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To: 3830@contesting.com
Subject: [3830] CQ WW RTTY VA7ST SOAB LP
From: webform@b4h.net
Reply-to: ve7ask@rac.ca
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 22:27:57 -0700
List-post: <mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY

Call: VA7ST
Operator(s): VA7ST
Station: VA7ST

Class: SOAB LP
Operating Time (hrs): 30

 Band  QSOs  Pts   State/Prov  DX  Zones
   80:   65   124       23      3     4
   40:  102   212       31     10    11
   20:  429  1057       38     62    23
   15:  164   370       29     24    16
   10:    0     0        0      0     0
Total:  760  1763      121     99    54  Total Score = 483,062



Well, I guess I was right -- going Single-Op 10M wouldn't have been much fun.
10M total this weekend: Goose Egg. Tried with K1TTT (thanks) but nothing to
hear. That dead band was (almost) the only negative part of the entire

After years of slogging along on 20/15/10 with low dipoles, G5RVs, homebrew hex
and spider beams on lashed-up fence poles, I finally made the jump to a more
permanent yagi setup: Mosley CL33 beam on a tilt/crank-up MA40. Took 22 years to
do that.

All week I was giddy about the upcoming contest, hoping my new gear at this new
QTH (April) would work when I finally got to use it in a big contest. 

Got the tower bolted in last weekend, but only cranked the beam up all the way
for the very first time on Friday. I raced home from work, walking in the door
at 0003z. Cranked up the tower, then listened around for a minute on 15M to
confirm a JA opening -- worked my first Q at 0016z and never looked back.

Worked 20M till 0220z, and all too soon it was time to go to the wires for 40
and 80. 

I spent the summer trying dipoles at various heights and orientations, but
nothing worked like gangbusters. 

My high (80') 80m dipole points RF SW/NE, which isn't what I need. It was rough
going on 80 Friday and Saturday nights -- heard many dozens of stations, but
couldn't get their attention and settled for 65 Qs there.

Dipoles on 40m were all right (better as night dragged on), but not great. I
have been reading about good results loading the boom of a TH6 -- which is 24'
long. Anyone ever omega-feed an 18' boom for 40? Let me know if it's a lost
cause (I'm gonna try anyway, maybe with some light boom extensions).

As I waited between fruitless 80m CQs, I decided for 80 I will now put up an E-W
inverted-L. Heck, may as well do it for 160, too.

Managed sleep after 0800z and was up at 1400z to try the beam on the strong EU
opening. All I can say is, WOW! Our property drops off pretty sharply a few feet
from the tower base, so the valley beyond is 300' below the bottom of the tower
-- a great take off horizon to the north. 

Years of sending info 2, 3 or 4 times didn't prepare me for actually running EU
stations. And not just the big gun signals, but calls I've never heard before
(like mine is over the pole). I hope playing in the mud for so long has built
skills. This is a whole new world to QSO possibilities to use them in.

I beat last year's Q count and score by early Saturday evening... at one point I
noted the score at 444Qs, 999 pts, for a score of 222,777. (And 222 Qs on 20M).
The stars were aligning, hi.

Nice to hear KH7X in there again. Haven't heard Mike for a while and he was BIG
everywhere but 10M. I had HC8N in the bag on all bands that weren't fiction
(i.e. 10M). I had to look twice when 9K2KC called me on 15m Saturday morning.
Took me a couple of minutes to get the grin off my face. 

Then in the afternoon 5U7B called me on 20m (more big grins). Worked 9K2KC again
on Sunday high on 20m in a 2 khz split (even bigger "my, aren't you clever"
grins). Never even *heard* signals from these QTHs prior to this weekend. 

Nice to work Andy VE9DX on the high bands without needing Kreskin to intervene.
Was always a tough shot with modest dipoles at this end. (We did complete
another of our amazing QSOs on 80m).

Finally found a ZL with a radio (ZL3TE) at 0520z (10:20 p.m. local time Sat.
night) on 20m -- only signal on the band. No VKs this time.

Slept from 0700z to 1300z Sunday morning, then another super EU opening to start
the day. Heard but couldn't work 9M2/G4ZFE or JW7XK, but did enjoy new-zone
calls from TF3RB and CN8KD. Both were pleasant surprises.

As Sunday wore on, I had great mostly-EU runs on 15m and 20m, bouncing back and
forth when things slowed. Closed out with a nice run of US/VEs (thanks all) on

I want to thank K4JAF in FL for calling with only 20 minutes to go -- I missed
hearing the Florida ops. 

Also thanks to I2WIJ and W1TO for helping with the master.dta download for N1MM.
Once again, the software worked like a dream.

I brought the XYL in during the race to the finish on 20m to show her how hard
(almost impossible) it is to hear the target signal without narrow filters in
the FT920. It worked. She didn't really get it, but she agreed it was pretty bad
anyway and gave me permission to order "some filters" from InRad. That means
bye-bye AFSK, hello FSK, so I can use the CW-type filtering in DATA mode. The
world will be a safer place.

Year-over-year comparisons are:

            QSOs      Zones     S/P/C  Score
    2002    397       62        218    268,520 
    2003    257       46        122    101,304 
    2004    760       54        220    483,062

Never managed more than 50 Qs/hr, but it was exciting when the 10-minute rate
hit 180, an hour and a half into the contest. Really had an amazing time for the
whole 30 hours I was on the air.

Wonder what things would be like with 10m in the mix?

Thanks for the contacts. See you in the next one.

-- Bud, VA7ST

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