Last weekend was the ARRL EME contest. I went over to N0KEs right after work on Friday to help get things ready (moonrise wasn’t until 11:45 or so). We had planed on working 143 and 432 Mhz simultaneously and transmitting on the same sequence so as not to overload the front end of one another’s receivers during rx sequences.
We lost day light pretty quickly but managed to get a small tower tipped up and both azimuth and elevation rotors tested. We operated 2 meters only since we never got the antennas on the tower for 432. We were plagued with problems from the beginning. First the serial keyer for the rig had given up the ghost so we resorted to pressing the mox button on the rig when we wanted to transmit. Then we had some software trouble with WSJT. We weren’t hearing anything because the version we were using had the wrong audio devices selected. No wonder we weren’t seeing any traces!
I decided to “rest my eyes” at about 3am and I don’t think Phil made it much later. All in all we racked up a whopping 6 QSOs that night. We got up around 7 or 8 the following morning and worked a few more during moonset. The difference ground gain makes was fairly aparent as a few station we had been trying off and on earlier that morning because easy to work.
After the moon set got to work on finishing the 432 antennas. It took us all day but here is what it looked like when we finished.
After the antenna was up and we ran to town for some dinner we cobbled together a 432 station. We got everything tested and working an hour before moonrise. We decided to use that hour to take a power nap. I woke up on the couch the next morning as Phil was coming out of his bedroom. We missed the whole damn thing that night! Oh well, I still had a lot of fun and learned a lot too.
The K2 progress continues slowly. I’ve just really been dead tired or pissed off when i get home from work. Neither one of those conditions is good for working on electronics. Today has been a relaxing Sunday so I warmed up the iron. I completely finished the front controls including the parts for the SSB board and the VFO rotary encoder. I have a feeling I’m going to like this little radio. The front panel looks great and I can’t wait to get it powered up and on the air!
I even got so far as to get the 17 relays installed on the RF board. The size of this board and the component count is a little overwhelming. I just need to bite off a piece or two when I can and not try to rush things. Which is why I’m stopping for today. 🙂