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[CQ-Contest] The Maiden Voyage of WP3X-WPX SSB 97 M/M

Subject: [CQ-Contest] The Maiden Voyage of WP3X-WPX SSB 97 M/M
From: ramirezk@emi.com (ramirezk@emi.com)
Date: Wed Apr 2 15:13:11 1997
    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.   
         The results-
               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
        Score 23,626,552
   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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