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[CQ-Contest] K4XS (N2NL, op) SOABLP ARRL CW writeup (VERY long)

Subject: [CQ-Contest] K4XS (N2NL, op) SOABLP ARRL CW writeup (VERY long)
From: n2nl@yahoo.com (Dave Mueller)
Date: Mon Mar 5 20:01:18 2001

Hi guys....I've been working on a writeup on my ARRL CW effort from K4XS =
for the past 2 weeks.  Sorry it took so long - I've been real busy.  =
I've written a play-by-play, no-secrets-kept story about my effort.  I =
enjoy reading the writeups, I'd just like to see more of HOW it was =
done.  If you're worried about giving away all your secrets, I hope you =
will rethink it.  It improves competition, and helps those new to the =

I hope you enjoy it....

73, Dave N2NL

             After every serious single op entry, I try to do a complete =
write-up afterwards.  That way I have something to look back onto in the =
future, be it strategy planning or just reminiscing.  As I mature as a =
contester, I look up to those who have achieved year after year, such as =
N2AA, N2NT, ETC.  One of those people is Fred, K3ZO.  I've read his past =
write-ups with interest, trying to pick up every little bit of knowledge =
to help me in my future efforts.  Hopefully, some new contester will =
read this story, and learn a new trick, or feel inspired to achieve =

             Originally, I had planned to join the multi-multi effort at =
K3LR.  I am an active duty member of the US Coast Guard, and =
circumstances rose where I was unable to leave South Florida for the =
ARRL CW weekend.  I apologize to Tim for backing out, but it was a =
situation out of my control.  I had asked Bill, K4XS, and Dan, K1TO, if =
there was interest in a multi-single effort like we had done for CQWW CW =
last year, but no one was really up to it.  I mentioned interest in a =
single op effort, and in late January Bill sent me an email offering use =
of his station for a single op, low power effort.  His amplifier was =
broken, so a high power effort was out of the question.  I jumped at the =
chance to operate from his station.

Another downside of being in the USCG is housing:  they don't consider =
antennas to be important when providing housing.  As a result I'm living =
in a NO ANTENNA apartment complex.  I was able to sneak some hidden =
wires on the roof and was very successful with them, however after my =
1300 QSO effort in the 10m contest, the landlord caught wind of my =
antennas after I worked just about every TV and telephone in the =
complex.  So since mid December I've been QRT except the times I operate =
from K1PT's QTH 1/2-hour north.  As a result, I'm forced to guest-op =
from various stations, at least until I retire a few years down the =
road. =20

Bill's station is quite a sight.  He has done an amazing job =
engineering, building, and maintaining his station.  I've taken some =
pictures; you can see them at www.qsl.net/n2nl.  His station consists of =
three 200-foot towers.  One tower holds 6/6/6/6/6/6 on 10m, and 5/5/5/5 =
on 20m.  The second tower holds 6/6/6/6 on 15m.  The third tower holds =
4/4 on 40m and several tribanders, which can be pointed in various =
directions for working multipliers.  Between the three towers, Bill has =
an amazing array of 80m delta loops, including a 4el quad to the =
northeast, 2el southwest (sharing the reflector of the NE array), a =
northwest loop, and a sloping dipole for the Caribbean.  The northeast =
quad kicks butt into Europe, beating out W4AN's 4-square every time in =
pre-contest testing.   In the CQWW CW, 160m was our weakest band.  He =
replaced the old vertical with a new =BC wave elevated vertical.  The =
base is about 50ft high, with 12 elevated radials.  He recently =
installed beverages, one NE, the other NW.  As you can see, the aluminum =
he has put up is quite amazing.  Even more amazing is the shack with all =
the rotator boxes.  All his antennas are rotatable.  That adds up to a =
lot of rotor boxes!

In the weeks leading up to the contest, I prepared the best I could.  =
Dan, K1TO, let me see his log and rate sheet from his record setting LP =
effort in the 2000 ARRL CW.  That turned out to be invaluable to me.  =
The propagation from west central Florida is far different from the =
Northeast.  Not only is it almost in the central time zone, it is an =
additional hop into Europe.  Bill's station does a lot to make up for =
those disadvantages.  I studied his rate sheet, to try to set as game =
plan for the weekend. =20

I set three goals for myself.  #1 was to operate the entire 48 hours =
without a break.  I had done it before from KH2, where it is easier.  In =
Guam, 0000Z is 10AM, so you can start the contest after a full nights =
sleep.  It was still painful.  I figured however, that if K3WW and =
others could do it, I could do it too, especially since I'm several =
years younger (I'm 29).  #2 was to break the existing SOABLP record, =
which was 3.1 million.  #3 was to break 3000 QSOs.  Dan made 2650 QSOs =
in his record-breaking effort operating from his home station.  I =
figured 3K was attainable simply due to the additional aluminum I had at =
my disposal.             =20

The week before the contest, I tried to get as much sleep as possible.  =
You can't save up on sleep, but you can be well rested at the start.  I =
also built a new SO2R switch, to allow me to listen to both rigs at the =
same time.

I had tried SO2R in years past but never successfully.  I never figured =
out a good way to switch audio between radios into my headphones.  The =
first time I operated from K1PT's QTH last year, it all "clicked" with =
me.  He had a simple setup I have been very successful with since.  It =
is a simple circuit, consisting of 2 SPST switches, one for each ear.  =
It allows me to listen to either radio in either ear, or either radio in =
both ears.  I drew up a simple schematic you can see at =
www.qsl.net/n2nl/ and it can be built with parts from Radio Shack. =20

The Friday of the contest, I woke at 7AM after getting a good 8 hours of =
sleep.  I made the 4 hour drive to K4XS's, arriving at about 12:30PM.  =
It allowed me plenty of time to set up.  I set up 2 complete stations, =
with 2 rigs, 2 keyers, and 2 computers.  It makes SO2R much easier for =
me that way.  2 computers is the key.  I could have a 2nd rig QSO lined =
up, entered in the computer and ready to work, and still run stations on =
the primary radio without having to delete the info from the 2nd rig.  =
Station one was an IC-775; station 2 was an IC-765.  Setup went easily, =
except when it came to networking the computers.  I just couldn't get =
them to "talk".  After a couple hours of frustration, and when I was =
about to give up, it hit me.  I had forgotten to set one up as "station =
1" and the other as "station 2".  After correcting that, they were =
networked and I was good to go.  By this time it was close to 4:30PM, =
and I tried lying down for a nap to prepare for the 7PM start.  =
Unfortunately, I couldn't sleep.  I was too excited.  After about 45 =
minutes I got up and walked around, looking at the antennas, trying to =
stretch my legs since I knew I'd be sitting for a very long time.  At =
2345Z, I sat down at the rig.  I had everything set up around me.  Run =
rig in front of my, 2nd rig off to my left, cooler with drinks and food =
off to my side.  There was also a TV off to my right I could take a look =
at if I wanted.  Bill said "good luck", and left for the evening.  I =
checked WWV and set the clocks, and looked for a hole on 40m.  I started =
at 0000z at about 7055KHz, with OL7W as the first QSO.

The contest started "OK", but the rate wasn't amazing.  I had K1TO's =
breakdown sheet beside me, and was pushing myself to try to keep the =
rate up.  I figured I could try to out-rate him every hour, and the =
record would be mine.  I started immediately with the 2nd radio scanning =
15m, which actually didn't sound all that good.  My 1st second radio QSO =
was PY3MHZ.  I continued to work Europe on 40m, while scanning 15 and =
20m with the 2nd radio.  The first hour ended with 82 QSOs on 40m, and =
16 2nd radio QSOs. =20

I stuck it out on 40m until 0220Z, continuing to scan the other bands =
with the 2nd radio.  I didn't work anything real exotic, except 4K5CW =
and a couple UA9's who called me.  I was able to pick up some easy =
multipliers with the second radio, as well as many QSOs.  I worked =
everything I could find with the 2nd radio, multiplier or not.  Granted, =
some of the easier stuff would be easily worked later, but by working it =
now I wouldn't have to scramble to find it later.  I ended the 02Z hour =
with another 89 QSOs in the log. =20

By 0220Z, the rate had really slowed down on 40m.  I figure most of =
Europe was sleeping.  I had worked several loud UA9's on 20m, and moved =
there to see if there was any rate to be had.  That gave me the =
opportunity to scan 40m with the 2nd radio.  Although the IC-775 has a =
2nd VFO, I didn't like it and didn't touch it the entire weekend.  The =
rate on 20m was slow, although AH8I and VU2TS called me for nice mults.  =
At 0230 I decided to "fire-up" the 4el 80m quad for the first time.  I =
was rewarded with instant rate, working a quick string of 20 QSOs.  =
RX9TX was my first QSO, so I knew 80m was wide open.  4K5CW called in =
again to make it 2 bands.  By 0245, the rate had slowed again, so I =
moved to 160m for the 1st time.

I CQ'ed the entire contest except for the time I spent on 160m.  Due to =
the weak signals and pileups, I concentrated 100% when on topband.  160m =
is always one of my favorite bands, although it has frustrated me in =
recent years due to my limited antenna situations.  I knew the band was =
good when I worked G0IVZ with one call.  We didn't even hear a European =
on 160 in the CQWW CW, and here I worked one with a single call =
barefoot.  It just so happens that G0IVZ was the first European EVER =
WORKED on 160 from K4XS's present location.  Over the next few minutes I =
worked several more Europeans, including S5, OK, and OM.  Nothing overly =
exciting, but exciting enough to me since I was running low power and it =
was still a multiplier. =20

For the rest of the evening, I switched Cqing between 40 and 80m, always =
scanning with the second radio for new QSOs and multipliers.  Although =
not working anything real exotic, I was working a steady stream of =
multipliers.  By 0500Z, 20m had opened back up into Asia, and I moved =
back there.  I worked a string of European and Asiatic Russians, =
including EX8W and VK3IO.  Meanwhile, I worked ZS4TX and OD5/OK1MU with =
the 2nd radio on 40.  A second excursion to 160m brought T48K, HG6N, =
RW2F, and a few other new ones. =20

I tried some short CQ's on the other bands, but 20m was the only thing =
going at the time.  From 0545-0730 I hung out there at about 14045KHz, =
working mostly Eastern Europe.  We can't thank enough the huge activity =
in every contest from our counterparts in Eastern Europe.  I think they =
are the primary reason for the record scores we've been seeing.  They =
seem to be an endless source of QSOs. =20

             At 0730 I knew I had to get back to 40m for EU sunrise.  =
 >From 0730 until 0945 I stayed there.  40m was amazing.  I was working =
deep Europe several hours past their sunrise.  I was running them all =
night at about 60-70/hr, supplemented with QSOs on the 2nd radio. =20

             I'm most worried about being tired between the 09-11z hours. =
  This is the time most of us on the East Coast are sleeping, and the =
time the body is at its deepest part of the sleep cycle.  I was yawning, =
but the rate kept things interesting and as a result I never really felt =
tired.  By 10Z, 20m was wide open, and I had a great run going which =
kept me busy.  I ended up with 135 QSOs during the 10Z hour.  I'd never =
seen anything like it before.  I always remembered that hour as one of =
the slowest hour of the contest.  Not this year, and not from K4XS.  =
Bill says he is "king" on 20 and 40m, and I believe him.  His 4 stack on =
20 really played. =20

             By the 11Z hour, things get interesting on the East Coast.  =
15m starts to open to Europe, and the low bands open to Asia.  I had =
planned on running JA's on 40m at this time, but 20m was rocking and =
rolling into Europe.  While running that band, I took one last listen on =
80m, working KH6/W6PH, VK4EMM, and JA7YAA.  JA7YAA was quite a struggle, =
required several tries, but finally he heard me.  I went up to 15m, and =
heard guys in the Northeast were already working Europe I couldn't hear =
yet.  I tuned the band, working a few loud Europeans, but 20m was still =
the place to be.  At 1145Z, I made the move to 15m, and made my 1000th =
QSO.  The rate was incredible.  The band opened quickly and I had the =
"prefect run".  I'd only have one or two callers every time, so I could =
pull out a complete call just about every time.  During this time, a =
friend of mine in Europe recorded me from his end.  There's a 3 =BD =
minute wav file I posted you can listen to at the above listed web =
address.  During this time I listened to 10m, waiting for it open, and =
worked the occasional 2nd rig QSO. =20

             By this time, SO2R had really clicked with me.  I had it =
down really well.  I had the monitor gain turned way down on the CQ rig, =
allowing me to concentrate on the 2nd rig while transmitting on the 1st. =
  Once I had a 2nd radio QSO lined up, I'd pause long enough to call, =
then send a quick CQ, then pause to send the exchange.  If I was =
running, I'd wait until I was timed right, then send my call (by pushing =
the F4 key) while receiving the exchange from the station I was working =
on the 1st radio.  I'd send QRZ while the 2nd radio guy sent me his =
exchange, and then send my exchange (F2 key) while copying the next =
caller on the 1st rig.  This worked out well for me with a few =
exceptions when I left the 2nd radio guy hanging (sorry!) until I =
finished transmitting on the Cqing radio. =20

             I made the move to 10m at 1200Z, with 96 QSOs for the =
1100-hour.  With 12 hours gone in the contest, I had been awake for a =
full 24 hours already, but worked 1180 QSOs and 276 multipliers.  I was =
well ahead of K1TO's numbers from the previous year, but knew I had to =
keep it up.  The next 2 hours were just amazing on 10m.  164/hr followed =
by a 150/hr.  It was some of the best rates I ever had, even from Guam.  =
10m was wide open, and I worked several UA9's.  At 1417z, a very loud =
JA3YBK called in on 10m LP, which caught me off guard.  I kept my ear =
open for VR2BG who always seems to find the 10m LP opening, but he never =
called in.  I think he was there though, after reading other writeups.  =
It was probably a result of being low power.  Yes, I was probably one of =
the louder stations on the band, but not one of the "beacons" such as =
W3LPL, KC1XX, or K3LR.  I worked 10m until 1455Z, when I moved back to =
15m.  VQ9IO rewarded me as my first caller.  The rest of the morning I =
swapped back and forth between 10 and 15m, again not working anything =
super exotic, but the mults kept coming in.  I found a very weak and =
watery T32RD on 15m at 1618Z, and quickly he was in the log.

             During the noon hours and early afternoon, the rate wasn't =
amazing, yet stayed on the 60's.  I kept pushing the 2nd rig, working =
about 20 QSOs an hour on that rig.  I started running into some packet =
pileups, including TF3GB on 10m.  By this time I had discovered a trick, =
which helped out immensely in the pileups.  I'd hear 8 or 9 guys calling =
at once, but they were all zero beat.  I'd set the RIT off a few HZ, and =
call.  Since I would be the only guy calling slightly off frequency, my =
tone would be different from everyone else, and I'd win in the pile.  I =
learned this first while at KH2.  It was frustrating while on the =
receiving end of a pileup - dozens of guys calling all zero beat, all =
the same strength.  I'd always listen to the edges, picking up the =
callers who were slightly off frequency, even when they were weaker than =
the rest.  I left the 2nd radio's RIT set a few hz off the entire =
weekend, and it was very successful for me.  I busted several pileups, =
beating even the "big boys". =20

             The afternoons in Florida are very slow times in a DX =
contest.  10/15m are on the way out, and  absorption is way too high on =
20m to work anything.  It is frustrating to listen to W1's work =
Europeans on 20m we can't hear, but there's nothing we can do about it.  =
We make up for it into Asia.  The W4's were always the loudest into KH2 =
on almost all the bands, especially 40 and 80m.  The problem is that =
there isn't any activity out there.  For the remainder of the afternoon, =
I pushed on, supplementing with the 2nd radio, to keep the rate up in =
the 60's all afternoon.  Later in the afternoon 15 and 10m opened to =
South America, giving me something new to work and new multipliers to be =

             By this time, Bill had returned home and was impressed by =
the totals.  I was well on my way to breaking the record.  I started to =
feel like crap however.  My body was starting to protest all the hours =
in the chair.  It helped to stand up, and operate standing or kneeling =
in front of the radio.  I tried anything to get my lanky 6'4" body into =
a different position to stretch out.  By 2200Z, I had 2084 QSOs and 346 =
multipliers in the log.  I had not gotten out of the operating chair for =
more than a minute.  Here's another "detail".   I don't drink coffee, =
however I'm a big fan of Diet Coke.  I drank them through the night so =
the caffeine would help me stay awake.   I've tried doing the health =
food thing, without much success.  I have the most luck when I eat the =
foods my body is used to eating (junk food nut).  Anyway, back to the =
Diet Cokes.  There's a by-product to drinking all those soft drinks.  In =
order to prevent loosing my run frequency, I had an empty Big Gulp cup I =
used to relieve myself so I didn't have to step away from the radio.  =
During a slow time, I'd push the "F1" key to send a long CQ and run to =
the adjoining bathroom to empty the cup.  That way I never lost a =
possibly QSO, and never stepped away from the radio with the auto CQ =
function engaged (which I believe is unethical).  I told you I was =

             By 2200, I had noticed 15 and 10m were opening nicely into =
Asia.  I made the mode to 10m and worked a nice string of JA's.  ZL2BR =
called in for the mult, and I worked OA7/NB3I on 15m with the 2nd rig.  =
I stuck it out on 10m until the 00z hour.  The band was wide open to =
Asia, but I worked few multipliers.  DS2BSK called in for a nice one.  I =
wonder why there seems to be such little activity out of Korea.  I =
worked hundreds of them in contests from my KH2 days, and you would =
think that they would be easier to work than they are, even from the =
East Coast. =20

             At the halfway point, I had 2200 QSOs in the log.  I was =
well ahead of the record setting pace from K1TO the previous year.  I =
figured I had a shot at 4.5 million points.  Before the contest, I spoke =
on the phone with TO.  Dan joked to me that if I broke his record, it =
wouldn't be as impressive unless I eclipsed it by 50%, the amount he =
surpassed the original record.  So, at the halfway point, I set my final =
goal at 4.5 million.

             I started the 2nd 24 hours on 40m.  The rate was extremely =
slow.  C6AKP called in for a mult.  Dick is a friend and fellow FCGer =
and I realized I needed C6 on 15m.  I asked him to move, and he did to =
finish up C6 on all 6 bands.    During the previous 24 hours, I had =
attempted to move multipliers although I was mostly unsuccessful.  =
Either I'd get a flat out "NO" or they wouldn't reply to my request.  It =
was extremely frustrating.  Since I was usually running high in the =
band, I figure these stations had been asked over and over again to move =
by the time they called me, and were tired of doing it. =20

             40m was lousy.  The band had gone long, so I moved down to =
80m.  It sounded like all the single ops were there, so I felt it was =
the right thing to do.  The rate picked up a little bit, but conditions =
definitely seemed down from the previous night.  PA5WT called in for the =
mult - those PA's seemed to be everywhere this year.  The next hour and =
a half I ran on 80m, and hunted the other bands for additional QSOs.  =
The multipliers were coming slowly however. =20

             At 0200z, I listened to 160m, working three stations =
including OH0PM who was a multiplier.  160 was far worse than the =
previous evening.  A cold front had just passed through, and the band =
was extremely noisy, unlike the previous night.  I heard several =
multipliers I needed, but called to no avail.  I quickly went back to =
80m, tuning 40m with the 2nd rig now that 20m had shut down.  I snagged =
EX8W on 40, while Z31MM and OE2S called in on 80.  Later I found and =
worked D68C and UP4L on 40.  By 0300Z, 20m started showing signs of =
life.  I snagged D68C, and started CQing after finding a hole.  In =
between a sting of Russians and JA's, a weak UK8UDX called in, then =
FR5FD.  The rate was really slow, however, and at 0525 I  moved back to =
40 to try to take advantage of European sunrise.  The next several hours =
I stuck it out on 40.  The rate was dreadfully slow.. in the 40/hr =
range.   About every hour or so I made a sweep of 160m.  Every time I =
heard new mults I needed, but conditions seemed way down from the =
previous night and my efforts were frustration filled although I =
eventually worked GJ3YHU and V47KP.

             Staying awake was getting difficult.  It was time to break =
out the secret weapons.  By this time Diet Coke wasn't producing the =
"kick" it used to.  I supplemented it with a couple no-doze tablets.  I =
know many contesters say never to use it, but that is them, and I'm =
going to use what helps me.  Shortly after I woke right up and was good =
to go.  It tore up my stomach though.  I had not really eaten anything =
by this time, except for some fruit, crackers, and other munchies.  =
Another problem that developed was some backaches from all the hours of =
being seated.  I had a bottle of Tylenol, which helped that problem.  I =
continued to switch positions to keep from getting too drowsy and too =
uncomfortable.  Bill had three different chairs in the operating room, =
and I constantly switched from chair to chair.  One of the chairs is an =
"ergonomic" chair - the type to don't really sit in, but kneel on.  That =
really helped me.  My legs were starting to cramp up and changing =
positions helped with that.

             At 0800z, I was still pounding out the QSOs, slowly but =
steadily.  Europe was still coming in on 40.  By 0900Z JA's started to =
replace the European callers.  At 0935 I surpassed K1TO's QSO total of =
2655 from the previous year.  I hoped for a 20m opening like the =
previous day, but it never developed.  The band was about as dead as it =
could be.  It gave me the opportunity to search for Asian multipliers on =
40m, which I was unable to do the previous day.  I found and worked my =
good friend Jun, WH0V, as well as AC4G/KH9.  I also tracked down a ZL, =
which I still needed. =20

             Fortunately, at 10Z, 20m finally opened back up to Europe.  =
The rate was slower than the previous day, although it was faster than I =
suffered through the night.  Among the Europeans, Brett VR2BG finally =
found me and called in.  At 1120, I switched the 2nd radio to 15m.  I =
immediately heard a signal, and quickly worked TZ6DX without moving the =
dial.  Meanwhile HS0/G3NOM called me on 20.  Things were getting =
interesting as the sun rose above the horizon, which always is a boost =
to help me stay awake.  15m finally opened up at 1130Z, and I started a =
decent run there.  The next hour had a half, I ran on 15m while making =
the occasional 2nd radio QSO on 10m.  My QSO total was lacking on 15m so =
I figured the best rate and chance for multipliers calling in was on =
that band.  EX2M and A45XR called in for new ones.   While tuning very =
high on 10m, I found GJ2A and TA2BK. =20

             By 1300Z, I made the move to 10m, and started scanning 20m =
for Asia.  I worked a loud YB0ECT, followed by JT1CO and BV7FF.  BV7FF =
was weak, but he heard me right away.  K4XS's 20m array rocks!  During =
this time, there was some confusion on 10m.  W3BGN ended up just above =
me.  He didn't hurt my rate, but after a few minutes I heard VQ9IO.  I =
assumed he was calling me, but it turns out he was actually calling BGN =
slightly off frequency.  I called VQ9IO directly, and he came back to me =
with a report.  I'm not sure if W3BGN ever did work him, but I hope I =
didn't steal a multiplier away from Steve.  At 1442Z, I hit 3000 QSOs, =
and had completed 2 of my 3 initial goals.  I was still working toward =
4.5 million, although slowly.

             At 1458Z, IS0OMH called in on 10m.  Although I had a bunch =
of IS0's on 10, I still needed one on 15.  I had tried moving several =
without luck.  I tried moving him, and he said, "OK".  I attempted =
moving him to 21150 kHz, nice and high in the band.  Little did I =
realize this was a beacon frequency, and upon calling him there, I =
promptly got chased off by someone.  It's the first time I've even been =
run off a frequency by the beacon police!  I never did successfully move =
him, but just below 21150 I found and worked TA3BN for another new one.  =

             10m continued to be the place to me.  9K9C called me, but he =
said "later" when I asked him to move.  At 1600, 10m had really slowed =
down and I moved down to 15m.  It allowed me to scan 10m with the 2nd =
rig, and I found TZ6DX there.  P3A called in on 15m, followed by IS0UWX, =
which finally gave me my IS0 mult for that band.  The rate had really =
slowed down, into the typical late morning/early afternoon W4 =
conditions.  10/15m slow, and the absorption on 20. =20

             By Sunday morning I still had not really eaten anything.  I =
was extremely hungry.  Bill came in and told me that I looked like crap =
(thanks!).  He did me a big favor and picked up a sandwich for me while =
running some errands.  He got me a big, 7-eleven turkey sub.  Uh oh.  I =
heard turkey puts you to sleep, but it was all he could find.  I was =
hungry, so I slammed it down anyway.   I immediately felt sick, and =
thought I was going to have to throw up.  That was followed by a spell =
where I was immensely tired.  I was close to quitting by this point, but =
I stuck it out since I had made it as far as I did. =20

             In the early afternoon, I had started seeing things, and =
having odd thoughts.  I imagine it was almost like tripping on acid.  A =
high derived from a lack of sleep.  I imagined that all these little =
creatures - callsigns - lived in a long tube.  The radio gave me access =
to this tube.  As I turned the dial to the right, I moved down the tube =
to the right, and vice versa.  When I came across one of these creatures =
I still needed, I'd call and work it.  My run radio was similar.  I was =
one of those creatures in the tube, with others calling me.  It was just =
so amazing.. some person in a room on the other side of the world was =
listening to ME, and calling ME.  It felt like such an honor to be =
called by them.  I was really tripping. =20

             Visually, I wasn't overly effected, with one exception.  The =
sub VFO on the 775 was like a melting stick of butter.  It was drooping =
and spongy.  The rate was slowing and imagination intensifying, and =
caffeine doing nothing.  Fortunately in the early afternoon, I was able =
to turn on the TV and watch the Daytona 500. =20

             I'm a big NASCAR fan, and watching the race reinvigorated =
me.  During this time I somewhat ignored the 2nd radio.  By this time I =
was getting very frustrated with it anyway, since it seemed as if I had =
worked everyone already.  It was almost as if there were a limited =
number of active stations, and I had worked everyone.  I had a large =
number of stations I had already worked on 4 or 5 bands.  Obviously with =
the big M/M scores there were thousands of QSOs still to be had, but in =
my little world, I had already worked just about everything I found. =20

             Also during this time I had my one-and-only frequency fight, =
which itself was anticlimactic.  I was frustrated finding a run =
frequency on 15m.  During the contest, I wouldn't even look at the lower =
20 kHz of the band for a hole.  This one time I started from the bottom, =
and discovered 21000.8 was wide open.  I started CQing and working =
stations.  It was cool.. low power and running band edge.  After a =
couple minutes and 6 QSOs, KC1XX started CQing zero beat, directly on =
top of me.  That REALLY upset me, especially in my present state of =
mind.  I told him to QSY, and he made a short comment I didn't catch =
("HI" I think) and slid up a few Hz, still pretty close, and continued =
to CQ.  The 775 has sharp filters and I continued working guys, =
including CT9L for a mult, so I stuck at it.  I could hear him off to =
the side, sometimes weak, sometimes crushing loud.  I think he was just =
pointing in different directions while CQing instead of trying to run me =
off the frequency though.  By 1940Z the band was about toast, and I =
moved to 20m, which had opened back up finally. =20

             On 20, I found a nice hole up around 14045, slightly below =
K1DG and hung out there while watching the race.  Occasionally I'd make =
a sweep with the 2nd radio, and I found HP1AC on 10 that way.  The race =
was one of the best I've ever seen, and it took away all my tiredness.  =
I had the volume turned all the way down so the sound wouldn't disturb =
me.  I saw Dale Earnhardts wreck on the last lap and my heart just sunk. =
  Although not a fan of his, the wreck looked real bad and I knew =
something was wrong by the way the rescue people were working on the =
car.  I wouldn't find out until the next morning that the wreck was =
fatal.  He owns a house about a mile up the road from where I live and =
it hit me pretty hard although I never met him in person.

             Back to the contest, things were still pretty slow.  I =
realized I wouldn't make it to the 4.5 million goal, but when the race =
was over I worked it as hard as possible to make the best possible =
score.  At 2230, I moved to 40m where I finished out the contest.  A =
string of multipliers called in the last hour on 40, including JY, GU, =
IS, and 5B.  My last 2nd radio QSO was ZF1A at 2339z, on 10m.  Close-in =
Caribbean multipliers are extremely difficult to work on the higher =
bands.  I had been trying to work a ZF all weekend on 10, without luck.  =
I finally worked him back scatter by pointing the entire 10m stack away =
from him.  At the 0000Z, I listened to the great scores on 3830, ate =
dinner, and went to sleep at 9PM local after being awake for 62 hours =
straight. =20

             I finished the contest with 3422 QSOs, 421 multipliers, for =
4,314,408 points.  It surpassed my wildest expectations.  K4XS's station =
is simply incredible, the conditions were awesome, making for a great =
record breaking effort.  In hind site I could have improved somewhat.  I =
still need to refine my SO2R skills.  I probably tuned the bands too =
slowly with the 2nd radio, missing valuable multipliers.  I should have =
attempted to move multipliers more often.  I think I could have added =
another couple hundred thousand to my overall score, but I'm totally =
satisfied with the result.

             I hope this is enjoyable and worth your time to read.  =
Hopefully someone, somewhere, learned something by reading this, just as =
I learn by reading the write ups of others.  Congratulations to KQ2M and =
W4PA (@K5ZD) for their HP efforts, KI1G's amazing QSO total (being a =
rare mult is cool, isn't it!), and W4AN for taking the MS category from =
4 land.  And finally, a big, big thanks to K4XS for opening his doors =
for me, K1TO for all the tips and inspiration, and the entire Florida =
Contest Group for welcoming me to South Florida with open arms.


73, Dave N2NL







       Call:      K4XS (N2NL, op)

       Category:  Single Operator

       Power:     Low Power=20

       Band:      All Band

       Mode:      CW=20

       Section:   FL





       160       39      117   3.0       31

        80      230      690   3.0       57

        40      722     2157   3.0       80

        20      870     2604   3.0       87

        15      702     2106   3.0       81

        10      859     2574   3.0       85



      Totals   3422    10248   3.0      421  =3D   4,314,408

All reports sent were 59(9), unless otherwise noted.

  Equipment Description:

  Club Affiliation: Florida Contest Group


This is to certify that in this contest I have operated

my transmitter within the limitations of my license and have

observed fully the rules and regulations of the contest.



                              Signature _________________________________


            MAILING ADDRESS:

                Dave Mueller  N2NL

                3100 Hermosa Way Apt 106

                Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410


HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM =
TOT =20

    0    .....    .....    82/25    10/10     6/6     .....    98/41   =
    1      .        .      67/9     14/9      8/4       .      89/22  =
    2     7/7     25/18    25/5     14/4       .        .      71/34  =
    3     2/2     34/10    29/3      6/4       .        .      71/19  =
    4     3/3      6/3     26/1     27/5       .        .      62/12  =
    5     8/6     11/3      7/4     35/4       .        .      61/17  =
    6     1/1      9/6      4/2     81/11      .        .      95/20  =
    7     3/2      3/2     58/3     26/2       .        .      90/9   =
    8     3/1      7/4     54/4      3/1     .....    .....    67/10  =
    9     2/2       .      54/2     25/3       .        .      81/7   =
   10      .       1/1      3/3    131/8       .        .     135/12  =
   11      .       1/1      7/2     40/1     46/23     2/2     96/29 =
   12      .        .        .        .      21/10   143/34   164/44 =
   13      .        .        .        .      25/8    125/3    150/11 =
   14      .        .        .        .      19/5     97/3    116/8  =
   15      .        .        .        .      93/3     27/5    120/8  =
   16    .....    .....    .....    .....    49/1     35/3     84/4  =
   17      .        .        .      20/1     65/2      2/1     87/4  =
   18      .        .        .      13/2     74/1      8/4     95/7  =
   19      .        .        .      22/1     25/0     19/12    66/13 =
   20      .        .        .      67/0       .       6/3     73/3  =
   21      .        .        .      53/4      6/5      1/0     60/9  =
   22      .        .       2/0       .      12/2     39/1     53/3  =
   23      .       5/1     12/0      2/1       .      48/2     67/4  =
    0    .....     6/1     29/1      6/3      3/1      7/0     51/6  =
    1     1/0     41/1     15/0      6/1       .        .      63/2  =
    2     2/1     20/2     25/2       .        .        .      47/5  =
    3     3/3     10/0     11/1     12/2       .        .      36/6  =
    4     1/1      1/1     14/2     21/2       .        .      37/6  =
    5      .      11/2     12/0     23/1       .        .      46/3  =
    6     1/0     31/1     13/0       .        .        .      45/1  =
    7     1/1      7/0     48/1       .        .        .      56/2  =
    8     1/1     .....    36/2     .....    .....    .....    37/3  =
    9      .        .      28/2      1/0       .        .      29/2  =
   10      .        .       3/2     44/2       .        .      47/4  =
   11      .        .        .      28/1     25/2      1/0     54/3  =
   12      .        .        .        .      44/1     53/2     97/3  =
   13      .        .        .       2/2     26/0     57/2     85/4  =
   14      .        .        .       1/1      6/0     64/3     71/4  =
   15      .        .        .        .       2/1     73/1     75/2  =
   16    .....    .....    .....    .....    46/1     13/1     59/2  =
   17      .        .        .       4/0     51/3      8/0     63/3  =
   18      .        .        .       1/0     21/0     25/1     47/1  =
   19      .        .        .      21/0     21/1      1/0     43/1  =
   20      .        .        .      53/0       .       1/1     54/1  =
   21      .        .        .      44/0       .        .      44/0  =
   22      .        .      32/0     14/1      8/1      1/0     55/2  =
   23      .       1/0     26/4       .        .       3/1     30/5  =
DAY1    29/24   102/49   430/63   589/71   449/70   552/73    ..... =
DAY2    10/7    128/8    292/17   281/16   253/11   307/12      .   =
TOT     39/31   230/57   722/80   870/87   702/81   859/85      .   =

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