CQWW WPX - CW
Class: SO(TS)AB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 36
Band QSOs Prefixes
Total: 3628 x 868 = 10,104,388
This was my first single op contest expedition out of the U. S. for a DX
contest. Having had a taste of the fun, it won?t be my last.
When I signed up to go to the Signal Point location in Curacao, I knew the
antenna setup would be simple, as the big towers and antennas were scheduled to
go up after CW WPX. What I didn?t know when I signed up was that I would have
to bring my radios because all of the Signal Point radios were broken.
Murphy struck big time upon my arrival in Curacao. Despite packing my radios in
regular suitcases, customs decided to ask me about what was in my bags,
probably due to my having two large suitcases, one small one, and all kinds of
cables dangling from my computer backpack. When the inspector asked me the
value my radios and equipment, I told him a low twenty-five hundred. He checked
with his supervisor who said I would have to make a deposit to bring the
equipment into the country. Unfortunately, the place to make the deposit was in
town and it closed at 4 P. M. Because my plane was late, it was now past 3:30
P. M. For some reason, the supervisor was a real SOB and told me it was too
late to get the paperwork done. More unfortunately, the next day (Thursday) was
a local holiday, Friday the office was closed to make a four day weekend, so I
could make my deposit and get my radios on Monday. Great? They wound up
extorting $443 out of me for duty. I will note that I didn?t prepare an invoice
in advance as had been suggested, but I suspect a complete invoice with a value
of 50% of true value would have been more than $2,500.
The good news was that when I got to the station, the radios worked. The bad
news was the recent shipment of towers, antennae and hardline was stacked in
the second bedroom, making the closet with the 2nd and 3rd amps unavailable.
I started early Thursday morning tuning the 40 and 80 meter delta loops for CW.
That went easily enough. Then I put together an A3S for the second radio. That
went easily enough until I tried to push up the push up mast which couldn?t be
pushed or pulled. The A3S wound up sitting about six inches above the aluminum
roof on a tower without a rotor. It was pretty useless. Getting up and down
from the roof on a ladder a few feet too short took its toll on my body. My
forearms have the bruises to show it from hanging on the corregated roof while
my feet tried to find the ladder. One time I kicked the ladder over on the way
up and had to drop to the ground on the way down.
By dinner time I was really beat. One good thing about the QTH is that there is
a resort a few minutes walk down the road. The food was surprisingly good.
Thursday night featured a Calypso band. The resort also has a casino, but I
never saw the inside. Thursday night and Friday was spent setting up the
radios, computer and antenna switching. I had brought my Bird A/B antenna
switch and there were two regular antenna switches at the shack so I was able
to set it up so I could put the antennas on either radio and use the CL33 (at
56?) on the 2nd radio when using the 40 meter delta loop on the CQ radio.
Seemed like a great idea at the time, but 40 meters was so noisy, not to
mention 20 meters being open all night, I didn?t spend much time on it. Murphy
got me during set up when I burned up the 20 meter section on my bandpass
filter. I think I transmitted into the wrong antenna. Fortunately I had a
I took a long nap late Friday afternoon and was chomping at the bit for the
action to start. Murphy got me again when the run radio took a few characters
to fully power up, but only when connected to the amp. With a poor 79 QSOs in
the log after the first hour, I took an off-time and swapped radios. I got back
on and had my best hour of the contest at 133 QSOs.
I had printed out the HC8N breakdown from last year to use as a benchmark. They
had a number of hours over 130 and topped out at 155. I thought I could match
that, at least for a few hours even with only a tribanders at 56?. Boy was I
wrong. It doesn?t take much for the rate to go in the toilet. A little QRM at
the wrong time, a couple of fills on the number ?
It didn?t help that the radio I had moved into the run radio slot had a problem
when the AGC was turned off. The RF Gain control stopped working, but only if
there was a loud signal present before the RF Gain was turned down. Very weird.
If I turned the RF Gain down with no signal present and then tuned up the band
to a strong signal, it would work. I didn?t spend much time on it, but so much
for the AGC Off strategy of pile-up management.
Speaking of pile-up management, I made sure I signed my call after no more than
3 QSOs and usually after each. One time, I guess I had made 3 QSOs without
giving my call, a VERY loud station sends ?CALL?? right over the current QSO?s
number. I sent ?NR?? This lid sends ?CALL?? right over the number. This went on
perhaps six times before I was able to get the number.
133, 130 hours, I decided it was time for some 6 point action on 40 meters.
Wrong again. The 80 meter loop heard better on 40 meters than the 40 meter
loop. And I couldn?t put the amp on 80 meters because the radio would go key
down after 150 ? 200 watts. I wound up with ZERO QSOs on 80 meters and just
over 300 QSOs on 40 meters. Definitely not part of the plan.
I was lucky 20 was open all night. It was amazing how many hams from Russia and
the former USSR countries were active with a cornucopia full of prefixes too.
The Czeck?s cornucopia was nearly empty. 150 QSOs, 2 prefixes.
Except for one 4 hour off period when I slept three hours, most of my off-times
were of the 1 hour variety. I made one mistake taking an hour off in the middle
of a 10 hour period with rates averaging over 110. I?m sure I made a few more
off-time blunders, but for a left coast contester to run EU all day and all
night on 10 through 20 meters, it seemed like any time could be an off-time,
given they have to be taken.
I made my goals of 3600 QSOs and 850 mults. I was short on my score goal since
I made so few 6 point QSOs.
73, Ken, K6LA
Posted using 3830 Score Submittal Forms at: http://www.hornucopia.com/3830score/
FAQ on WWW: http://www.contesting.com/FAQ/3830
Administrative requests: 3830-REQUEST@contesting.com