Well, I didn’t make a clean sweep this past weekend in the ARRL Phone Sweepstakes. But I did plug in my microphone and get on the air.

That hasn’t always been the case. In fact, for many years my microphone was in the junk box in my closet. However, since I’ve been working VHF and UHF contests as well as satellites, the microphone has been in use quite a bit.

During the ARRL June VHF contest this year it became apparent that I needed some practice. Six meters was really hopping and I even did some running. So since that time I’ve been giving thought on how to improve my phone operation.

I acquired a Koss SB-45 headset and a footswitch, both via Walmart’s website. This was going to be a very low-cost upgrade. The Koss headset works well and with the rear panel jacks on my Elecraft K3 (with microphone bias turned on), it worked quite well. The footswitch was a general purpose single-pole double-throw (about $10) that I wired up with a phono plug and connected to the PTT jack.

So on Saturday, I got N1MM+ set up and the rig turned on. I managed to work 70 QSOs and a few sections. It was fun and not nearly as fast paced as the CW contests. Plus, I heard quite a few patient operators helping the other side of the QSO figure out their ARRL section. Not once did I get called a LID, which does happen in the CW contests where you’re not responding quickly enough.

It was fun, even though I didn’t put in much of an appearance. And, I feel that I’m better prepared for the next phone contest.

Thanks to those who worked me and a few that dug my signal out of the QRN, QRM, and QSB.




  1. A year ago, I collected all the recommendations I could find about voice setup for my Elecraft KX3 into a blog post. Some of the most experienced advice came from K3 owners. Luckily, the TX EQ settings are the same for the K3 and KX3 (and probably the KX2). The advice on compression is more useful if you have the K3 DVR. The KX3 includes a DVR.

    You can skip the KX3-specific stuff (like the mic bias), and let me know what you think of the rest.


What do you think?