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My foray to HF continues

It’s great to be back on HF.

My HF setup now comprises an Icom IC-718 transceiver connected to an LDG IT-100 Autotuner for Icom. I stopped using my 10m dipole entirely since I found that my G5RV Jr. works far better — so I’m using the G5RV exclusively now on 10, 12, 15, 17, 20 and 40 meters.

I needed to get the antenna up as quickly as possible so I chose to buy a G5RV kit. While there are several ready-made G5RVs on the market, I selected the kit from W8AMZ. I dare you to find a better quality G5RV. This thing will last forever…

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I’ve looked high and low for logging/rig-control software. At least for now I’ve settled on Log4OM. I may switch to Logger32 in the future, but I had some configuration problems with it. On the other hand I found the Log4OM UI intuitive and initial set up was easy. Rather than spend megabucks on a name-brand CAT control cable or device, I simply went with a generic USB CI-V CAT-control cable from Valley Enterprises…and it was only $22. Log4OM supports the OMNIRig rig software interface so getting the CAT-control running was a piece of cake. The first time I double-clicked a DX station on the DX cluster and saw the Icom race to that band and frequency I let out a successful scream.

Not pictured above is my new boom headset. While I’m sure Heil makes great headsets, I simply refused to spend $275 for a Heil. Instead I tried a dark horse…a fellow selling highly-regarded ham radio headsets on Ebay. His main website is w2eny.com. I paid $44 for mine and I’m delighted with it. He also sells an inexpensive PTT foot switch which I also purchased. Yes, I am old school. I want both hands free…(and I’ve hated VOX for decades).

This is as far as I have gotten. But I’ve been working mucho DX and on some bands that I’ve never operated before, 12- and 17 meters. Tomorrow is the annual ARRL 10m contest. I will work that hard — should be a lot of fun.

In the near future I need to get CW going. The Icom has a built-in keyer so I would just need to plug in a paddle, but I’d prefer to use a computer keyboard. As I understand it for that to happen, I will need something like a RIGblaster, perhaps the RIGblaster Plug & Play model. I will investigate that further next week.

Am still getting used to using Log4OM to tune DX. Back in the old days we just incessantly thumbed the VFO dial. Boy, all this new tech is amazing.

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