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1139Re: [dxatlas] Re: CW Skimmer 1.3

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  • Alex, VE3NEA
    Nov 3, 2008
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      Hi Jerry,

      If you set up CW Skimmer on IF, this is not going to be a small return, this
      will be a breakthrough that will radically change your DXing. This is not
      just a theory, I know this from my own experience. I used a 3-kHz waterfall
      display for a couple of years. I had a modest homebrew antenna and 100W, and
      the waterfall helped me to crack small pileups, but I would not even bother
      to call real DX in the 10+kHz pileups since I knew I had no chances to work
      them.

      Everything changed when I put a SoftRock on the IF of my Kenwood TS-570
      three years ago. Now I could see the whole pileup, no matter how big it was.
      I still had my homebrew antenna and no PA, but I started to work the most
      rare DX on a regular basis. I worked 3Y0X within an our after they appeared
      on the bands for the first time, when the whole world was chasing them for a
      new one. I worked two VU4's and both VU7 stations, though this was not easy.
      FT5XO, 9N7JO and ZL9BSJ/P were a piece of cake, I worked them on the second
      or third call. In total, I worked 292 DXCC entities in the 4 years of low
      sunspots - I think I would work only half of that without the Skimmer.

      The wideband waterfall was the key to success in cracking the big pileups.
      By looking at the dots and dashes of the calling stations, I always knew
      where the DX was listening, and could see the gaps in the pileup. I just
      waited until the DX operator tunes his receiver at a clear frequency, and
      called him there.

      Cracking the pileups is one thing, but finding the DX before the pileup
      develops is equally important. CW Skimmer is very useful in this respect. If
      you can see a wide slice of the band, you have excellent chances of
      discovering the DX when he sends his first CQ. That's how I worked SV2ASP/A
      in CW. The waterfall alone was not enough for that though. I did my
      homework, and I knew when and where to listen for Monk Apollo, but the
      waterfall helped me to be the first to discover his signal when he finally
      appeared on the band.

      I hope now you understand why I highly recommend the wideband approach and
      discourage the users from using the Skimmer in the narrowband mode, except
      for the initial testing of the software. The advantages of the wideband mode
      are so huge that they justify any amount of work required to set up a
      wideband radio.

      73 Alex VE3NEA



      ----- Original Message -----

      Not yet, I'm thinking about a couple of paths that I could go in....
      including LP-PAN. But as you say.... a lot of complexity for what
      might be a small return. I use CW Skimmer to help me level the playing
      field when chasing DX running split. Generally the most bandwidth I
      would ever use would be 10 kHz. As it is 3 kHz works maybe 60% of the
      time with just a little bit of VFO movement.

      One of these days I'll take the Orion apart and install a 9MHz buffer
      amp on the IF with an output on the back panel, then I'll have the
      flexibility to try different approaches.... until then 3 kHz will have
      to do.

      Oh, you didn't comment on the selecting VFOs...

      Thanks for the speedy reply.

      73, Jerry, KG6TT
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