ARRL DX Contest, SSB
Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 42
Band QSOs Mults
160: 425 59
80: 840 59
40: 1288 59
20: 2216 62
15: 2762 60
10: 8 4
Total: 7539 303 Total Score = 6,852,000
Club: Society of Midwest Contesters
Well, that was certainly fun. My second effort SOAB from non-USA
(first was PJ2T in 2008) and a slightly better score.
I wish I could have arrived on the island sooner, but due to an
important event for my wife, I couldn't come to the island until
around 24 hours before the start of the contest. Fortunately,
the station is nearly turn-key, ready to operate upon arrival.
I did have to replace the 80M 4-square phasing box and dummy
load (due to water damage) and change the loading coils on the
80M tower verticals, but that was the extent of the antenna
work. Most of the work had to do with changing the M/2 station
into a SO2R setup. Dragging the heavy IC-7800s closer together,
getting all the switchboxes within reach, and getting my USB
soundcard voice-keying working and sounding good was much
bigger of a challenge than at home.
Actually, the setup was SO2R+1R...I had a third IC-7800
set up just so I could watch the band scope on the 10M stack
and with a flick of the switch move the stack back to the
other radios/amps. It was nearly a waste of time. Ten meters
never happened this far North. I CQ'd for hours on 10M on
both days with never an answer. My 8 Qs came from hearing
K6NA calling D4C. D4C I guess wasn't hearing him, so I
dumped in my call and got Glenn's attention immediately.
I QSYed a few kHz and called CQ and got 7 more answers,
only CA, AZ, ID, WA. Evidence that I was too close to
the states if I was only getting these far away states.
I knew that going into the contest, the only way I had
a shot at winning was if Tom/8P5A, Jerry/PJ2T and I ALL
had 10M, or NONE of us had 10M. Neither happened. Both
Tom and Jerry got a fair opening, generating a lot of
multipliers that I couldn't make up with raw QSOs.
I had set a goal of 8500 QSOs, if 10M would have opened,
but I failed on my 10M line as well as 40 and 80M. Not
sure why I was short of my goal on 80M, other than too
much sleep, but 40M was just a struggle to get a frequency.
I wanted to operate in the general portion above 7175, but
below the broadcast at 7200, which doesn't leave much room.
Speaking of sleep, I was very surprised that I was able
to take a nap before the start of the contest. I've NEVER
been able to do this, EVER. I'm always too nervous or
anxious to do so, and usually playing around with the radios.
This time it was a little easier, as we lost power for an
extended period of time before the start of the contest.
The local helpers were great...they pulled out the diesel
generator, fired it up, ran the extension cord, and verified
that the station could run on the generator. After the power
didn't come back for a while, I thought to myself, well, I
could enter the contest low power, running off the generator.
The station doesn't have a 240V extension cord, so while the
6500W generator could handle one of the Acom amps, there's
no way to power it. With the generator squared away and not
much else to worry about, I went off to bed.
After a bit of a nap, I woke up to find the electricity
recently restored, as well as my intention of using the amplifiers.
I quickly made myself a couple of peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches, sat down on 20M a few minutes before the start
and proceeded to go with fellow Sultan Mikey K9NW finding me
instantly before the start of the contest and getting Q #1.
Roughly 200 QSOs and 40 minutes later, a QSY to 40M. Pleased
with my 275 first hour, I was hopeful for a good contest.
Good rates continued, with >200/hr rates for the first five
hours, then a 166, then another 200+ hour. I know it was
early, but I was nearly on the pace I set for myself.
It was hard to leave >100/hr rates, but knew I wanted a
short (well, short for me) nap before the high bands opened,
so I took a 1.5 hour snooze. Weirdest thing ever...I awoke
completely shivering, shaking, teeth chattering cold. I
had to put my Wisconsin winter coat on and begin operating,
with teeth chattering. It took an hour or two to shake it
and take off my winter coat. (Slight contrast to a 90
degree shack, huh, Jerry?)
Upon waking, it was to 20M for around an hour, and found
I was able to run 15M slightly earlier than expected. I
did four 200+ hours, but not high 200s, so I was a little
disappointed with the rate. To make matters worse,
15M kinda dried up when it really should have gotten better
as the sun set in Europe during the 18z and 19z hours.
It was so bad I went back to 20M waiting to see what was
going on with 15. Two hours later, at 20z, 15M picked back
up and I did a couple high 200 hours. Sometime in the 23z
hour, I decided that, even though 15 was going well, I've
still not spent much time on 20M.
Then the flood gates opened. Signals were huge, not much
QRM, and I worked the best hour of the contest, a 368 hour.
A little more time on 20 then it was time to timeshare on
40/80/160. Again, finding a spot to CQ seemed even more
difficult than the day before. Even 160 was crowded with
stations packed between 1820 and 1870. Rates were fair
in the low 100's but then i decided to take another planned
nap, this one being a doozy of 3 hours. 3 hours came, my
alarm went off and just like last time, I overslept. This
time by only one hour instead of two. Again upon awaking,
I was frozen and teeth chattering. Again the winter coat
went on as I sat down at the radios.
Now I know that the rates on Sunday are never as good as
Saturday, but I never expected rates to be this bad.
They were worse that Sweepstakes Sunday!!! I had 3
prime 15M hours (13-16z) that were sub-100 rates! My
15z hour was 68!!! This completely dashed a high final
QSO total, besides the lack of 10M. Finally 15M picked
up, but only to the low 100's.
Despite such a terrible day on 15M, I was at my 15M goal
and noticing that my 20M line was very, very short of my
goal, I QSYed to 20M at 21z and finished the contest with
three 200+ hours, boosting my line up to my goal.
Still can't operate anywhere near 48 hours, but still
pleased with my 42 hour effort, which was 1 hour more
than last time. And, I was so "rested" at the end of
the contest, I was running a 30 CW pile 40 minutes after
the contest ended followed by some 60M action. But
the next day I think I slept until noon.
Thanks for the competition and congrats to Tom 8P5A for
another fine show, as well as my SMC brother Jerry at PJ2T.
A MAJOR thank you to my host Krassy K1LZ. What a fine, fine
station....just too far North for this year.
Lastly, thanks to all for calling, and to my QSL manager
Tim, WD9DZV. Without the callers and my QSL manager, this
contesting hobby would be much less enjoyable! ;-)
Chad WE9V / 6Y9V
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