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August CQ VHF

Subject: August CQ VHF
From: HENRYPOL@aol.com (HENRYPOL@aol.com)
Date: Fri Jul 19 23:55:08 1996
Picked up a copy of CQ VHF at the local Books A Million.

Front cover photo of Ken, KP4XS inside his unique shack with a nice writeup
inside.  Plus Ken wrote one of the issue's feature articles.  Way-to-go CQ
VHF staff!  

OK, so why am I posting this on the contest reflector?  There are several
items that may be of interest to both HF and VHF contesters.  Some have been
the subject of previous threads/postings.

Contest related articles: Antennas and Deed Restrictions; "Incoming" - An
Introduction to Meteor Scatter; "CQ Scatter" - A Meteor Scatter Operating
Primer; "Crazy Marine 93" (contest expedition to grid square CM-93); "CPR"
for Drowned Radios; and Basics - Grid Squares.

73 & good reading,
Henry Pollock - WB4HFL

>From 0006008716@mcimail.com (Doug Grant)  Sat Jul 20 04:10:00 1996
From: 0006008716@mcimail.com (Doug Grant) (Doug Grant)
Message-ID: <21960720031012/0006008716DC1EM@MCIMAIL.COM>

THis is a warning -

the next 2 messages from me will be, ahem, rather lengthy rambles about my
WRTC experience.

If you really aren't interested in the ambiance of the events surrounding the
contest, or the notes I took during the contest, DO NOT READ THE NEXT TWO
MESSAGES FROM "k1dg@mcimail.com" with SUBJECT fields of K1DG WRTC - SOCIAL and 

Perhaps someone will copy them to a Web page, or arrange for printing on paper.

Doug  K1DG  (1/2 of W6I)

>From 0006008716@mcimail.com (Doug Grant)  Sat Jul 20 04:12:00 1996
From: 0006008716@mcimail.com (Doug Grant) (Doug Grant)
Message-ID: <70960720031207/0006008716DC1EM@MCIMAIL.COM>

WRTC Social Memories
Doug Grant


I arrived a bit earlier than planned, having made an earlier connection in 
Chicago. When I got to SF, I picked up the rental car and drove to the Motel 6. 
Several of the guys were standing around the reception area and recognized me 
as I drove in. Gree
 all the boys and registered, then went back to the airport to pick up K5ZD and 
K1AR. While looking for them, I hear "Hey, DG!" across the baggage claim area, 
and it's WX3N also looking for those guys and hoping they have a ride for him. 
When AR steps 
side the baggage claim area, the first car he spots is a white stretch limo. He 
looks to me with a hopeful expression, but sorry John, it's the Chevy over 

We pull into the Motel, and the socializing revs up for a few hours. Most of 
the guys are pretty relaxed, but there are a few notable exceptions. One guy in 
particular is so wound up people are wondering if he'll make it all the way to 
Saturday before 
ing a breakdown. Then the buses show up to take us to the Coyote Point 
barbecue. When we get there, the crowd is huge. It's a reunion for the WRTC-90 
gang, a place to meet the new guys, and seeing old friends of all sorts. Over 
there, some of the DX vi
ors are taking FCC exams. K7SS is collecting autographs on his sweatshirt; I 
like the idea, and do the same with a T-shirt over the next few days. 

My sister Georgia (KE6KRT) and her husband Paul are there, and I introduce him 
as my "other" brother-in-law. I think they are amazed as all these guys stop by 
our table to say hello - it seems everyone there knows me and John. I pause for 
a moment and 
lize that WZ6Z, ON4UN, and I are coincidentally sitting at the same table. That 
meant that 3 of the 4  guys who kept the "Lithuania Emergency Net" going a 
while back were at one table (only N4ZC was missing...).

I decide to begin collecting interesting anecdotes in my usual Dayton notebook, 
but I stop after about 30 minutes. I simply cannot keep up with all the 
interactions, and decide to rely on my memory. One thing I remember is some guy 
with a T-shirt that 
d "Second Place is the First Loser". Yeah, I suppose you could look at it that 
way. But I think there were a lot of non-losers there. N2AA is wearing a 
T-shirt that says "Loud is Good". I agree with that one!

When we all go back to the hotel, the party goes until well past midnight. N2IC 
(who drove out from CO with radios worth more than his car) told of being 
tailgated by "some jerk" who turned out to be UA6HZ/WJ1R. UA9BA is trying to 
find someone who can 
nk as much vodka as he can (only AI6V is close...). K8CC says he was practicing 
on the plane ride to SF with NA in practice mode. Some guy kept staring at him 
from the row behind him. After a while, the stranger said  "I know what you're 
doing", and in
duced himself as Krassy, AA1ND/LZ1SA, one of the Bulgarian team members.

Later, the hotel sprinkler goes off to water the lawn, and lots of the boys get 
real wet real fast.


I have a project at work that requires me to meet with some people from a 
Silicon Valley company. Since I am in W6, I decide to take this day to "do 
lunch" with them, rather than log yet another cross-country plane flight for 
one meeting. Someone annou
s that the stock market has croaked because HP announced poor earnings. I check 
my favorite stock, and it's down almost 25% in one day. Somehow I don't mind 
too much. But maybe if the lunch thing goes well...

Someone recalls K5ZD saying he'd be happy to come in 5th in this contest. We 
turn the placemat at our table into a 5th-place certificate and present it to 
him ("Now go home"). KR0Y remarks that there are more Europeans in the 
restaurant than on the ban

After breakfast, I drive up to my sister's place and pick up my 940, her 
antenna tuner, and then off to the lunch thing. After lunch, I drive over to 
KD6UO's remote station in Alameda and pick up the IC781 he has agreed to lend 
us. Things are on schedu
 and then I drive up to Martinez for the Shell Oil party.

Again, when the buses arrive, it's non-stop yakking among judges, competitors, 
staff, and even regular locals who just wanted to drop by and rub elbows with 
the boys. After it ends, we head back to the Motel 6, and it's another late 


We are told to meet for the pre-Contest briefing at 8:45 AM. The judges finally 
finish their meeting at 10 and we go in. While waiting, I share nightmares with 
WX3N. I have dreamed that after operating in the WRTC on CW for a while and 
with the first 1
 Qs in the log, John decides we should go to phone. We then realize that we 
have left the mike at the Motel 6, and I speed off to get it. On the way to the 
car, I bump into AA6MC, who tells me that the team at his QTH has 2500 Qs 
already. I panic. Then
wake up.

Dave's nightmare is that for some reason he and ZD forget to operate phone 
during the contest.

John and I decide to work the head games. We put on our gold medals from 1990 
when we make our entrance. The response is a mix of boos and catcalls (which we 
expect) and several guys who just want to see the medals. The games are 
reversed when N6TV inv
s John and me up to the front of the room to present us with ear-wax removal 
kits, in recognition of our advancing ages and obviously deteriorated hearing 
skills. Then we are invited to draw the first station assignment envelope. We 
have drawn S50R as 
 judge and KK6WP in Berkeley as our station. Leo gets our other envelope - the 
sealed one with the callsign. While the remaining drawings are going on, we 
call WP's wife, and tell her that we'll be there after 2 PM. Then off to lunch.

Driving to WP is a long haul through Friday afternoon EBay traffic. As we pull 
off the freeway and head East into Berkeley, we see hills in the distance and 
pray that we'll be either on top of, or on the other side of the hills. But we 
run out of road.
e station is well short of the top of the hill. It's a residential 
neighborhood, and there's a 2-element Gem quad on a crank-up mast with one of 
those WRTC 40M dipoles hanging under it, inverted-vee style.

We get there at 3, and set up the radios and computer. My brain is fried. I 
assemble the A/B relay system four times before I think I have it right. We 
test for interference from Radio A into the spotting rig, and it's moderate. We 
play with filters, t
rs, etc., and arrive at a reasonable solution. We make a few Qs, comparing with 
a few other anonymous WRTCers on 15 to K7SV and NA4K. They say we're "about 
equal". It's frustrating to use KK6WP's call and tell everyone my name is 
Steve, but we've been 
ned not to use our real identities on the air at all.

After setting up, our host recommends a nearby Thai restaurant and we go there 
for dinner. Then we pick up some groceries for the contest, and go back to the 
station to check out 20M. N6Ek, who lives several blocks away, drops by to let 
us know that he
 be active, but is willing to turn off the amp or change bands if he gets in 
our way. What a nice guy! Even gives us his phone number to call! We hear and 
work a few weak UA9s, and even a UR4. Then we hear whoever is at N6BT's station 
*running* those a
s. Bedtime is 10 PM tonite - we need *some* sleep.

Saturday - The Contest

The alarm goes off at 4 AM. AR goes down to make some coffee, and we wake Leo. 
At 4:30 AM, over coffee, we tell Leo we need our callsign - he opens the 
envelope and we are W6I. We get CT ready, then play around a bit with WP's call 
on 40 until the cloc
icks over to 1200Z. CQ TEST....

(the contest diary is in another message)

Saturday Night

06Z. It's over. 2200+ Qs. Some real fast runs, and some cool mults near the 
end. We figure we did OK. Pack it all up, thank Steve and his wife, then head 
back to the Motel 6. On the way back, we try to figure out how we did. We ran 
pretty well most of 
 contest, but there were a few slow times. The multiplier might be low - some 
good ones, but we realize we didn't pass much. We can't even guess how the 
other guys did, since we didn't do a lot of listening to them (most of the WRTC 
stations were weak 
each other), but we decide we're in the Top 5. Gotta be. 

Then we arrive at the Motel 6. The first guys we talk to have about 200 Qs more 
than we do. As we make our way to our room, several more teams have more Qs 
than us, and higher scores (although there are rumors of  bugs in CT and NA 
scoring). There are 
unch of scores around 600K (we have 590K before the checking). Everyone is 
astounded at the rumor from Jeff and Dan. Over 750K?! Are you serious? By the 
time we get to the room, we figure top 5 is out of reach, and top ten is going 
to be tough. Sheesh!
at happened? Maybe we should have used the ear-wax removal kits.


One of the judges stumbles into the restaurant and mutters something about the 
final scores being done, after an all-nighter. Won't tell us who won, but I 
spot him winking at KR0Y.

Breakfast with Jeff  reveals the secret of his and Danny's success - 
multipliers! They passed everything they could to every open band. Jeff tells 
us about passing VKs and KH6s from 20 to 15 to 10. He asks if we got all the LU 
zones on 15 (didn't even 
w there was more than one!). Another secret emerges: Dan is an old hand at the 
IARU - he actually *knows* these zones. They had a good station (WA6AHF) and 
did everything right with it. They worked hard, and won it deservedly. 
Congratulations, guys! Yo
re the "best of the best" now.

Other guys talk about how great 10 was. Huh? We had to struggle to break 100 Qs 
on 10 - some guys had over 300! Nearly everyone relates how well they *thought* 
they did until they got back to the Motel 6. Just goes to show you that we all 
had a really 
d time running guys!

Sunday afternoon is the pool party, and the beer is flowing freely. Pizza from 
W6OAT's pizza joint arrives in four or five shipments, and disappears 
instantly. I am nearing a sweep on my T-shirt (someone says I am working them 
"shirt path"). Need to fi
VE3IY, JE3MAS, and ZS6EZ. ZS6NW tells me EZ is down with the flu, so we go 
roust him out of bed to join the party (and sign the shirt). I have brought a 
half-dozen New Hamsphire T-shirts for trading. By the end fo the party, I have 
swapped for shirts f
 PY, PY0, ZS, YL, Z2 (ZS6NW had one with him), and LZ.

Late in the day, the scores are finally posted, and it's official: Dan and Jeff 
have won, KM9P and K4BAI are second, N2IC and K6LL place third. Then it's off 
to change and go to the Awards Banquet.

The Banquet

It's a buffet-style affair at the Stanford Faculty Club. I meet up with my 
sister, "other" brother-in-law, and Kitty, WB8TDA, a blind YL op who did 15 
with me on FD 11 years ago when she lived in Boston. Great CW op. You guys in 
the Bay Area need to in
e her to some multi-op stations!

After dinner, various recognitions are accorded those who contributed to the 
success of the event, including the organizers of WRTC-90 in Seattle. WA7NIN 
got up to say a few words about the display of camaraderie he had witnessed 
over the previous few 
s, and how much it impressed him. The video crew got it all.

Then the awards were presented - in addition to the gold, silver, and bronze 
medals, additional plaques were awarded for highest QSO total (BAI/P) , highest 
multiplier (Y/TO), and lowest unique rate (VE7NTT/VE7CC). In announcing the 
results, K4VX remin
everyone that the decision of the judges is final, and anyone who wants to 
quibble about their score should (and here I am quoting) "Get a life!". Well 

Then we're headed back to the Motel 6. The JAs have arranged for some sushi and 
various other JA delicacies. I learn that JE3MAS has left the Motel, and is now 
in SF with his family. I figure that I can always meet him next time I go to 
Osaka on busine
 and have him sign the shirt there. Then I find out he's moved to Jamaica - I 
can't justify a business trip there, so it is going to be hard to make a sweep. 
But I have learned my lesson from KR0Y. I will *not* give up. I *will* get the 
mult somehow. T
yakking in the courtyard lasts until 1 AM.


We arise at 6:00 AM to get the 7:00 bus to SF to take a ferry across the Bay, 
then a bus to Napa Valley. It's cold and gray, then warms up when we get to 
Robert Mondavi (W7?). N2AA is now wearing a T-shirt that says "Real Loud is 
Better". I agree with 
t one too. Lunch is at the V. Sattui (6WO?) winery, and then we visit the St. 
Supery (K7?) facility. After three wine tastings and lunch, we are all fading, 
and the bus ride back is pretty quiet. Did you know that most wineries make 
both red and white 
es? All three we toured told us that...

Monday night, the Slovenians throw a bash. I get VE3IY to sign the shirt. We 
all wear our callsign badges, but change our prefixes to S5 in appreciation. 
More friendships are formed, others renewed. I am still meeting people for the 
first time, right u
ntil fading out at 1:30 AM.


AR and ZD talk me into giving them a ride to the airport for their 9 AM flights 
- my flight is not until 1:30 PM. I call MAS at his hotel in SF, and yes, he 
will meet me at 11:00 AM to sign my shirt. I drop off AR and ZD, then go back 
to the Motel 6 to
nish packing. I drop off the radio at my sister's house for shipment back to 
NH, then head to the city for my sked with MAS. Right on time, we hook up and 
he signs in for the sweep. Back to the airport, return the rental car, then 
back to NH.


It was great. Really. The gang who organized it all pulled off a major 
logistics, finance, and political event. A lot of time and effort went into it. 
There was a lot of talk about when and where the next one will be held, and 
speculation on which coun
 could organize it. K7SS accepted the task of chairing the steering committee 
to figure it out. If you think you have a way to do the next one, contact him.

Were the 
 from-hills/line-noise/your-favorite-excuse-here  identical, as hoped? Not 
really. It's probably impossible to accomplish that, short of building 54 
tions with verticals on the same stretch of beach or desert somewhere. What is 
true is that the range of station capabilities was much tighter than in any 
other contest. Nobody had a huge advantage over anyone else. Period. The 
WRTC-96 organizers did a
ell as could be reasonably expected, and they are to be commended for an 
outstanding effort. 

Everyone had an equal probability of drawing a TH7 looking over salt water or a 
TA33 in a valley, or something in between. The screen saver at our station 
host's PC said "Do the best you can with what you have", and I don't think he 
put it there just f
the contest. We all did the best we could with what we had. And had a ball 
doing it.

Lots of people asked me how WRTC-96 in SF compared to WRTC-90 in Seattle. All I 
can say is that it was different. Not  better, not worse; just different. 
Seattle was a "first" and there can never be another "first".  I think that 
maybe I got to know th
ther competitors better in Seattle, since there were fewer of them. Maybe it 
was the fascination with the USSR teams who were almost all visiting the U.S. 
for the first time. I dunno if the stations were any more equal in Seattle; 
probably not. There w
more activity in WRTC-96, and the longer hours provided a few more interesting 
openings. The whole event was just as much fun (results aside, of course!) as 
the first one. 

Sure, it was a bit of a let-down after winning in 1990. But I look at it this 
way: I got to spend a whole week with over 100 of the best contesters in the 
world. We ate together, we drank together, we swam together, we laughed 
together. We rode the bus
together. We compared lives together. We all got to operate a contest together, 
yet separately; a special contest set up just for us;  to compete against each 
other, yet to share together. You guys out there who supported the event by 
working us were a
 a part of it. You'll all get nice cards and some of you will get awards for 
your efforts. The rates were great, and the memories will last a lifetime. 
Can't ask for a much better time than that.

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