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[3830] ARRL10 VX7CC(VE7CC) SO Mixed HP

To: <3830@contesting.com>
Subject: [3830] ARRL10 VX7CC(VE7CC) SO Mixed HP
From: ve7cc@rac.ca (ve7cc@rac.ca)
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 01:54:41 -0500 (EST)
                     ARRL 10-Meter Contest
Call: VX7CC
Operator(s): VE7CC
Station: VE7CC

Class: SO Mixed HP
Operating Time (hrs): 26

 Mode     QSOs  Mults
   CW:   1249    131
  SSB:   1827    123
Total:   3076    254  =  2,197,000



Last year I was lucky enough to operate from VE6JY?s fantastic station.  This 
year I made my first serious effort in this contest from my home station.  Joel 
VE6WQ did a super job operating from VE6JY this year.  I see where I need a few 
improvements if I am going to try to be competitive with Don?s station.  More 
about this later.

Finally got a stacked array on 10 going here just before the phone SS.  Have 4 
ele at 70 ft, 5 ele at 50, and another 5 ele at 30 ft.  To turn the lower 2 
antennas, I have to climb the tower and turn them manually, as neither one has 
a rotator on it.  They are simply mounted directly to the tower legs. The 
indicator doesn?t work for the top antenna rotator, so I made up a cable with 2 
push buttons and ran the cable outside where I could watch the antenna turn.  
Push one button, the antenna turns clockwise, push the other one and it turns 
the other way.  At least it did before the contest.  During the contest, the 
wind was so strong that I could not get the antenna to turn at times.  I rigged 
up a light to shine up the tower, so I could see in which direction the antenna 
was pointing when it was dark.  This light also came in handy when I climbed 
the tower to turn the other antennas after it got dark.  Did I mention it was 
snowing too while the wind was blowing like crazy?  During most of the contest 
it was not possible to take the time to turn these antennas.  I only made a few 
trips outside to change antenna directions.   Usually I was able to work people 
even if I didn?t have an antenna in the right direction.

There were 150,000 houses locally without power due to trees being blown down 
over power lines.  I guess I should consider myself lucky as my power only 
flickered a couple of times and never went totally off.  I have learned my 
lesson with the AC power around here.  I have a 1 kW UPS and a 1400 pound 
battery from an electric forklift.  I can operate for hours after my power goes 
off.   I have a 5 kW gasoline powered generator for longer outages.  Once 
during an SS contest my power went off for several hours during one of the peak 
periods.  That was before I had my standby system.  
Usually I wait until the last minute to get everything ready.  This time was 
going to be different.  I had my voice keyer all programmed and the CW memories 
all set hours before starting time.  Everything was ready to go.  I then tuned 
around the band just before starting time.  I found a huge pileup.  Everyone 
was calling VX7TLL.  Quickly I went to the RAC web site and found all VEs were 
allowed to use VX prefixes starting Dec 12th.   I made the decision to use that 
prefix, hoping to generate some more action.  I then had to rush and reprogram 
everything just before starting time.  

There were no clear frequencies below 28500, where I wanted to operate.  I 
found the best frequency I could.  The QRM was awful.  The pileups of Ws were 
huge.  In the first hour I had 205 QSOs.  The second I had 236. Then the band 
started to fold.  By 0400 it was totally dead.  The European opening here is 
very short.  At best I can get 2 hours per day of direct path to the western 
part - about 1630Z to1830Z.  Anything east of DL can only be worked with 
difficulty on a skewed path.  During my one and only European pileup, which 
happened on CW Sunday morning, the computer glitched out.  I had to reboot.  By 
the time I got it working again someone had moved in right next to my frequency 
and caused me a huge problem.  Most of them got away as the band was going out. 
I had spent the best part of the European opening in S & P mode, so hopefully I 
didn?t miss too many of the workable countries.  Of my 3076 contacts, I had a 
total of 184 European for the whole contest.  Being on the south side of a hill 
does have its problems.  Had a great time.  Looking forward to the next one.

Next time I will be better prepared.  I have asked my XYL to get me another 
FT1000 and amp for Christmas so I can join the SO2R club.  Another idea is to 
tie ropes to the lower 2 antennas so I can turn them from the ground.  Like Don 
VE6JY, I should put a closed circuit TV camera at the base of the tower so I 
can see where the antennas are pointed.   Then I will be ready.   That is 
unless the camera gets covered in snow.

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