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[3830] OkQP NO5W Rover-Multi-Xmtr LP

To: 3830@contesting.com
Subject: [3830] OkQP NO5W Rover-Multi-Xmtr LP
From: webform@b41h.net
Reply-to: no5w@consolidated.net
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 10:37:41 -0700
List-post: <3830@contesting.com">mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    Oklahoma QSO Party

Call: NO5W
Operator(s): NO5W, KU5B, W5ZL
Station: NO5W

Class: Rover-Multi-Xmtr LP
Operating Time (hrs): 18

 Band  CW-Dig Qs  Ph Qs
   40:    1039      33
   20:     241      15
   15:      18        
Total:    1298      48  Mults = 57  Total Score = 227,430

Club: Central Texas DX and Contest Club


Station 1:K3, Garmin 18PC GPS, Navigator USB Interface, Hi-Q 4/80 with MFJ 1924

Station 2: IC-7000, Pharos GPS, MicroHam CW Keyer, Little Tarheel with MFJ 1924

APRS Station: Kenwood TM-D710A with Y-connected Garmin 18PC GPS
Aux Power: Deka 75 AHr AGM battery with Super PowerGate in W1ZR Configuration
Laptops: Dell D400, Dell  Inspiron 6000. Both running XP
Logging Programs: CQ/X
Colin-KU5B and I drove up Friday from Houston to Ardmore to meet Gary-W5ZL who
was in Ardmore on business. We were greeted to a beautiful sunny afternoon with
temps in the 70s. It was good shirt sleeve weather for making final preparations
on the NO5W OkieMobile and a reminder that the next day would be the first day
of Spring. Ah Spring, we hardly got to know ya.

Gary had already reported that he had been tracking us on APRS on our way up so
that was working and one less thing to worry about.  Colin and I had spent a
couple of days back in The Woodlands trying to get NO5W-9 to appear on the
aprs.fi site with no luck so we were delighted to find that our setup was
correct and the main problem had been one of coverage. If we could sing we'd be
chiming right in on the chorus with Curly from Oklahoma, while checking the
antennas, making sure the computer interfaces were working, and refreshing
everyone's memory on the use of CQ/X:  

        Oh, what a beautiful Mornin'
        Oh, what a beautiful day.
        I've got a beautiful feelin'
        Everything's goin' my way.

Well that was not quite the way it was going to turn out. On Friday evening we
watched the Weather Channel and unfortunately the reports confirmed the rumors
we'd heard before leaving Houston, that something was brewing out west and that
we had better bring our jackets and gloves. It was hard to believe the weather
men were right on this one but coming out of the apartment at 6:45am Saturday
morning to head to the local McD for a quick breakfast made us believers. It
was "OMG --  did we sign up for the OKQP or the MNQP?". Mother nature hadn't
received the first day of Spring memo. It wasn't a beautiful morning and, as we
would find out later, everything was not going our way. 

Sitting out in the McD parking lot after breakfast with the sleet coming down
ever harder we polled the crew and found one (W5ZL) who had lived in Colorado,
and another (NO5W) who had spent a few winters in Wisconsin and Minnesota. With
two out of three comfortable with winter driving we figured the odds were good
we'd be able to stay out of the arroyo and make it through OK although it was
looking like our original planned route, which would have been ambitious under
good driving conditions, would have to be modified. It was decided we'd start
out on the original route and that by the time we reached Oklahoma City late in
the afternoon we would decide whether to turn north to Stillwater, our planned
Saturday stopover, or return back south down I-35 to Ardmore for the night and
to work out a new Sunday route east of town.

So away we went into southwestern Oklahoma with Colin running stations on 40m
from the front seat and Gary stirring up some business on 20m in the rear seat
using the IC-7000. Although the winds were ferocious the roads were clear and
by the time we reached Stephens county we were close to being on schedule. I
was driving and giving my XYL a status update on the cell when, as we entered
the city of Marlow, Gary became excited: â??Smoke, smoke, somethings burning,
pull over, pull over, off the road, off the road.â?? Glancing in the rear view
mirror I saw a small mushroom coming from the vicinity of the IC-7000 body,
dropped the cell,  pulled off the road, and ran to open the rear hatch.
Relieved that nothing was on fire, the smoke was gone, but unfortunately so was
the transmit power from the IC-7000. We were down to being a multi-single and
puzzled about what had happened to the radio as we weren't transmitting at the
time, the SWR was good, and the temperature gauge on the radio had been
indicating normal temperature. Needless to say a quick assurance call was made
to inform my XYL that, while we had lost a radio, everything else was under
control. Actually the IC-7000 was cooked but not completely done as we were
able to make several contacts to Europe on 15m with power output that must have
been in the 1-2 watt range â?? at least it was low enough that it wouldn't move
the power meter. That was a good reminder of what can be done on 15m when it's

The rest of the morning was uneventful with Colin continuing to run stations on
40m with good success and although the roads were getting progressively worse we
were making good time. One advantage, if you can call it that, of losing the
IC-7000, was it freed up Gary to conjure up some entertainment, intentioned or
otherwise. Somewhere east of Frederick we passed through Hamm Ville, a burg so
small it is not even on my Streets and Trips map nor on Google so I'm not sure
exactly where it is. But of course being hams we had to have a picture of the
OkieMobile parked by the road sign. Gary drew the assignment for the photo-op
and kept Colin and me entertained. As he leaned against the wind to get the
pictures he could have easily been one of those CNN or Weather Channel
reporters that you see out in the hurricanes. Finally back in the Pathfinder
Gary was cold but was tuned up for one of his best impersonations of Garyevich
from Okie Siberia. We had a good laugh and Colin even captured some of it on
his Flip camera. And we reminded ourselves that QSOs were important but the
comradeship was one of the reasons we had come back for a third year. And we
headed on toward Altus and lunch.

By a little after noon we had reached Altus, our planned lunch/gas stop. From
Altus it wouldn't make sense to backtrack to Ardmore along the route just
traveled so we were committed to continuing and, even though the snow was
falling faster, we took some comfort in the fact that I-40 was not far ahead
and surely that highway would provide clear sailing from Beckham county back to
Oklahoma City. After lunch and gas we headed north out of Altus with Gary behind
the wheel and Colin taking an operating break to attempt to get the streaming
video working. North of Altus were some of the worse roads on the trip and when
we reached Highway 9 that would take us over to Harmon county we decided that it
hadn't been plowed and didn't look passable so we continued on up Highway 6 into
Beckham county. It was here that we got an indication that APRS was working and
was actually being viewed when someone called in on 40m CW with â??YOU MISSED
YOUR TURNâ?? to which I replied, "YEP BAD ROAD SRI". Harmon was the first
county we had to omit from our planned route. Then when we finally reached I-40
the traffic was backed up on I-40 going west so we decided to bypass Roger Mills
as well. Our apologies if you needed either of those two and were counting on us
to provide them. 

For the most part I-40 was clear going east and we made good time most of the
way but others had not been so fortunate as there were many cars and some
18-wheelers in the ditches. Our slowest stretch was around the Calumet exit
where, according to the track on aprs.fi, our speed was reduced to 4 mph for
about half an hour. Finally Canadian county ended and we were back in the
Oklahoma City area. Disappointed that we would miss out on a planned dinner
with Jerry-K5YAA and Gene-W5LE in Stillwater we headed south on I-35 back
toward Ardmore having missed only two of the planned Saturday counties (Harmon
and Roger Mills) and adding several counties that were on the original Sunday
list (Murray, Garvin, and Love). 

After dinner and back at the apartment we reconvened discussions of what to do
on Sunday. Our only real option was to cover some of the counties east and
south of I-40 so Colin went to work, developed a new Sunday route, built and
posted the KML file for Google Maps, and built the county line crossings and
waypoints files. Sunday morning it was up and out into the cold again,
breakfast at the McD's and off we headed east. 

To our dismay, and some disbelief, our first QSO came back with a report of
599C. Chirp from the K3 that had been running like a top all Saturday â?? how
can that be? We worked a few more with the same report and answers to the
question of how bad came back â??pretty bad but easy to find your signal -
hiâ??. Not exactly what we wanted to hear. The first theory was that the
battery powering the K3 was low and the vehicle power hadn't been able to
recharge it fast enough as we continued to suck power from it. So we switched
over to vehicle power for the K3 but the problem remained. Then it was decided
to go to 20m to see if the chirp was present on that band. The first signal
report on 20m was 599 and, when asked, the station replied â??clean signalâ??.
We continued to run some Qs on 20m and then went back to 40m and the first
station came back with â??599 no chirpâ??. And then every station we worked
chimed in  with â??no chirpâ??. Well we're not sure what the problem was but it
may have been related to operating a very cold radio that, even though solid
state, just needed a little warm up time.

Up until around 11:00am CDT the Sunday roads in the east were not much better
than the worst ones we had seen in the west on Saturday but after that they
were clear and we were able to cover Colin's route without a problem and
arrived back in Ardmore, and ready for lunch, just as the closing bell rang. 

Band conditions, especially 40m, were good and although road conditions caused
us to fall shy of the original thirty-six counties we did manage to activate
the following twenty-nine with the indicated number of QSOs: Carter(107),
Marshall(83), Pittsburg(79), Stephens(72), Canadian(62), Caddo(61),
Tillman(61), Bryan(57), Atoka(55), Johnston(52), Jefferson(50), Jackson(48),
Cotton(45), Custer(45), Comanche(42), Pontotoc(40), Garvin(38), Beckham(37),
Greer(36), Hughes(36), Love(35), Grady(35), Blaine(35), Kiowa(35), McClain(35),
Murray(34), Cleveland(32), Oklahoma(29), and  Washita(23).
I don't know if they were viewing the APRS but generally the followers were
quick to find us as we crossed into a new county providing that rush that makes
QSO party operating so much fun for the mobiles. Due to the failure of the
IC-7000 most of the following initial ten minute hourly rates were enjoyed by a
single operator: Stephens(312), Grady(204), Cotton(192), Tillman(180),
Kiowa(180), Jefferson(180), Jackson(174), Murray(174), Comanche(174),
Canadian(174), Custer(168), Hughes(168), Beckham(162), Blaine(162), Greer(162),
Johnston(156), Marshall(156), Carter(156), Oklahoma(156), McClain(150),
Cleveland(150), Bryan(144), Love(138), Pittsburg(120), Garvin(108), Atoka(96),
Washita(90), Caddo(90), Pontotoc(72). 
The OKQP is a well-attended party with many operators outside of OK devoting a
good part of their weekend to the event. Thanks to the following frequent
callers for contributing more than half of our QSOs, we certainly enjoyed
putting you in our log: W9OO(39), N2CU(36), W7GVE(33), W0BH(31), K5OT(31),
N6MU(31), W5ESE(30), N5XG(30), K0PC(29), N4CD(28), N4IG(27), OM2VL(27),
AD5WI(27), WB2ABD(24), AF9T(23), W0GXQ(23), K0HNC(22), NX5M(22), WA0L(21),
N4RS(20), KI0Y(20), W0VX(20), K9EN(20), K5WAF(19), K4ZGB(18), N9FC(17),
NW6S(17), KO1U(17). Note that dupes have not been removed from these numbers.

So for the third year in a row we had a great time in the OKQP. This year we
successfully tried APRS and streaming video, two technologies new to us, and
made it through the weather without any major problems. Thanks to the OKDXA and
especially Jerry-K5YAA for all the work that goes into making the OKQP a
success. We'll certainly be back in 2011 and hopefully this time we'll be back
either before or after the snow flies but not during and with a route that will
allow us to make that dinner date. 



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