Controlling the Station

K3 using Pegasus Plus

In this section: Controlling the K3, Acom 2000a amp, turning the tower, and changing antennas. If you’re using a K3/0 skip down to “Operating the Amplifier” in this section.

Operating tip – it’s best to use a mouse with a wheel for easy frequency changes.

PegasusPlus

Although it may not look exactly like a K3, it has the same functionality. In some cases, it’s easier to access certain features that either require menu configuration, or pressing keys. Buttons on the virtual radio make it easy to access some of the radio’s most used features.

Changing Frequency

The yellow frequency indicator is the main VFO. Hovering your mouse over any digit  and using the wheel on your mouse, you can go up or down in any column to change frequency.

The buttons on the far right hand side make it easy to change bands based on operating CW, SSB, or digital.

If using N1MM, you may also enter your frequency in the entry window for quick band changes.

When transmitting, the main VFO frequency will turn red.

TX Power and Volume

One of the most important features is volume control and transmitter power. TX changes transmitter power output, and VA is your main volume control. When using the amplifier, keep the TX power at about 65 watts for a full 1.5 KW, and to avoid an ARC fault.

Volume

Filters

Changing filters is easy using these buttons. They are also programmable by right clicking on any button and selecting a new filter setting. Text turns blue to indicate the filter being used.

filters

Vox

Vox operation is controlled by pressing the Vox button. When activated, the text turns blue.

vox

Preamp

Preamp turns blue when activated.

preamp

These are the most basic features to get you up and running.

Operating the Amplifier

The amplifier is an Acom 2000a. It will automatically change frequencies/bands as you do.

Acom2000a

The amp will be on and ready to go when you log in. The only feature you may want to use is placing the amp in “Standby” or “Operating.” It’s grayed out in this picture, but can be controlled by the button “OPR STB.”

If the amplifier is disconnected as in the picture above, click the CMD button. This will establish a connection. Once connected, click the ON/OFF button, then click the small window indicating “okay” to start the amplifier. During that time, it takes a couple of minutes until the amp is ready to operate.

Once ready, the amp is automatically in standby. You can toggle between operate and standby using the OPR/STB button.

Turning the Tower and Changing Antennas

The station uses band decoders to change antennas automatically as you change bands. However, to give you more operating freedom, there are some antenna changes that require manual switching. The following sections will acquaint you with these basic operations.

Turning the Tower

Entering your beam heading in the window and click “Turn.”

TurningTower

Changing Antennas

Antenna selection is done automatically as you change bands. On the Tower Select box below, the Main Tower controls all contest bands on 10m through 160m (Please note the station does not have any WARC band antennas. Only contest band antennas).

This part covers the manual selection of antennas. It’s urgent to note that if you change to the 20m JA antenna, then change bands and forget to switch back to the main tower, you’ll get a ARC fault on the amplifier due to high SWR. The amplifier is designed to withstand this type of mistake, but it’s best just avoided. Please be mindful of these changes before you change bands.

On 20m you can change from the main tower to the 20m JA mono-bander, it’s a 5 element mono-band beam fixed to Japan. Clicking “ALL” phases the JA antenna with the main tower, which is useful when propagation features EU and JA at the same time. The highlighted green box indicates antenna selection/combination.

ChangingAntennas

The bottom switch controls the 2 element 80m beam’s CW/SSB relay. 80m Beam High is SSB, 80m Beam Low is CW. Once again, please be mindful of where you are operating and the position of the switch, otherwise you’ll get an ARC fault on the amp.

Important Note About Operating on 80m and 160m

All antennas cover the entire band, except for 80m and 160m.

Acceptable SWR safety margins for operating 80m CW is from 3.500 to 3.550. 80m SSB is from 3.755 to 3.820. The lower part of CW has the best SWR, as does the DX window around 3.790 on SSB.

Acceptable SWR safety margins for operating 160m is 1.800 to 1.850 with the lowest SWR around 1.825.

Connecting a Headset

If you’re using the supplied Pegasus Plus virtual K3 software to control the radio, you’ll need a USB headset unless your computer’s sound card features a separate microphone and RX audio inputs. I use an inexpensive USB headset purchased on Amazon that has worked well. Cost is $24. Click here to see it on Amazon.

headset

Putting it All Together

Using N1MM, your screen might look something like this:

StationScreen

You can arrange the screen however you prefer based on your operating style. It is also recommended to use a computer with a wired internet connection (or strong WiFi).

In order to minimize latency, please close all non-essential programs on your PC. This includes your browser. CPU usage affects latency and minimizing CPU usage will enhance your overall experience.

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