ARRL DX Contest, SSB
Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Waimarama Heights
Operating Time (hrs): 28
Band QSOs Mults
80: 21 15
40: 557 54
20: 287 42
15: 108 38
10: 561 50
Total: 1543 199 Total Score = 909,828
Club: Bavarian Contest Club
Thanks for another great contest. Terrible conditions on day one for us but
great rates (at least 10m & 40m) on day 2 for a low power station.
The local Saturday morning saw my daughter Sassi (ZL2GQ) and me on the way to
our contest site in the Waimarama Heights. We installed our stations and put up
another hexbeam in preparation for the WPX contests. As we have only "armstrong"
rotators in the moment this will allow us switching between 2 directions.
Sassi was going to do 10m monoband as she could only spend very limited time
until local Sunday noon due to her high school commitments. I was planning to
do a SOAB LP entry.
The radio room in the new house is still empty and we had to put a lot of
blankets over tables and ladders to reduce the room echo.
We set up 2 stations. For 10 m it was a FT1000 MP (thanks ZL2AL) with amplifier
connected to the 6L 10m beam and the little K3 for me.
Currently our antennas are only like 7-8m apart from each other and we found
out that we could not work in parallel. The noise floor created by one to the
other transceiver was like S7-S9. I knew immediately what I forgot to bring
from home .... bandpass filters.
When the stations were installed and the antennas connected we thought
something is wrong here. No signals on 10m. The NCDXF beacon in California
could be hardly heard. 15m had only marginal signal levels. We thought of
antenna failures. Surprisingly the SWR was fine. Comparing antennas on 10 m did
show almost no signal at the hexbeam and a just audible beacon on the 6 element.
So Sassi started calling CQ into the noise on 28,500. We heated the room and our
power provider made more profit.
16 QSO's after 2 hours on 10m was the result. We could not hear a single US
station calling CQ on the band and she scanned 10m the whole time on the second
receiver. I sent Sassi home at 3 pm local or 2 am UTC, asking her to be back by
6:30 am (local) on Sunday morning and to pray for better conds.
Now I started on 15 m. S&P on the US stations was just hopeless. They obviously
were all beaming to Asia and I called into their beams with 100 W from 90
degrees. It was only frustrating. Therefore I started calling CQ myself and
made about 20 QSO's in the next hour.
I was thinking about cancelling the whole exercise and doing some work on the
house instead. Over an hour I spent calling XT2TT on 20 m CW. He was S3 here
and often calling CQ but I could not get through.
So back to the contest I moved through 20m and made a number of contacts S&P.
When people told me I have a nice signal for 100 W I looked for a frequency and
started CQing. Nothing happend until Lee passed by for a chat. He obviously
spotted me on the DX cluster and the show was on. You knew when you got spotted
as the rate moved from 12 Q/hr to something like 70-120. A nice flow of stations
started and brought some 250 Q's on 20m into the log. 2 hours before sunset I
changed to 40m and had a rate immediately. We are so lucky to be allowed over
7.2 MHz as this allows us to keep a frequency. 40m was rocking and went on for
a few hours. Bear in mind that for us North America is between 11,000 & 16,000
km away on short path. So if you run low power a rate of 70-120 Q/hr is
rocking. 80m was hard work with mainly west coast stations and the big guns
calling in surprisingly. Back in town after the contest I found out that a few
ZL's spotted me on 80. Thanks for that!
On 160 m I did not manage a single QSO. I heard a lot and tried to QSY with
many stations but no one could hear my 100 W signal.
Sunday morning at point 6:30 am (local time) Sassi showed up (good girl) and
started calling CQ into the noise again. Sporadic QSO's only. Signals of the
stations that called were reasonable but only at a rate of 1 QSO every 15
minutes. She got called by EA's but no USA. She logged them into the normal log
and obviously one of those guys spotted her on the cluster. Suddenly the QRG was
crowded and she busy to run USA. But it also dried out fast and you could really
see how every new spot caused a new wave of callers. It seems that nowadays no
one is tuning the bands but only looking at the DX cluster spots. Or no one
beams to the South Pacific.
When she had to leave again before noon she had 254 QSO's in the log with 43
states/provinces. I felt really sorry for her because we had much better runs
in the past.
We now had 24 hours into the contest. I had about 550 QSO in the log, 20 Q's
each on 80m and 15m and the rest 50/50 split between 20 & 40 m. When Sassi left
I took over and called on 10m. It was a slow rate for an hour and a half to get
60 QSO's . Same again on 15m to make another 40 QSO's here. No chance with S&P.
US stations with S9 signals were calling CQ and didn't hear me. While I called
CQ US stations start calling right on top of me.
I changed to 20m later but could not repeat the runs from the day before. I
managed only 30-40 QSO's. A lot of European and Asian stations called me. N2II
from New York told me he was listening to my frequency for over 30 minutes and
I would have a nice signal on a clear frequency. He could not understand that
no one answers.
Around 5-6 pm local time I went down to 40 m and called CQ above 7200. We are
lucky to be allowed in the US phone band as this limits the competition. 40m
started immediately with a constant flow and did not stop until I finished
around 2 am local (1 pm Sunday UTC). In between I tried 80/160 m but not a
single new contest station in the second night entered the log. In between I
checked the other bands including WARC and worked TX5K up and down. He was my
only 160m QSO on the weekend.
Local Monday morning showed busy bands and loud signals. I was hoping to get
some runs on 15m like ZM1A had the day before. It was frustrating to listen to
Jacky on 15m busy working states and I only called CQ without response. It did
not happen. I made some 40 QSO's for a total of 108Q's on 15m and decided to
bet on 10m.
10m was wide open and I could hear a lot of stations from Europe. I knew there
would be masses of PY's & LU's which I could not hear. So I moved down to 28357
and started calling here. After 15+ min I obviously got spotted and the fire was
on. Rate counter between 150 and 250. It only slowed down the last hour before
the contest. I made another attempt on 15m as I only had a few multis here but
the band was full of JA's and everybody was beaming to Asia again. So I went
back to 10m were I hardly could hear any Asians on the hexbeam facing North
By the end of the day the result was not too bad for a low power entry.
Stations that beamed to us told me I have a nice signal for 100 W but it does
not help if you can't make this into QSO's. I had a few breaks in between were
I did some minor work around the house. Overall operating time in the chair was
about 28 hours.
80m single vertical
40m 2 element
20m 2 element
15m 2 element
10m 6 element
If points would be given per distance like in UHF/VHF contests the results &
records would look very different. California is further away from New Zealand
than it is from Central Europe and the distance ZL-W1 is about 3 time W1-DL!
73 Holger, ZL3IO
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