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[3830] NAQP CW VA7ST Single Op LP

To: 3830@contesting.com
Subject: [3830] NAQP CW VA7ST Single Op LP
From: webform@b41h.net
Reply-to: va7st@rac.ca
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 21:03:50 -0800
List-post: <3830@contesting.com">mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    North American QSO Party, CW - January

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

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

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:   17    11
   80:  171    43
   40:  157    42
   20:  170    45
   15:  144    33
   10:   43    12
Total:  702   186  Total Score = 130,572

Club: Orca DX and Contest Club

Team: TCG #2


Did a lot of hand-wringing this week trying to figure out how to best
accommodate two favourite contests on the same weekend. This was a sad calendar
compression of two great contests, and I believe both contests felt the impact.

With NAQP CW and RTTY Roundup both starting at 1800z Saturday, I decided to
force my decision: I signed up for an NAQP TCG team. Being on a team would rope
me down to concentrate on NAQP for the first part of the weekend. It definitely
kept my butt in the chair and prevented me from wandering away into RTTY land
when things got slow in the CW subbands.

Going in, I planned to work the high bands for the first two hours of NAQP,
then switch to RTTY so I would be gainfully employed during the two-hour NAQP

Happily, 10M and 15M were too good to walk away from, so I ran there longer
than I anticipated. Things began with a great 10M opening worth 43 Qs and 12
mults I didn't have in previous years. 

10M      Qs   Mults
2011:    43      12
2010:     0       0

Ten was worked out rather quickly, but 15M was good for at least an hour of
action, giving up 15 more mults and twice last year's Q total.

15M      Qs   Mults
2011:   144      32
2010:    69      17

The high bands borrowed time from what has for years been a 20M-only beginning.
I finally moved down to 20M at 2000z, knowing I had my work cut out for me. Last
year 20M was good for 269 Qs and 47 mults. After 1.5 hours on 20M, I ended up
with 45 mults, just two shy of last year. 

20M      Qs   Mults
2011:   170      45
2010:   269      47

Good enough. If I didn't pause now, I'd risk eating into 40M prime-time or
shortening my valuable 80M time later. The plan was out the window now that I
had 3.5 hours out of the gate. I took my break from 2130z to 2330z. And instead
of switching to Roundup per the master plan, I took a nap -- realizing rest was
more valuable going into a long CW evening than the RTTY contacts would be in
an already hamstrung Roundup effort.

Got back on at 2330z and went straight to 40M. Hope we never again have to
stuff an NAQP into 30 khz of 40M. The Roundup had NAQP ops packed gill to gill
in the sardine can at the bottom of the band, and it was horrible. 

The only disappointment on Saturday night was 40M performance, perhaps due to
the dipole being at 27' this year, vs. 40' last year. When it's windy, I don't
crank up the tower. It was windy. But even low, the dipole is still better for
NAQP than the more DX-friendly twin half-square array used in 2009.

40M performance:
* 157 for 40 mults in 2011 with SteppIR dipole at 27'
* 200 for 46 mults in 2010 with SteppIR dipole at 40'
* 120 for 33 mults in 2009 with twin phased half-squares
* 112 for 30 mults in 2008 with E-W and N-S half-squares
* 137 for 34 mults in 2007 with 18AVQ/WB vertical and phased delta loops East
*  91 for 31 mults in 2006 with twin delta loops to East

The 80M twin verticals continue to play well for cross-continent work. However,
they did consume 20 minutes in the dark Saturday night. SWR was unduly high when
I went to 80M. I checked coax in the shack, to no effect, then bundled up and
made the flashlight trek into the woods to see if some damn rodent had chewed
the coax. Fortunately, the cables were all fine, but the relay box had been
rolled by a racoon or something larger (coyote?). 

Righted the box, checked the fittings, and returned to the house to defrost.
SWR was  still high until I switched the thing out of broadside mode, which has
-- wait for it --  naturally high SWR. Yeesh. Took another 15 minutes of
one-finger typing as my hands thawed after the trek, and all because I forgot
to switch out of broadside in the shack last time. Live and learn. Also: gloves
are a good idea. 

80M performance:
* 171 for 43 mults in 2011 with phased elevated verticals
* 178 for 42 mults in 2010 with phased elevated verticals
* 150 for 44 mults in 2009 with phased elevated verticals
*  76 for 27 mults in 2008 with a full-size delta loop
* 143 for 43 mults in 2007 with 80M inverted-V at 60'
* 146 for 39 mults in 2006 with twin delta loops to East

160M was no hell, but worked out better than I expected with one radial and a
chainlink fence holding down the Inverted-L. Had a couple of guys move me down
there and both worked out -- N4GG in GA has exceptional hearing, and was my
only contact beyond the Northwestern states.

2011: 17 Qs 11 mults -- Inv.-L with 1 radial and chainlink fence
2010: 19 Qs 12 mults -- Inv.-L with 12 radials, three 100 footers
2009: 56 Qs 27 mults -- Inv.-L with just a chainlink fence
2008: 48 Qs 15 mults -- Inv.-L with handful of random radials

Missing the first dozen or so hours of prime-time RTTY Roundup meant a
perfectly good (and much-anticipated) RTTY contest was turned into an also-ran
casual event here. A crippled Roundup outing was frustrating, but no more so
than skipping NAQP would have been.

I expected NAQP participation to be down, given the conflicting interests. My
best-ever was only 35 Qs higher than I managed on Saturday, so there was plenty
of activity. 

Had a hoot, and sure appreciate the fine ops who make this thing such a great
time. Thanks all. CU in the next one.

-- Bud VA7ST

Year  Qs   Mults  Score  January NAQP CW
2011: 702  186   130,572
2010: 735  164   120,540
2009: 687  171   117,477
2008: 646  149    96,254
2007: 587  143    83,941
2006: 737  172   126,764
2005: --    --        --
2004: 206   62    12,772
2003: 412  147    60,564

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