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400th Peak & KX2 CW Logger

Activated 2 peaks yesterday with Fred KT5X/WS0TA. Weather near Socorro, NM was spectacular and band conditions were very good (LOUD signals) compared to recent activations where scraping together 4 contacts wasn’t easy. South Baldy MG-001 was my 400th activation, another milestone. A recently acquired KX2 was used for the first time.

The latest KX2 firmware has a built in logging function where it captures sent characters from the internal keyer and tags that data with time, mode and band. After an activation you can scroll through the log using the VFO knob and the recorded data parades across the display, or you can upload the log to your computer using the KX2 Utility. I was a proponent of this feature during KX2 development and, excited to finally experience its implementation, left the paper log and pencils at home.

There is room in the KX2 memory for 2048 transmitted characters. Elecraft suggests using the available Message memories for CQing and standard exchanges because they do not count against the transmitted character memory, which I did. 2048 seems like a lot of characters but by the end of the second activation on MG-002, I had close to 50 QSOs total and “Log Full” appeared on the display. Oh no! Fortunately, there were no other callers.

Activators have their personal styles and mine includes occasionally calling chasers by name, adding a little info about the activation, etc. Analyzing the log, roughly 40% wasn’t related to logging. Strategies might include modifying operating style to strictly business, toggling the logging function on/off to conserve space, and of course optimizing use of the Message memories. I’d be interested in what others using the logger have experienced and their strategies for conserving memory.

73,
John K1JD
Santa Fe, NM

2 Likes

Well done John on the 400th Peak!

I have also been using the KX2 logging feature, it works quite well. Last used on a joint activation with Rob GM3YTS last weekend. Like you found the capacity to be 45 - 50 qso’s when using the memory for CQ’s. Capacity could be an issue on a busy day, Elecraft told me there is no more room to extend from 2048 characters which is a shame. I suggested embedding the time into the main stream <1243> but they didnt like that idea.

I did find a bug which I reported to Elecraft, the logging did not restart if you switched the KX2 off and back on. It still shows as active in the menu and flashing DVR symbol on the display but logged nothing. Hopefully fixed in next firmware.

73 Gavin
GM0GAV

Hi Gav, thanks for the note. Thanks also for finding and reporting that bug, it seems to have been resolved in the latest firmware update.

Filling the auto-log memory probably means that band conditions are good, so it’s not all bad news. Toggling the logger on/off using an assigned PFn would definitely help conserve memory. In lieu of that, cutting down on chatting, using a Msg for the report and maybe one for “TU 72 de …” would help too. However, toggling the log or using more messages both increase operator workload: Especially at higher elevations, maybe not the best approach. Fortunately a back up paper log and pencil don’t weigh a lot or take up much space.

Please QSP my best to Rob. We and our XYL’s had dinner in VK2 last December, delightful. Speaking of dinners, the W5FOC weekend is in Santa Fe April 12-15 2018. Fred KT5X and I can promise you and Rob SOTA adventures as part of a fun weekend!

73,
John K1JD
Santa Fe, NM

Congrats John. That is a great achievement as it represents a huge amount of time, planning, and hard work for each activation. I appreciate the note about the KX-2 and automated logging. Ive often wondered if there was a better way to do it. Thanks for helping with this improvement. Now, if Elecraft could make a software update that would allow my KX-3 to do the same…
73
Mike NS1TA