Hello all from the Cabo Rojo Contest Club!
Another WPX SSB Multi-Multi effort has come and
gone and I'm happy to report that a good time was had by all!
" No thanks; I think I'll fly USAIR next time..."
Ron,AA4S,and me headed down to the Cabo Rojo Contest
Club QTH on the 20th of March and proceeded to spend 22 hours
travelling to a location that normally only requires a 10 hour
travel day. All of this compliments of Delta Airline's
unexpected 8 hour layover and their lackadaisical "oh well,
your're S.O.L." attitude. Take some advice fellows and avoid the
airport at Orlando and any Delta Airlines terminal in general.
What a Mess! They wouldn't even allow us to enter their First
Class travellers lounge without paying a 25.00 membership fee
even after they screwed up our schedule so we decided to sneak
in anyway! We walked right by the Delta front desk person at
their First Class lounge and proceeded to indulge in the endless
supply of free alcohol while watching the NCAA basketball games.
Life was good....
Finally arriving in Cabo Rojo at 8am, about 6 hours
later than expected, Ron and I proceeded to inventory the ever
growing supply of amps,antennas,wires,wattmeters,etc. at the
site and, even though bleary eyed, erected the 2 element 40m USA
wire yagi and a 75m inverted L. The L just didn't perform up to
expectations and was later replaced with a good old dipole.
Friday was an early day for work related stuff and we headed out
to indulge in some more rum and seafood!
The weekend was spent piecing together the
operating positions, putting up more wires for the low bands and
assembling the 15 and 20m yagis. We wound up quite a bit ahead
of schedule and could do no more until the Detroit Mafia showed
up Monday evening. There were only 2 things we could think of
doing for the remainder of the weekend: 1-Eat seafood and 2-
Drink some more!
"La Cosa Nostra arrives."
Two members of the Detroit Mafia arrived Monday evening
and were given the nickel and dime tour of the site before
unloading their Violin cases, Amps,rigs,mast tubes,etc. These
guys were loaded to the gills with STUFF! Dave,K8CC,and
Bruce,AA8U had some serious contesting in mind! Bruce was so
pumped on setting up and working 160 meters that he spent,what
seemed like forever, pondering the lay of the land to see where
the inverted L and beverages could be put to best use. Bruce
reminds me of some of my old E and I (Engineering and Install)
buddies from back in my Air Force days. He attacks the situation
with the tenacity of a pit bull; no holds barred! What a
fantastic job he did with the 160m antennas! He really gets the
job done! Not only that, but he also loves Rice with
Beans,tostones,and all of the available seafood. He finished off
a 32 dollar whole lobster with nary a belch! Dave,on the other
hand, is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. It was a challenge
locating a compromise restaurant in an area of Puerto Rico most
noted for its fresh seafood. Fortunately,a McDonalds was only 10
minutes away. Hamburgers anyone?
"When is a mast really a pretzel?"
Tuesday was "raise the yagis" day. Unfortunately, yours
truly's brain was in standby status when we raised the 15m yagi
on its 30 foot mast and we wound up with a mast that looked more
like an upside down U than a pushup mast. After some bending and
whacking we finally got it and the 20m yagis up in the air and
rotating on the ground mounted rotors. Next was the 160m
inverted Vee. The whole 160m antenna was a thing of beauty! It
went up easily,tuned quickly,and played like the dickens! Dave
and Bruce spent the next couple of nights playing on 160 and all
reports were quite encouraging. They worked a few hundred in a
matter of hours on the "gentlemen's band" with glowing reports.
"And then there were six..."
Thursday was another travel day. Dave and I went to San
Juan to pick up the remaining 2 members of the Multi-Multi team
while Bruce and Ron kept on working on the beverages for 160.
With the safe arrival of Tyler,K3MM and Ken,W8MJ (and especially
their equipment) we were ready to CONTEST! By 10PM on Thursday
night all of the operating positions,the data network,and
antennas were complete. We were now able to test the bands and
see if any inter-station interference was present. I'd again
like to thank I.C.E. for their promptness and excellent customer
service. They completely updated the station bandpass filters in
a timely and inexpensive manner and helped ensure the success of
our operation! Thanks I.C.E.!!!!
"My 40m wire beam!"
After installing the 40m 2el USA wire beam,I made some
tests and came up with some startling results. I'll try to
explain the lay of the land and how this antenna was installed.
The CRCC QTH sits on a hilltop peninsula of land about 200
feet high with steep slopes in all directions except the South.
It is about a half mile to the Caribbean and all water to the
USA. To the West of the QTH is a valley that is about 70 feet
deep. About 200 feet across the valley is another hill of
similar height to the Qth. My thought was to put up this 2el
wire yagi with ropes stretched across the valley and connected
to a tree down at the bottom whose top was about as high as the
hill we were on. My hope was to keep the yagi below the hill
line to help fight the EU broadcast station QRM. Both hilltops
run Northwest-Southeast with the Eastern most hilltop blocking
the European direction. This antenna performed above and beyond
ALL my expectations. When I switched from the Eu inverted vee to
the wire beam it was like switching in a Broadcast transmitter
Notch filter! It was incredible!!! I could tune for a USA signal
with the USA antenna and switch over to the EU antenna and the
USA station would disappear! I let everyone at the station
listen to this to have plenty of witnesses to my claim. The EU
antenna was also much better for EU than the 2el wire beam. I
had tons of FB reports on the 40m signal to the USA. This
antenna REALLY made the diffrence for me on 40 meters for
copying USA through the broadcast QRM.
"Let the games begin!"
The contest started with a flurry of activity on all bands.
20 meters was particularly active and running at full steam.
Unfortunately for the low bands a storm front had passed through
earlier in the day and in its usual East West path was now over
the water in between us and the USA. The static crashes were
unbearable on 80 and 160 even with the beverages. Activity was
sparse on 160 and 75 as the noise created by the bad storms
rolling across the USA Midwest and East coast was making life
unbearable on those two bands. Conditions on all of the bands
were, according to the log, quite poor. Not a single JA was
worked on 15 meters. Last year's KP4XS M/M 15m effort here
netted about 4 JA stations and the 1995 M/M effort netted almost
400 JAs on 15.
I'm told that only a handful of JAs were worked on 20m too. 40m
produced 4 JA contacts. I hope things start improving soon. It's
rough competing almost evenly with Multi-Single efforts! With
only one band able to support a good run at any given time at
this stage in the sunspot cycle, a Multi-Multi effort can be
swallowed up whole by a very good Multi-single located near the
equator. Even TI0C was heard running JAs on the low bands and
his incredible single op score shows what could happen to a M/M
and M/S by a good single op during the low in the spots. We
seemed to lack much of any EU runs. USA was generally good to
excellent on the middle bands. Our QSO total was the highest we
have ever had but the lack of JA prefixes and the wholesale
trade-in of nice USA 2x1 prefixes for run-of-the- mill 1x2 calls
gave us our lowest prefix total count to date.
160m- 197q op-AA8U FT900 1300watts Inv L Bevvies
75m- 547q op-AA4S IC765 700watts EU/USA dipole
40m-1535q op-N4UK IC740 900watts 2el USA,EU DP
20m-3140q op-W8MJ/K8CC TS930 1500w,3el Force 12
15m-1786q op-K3MM FT1000mp 900watts,3el Hygain
10m- 210q op-AA8U,fillins, FT900 1300w,3el cc
Totals 7415q Mults 1082
I'd like to thank K8CC,AA8U,W8MJ,K3MM,and AA4S for all their
hard work and effort. This team really clicked and,except for a
few minor disagreements on band utilization, the team got along
well as a group which is the SINGLE most important ingredient
for a successful field day style multi-multi effort.
We're already making our plans for next year's contest.
The effort gets smoother with each passing year. We hope to
soon have some permanent antenna supports installed and rid
ourselves of the push up masts. The other ops believe the new
WP3X call definitely gave us a boost. Thanks for working us and
helping to make this year's effort a resounding success!
Epilogue- "Don't leave home without it and don't leave it in
the ATM either..."
AA4S,K3MM,and me spent Monday night at a hotel in San
Juan. I needed some cash and went to a local ATM machine and,for
the first time in my life, left the card in the slot and walked
away. I only remembered this the next morning and it was already
too late to wait for the bank to open. Ron had almost nil cash
left and I only had enough to pay the parking fee at the airport
in Atlanta. It is NOT fun to spend layovers at airports without
spending money and not to be able to buy a drink on the plane.
What a way to end a nice trip...
73 Ken N4UK
Cabo Rojo Contest Club-WP3X
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