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K5ZD (W2SC opr) ARRL SSB (Part 1)

To: <3830@contesting.com>
Subject: K5ZD (W2SC opr) ARRL SSB (Part 1)
From: tom=georgens%Eng%OpenSys@fishbowl02.lss.emc.com (tom georgens)
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 96 8:36:01 -0500
It looks like my mail program has a 6000 byte limit.  After that, it
makes the document an attachment.  That did not seem to work so well
last time so I split the message into two parts.

                 ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST -- 1996

      Call: K5ZD(W2SC op)            Country:  United States
      Mode: SSB                      Category: Single Operator


      160       62      38      1/4 Wave GP
       80      321      73      Inverted Vee @ 90'
       40      303      68      402CD @ 110'
       20     1641     118      5/5 @ 100'/50'
       15       86      42      TH7DXX @ 70'
       10       11       7      TH7DXX @ 70'

     Totals   2424     346  =   2,516,112

Just before the ARRL CW, Randy (K5ZD) asked if I wanted to do a multi
at his place for SSB.  I had already decided not to do SSB from home
that weekend but I said that I would let him know in a week or so.
On the weekend before the SSB test Randy put out a message offering his
station so I figured I better give him a call.  He indicated that he was
not that eager to operate and I could do a single op if I wanted but I
wasn't so sure since I had a mid-week, cross country business trip
planned so I left it up in the air.  At the time, my preferance was
for a multi since I was not familiar with his station and he mentioned
that there were a few problems with microphone switching for two
radios.  When I operate from home, I have to have complete stability
and I make no station changes after Wednesday night.  I was concerned 
about being tired and unfamiliar with the setup and embarassing myself
with a poor score.  To further complicate matters, Randy said
"Oh by the way, K1AR is also doing single op."

I eventually cancelled my business trip and decided on Thursday that
"no guts no glory" had prevailed and I would try single op.  On
Friday, I knew the word was out when KC1XX sent me a packet message
asking me to send Randy up to his place to operate.  I suggested
that he take K1AR instead.  He replied that K1AR will go up there
after 36 hours if he had me beat by then.  I was little peeved but
Matt later owned up to making up that comment up by himself.

Randy said to meet him at his place at 23Z and he would give me the
tour of the station.  We discussed single versus multi for a while
and, at 2330Z, we finalized the decision that I would do single op.
I got the short tour and I was ready to go at 0Z

I got off to a slow start as I got the feel of the station.  I was 
CQing on 40 and taking mults on the second radio on 20.  Whenever,
I went to 20 I was blowing away the frequency settings on the run
radio.  It took a few hours to figure out that I had to hit alt-.
to switch radios. Then, on my first QSY to 160, I was getting no output.
It turns out I left the radio in split and was transmitting on 80. 
On the other hand, entering the frequency from the CT keyboard for the
40 and 80 splits was a dream.  I need to do that at home.  Eventually
things (and I) calmed down and stuff started to happen.  80 started
to play and I made sure I worked hard at 160, Randy's best band.  40
meters even had a EU sunrise opening which did not occur on the CW
weekend.  After 10 hours I was at 448/172, and I was relatively
pleased, especially after a number of ops stopped by that night to 
say how poor conditions were.

The dead time between sunrises was not too bad.  The last EU worked on
40 was 954Z and the first on 20 was 1028Z.  Twenty opened slowly but
eventually broke for good rate.  Little did I know then but I was
going to be on that frequency for most of the next 10 hours.  After a
couple of high rate hours on 20 I started listening on the second
radio for an opening on 15.  Randy splits the headphones between the
two radios, one in each ear.  I do not do that at home and I could 
never really use two radios effectively when I had any kind of rate
on the run radio.  I have deep respect for anyone who can operate
with a different radio in each ear.  I primarily used the second radio
to listen to KC1XX CQ on 15 to see if the band was open.  He eventually
started to get sporatic answers but not enough for me to QSY.  Later,
around 1530Z, I heard K1AR on 15.  At this point I figured that I needed 
to give the band a try.  I CQ'd for about 15 minutes, worked a handful
of guys at the noise floor, and decided that it was not worth giving up
the 100+/hour rate on 20 for this.  I went back to my old frequency on 20 
and continued to run.  I occasionally checked 15 after that.  At one
point I heard K1AR again, he called CQ about 5 times without an 
answer, and I decided to just run 20 until it died.  It turns out that
the 15 meter decision was a fatal mistake the magnitude of which I
would not realize until later.

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