Sunday, December 10, 2006

ICE filters

I went to the Yankee Clipper Contest Club meeting this afternoon. There are some really amazing people in this club! At the break, I stood and shamelessly solicited help with my band-pass filter problem. Did anybody have some knowledge that they’d like to share? Several rose quickly to my aid.
The offerings from Array Solutions, the W3NQN filters, were thought to be fine filters. But, the fact that I’m only running low power and perhaps not in the highest level of competitive station setups (no 12 station multi-multis), that those filters might be overkill. Instead, I received several recommendations for the Industrial Communication Engineers, Ltd. (ICE) filter designs. These filters are thought to be very good, have traveled with several YCCC members on various DXpeditions without incident, and happen to be about 1/3 the cost of the W3NQN filters.
The ICE folks also make a box with 6 filters inside for quick band switching. The Combination Band-pass Filter weighs in at 5 pounds, but the weight seems worth it to me. I received a pointer to this product from fellow Montserrat team member Paul, too. Paul owns this box and it has served him well. If you want one more recommendation, here’s one: upon careful review of the 3Y0X DXpedition video, you can see these boxes prominently perched on each of the transceivers. Good enough for them, good enough for me!
I am going to place my order for this six filter box in the morning, which will cover the contest bands 160/80/40/20/15/10, and will also order three other filters for the WARC bands 30/17/12. The whole thing should be about $400.
Two other ideas were tossed about during the YCCC meeting. The first was to use stubs, especially on 15m and 40m, to reject the other band. Stubs could be “tee-ed” into the line and it might be a cheap (and lightweight) way to effectively reject those “other band” signals.
Idea two was to see how much the automatic antenna tuner serves as a band-pass filter. I hadn’t really thought of it this way, but it is an interesting idea. I need to think about it more.
Tonight's conference call with the group was extremely productive. We covered my agenda in about 45 minutes, then picked up new business. Band-pass filters (the above discussion) was one topic. Two other topics were scuba diving plans, and other island activity plans. I think these seven days are going to pass quite quickly. Too many great ideas, too little time!
It is back to work in the morning for me. This week is going to be quite busy. Several team members indicated they would be largely unavailable between now and the end of the year. That was to be expected (which was why we were pushing to get so much done this week!). The large items are mostly handled: travel plans, lodging plans, and licenses. The group agreed that the Model Release Form and General Agreement were acceptable, so, once signed, the legal document tasks will also be completed. Everybody is working on their LoTW, eQSL, and QRZ entries for electronic logging. Perhaps it is time to take a breath and relax! Just 49 days to go...


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