I’m the Digi modes station this ARRL Field Day, so just plopped in a Chinese 15.6MHz TCXO purchased on eBay for $13.99 in the Kenwood TS-480SAT. I had such good performance from the one I put in the 590SG, I found one that hadn’t yet been soldered to a board, so I soldered it to the removable PCB board where the optional filters go. Cut the R103 & R104 wires per the manual and cross checked against an 800Hz tone in CW mode. So far it seems on point, but I’ll have to run the WWV test within Fldigi for a few hours to do a full test. Usually the 480sat is known to be off frequency a bit, but these alternative TCXOs work great based on my experience and from what I’ve read from others online they’ll get you within a few Hz. My hands were extra shaky soldering this thing on, very small holes to deal with on the board, but I was surprised at how the holes just sucked the solder right up!
I wanted a bit more accuracy since i’ll be running PSK31 specifically. This will actually be the second time I’ve ever attempted PSK31, so I’m hoping to get some practice in before Field Day this weekend. I’ve watched enough YouTube videos, read enough tutorials, and I think I understand where most frustration comes from with digi modes at this point! I purchased a RigBlaster Advantage recently at HamCom so that I can use it with my 480sat & my Elecraft KX3. This external sound card interface is really a well built device, and I never realized how much I would appreciate having controls to the levels of audio on a box, rather than adjusting from within the menus on the computer. There’s something to be said about knobs & buttons, lol! It took a bit of fiddling with to get everything working right… I’m still trying to figure out some of what all the other settings should be when in this mode, this will certainly be something I want to do a write up on once I’ve figured everything out and had some successful QSO’s on PSK31. RTTY is used too for contesting, no particular reason why I went with PSK31 other than it seemed to be the next popular digital mode next to the JT modes.
The above will be the exact setup that I use for Field Day this year. Kenwood TS-480SAT – Rigblaster Advantage – HP 840G1 Laptop w/ Extended battery – Bioenno 20aH & 9aH. We’re operating our radios off of battery power/generator power for this contest, so i’ll definitely have to be conservative with my operating style. Some other folks are planning on bringing some spare SLA batteries for extra juice, so we should be good to go, hopefully we don’t all end up having to recharge at the same time!
Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to drop a dose of its wrath on Austin this weekend, but the forecast has been all over the place due to its changing course. Hoping for some good weather, however, i’m not taking any chances – our accommodations will be a bit more comfortable this time around.