Above anything else, amateur radio should be enjoyable. This goes for ANY hobby, if at any time you do not have fun, then maybe it’s time to get out and find another hobby. This piece is bring written because I was frustrated with my effort and performance during the NAQP RTTY Contest.
Earlier this year I was looking at the possibility of adding hardware to start an SO2R operation, especially during RTTY contests in order to maximize my score and learn how to operate a two radio set up effectively. While I have a second radio (FT-857D in my truck) as well as a West Mountain RIGblaster Pro, I have not made the jump. I am still short an antenna tuner, which will undoubtedly run a few hundred dollars.
I have turned to the NCCC Reflector and posed a few questions to them regarding my situation in order to maximize my operating time and increase my scores. Under Shack and Antennas I have detailed the equipment I use on a regular basis.
I am very limited in terms of lot space, as the house it situated on a 50′ x 100′ lot, of which I have a swath of 50′ x 30′ that is usable space in the backyard. Now if I were to invest $1000 where should I put it? I am shying away from going with the SO2R set up because of introducing new problems, inter-station interference because my antennas are no more than about 30′ apart.
The inexpensive fix would be to increase the height of my mast and add a rotator with a thrust bearing in order to turn my hex beam. An even cheaper fix would be to forgo an personal goals and achievements and work in a team environment at N6RO or K6LRG, since they are the local stations and usually work the major contests.
The free fix to many of my problems, MORE SUNSPOTS! Unfortunately no amount of money will resolve that problem. Only patience through the doldrums of the solar cycle will reward all amateurs when the sun becomes more active.
So hopefully the membership of the NCCC will have some ideas for me in order to improve the station, which will hopefully increase my scores in all contests I participate in. I’ll share some of the details as they start to roll in.