tl922f updateJust an update from the PA1JIM studio. I realize it is a bit quite on my blog lately. Not that there is nothing going on in the shack but I did not think it is post worthy. None the less I could put little things in one blog post.

Arduino CW keyer
I made some changes to the Arduino CW keyer, add a volume potentiometer to the speaker line and add a tx key line for the TS-590. Unfortunately the line seems closed and the rig is on tx all the time. Need to figure out what that problem is.

Mexican RTTY contest
First contest this year (for me)was a little one: the Mexican RTTY contest. I did not had a lot of time this weekend but I did manage to put some hours in. There were not a whole lot of participants, I only managed to make 50 Q’s. But it was great fun to do a RTTY-contest again. It reminded me I need to spend more time doing these.

Kenwood TL-922
This weekend is the most important contest for us Dutchies: PACC. Once every year we ‘100 watts and a wire’-HAM’s turn the tables and we will switch from Search & Pounce to Run and calling CQ.
If you are participating in a contest as calling station, you have other problems then when you are in S&P-modus. For instance: on a crowded band it is hard to hold a frequency, especially with only 100 watts. This year I borrowed a very beautiful classic linear amplifier from a good friend, a Kenwood TL-922. Before I can use it, I need to make a remote cable between my 590 and the amplifier.
Even if I got it up and running, I need to be very careful making too much RF. I’m in the middle of a residential area so there is a great change there will be RF interference. But none the less it is interesting to give it a try and see how it works. Will I be able to run my legal limit of 400 Watts without any problems?

CQwwWPXThis weekend I entered the CQ WPX RTTY contest with target to improve my personal total QSO-record in a contest. I think the current personal record stems from a PACC-contest a few years ago and was around 450 Q’s. There was only one catch: in this same weekend the PACC-contest is organized. PACC-contest is a 24-hour contest where you only work Dutch amateurs (PA) to collect all the Dutch provinces which are handed out as exchange. Because the Netherlands is small country, this contest is only successful if there are enough Dutch amateurs participating. It’s a unwritten rule to always participate as Dutch amateur, if only for a few Q’s.
PACC is in CW- and SSB-mode. In CW I’m not yet able to be in running mode and SSB is far from my favorite mode. But for this one contest I want to make an exception and plug in the microphone. I switched back and forward from CW S&P and SSB and collect a poor 100 Q’s. BUT…… I did participate!

When I logged 100 Q’s in the PACC I immediately switched back to RTTY for the WPX. Saturday I ran around 250 Q’s and Sunday was good for another 350! Weird propagation (an A-index of 23!) on Sunday which was noticeable.
A fun moment in this contest was the very close encounter with my friend Jim Wilson, K5ND. We have an ongoing saga to just work each other once in a contest. I was in line to work another station when I saw Jim work him just before me. I switched antennas from vertical to horizontal to copy Jim’s signal but I couldn’t. When I tried to work the next calling station, K5ND again appeared on my screen! So Jim was Search & Pouncing just before me down the band! I figured if I skipped one or two calling stations and call the third, maybe Jim would arrive at that station just when I was working it. I worked NR5M and afterwards I wait a little to see if Jim arrived. I didn’t seen his call anymore, but this morning I read his blog update and it seems he did see me in QSO with NR5M! Ah well, maybe more luck in the next contest. I did broke my personal Q’s record, so it was a fun weekend.
The next few weekends I have some DIY-resonsibilities in and around the house. So I have to throttle back a little on the contesting.