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[3830] CQ160 CW VA7ST Single Op LP

To: 3830@contesting.com
Subject: [3830] CQ160 CW VA7ST Single Op LP
From: webform@b41h.net
Reply-to: va7st@rac.ca
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2010 16:10:52 -0800
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                    CQ 160-Meter Contest, CW

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

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 9.5

Total:  QSOs = 247  State/Prov = 49  Countries = 3  Total Score = 60,528

Club: British Columbia DX Club


Gear: FT-2000 and Inverted-L (80' vertical-ish, 55' sloping horizontal)

This was a low-power operation, as my SB221 amplifier is strictly an 80-10M
jalopy. Have about 12 radials of 50' and at least three others of 100' to 130'
out there, but no ground rod. 


First night...

Turned on the rig at 0030z (4:30 p.m.) Friday to hear YT0A calling CQ, and he
was pretty clear copy. Not a chance of working him from here, but I thought
perhaps it was a sign that the band was extremely good (or that the Beverage
had magically sprung an EU lobe :).

As it turned out, the only DX worked from here was KH6 x 2. I put in 5 hours 22
minutes of real time Friday night in about four sessions, the last of which was
1047 to 1222z. Wasn't busy, but probably the best of the slots I operated
during the evening/morning as I landed a few W1 mults that had eluded me.

QSOs    Pts  Sta   Cty
145     681   38      1    for 26,559 points.

Only three clock-hours with 25/hr or more (highest was 26/hr).


Saturday, I drove a short rod (4' copper pipe) through subsurface ice into the
sandy earth at the feedpoint and tied it into the radial system. 

Also added a 4-footer to the 260' Beverage feedpoint -- went from 210 ohms
impedance using a chainlink fence as a ground point to 410 ohms with the copper
pipe. Added a single extra turn on the transformer's secondary winding and had
49 ohms for the coax on 160M and 53 ohms on 80M. The change in noise reduction
wasn't super dramatic on 160M -- noise was still S3 or so (S7 or more on the
xmit antenna) -- but I was startled to hear the difference on 80M, where noise
was virtually undetectable and signals were strong and seemed to almost float
in the silence. I can hardly wait to use that band and see what that's like in
a contest. 


Second night....

Operated about four hours in a row and called it a night at 1039z or 2:39 a.m.

For the first time I tried the old trick of reducing the RF gain to cope with
the noise a bit. It was amazing how some signals that were buried in the noise
would suddenly pop up to Q-5 copy by backing down the gain. Worked fantastic on
many signals. 

Managed to hit my goal of beating last year, and even finished with my
second-best ever in this one. More than doubled my score from the end of the
first night, adding 102 Qs. Only extra DX was KL7... heard KP4 and KV4 but
couldn't get their attention. Still, I felt stronger than on Friday night once
the band got rolling here -- which wasn't until about 0700z 11 p.m. 

Final four hourly rates were 20, 33, 18 and then 11 in the 1000z hour. Thanks
to everyone for listening so hard. 

In the noise,

-- Bud VA7ST

Year              Qs  Mults    Score   Time on  avg/hr
------------------------------------  --------  ------
January-10 SOLP  247     52   60,528   9.5 hrs    26.0
January-09 SOLP  244     50   59,100   5.5 hrs    44.4
January-08 SOLP  240     49   55,762     -        
January-07 SOLP  145     39   27,027   8.5 hrs    28.2
January-06 SOLP  220     48   50,400   7.0 hrs    31.4
January-05 SOLP  342     54   88,182  10.6 hrs    32.3

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