Monday, November 5, 2012

Seeing Double

The fall contest season has begun in earnest with some good band conditions and fun to go along with them.  To make things a little more interesting, we made some changes inside the shack.

With KL1JP's FT-950 sitting idle in the shack most of the past year, we decided to beging experimenting with SO2R in earnest by using dual FT-950s in recent RTTY, CW, and SSB contests.  We're not quite where we want to be yet.  The DX Doubler sitting on the shelf for several years was drafted into service, and it is simply not up to the task assigned.  That doesn't  mean it's not a fine SO2R controller.  It just doesn't suit our needs very well.  We're exploring other options, especially the Microham micro2R controller.

Automatic switching of bandpass filters is another big need.  Essentially, though, we need two filter switch boxes.  We have individual W3NQN BPFs purchased from Array Solutions, and strapping them together using their FM-6 matrix switch seems like a good way to go.  It's only $185.  However, what to do for a second switched filter set?  The FM-6 populated with NQN filters is a whopping $945, and the Hamation FilterMax III is $975.  So the Dunestar Model 600 filter system seems a much more affordable choice at $449.  Hopefully Santa will be generous in a few weeks with a wise filter system investment.

Of course, the second radio really needs an amplifier.  So far, the ACOM 1010 has proven to be a real winner for its price.  While a full legal limit, no-tune amp would be nice, the budget is very constrained.Therefore, we may be trolling for a used ACOM after the New Year.