Posts Tagged ‘Elecraft P3’

Is is wise to buy your wife an appliance for Christmas…..maybe!!

I was operating in the CQ WW CW contest the other weekend and all was going well. I left my operating  post for a short time and came back to see my P3 screen shown in the above shot. I was not sure what was going on but I did know it was wiping out the entire band. In an instant the CW WW CW contest I was in was on hold. After a very short time I found out it was the mixer my wife was using to make some holiday short bread cookies. I showed my wife and once the short bread mixing was done I was back in the contest again.  I thought I would never say it but "I think it wise to buy my wife an appliance for Christmas. Truth be told I think I am buying it for myself.

Is is wise to buy your wife an appliance for Christmas…..maybe!!

I was operating in the CQ WW CW contest the other weekend and all was going well. I left my operating  post for a short time and came back to see my P3 screen shown in the above shot. I was not sure what was going on but I did know it was wiping out the entire band. In an instant the CW WW CW contest I was in was on hold. After a very short time I found out it was the mixer my wife was using to make some holiday short bread cookies. I showed my wife and once the short bread mixing was done I was back in the contest again.  I thought I would never say it but "I think it wise to buy my wife an appliance for Christmas. Truth be told I think I am buying it for myself.

DX contact out of the blue!

Good afternoon from VE3WDM, it's a Sunday afternoon and the weather is sunny with a high of +10C. It was a nice day for a walk which my wife and I did mid afternoon. Once home it was time to setup for the software for the up coming CQ WW CW contest. There were some bugs I had to workout with the software and I did without issue. Then there were some minor issues that I am just going to forget about for now. For example I have no idea why my Winkeyer USB when N1MM+ is running will allow me to only control the CW speed but for some reason I just can't seem to communicate with the Winkeyer to setup and execute macros?? I'm not going to sweat it as in the past I have found that once you start monkeying around with the different pieces of software things that did not work now work...........BUT things that did work DONT!
While setting things up I did have the K3 on and the P3 waterfall viewing the 20m band. I did notice TL8AO and the HUGE pileup that was "UP" 2 KHz on the band. Funny thing as I was listening I did find an op more often than not calling on TL8AO's calling freq and not splitting "UP" On the waterfall of the P3 I did notice a new strong CW signal appear so I pointed and clicked over to it. It was HI3Y in the Dominican calling CQ and "UP". I listened as I setup the split and he seemed to be calling without a pileup. I threw my call out there and he came back to me with a report. He was in the books just that easy...now only if my 5 watts could break the pileup with TL8AO that fast! Time to start dinner now.......Tenderloin steak on the BBQ, mini potatoes on the BBQ with butter and rosemary and finally butternut squash........yum! 

DX contact out of the blue!

Good afternoon from VE3WDM, it's a Sunday afternoon and the weather is sunny with a high of +10C. It was a nice day for a walk which my wife and I did mid afternoon. Once home it was time to setup for the software for the up coming CQ WW CW contest. There were some bugs I had to workout with the software and I did without issue. Then there were some minor issues that I am just going to forget about for now. For example I have no idea why my Winkeyer USB when N1MM+ is running will allow me to only control the CW speed but for some reason I just can't seem to communicate with the Winkeyer to setup and execute macros?? I'm not going to sweat it as in the past I have found that once you start monkeying around with the different pieces of software things that did not work now work...........BUT things that did work DONT!
While setting things up I did have the K3 on and the P3 waterfall viewing the 20m band. I did notice TL8AO and the HUGE pileup that was "UP" 2 KHz on the band. Funny thing as I was listening I did find an op more often than not calling on TL8AO's calling freq and not splitting "UP" On the waterfall of the P3 I did notice a new strong CW signal appear so I pointed and clicked over to it. It was HI3Y in the Dominican calling CQ and "UP". I listened as I setup the split and he seemed to be calling without a pileup. I threw my call out there and he came back to me with a report. He was in the books just that easy...now only if my 5 watts could break the pileup with TL8AO that fast! Time to start dinner now.......Tenderloin steak on the BBQ, mini potatoes on the BBQ with butter and rosemary and finally butternut squash........yum! 

Win4K3suite added to shack.

Win4kSuite up and running
I have decided to change up my rig control software to Win4K3 suite I downloaded the trial version and was very impressed. I would had done it sooner but my PC was not up to the grade to properly run Win4K3 software and to be honest it was long over due for a PC upgrade. The PC was upgraded and if your interested that can be viewed here.  I decided to purchase the Win4k3 software (50.00) and change from my long time N4PY's Pegasus Plus rig control program. Carls Pegasus Plus program is very good and the support that Carl offers is excellent but I found the Win4k3 software was more catered to my Elecraft rigs. Once installed you have full rig control including the Elecraft P3, KPA500 amp and KAT500 tuner and the Sub receiver if you have these installed. (I did have the sub but sold it and I look back on that with regret)  I have the K3, P3 and KX3. The software installation has very good documentation and there are videos as well. Im the type of person who picks up much more from videos than written instructions. With the Win4K3 suite I was able to have PC control of all my K3 functions that some other software programs did not offer, such functions as spot, test, equalizer setup, terminal program, cw decode, Auto tuner and APF just to name a few. I also have the Elecraft P3 and with my PC upgrade I added a VGA capture board and since my P3 already had the SVGA board installed I N1MM contest software and Log40M. (More about Log40M in another post…. great software)
P3 on the monitor
was able to add point and click with my mouse to my P3 and this is great during contests. The SVGA board also allows me to view my P3 on a second monitor and mine being a 22" LCD monitor the P3 looks great on it. This software also has the availability to set up virtual ports. Now in the past just hearing "setting up virtual ports" made me nervous I really never had to much luck setting them up and getting them to work! With Win4K3 suite VA2SFQ makes it almost plug and play with both very detailed easy to follow steps and software that makes it painless…..and best of all IT WORKS!! The 3rd party software I set up to "play" with Win4K3 so far are If you have either the Elecraft k3 or KX3 (I have not setup my KX3 rig with the Win4k3 yet) and you are looking at PC controlled software then consider downloading Tom's trial version and give it a go!

My CQ WW CW contest overview.

The QRP setup
I had a great part time effort in the CQ WW CW contest, I was not concerned with score or putting in a major amount to time in the contest chair. The key goals in this contest was to see how my CW reading by ear was doing and when on the rig to stay with it for the time I committed too. The reading code by  ear was fine up to speeds in around 25 BUT with some stations they were flying at around 35-40 wpm and that is just to fast. My code reader MRP4066 handled the high speed code no problem this software is not free but I found it to be the best! I entered the contest as single op, QRP single band (15m) and I met the requirements as a "classic" operator  I added this overlay to my submission. My total QSO count was 33 a score of 3,128 points and 10 zones. At my QTH I did not hear the usual amount of European stations I have in the past. My operating time was during the day from late morning to until late afternoon. During the late morning I head mainly Caribbean, African and some European stations but not many. As the afternoon approached more South and Central American stations came it as Europe faded.
I did have some "Murphy" moments such as…….I was not able to get my MFJ mag loop to tune at all at the start of the contest. Very quickly I found it was a very loose PL-259 connected on the rear of the loop's control box. Then for some reason N1MM+ set my CQ zone as 5 and not 4 and I did not click into this until about 10 contacts into the contest. Finally on the K3 there is a "test" setting and I use it to check macros without transmitting. Then old age had me forget to turn off the test mode, this found me thinking I was calling stations but was transmitting 0 watts….. Now that's QRP!!
Since I am operating QRP and using small MFJ loop antenna on the balcony my operating style was as follows
- I Use my VFO B to save a strong DX station that at the time has a huge pileup going. This stops me from wasting time trying to break the pile. Better to come back when the crazy pileup is gone. This worked great when I came across a Senegal station.
- Even when a station is at an S2 level but is just calling and listening my 5 watts can and did many times make it through for a contact.
- I don't use a spotting network as I found most of these stations have a huge pileup but I do have an Elecraft P3.  Using some hardware and software my P3 is seen on a 19 inch monitor and I am able to point and click on signals. My K3 then moves to that signal this allows me to see the activity on the band and Search and pounce these stations.
- When possible stay with a band such as 15m were my MFJ loop does not need to be retuned at all across the whole CW portion.
- Stick with my 250hz Inrad 8 pole CW filter so I can get between tight signals and only hear the op I want to contact.
In my post I am going to go into detail about my software I am now using and finding to be great for contesting and general QSO's It's now time to grab some eats and relax.

I’m back…

So where have I been..........really nowhere actually I can't believe my last post on the blog was June 10 but at least I am still in the year 2015!! The blog has gone quiet for almost 3  months and really so has ham radio here at VE3WDM. I have been very busy with work, here in Toronto we hosted the Pan Am games and I was directly involved with that.......to the point of around the clock standby. Before Pan Am there was the prep time and then after the post Pan Am "stuff" To be honest there was time at home but after getting home I just just to tired to turn the rig on or post on the blog. I have been reading all your posts and really enjoyed that. Now that things are slowing down a little bit of "normal" seems to be happening I'm back in the radio saddle. I did check my blog stats and readership sure has fallen to almost nothing but that makes sense seeing it's been same old same old regarding my blog content. So what is new here? Well, most of the "new" things happen in the last few weeks as I started to slow down. First off I sold my Alexloop antenna it seemed I just was not using it  now that I moved to Toronto. I posted the sale online and it was gone within an hour! With the sale of the Alexloop I was able to purchase the P3TXMON add on to my Elecraft P3. This week I also upgraded my PC.  One of my hard drives gave up the ghost, the one with the OS on it!!. At the same time I figured it was time to move up to the next level with my PC.  So I looked at purchasing a new machine or just upgrading what I have. I decided to upgrade the PC as I have 3 fairly new hard drives in the tower, up to date video card, I just replaced the power supply and the DVD player has no issues. The decision was made to upgrade the motherboard, the processor and ram. So the new system is Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 motherboard, AMD 8320 8 core processor at 3.5 GHz, 8 Gb (2x4) of DDR3 ram at 1600 mhz. I really had not done this before so lots of reading on the internet and YouTube videos, surprisingly things went smoothly. I now have an Asus M3A76-CM motherboard, AMD Phenom IIx4 2.8GHZ fan cooled processor, 4 Gb of SDram, Zoltac GT620 64 bit graphics card, and D-Link 1GB lan card hanging around..........may put it up for sale.

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