Should contest rules allow and act upon 599K QRM reports?

Sunday, 28 March 2010

DSP re-work for Elecraft K3

I'm really dissapointed in Elecraft's handling of a recent purchase. I was off work on January 1st and thought I'd purchase a new DSP board for my K3. I purchased the card with the knowledge that there would be a 4 week lead time. 2 weeks after my purchase some erudite questioning on the reflector revealed that the board I had purchased was going to be re-worked and not new as I had been led to believe. I emailed Elecraft 8 weeks after purchase to find out what was happening and they said the delay wasn't their fault as they were waiting for returned boards. I reminded Elecraft that I hadn't bought a re-worked board so any excuses about waiting for returns wasn't valid. I asked for a new board if they couldn't honour the initial deal. I got a very polite e-mail back of the "no-can-do" variety and I am still waiting for my DSP board 12 weeks later. Very, very poor sales and marketing from a company with very good products.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


I have downloaded WriteLog and am currently playing in the RDXC contest. I've racked up 300 QSOs in the last 2.5hrs or so with some pile ups and some blank spells. My usual contest software is WinTest so I guess I'm starting the learning curve a fresh, straight in at the deep end.

First of all I couldn't adjust the CW speed and had to resort to Google mid contest as the help file was blank on this subject. I found a post on a contest website explaining it : go into 'setup->ports' (obvious eh?) and adjust a matrix of speeds to your preference, then use page up and dwn keys to shift between these values (what was wrong with Alt V?).

Then I logged a Q without an exchange and couldn't find for the life of me how to get back in the Q and edit it. Again the manual was no help and google again saved the day with someone else asking the same question : using the mouse click on the offending QSO then click again on the offending field and an edit QSO box opens at that field for you (WinTest you just up arrow into the log and tab across and edit it...simple).

I was using the software to assert PTT and CW through a serial port to a MicroHam DK and then on to the rig. This worked fine with WinTest but out the 300Qs maybe 4Qs came out garbled causing me to reach for the key. I closed all other program down and the CW decoder to ease the pressure on the CPU but it still did it occassionaly.

I noticed that if you press enter before you complete the call field you get less time to complete than with WinTest. I found that even although I had completed the call before it was sent, the last letter was missed leading to unnecessary repeats from the other station.

The CW decoder is a great idea and works well. I preffer not to use the RTTYRite one and instead use the standard decoder (that said I didn't look at it at all during the 300Qs). The standard decoder is docked but RTTYRite opens in a separate window which you can't dock. The same goes for the bandmaps, they float on the desktop meaning you have to shrink down WriteLog to see them. WinTest doesn't have a CW decoder but at least the bandmaps are docked.

So far I can't see a way to send a spot on the bandmap straight to the B VFO :-(.

I only have V3 of WinTest so didn't have ESM capability, so it was nice to find that WriteLog does....finally something positive!

Anyway it all sounds negative, but mostly I just have to get used to a new way of doing things. At this early stage I think V3 WinTest is superior, but it has it's quirks too.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Elecraft K3 Macros

The K3 now has the facility to use macros (previously downloaded to the K3 using the K3 Utility program). You can assign these macros to the K3's M1-4 keys. Both tap and hold functions of these keys can hold a macro, thus giving 8 posibilities. You can also use the the PF keys, but I use these for quick menu access. The macros can be cancelled/assigned very quickly to allow use of the DVR or CW memories.

Key: M1T
Name: RXEQCLR (RX EQaliser CLeaR)
Macro: AI0;K31;MN008;SWT53;MN255;K30;

Key: M2T
Name: RXEQCWF (RX EQaliser CW Flat)

Key: M3T
Name: TXEQCLR (TX EQaliser CLeaR)
Macro: AI0;K31;MN009;SWT53;MN255;K30;

Key: M4T
Name: TXEQMID (TX EQaliser MID & top range gain)

Key: M1H
Name: SPLIT+2
Macro: SWT13;SWT13;FT1;UPB5;RT0;XT0;

Key: M2H
Name: RXEQCWS (RX EQaliser CW Sharp)

Key: M3H (QSY to RWM 14.999MHz CW)
Name: RWM1499
Macro: FA00014996000;MD3;FA00014996000;BW0040;

Key: M4H
Name: TXEQTOP (TX EQaliser TOP range gain)

Now I can get some use from the TX and RX Equalisers without having to have a PC permanently hooked up to the K3. Let me know any good macros you have developed.