Posts Tagged ‘Icom 7610’

ARRL DX CW 2019 in the books

The setup
Well the ARRL DX CW has come and gone for 2019 and my effort was one of interest only. I knew I had non radio related things to do this weekend and we were out each evening. Actually the contest caught me by surprise as I usually plan ahead and make time. This week I was checking WA7BNM contest site and was shocked to see the contest was this weekend! This was the first real contest run for my new IC7610 rig. Now I am used to the Elecraft K3 but honestly the 7610 preformed for me just as good as my K3 did. I left the filter set at 250Hz and never had any issues when Kilo watt  contesters were side by side belting out their call. The waterfall  on the 7610 was par with my old Elecraft P3 also it was an added bonus that N1MM+ has a spectrum scope fed directly from the 7610. Having the two independent receivers was nice. When I found rare DX but there was a pileup I left one receiver there and checked in now and then. With the other receiver I would continue the search and pounce. I had been away from the 7610 for about 2 weeks regarding CW operating so I at times found I was slow to figure out how some functions were done.
As for the contest I was running 60 watts (not sure of reason for the 60 watt number) and my antenna is the MFJ 1788 mag loop. I am in a condo so it’s a balcony antenna about 180 feet up facing south east. The software was N1MM+ and MRP40 CW decoder for the super fast fisted contesters. On Sunday the winds for some reason really picked up and my MFJ loop was moving around the balcony. I shut the radio down and took it in I would rather save the antenna from damage than taking a chance on getting more contacts.
I made only 25 contact and a score of 1575 BUT my intention was not to blow the doors off  with a great score. Instead after I made contact with a station I would look them up on QRZ.COM and read about either the individual or the contest station. Over all the limited time I was in the contest I had a blast and was very please with the Icom 7610 and the ability of my balcony mounted Mag loop antenna.

FT8 on 20m this afternoon

I was able to find some spare time this afternoon and in true ham radio spirit I hauled out the MFJ mag loop set it up on the balcony and gave FT8 a go on 20m. Last week I finalized the setup of WSJT-X 2.0 and my rig the Icom 7610. Once all the settings are looked after running WSJT-X with the 7610 is a breeze. I was spotted all over the U.S. and Canada and even into Europe while on 20m. I did make 3 U.S contacts but only logged 2 as I at first did not have the setting in Reporting "Log Automatically" or "Prompt me to log QSO" Unfortunately my memory is not what I think it to be and  I lost the first contact by forgetting to log it. So it was then that I went to Settings-reporting and checked the box "Log automatically" I was excited to see my FT8 signal was heard in France, Spain and Portugal. Over all it was a very relaxing day on the radio!
I found this site that offers some great FT8 tips:

I did remove the tick from the "auto Seq" box as by doing this it did give me somewhat of a feeling of interaction with the QSO. This evening it's going to be a cup of Earl Grey tea and go over the WSJT-X 2.0 manual very closely and see what I can glean from it. Also search out some writeup's on the internet for more tips with this mode. 

RAC contest and the new IC7610

I was finally able to get on the radio and give the RAC contest about 2 hours and I had a blast with the new rig. I made only 32 contacts as the  Christmas season is a busy time of the year for all of us but Julie and I both agreed that the weekend after Christmas it was going to be a relaxing weekend. As always Murphy very briefly showed up in the shack. I tuned my MFJ 1788 loop to a great SWR of 1.3 using my MFJ antenna analyser. I then flipped it over to the IC7610 and the perfect match went to 3.0!! After some trouble shooting it turned out to be a short coax jumper between my antenna switch and the 7610. I replaced it with one I had on hand and all was good. As I thought about it I do
Won't make that mistake agian.
remember at one time there was an issue with one of my patch coax cables.....guess I never fixed or tossed it out.
I was thrilled with the Icom 7610 I didn't as of yet get the time to set up N1MM+ contest software so during  the contest I was old school with a paper and pencil. The audio was crisp and clean, I stayed with the 250Hz filter and had not even one issue with very close adjacent stations bothering my contact station. The touch screen is very responsive and an absolute joy to use. I took advantage of the 2 independent receivers, I turned on dual watch and had one VFO on an RAC station such as VE7RAC who was very popular and the other VFO I search and pounced. With one simple button push I muted the VE7RAC station and could unmute to check on the pileup. Once things slowed down I was able to put VE7RAC in the log.
Dual Watch on 
Another feature I found very handy was as you spin the VFO faster your tuning steps increase so you can move up and down the band quickly. One issue I found was that as the shack got a bit darker the bottoms on the Icom are not illuminated. This being a new rig resulted in some incorrect push button selections.

Christmas morning surprise!!!

Well Christmas has past and now it's the New Year that is being pushed with the full force of the media.....join a gym, loose weight and change your career. I'm good with all three of the mentioned BUT lets get back to Christmas shall we........ or to be more precise about a month before Christmas. My wife has been listening to me "mutter" now and then about my ham radio adventure. My blog readers are well aware of my purchase of the Expert Electronics Sun SDR2 Pro SDR transceiver. I was thrilled with the rig and how it preformed was amazing. I did mention how I truly missed the knobs and dials of a "real" radio but at the same time it was somewhat worth giving up for the
waterfall, SDR funtionality and 2 independent receivers. Little did I know Julie was listening to my now and then comments about radios as I read QST. My wife who is not a ham and has made it very clear she has no interest in radio what so ever but she was able to hear my interest in SDR radio and my missing an actual rig put it together and get in touch with our local ham radio dealer. The pictures tell the story of what was under the tree on Christmas morning!!
There is going to be an Expert Electronics Sun SDR2 pro rig that is just over 6 month old up for sale very soon.

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