Some weeks ago, I purchased a Hermes SDR. At home I am only qrv on 10GHz, but it could be nice to try to use it on 144MHz in a contest. Then yesterday, the first NAC contest on 144MHz took place, what a contest, the result is here.
Normally we work with an Icom IC-756 ProII and a DB6NT transverter.
Can a SDR transceiver be used in a NAC 2m contest, my answer is yes, but you need to do a few things (in my opinion).
1) If you don’t like to call cq all the time, you have to find some voice-keyer, the IC-756 has one build in.
2) If you don’t like to use a mouse, you have to find some USB Controlled Tuning Knob or something else
As voice keyer, we used one from K9DUR, if you don’t want to make extra cables you can just use it at the same PC as we use for PowerSDR. You then need a virtual audio cable (VAC) to pass audio from the voicekeyer to PowerSDR.
You also need a virtual null modem cable, to pass the PTT to PowerSDR. I used VAC and Com0Com.
As Tuning knob, we used a Hercules DJControl, and then we can move a lot more knobs/buttons out of the PC. DH1TW made some code for using a DJControl, and the guys from OpenHPSDR implemented it in the PowerSDR from OpenHPSDR.
Here how it looks in our first draft setup:
And how did it perform ? I think we will use it in the next contest again, the sound from the SDR is better as the one from the Icom 756proII, maybe it’s because we used the equalizer, to fine tune the sound. No one complaint about our tx signal, so I guess that was also ok.
Here our setup inside the caravan, it’s a portable setup, and we need to make it a lot better, but we still manage to work 290 qso’s in 4 hours, conditions a little above normal.
If you want more info, just contact me.
Here OZ1LPR as operator.