After being at the station anyway I decided to take some time to also install my RRC-Micro again which was just laying around after some initial tests and a review in FUNKAMATEUR magazine a few years ago. I really do prefer a physical interface during remote ops, i.e. having real knobs to twist, therefor my setup using a K3 + K3/0 mini (and Icoms with detached frontpanels before). Nevertheless it should be good to have an alternative solution when on the road and “having a need” to suddenly do remote ops, i.e. when a Sporadic-E opening occurs during summer. 😉

Having installed and confirmed everything was working properly I decided it might be good idea to hand out a few points during the Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge which took place the night from 26th to 27th December this year. It interfered a little with Christmas family business thus I was not going to the local station 20 km away but doing it remotely from my mom’s home every now and then. I have to admit it was quite a strange feeling sitting on mom’s couch, starring at the Christmas tree, having the laptop on my knees and doing a 160 m CW contest. 😀

Was only using my K3 barefoot this time, thus just 100 W and our lazy loop. I had about 1 second audio delay as the RRC-Micro application was buffering that amount of time. One can still handle it but the RRC boxes with detached radio front panels work without any discernable delay in the audio chain so there might be some tweaking potential for the PC application. After getting used to it it was quite easy going. Even calling CQ myself worked ufb! I was astonished to be called by RA9Y from MO92, that’s already 4.500 km, not too bad for the small setup. Also worked RM9Y/LP51 and 5B4AMM/KM65 both at around 2.400 km. That was it concerning DX dir east. From west only VO1NA/GN37 could be raised at 4.600 km although hearing a few more (but weak). Went to bad at 0:30z as it was just a leisurely remote activity. 😉

Getting up at 4:30z again to follow “body’s desires” 😉 I decided to switch on everything again and take a listen to the band. Could hear quite a number of North American stations then and while being almost QRP the following guys had really good ears and picked up my small signal although they were not too strong themselves: K1WHS/FN43 (good old Dave), W1UE/FN41, K5ZD/FN42, K1KI/FN32, and NO3M/EN91 being the ODX at 6.700 km. Was also great to work Mike, VE9AA/FN66. We have worked dozens of QSOs already but never on 160 m, great ears, Mike! 😎

What I really like about the TBDC is using the 4-digit locator as exchange and awarding points based on distance. Feels a bit like VHF contesting. 😉 Did 188 QSOs with 722 points in total. It was real fun and I really need to plan one of the next TBDCs for a serious entry again.

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