I have never been a fan of the PL-259 coaxial cable connector. Many RF engineers have stated there would have been much better choices, but it is what it is.
Completing the cable shield connection to the body of the PL-259 has been a hassle for many. Those small openings inhibit a decent flow of solder. Having a excellent electrical connection to the body of the PL-259, is as important as the center conductor connection.
Tinning the braid of the coaxial cable before mechanically attaching the PL-259 helps quite a bit during the soldering process, but still there has to be a better connector, making the process easier and more efficient.
I have found a better PL259 connector. At least for me. Instead of having 5 or 6 small holes for soldering the coaxial cable shield to the body of the connector, this PL259 features rectangular openings. These openings make it much easier to complete a secure electrical connection. I have been using these connectors for over 2 years, and have had zero issues. IMO, installation is quicker, better, and more efficient. You can find these on Amazon.
Did a lot of dipole/doublet comparison this weekend. Especially on 60 meters. I now have ZERO coaxial fed dipoles installed. The only HF antenna I now have that is fed via a coaxial cable is my Force12 Yagi. All others are 450 ohm open wire fed. Most hams will not use open wire, due to it takes more effort to properly install the feedline. Many hams are just too lazy to put forth the effort.
One of the best tools I began using to assist in working DX is HamClock. I had several Raspberry Pi’s hanging around, so I took one, re-imaged it, installed and configured the Linux version of HamClock. Found an old LCD monitor with a HDMI input, wall mounted it next to the station, and been happy with the performance every since. VOACAP has been fairly accurate in it’s DX propagation prediction.
The Palstar HF-AUTO and LA-1K really shined this weekend.
It was very nice having a little extra power available this weekend during the CQ WPX contest. As most of us realize, it’s your antenna system and operator skill that makes or breaks your station during a contest. I have always said, most anyone can get on-air and talk about the weather and yesterdays news, and other meaningless bullshit, but it takes more skill to efficiently operate your station in not so ideal conditions.
However, having a little extra power available to feed into my antenna system really made a difference. With both the Palstar HF-AUTO and LA-1K being fully automatic, no fiddling with tuning controls made this one of the easiest contest we’ve worked, ever. Hear them. Work them.
We found between 800-900 watts PEP out is all we needed to break most pile-ups. Very seldom did we ever have to make more than one or two attempts to be being heard. The Yaesu FTDX101MP (and knowing how to properly operate the transceiver) performed wonderfully. Did not make any changes in any of my normal settings. Did however run about 3dB’s of audio compression.