a charm! Now N1MM is able to send CW directly from my PC to the rig. Next step is getting my CW-skills up to speed to run my first CW-contest.