Tuesday, May 21, 2019

WQ6X turns K-o-S into WPX warmup Exercise

Having submitted a contest log in previous King-of-Spain Cw GiGs keeps me on the mailing list
for up-coming King-of-Spain contest events.  Experiencing exhaustion from 7 straight weekends
of radiosport action, I decided to dial this weekend back using it to make preparations for next weekend's CQ WPX (Weird Prefix) contest.

In recent weeks, I have been experimenting with various ways to combine different external audio filters by way of a switch box and various stereo pin-plug => RCA converter cables.  Doing this brought a number of unexpected discoveries on how certain things are actually wired.

When I bought this switch on eBay, I made the assumption that all switched outputs were separate.  In fact, if you look at the schematic closely, ALL +Lines on each side (L & R) are physically wired together, independent of the switches.  The switches switch ONLY the -Lines.  OOOPs!

In recent months, experimenting
with various "flavors" of audio filter combinations for stereo-Cw, I have relied on short 1/8"-female to RCA plug converter cables to split the input audio - one unit for each ear.  The output RCA connections are then recombined into another 1/8" stereo female jack.

Unfortunately, this configuration wasn't producing the usual left-to-right separation I was expecting - time to bring out the DVM.  Using the DVM's audible-buzzer, an incredible discovery was made. 

Plugging a Male-to-Male stereo jumper into the 1/8" jack, the ring was properly measured to be connected to the red RCA cable.  Surprisingly, the tip of the white RCA plug was connected to the cable ground and the tip of the 1/8" plug was connected to the RCA plug's shell.  HuH?
Thinking it was a fluke, I measured a duplicate splitter cable and found it also wired incorrectly;
not surprising since I bought the two cables together.  I clipped the white plug from each cable and tossed them into the recycle box. 

Luckily there were a set of replacement (albeit longer) splitter cables in the junk drawer, bringing true Left-Right stereo cw back to my ears, allowing me to get down to the business of the King-of-Spain Dx contest.  By my 23:15z contest start, station #1 (@NX6T) had it's long-time ACOM 2000a removed in preparation for a replacement Expert 1.5Kfa amplifier.  I decided to run low power until the Expert amplifier was inline.

While 20 meters produced a few QSOs with Europe (and yes, Spain), within an hour the only thing heard were stateside stations, making it time for a move on down to 40 meters. 

It wasn't until 03:00z that Europe made its way into the speakers.  Finding a run frequency added more QSOs to the log. 

While some stations were handing out 600+ QSO numbers, the actual amount of contest activity experienced on the Left-coast was incredibly lacking.  At 04:25z WM6Y made an appearance in Fallbrook, to put the Expert amplifier into the antenna line.  Within 45 minutes WQ6X was running as a high power entry.  Oh what a difference 1300 watts makes.

Amazingly, it seemed that the minute a switch was made to high power stations moved in on one run frequency after another.

Hoping for an Asian opening (similar to the previous weekend), the Shorty-40 was  turned to 300-degrees. 

Unfortunately, all I heard was the Russian "M & "F" beacons; not a single JA station was heard.

I decided to take a "short nap" and come back for those hoped for Asian stations.  Evidently I needed the sleep - I didn't wake up until 11:55z; with only 5 minutes left in the K-o-S contest.

Did you play around in the King of Spain Cw contest?
Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?

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