FT5ZM – Amsterdam Island (11,400+ miles away)

After trying to work them for 3 or 4 days I finally broke through yesterday and made a clean contact on 20M CW. They were very strong yesterday and pile up wasn’t too bad so it only took about 30 minutes to work them.

My first contact was a bust and likely went to K4TX (I even sent him an email to see if he was trying to work them).

I am very glad my 100W amp came in time to work them. I definitely wanted to use all that power to make the contact (to make up for the “compromise” fan dipole in my attic).

20140209-163305.jpg

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2013 CQ WW CW Contest

This weekend I had a few hours to play in the 2013 CQ WW CW Contest.

It was definitely a very fun contest.  I worked it for about 2 hours Saturday and worked 52 stations (which I feel by my standards is not too bad…see setup below).  I also thought that overall band conditions were quite good as well.

My setup was really modest with my KX3 set to 5 watts and a simple fan dipole (20M, 15M, and 10M) in the attic. I used N1MM (configured to send KY Codes) to key the radio and send my callsign and exchange.  Furthermore, I only worked stations whose CW signals the KX3 could mostly decode (I am still learning the code).

I decided I would start at the bottom of the band on 20M and work my way up (which I did) and then hit 15M if I had time (and I made a handful of contacts there).

Two notable contacts I made that I want to mention here:

Japan (JH1GEX – Yatuka) – This was the last contact I made in the contest.  He had a very strong signal and he came back to me after the first call.  I could tell he was keying by hand as his spacing was off slightly but the callsign was definitely mine.  At 6,880 miles away (according to QRZ)…I believe it would surely qualify for any of the QRP 1000 Miles per Watt awards.

NOTE:  One more thing…I always like to pull up the interesting countries I work on Google Maps/Earth and occasionally I like to plot out a path from my QTH to the DX Station.  I was very surprised to learn that my contact with JH1GEX was off the end of my dipoles!  See image far below.

Swaziland (3DA0ET – 2013 Swaziland DXpedition) – This was a surprise for me.  I had not expected to work any DXpeditions during the contest…but I heard these guys well and worked them easily.  I decided to look up the callsign on QRZ before I moved up the band.  The other thing I noticed is that these guys are about 8,642 miles away (according to QRZ).   Pretty happy about this one.  Plus, I am already confirmed in LOTW.  Yeah!

All in all this contest was a lot of fun for me.  I hope to be able to do this again next year.

Path (white line) of my contact with JH1GEX (Japan) relative to my dipole (which follows the roof line of my house).
Jh1gexPath

UPDATE: KX3: How to configure N1MM to use function keys to send CW (without additional cables or hardware like winkeyer)

This is an update on my original post here:  https://k4mtx.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/kx3-how-to-configure-n1mm-to-use-function-keys-to-send-cw-without-additional-cables-or-hardware-like-winkeyer/

Earlier this week I created a post about my N1MM setup with my KX3 and in the post and video I noticed an error with N1MM sending the serial number {EXCH} when set up for contest modes.

Thankfully, somebody (Wilko PA3BWK) actually read my original post and pointed out to me that a recent update to N1MM may have included a fix to the serial number {EXCH} issue.

From N1MM’s update page (version 13.05.03):

CAT ASC Macro: If the function key contains “ASC KY” and the mode is CW added the following functionality. When the callsign box contains text, convert # to the current serial number and ! to the callsign. When the callsign box is empty, convert # to the last serial number and remove !. Remove the Entrywindow status error message when sending CW with CAT Macro commands. (BG6JJI) (coded by K3CT)

I downloaded the update and tested it with the current macro set and it now works great.

My setup for Field Day will likely be something like this:

F1 CQ,{CATA1ASC KY CQ FD * * CQ;}
F2 Exch,{CATA1ASC KY ! {EXCH};}
F3 Tu,{CATA1ASC KY ! tu * qrz;}
F4 MyCall,{CATA1ASC KY * ;}
F5 His Call,{CATA1ASC KY !? ;}
F6 DUPE, {CATA1ASC KY B4 ! B4;}
F7 QRZ?,{CATA1ASC KY QRZ de *;}
F8 Agn?,{CATA1ASC KY agn? ;}
F9 Nr?,{CATA1ASC KY nr? ;}
F10 Call?,{CATA1ASC KY cl? ;}
F11 Break,{CATA1ASC rx;}
F12 Wipe,{WIPE}

My notes (also mentioned in the update notes):

* is your call.
! is the other call (or if blank…nothing)
# is the serial exchange (I suggest using {EXCH} instead)
{SENTRSTCUT} will give you 5NN instead of 599

If you want to add/change your N1MM macros go here (see image below):

CWMessageEditor

My thanks to Jerry (BG6JJI), Wilko (PA3BWK), and John (K3CT) for helping me out on this.

KX3: How to configure N1MM to use function keys to send CW (without additional cables or hardware like winkeyer)

Update:  I found a fix to the {EXCH} issue I noted below.  See new post here.

Update:  I have a link to my N1MM setup (screen shot) so you can see my selections.  See new post here.

Last weekend I wanted to play in the CQ WPX CW contest and use the function keys to run the exchange during the contest.  One of the primary reasons I wanted to use N1MM was so that I could pass the contest exchange (serial number in this case) properly in the contest (as I am still learning the code) so I started on a path to find out how. 

The KX3 Utility provides some functionality to key the radio with the push of a button.  This is pretty neat…but it would be even better if I could get N1MM to do this for me.

After some searching, I really couldn’t turn up anything concrete, but did noticed this tweet back in June on the subject.  TJ is a regular on the KX3 Yahoo group…and this was what I looking for.

TJPost

So I sent him a note asking him what he did.  Here was his reply (yes at the start of the contest…he replied).

TJPost1

OK…what are KY codes and what is the programmer’s manual?  OK…after more searching I found the K3 and KX3 Programmers reference and I began to dig into the manual.

KY codes are a command set to do keyboard CW/data…and the programming reference gives this (see below)…which, from a non programmers point of view, doesn’t help much.

KYCodes

At this point I get that the idea is to use the N1MM message editor to add these KY codes to the string that keys the radio…I attempted a few things (and none would work)…for example:

Original Code for F1:  {TX}   CQ NA * * * CQ{RX}

My Attempted KY Code for F1: {TX} KY CQ NA K4MTX K4MTX CQ {RX}

Again…this did NOT work.

Now that I have more info…I was able to work on better web searches and stumbled upon a few posts regarding {CAT1ASC} macros…but still got nowhere.

Finally I stumbled upon a post from a chinese ham BG6JII, Jerry Zhang who described his setup for N1MM and it went something like this:

F1 Cq,{CATA1ASC KY cqtest * *;}
F2 Snt,{CATA1ASC KY 5nn # #;}
F3 Tu,{CATA1ASC KY tu;}
F4 {MYCALL},{CATA1ASC KY *;}
F5 His Call,{CATA1ASC KY {call} ;}
F6 Repeat, {CATA1ASC KY # #;}
F7 Exch, {CATA1ASC KY #;}
F8 Agn?,{CATA1ASC KY agn? ;}
F9 Nr?,{CATA1ASC KY nr? ;}
F10 Call?,{CATA1ASC KY cl? ;}
F11 Break,{CATA1ASC RX;} 
F12 Wipe,{WIPE}

NOTE: Jerry mentioned that in some cases…the KX3 commands will not terminate properly so he has added a special command at F11 which will kill the “offending command”

Yes…now we are on to something.  So I went to configure my radio changing out the first command.

Original Code for F1:  {TX}   CQ NA * * * CQ{RX}

My Revised KY Code for F1: {CATA1ASC KY CQ NA K4MTX K4MTX CQ;}

BINGO!!!  This worked for me.

I began to work on F2:

Original Code for F2:  {TX} {CALL} {EXCH}{RX} {EXCH}{RX} DE {MYCALL} {RX}

My Revised KY Code for F2: {CATA1ASC KY  {SENTRSTCUT} {EXCH} de K4MTX;} 

This did not work as expected.  

(Update:  This was fixed in a recent N1MM update…See new post here)

This worked up until it got the {EXCH} command.  For some reason N1MM will not pass the {EXCH} command.  After logging some more time in the search engines…I have determined that this is issue specific to serial exchanges (such as 001, 002,….n ).

Summary:  N1MM function keys can send CW text to the KX3.   However, there are limitations.  Of primary concern, to me, is that it will not pass {EXCH}, which would have been useful in most contests.

Here is a quick video describing my setup:

Give it a try and let me know what you think.