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V31DX ARRL SSB Score and Story

To: <3830@contesting.com>
Subject: V31DX ARRL SSB Score and Story
From: jdowning@intelenet.net (John Downing)
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 22:56:24 -0800
        Class:  Multi Single            Call:   V31DX
        Country:        Belize                  Contest: ARRL DX SSB
        Power:          500 watts

        Band    QSOs    Multipliers
        160      242    44
         80      579    57
         40     1388    59
         20     2016    60
         15     2360    59
         10      340    18

Total           6925    297     6,170,175

Operators: John N6YRU and Vic KI6IM

Club Affliation: Cuba Libre Contest Club

Equipment: Butternut H2V on 160 and 80
            Cushcraft 2 element 40 beam
            TH-7 tribander
             FT-1000mp (until Saturday morning!)
             TS-440 (audio and filter challenged)
             SGC-500 amp until Saturday morning
             TL-922 with soft final rest of contest


For a change, just Vic and I did the contest.  Other commitments kept Bill
WA9L and Peter AB6WM, fellow Cuba Libre Contesters, from joining us for the
weekend. Our Q total was over 1000 below last year and 2500 below our 1994
total mostly due to minimal 10 meter conditions.  Things were so slow this
year that it seemed even the jammers got bored! 

10 meters: Caught a short opening to the west coast on Saturday for about
        50 Qs and 9 mults.  Short opening on Sunday was only to west coast
        with only 6s and 7s.  
15 meters: Band of choice with one third of our Qs.  Moved there each morning
        after getting murdered on 20.  Band seemed to be open everywhere at once
        with 6s, 0s, and 3s all in the same pilup.
20 meters: Slow in the mornings as the east coast pointed their beams to europe.
        Got better in the afternoon after exhausting 15.  Heavy QRM made copying
        the weak ones a pain.
40 meters: A walk in the park (an all night walk at that). 
80 meters: S-9 noise level and heavy QRM made finding (and holding) a run
        frequency very hard.  Resorted to working split from 3725.
160 meters: The usual execept we had trouble getting out with many CQs 

High Points:
Great cooperation from some super ops such as K3ANS in giving us some room to 
operate on our run frequency.  Getting called by VY1JA (Yukon) with 2 minutes
to go in the test for a new multiplier.  Having the amazing Dave Leeson W6QHS
be the first to call each time I made a band change.  How does he do it? 
Clairvoyance?  Having a beam that could actually rotate after Vic spent several
days getting up close and personal with a gin pole on the tower swapping

Low Points:
Instead of our usual ICOM 781 / Alpha 76 combination, this year to save weight
and space we brought down brand a brand new FT 1000mp / SGC 500 combination.  
new rig (complete with 2.0 khz filters) worked fine until, in the middle of a 
Saturday morning great run on 15, the amp comprehensively smoked its fuses and 
FT1000mp buzzed and quit for good.  We resorted to dragging out our old TL-922
with nearly non-existant finals and rusty (yes, rusty, not trusty!) TS440 with
no filters and a nice loud 100hz buzz in the headset.  By Saturday afternoon I
must admit I was kinda hoping this too would blow up so I could head home Sunday
morning!  The constant audio hum nearly drove me nuts (sorry if I sounded a 
irratable in the pilups) and crowded bands like 20 became impossible because of 
the lack of any kind of narrow filtering.  For a while it looked like our Q 
would fall below 6000.  On Saturday evening I found myself rebuilding the 
Butternut H2V by flashlight after it got flakey.  We subsequently blew up the
capacitors in the 160 meter kit....... 

Other notes of interest to some:
You know, a test on standard phonetics should be included in license exams.  Non
standard phonetics make copying the weak ones a lot slower than it should be and
those who don't know better or think they're cute do themselves a disservice in
these contests.  On Saturday night I hopped onto a nice clear frequency around
7060 and started a CQ listening in the US section.  An annoyed East Coast 
station with a big signal immediately asked me to kindly move as that was "his"
listening frequency.  Much to his amazement I suggested that if he found me a
clear TX frequency I would move. He did and I did.  Back to first principals:
mutual QRMing doesn't put Qs in the log.  My fellow Cuba Libre Contester, Vic,
found a more unique way to a clear frequency: he announced he was listening on
7311 and got quite a few takers until someone mentioned that he had moved the
pilup 11 khz out of the band...ooooops!

After 15 or so contests over the last six years as V31DX and V31A this was 
likely our last contest from Belize.  Over development of our QTH in San
Pedro, Ambergris Caye has boxed in our tower and created high line noise 
levels.  Our condo at the Belize Yacht Club as been sold (Friday, before the
contest) and although we have assurances that the tower will remain, I don't
think it will last until the CQWW.  The Cuba Libre Contest Club is starting
a search for a new and interesting Carib QTH to buy and suggestions are 

Congrats to Scott Neader on a truly spectacular single op effort from our
neighboring country TG9.

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