The one about the week that was

Here’s an update on the K3’s KRX3. It’s still scattered around in different bags on the work bench, waiting to be assembled and installed into the rig. I am currently not in a building mood. I’ve worked on my ADIF project in stead. I soon figured out that last week’s discovery (the VE3NEA CallPars DLL) does not really return accurate DXCC / prefix information in all cases. Bummer. The N1MM software with cty.dat is my benchmark. So in stead of assembling the sub-receiver, I started writing some code to parse cty.dat and get the DXCC info for a given callsign.

I spent or better: wasted quite some time this week doing this but I didn’t make much progress. I learned a cool thing though (LINQ) although I just scratched the surface of that powerful technology. The problem as I see it is twofold. First: all the callsign/zone exceptions in cty.dat. That’s the easy part. Second: how to derive the prefix for a callsign? Like MM0/ON5ZO/MM. Writing the code is easy – it’s just a matter of playing with strings. The hard part is coming up with waterproof and airtight logic and routines that return the right prefix for every possible callsign and portable designator. I’ve been browsing and studying the N1MMLogger source code. Very educating yet I force myself not to do a simple ctrl+c / ctrl+v. Not that I don’t copy but the code I get from there is always rewritten to use the .Net methods and functions. To tell the truth this cty.dat thing leads me away from my target which I might have already achieved, being a tool to edit ADIF logs and process them for GlobalQSL. I should step back and finish that code to optimize speed and straighten out some glitches in the GUI. There seems to be a market for this stuff among DX4WIN users (link).

In the news this week: Belgium’s hospitals run out of beds and doctor’s waiting rooms are flooded because of a flu epidemic. We seemed to stay out of reach for the virus but Thursday morning I woke up with a clogged nose, a sore throat and lead heavy limbs. And it didn’t get better later on. Nice, especially with the UBA SSB contest this weekend. And of course after a nice calm, dry and cold period the WX turned into wet and windy to even stormy today and over the weekend. So I didn’t prepare a single thing. I even considered bailing out and not entering this one. I just checked last year’s rate sheet. 450 QSO in 12h with the best hour giving me 67 QSO and the next best 45. Go figure. So I’ll probably arrange a minimal setup tomorrow with the tower only up 2/3 and possibly only a dipole for 80m. Here’s what I wrote last year regarding the strong wind: "so I made a 80m inverted V dipole in a hurry on Saturday morning. Bottom line: I was ready setting up at 13.30 local, needed to take a shower and have lunch before 14.00 when the contest started." A repeat of last year’s scenario is quite possible. I’m talking about the messy preparation. We’ll see if we can get the same result (#1 12h HP). Leave the vertical and use the 80m dipole because of the wind and make it a close call to the starting shot. My original plan last week was to crank up the tower to the max and deploy the 40m vertical dipole which beats the 40m GP and use the 80/160m vertical to get on Top Band in the CQ 160m CW Contest at night. But if I do decide to get on tomorrow, it’ll be a low key UBA SSB only party.

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