Welcome to the NU8Z Website: Well, this website has been up for just about a year now. I find that the desire to build my own website is not matched by the amount of work that is required on a continuous basis to keep it up to date. That being said, all of the news links on this site are automated and I have kept the bookmark links pretty much up to date. I will continue to add new and interesting links when I find them.
The main objectives of this website will remain as follows:
- Serve as a “one stop shopping” site for Ham Radio related news.
- Pass on relevant DXing, General Operating and Contesting related information to others that may be interested.
- Pass on items of interest and neat links to others
- Discuss my experiences related to Ham Radio and DX operating from a small city lot.
- Tell others a bit about myself, my station, my other interests, and what aspects of this great hobby I enjoy.
New HF Radio & Amp: I recently replaced my Flex 5000 with a Flex 6300. It took a little getting use to, but in the end I decided that I really like this radio. The user interface of Smart SDR is very nice looking and very functional. I find the receiver to be as good or better than my Flex 5000. There is a very big improvement in the CW performance compared to the Flex 5000. The 6300 has full QSK that is smooth and quiet. No more latency and relay clicking! On the downside the new software does not have some of the features that were in the old PwrSDR software that is used with the Flex 5000. The folks at Flex are adding new revisions and features.
I have interfaced a Berhinger CMD Micro Controller for knob tuning and radio function control. The Smart SDR software interfaces nicely with other third party programs via TCP/IP or the traditional CAT commands. In addition to the new radio I also purchased an ACOM 1000 amplifier. I miss the auto band switching function of my THP HL-1.5KFX amplifier but this baby makes up for it. Its built like a tank, super quiet and has full QSK. It’s manual tune, but the tuning procedure is super easy. I also like the fact that it tunes a 3:1 swr with no problem and the amp is well protected against any senior moment mishaps. My only rigs now are the Flex 6300 and my KX3 which I also like very much and use for QRP operation and travel.
CQ DX Marathon: I have been participating in the DX Marathon for a number of years. I started in 2011 but then took a few years off. I jumped back into the fray again in 2014 and have continued participating since then. The objective of the DX Marathon is to work all the CQ counties and Zones that you can work in one year starting on January 1 and ending on December 31. You add the total CQ Countries and CQ Zones worked for the combined score.
2011 DX Marathon: In 2011, I entered in the Unlimited mixed mode class. I tied for 16th place with a combined score of 310 (270 Countries and all 40 Zones). I lost 3 countries from my claimed score of 313. My Bear Island contact was in reality, Svalbard Is. My European Turkey contacted ended up being in Asia, and my claimed African Italy contact, was not. The moral of the story is to double check each contact and do not believe everything the logging programs tell you.
2014 DX Marathon: I decided to do it again in 2014. The end result of my 2014 mixed unlimited effort was 273 countries, and all 40 zones for a total score of 313. I ended up tied for 13th place I lost one country in the log checking process. Better, but still lost one.
2015 DX Marathon: In 2015 I tried to change it up a bit. I entered the Unlimited CW only class. I worked 250 countries and all 40 zones for a claimed score of 290. The top five claimed score CW leader board has a low score of 291. If I lose no countries in the log checking process I should come in 6th place in the CW only unlimited class. ( I hope!) In any case, my beginning of the year goal was to work 250 countries, and it appears I did that.
2016 DX Marathon: This year I’m sticking with the CW unlimited class. I’m getting too old to scream my brains out in pile ups. My goal is to beat my 2015 totals.
The “Year of DX” photo above if the title of a book written by Bob Locher, W9KNI. This book chronicles Bob’s winning effort during the 2010 CQ DX Marathon. It is written in the same style as Bob’s well known book, “The Complete DX’er” which is a must read for all aspiring and serious DX’ers alike.
I suggest that if you are a DXer that you give the DX Marathon a try. I think that you will find it to be a lot of fun. If you can remember the thrill of originally working the DX countries way back when, then you will like it. As other things in life, there is nothing like the “first time”, but when it comes to DX its fun to chase them and get them in the logbook again. A good logging program with a DX Marathon tracking function really reduces the effort needed and greatly adds to the fun. I use DX Labs “DX Keeper” with “Spot Collector”
Hope to hear you in the pileups … NU8Z