The run up to ARRL DX SSB this year was an exciting one. Compared to 2014, KL2R was largely silent in the multi-op categories for contests in 2015. We did a multi-op in ARRL DX CW during 2015, but it was a marginal effort. A number of factors contributed, chief among them broken and failing equipment. Last fall N1TX resolved to get the station back to multi-2 capability. A new PC for the main position brought the shack to life again. The Shuttle XPC with a 4 GHz i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM, and solid-state drive has no problem keeping up with the multitude of tasks now. It runs Windows 10. Also, the Alpha 89 amplifier, long idle since it became deaf during a brown-out, went off to N4UQ for repair and was returned in perfect working order in February.
KL7SB and WL7F joined N1TX in the shack for ARRL DX CW. It was a good shakedown. We were able to get the "B" position PC going, but it had suffered the same boot problems and unreliability issues for quite some time despite repeated repair attempts. After that contest, it failed hard. With SSB looming within days and more interest in using a second radio to look for multipliers, KL1JP stepped in and donated another zippy PC, which was quickly configured and ready for action.
We have pretty much abandoned Win-Test in favor of N1MM Logger+ over the past year. The latter is very stable and functional now, while WT support languishes and the program seems to be at a dead end. However, I had choice words for N1MM the night before SSB. After an upgrade to the latest version, a cascade of runtime errors proved problematic. They persisted even after a clean re-installation. In the end, I had to rename the old database files, re-install the logger, upgrade it, and then move the old files into the new directory. Heart attack narrowly averted.
Finally, KL2R was ready to go a mere few hours before contest start. It started with a bang on 15 and 20, and just after sunset 40m gained some serious traction by running split. KL stations can run phone between 7075 and 7100 kHz. The FTdx5000MP dual-receive made it so easy to listen for Canadians on our transmit frequency as well as for US hams in the high part of the band. One US ham commented how he'd never had to run such a wide split, which was about 200 kHz. The bottom line is it works for us. We can hear you, and you can hear us.
Sadly, Elaine KL6C was ill and missed the event, but the rest of the gang toughed out up-and-down conditions to score an all-time best for KL2R. Many thanks to KL1BE for being a fantastic hostess again after several years of being out of the game. Good to have you back.
L-R: WL7F, WL7BDO, KL1JP. N1TX not shown.