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Subject: [3830] K9NX SO/HP ARRL 160m +LONG SOAP BOX
From: n7ex@athenet.net (Dave_K9NX)
Date: Tue, 08 Dec 1998 03:40:51 +0000
    Contest Dates : 04-Dec-98, 05-Dec-98, 06-Dec-98
    Callsign Used : K9NX
         Operator : K9NX
         Category : SO/HP WISCONSIN SECT.
 Default Exchange : 599 WI
        Team/Club : N/A

   BAND   Raw QSOs   Valid QSOs   Points   Mults   Countries   
  160CW      800         780       1587      76         9 
 Totals      800         780       1587      76         9 

    Final Score = 134895 points.

Being an avid top-bander / contester I look forward each year to the
December /
January top-band contest season (ARRL / Stew Perry / CQWW) with the same level
of anticipation that the local cheese heads look forward to the beginning of
the Packer football season.  

The competition really starts in early November when Mother Nature and Murphy
team up against me to make sure that I?m really committed to this insanity. 4
out of the last 5 years either my Beverages or transmit antennas (or both)
been destroyed by a major storm. This year was no exception with a major storm
(sustained winds of 40-50Mph and gusts to 70 for almost 3 days) in early
November. If I had been living Florida this storm would have had a name, and
the old timers here about recollect that it was such a storm that took the
Edmond Fitzgerald on Lake Superior 23 years ago to the day. At any rate it
out my inverted L. and one of the Bevs.

A 55? tall concrete grain silo and a tree on the farm support the Inverted L.
The vertical portion was quite close to the silo and the antenna had not been
as ?loud? as I was used to for an inverted L at other locations.  I had been
musing on why for months and suspected that the close proximity (about
to the concrete / reinforced steel silo was the reason. I reasoned that the
silo looked like some very large lossy dielectric too close to the radiator.
The storm wore through the rope halyard that supported the L and gave me
to do something about it. Blessed with unseasonably warm weather for
November I
got he opportunity as well. 

 I reasoned that if the silo was in fact a major source of loss in my system,
then the loss should be directly proportional to the electric field at the
silo.  The field changes as the square of the distance and by moving the L
2 feet to 36 feet from the silo an increase in the distance of 18 times, the
field at the silo (and thus the loss) would be reduced by the square of that
distance or 300+. Because of other support considerations going much more than
this was not possible anyway. On the air results were initially encouraging.
The 2:1 VSWR bandwidth decreased from 65 kHz to 45 kHz a good sign that the
antenna Q was much higher (and the losses lower) just for  moving the antenna
36?from the silo. Just before CQWW I added 10 radials going from 20 to 30
and I
managed to work 22 countries on 160 in what locally were not spectacular
Encouraged I reasoned that the old adage about never having enough radials was
now to be tried. With the aide of a 500 watt work light and the mild wx I
managed to go from 30 to 40 radials by Thursday night before the 160 contest
and resolved to take a half day vacation and get another 10 radials down by
contest time on Friday. The contest starts and I FEEL LOUD. The work seemed to
pay off and when the sun came up on Saturday I was 150 Qs ahead of my best
showing in the last 5 years for the first night of the contest. With
visions of
a 1000 Q?s in my head I went out Saturday morning and lay down another 10
radials before it started to rain again, bringing the total number of radials
to 60. The 2:1 VSWR is now down to 40kHZ (higher Q yet!), All is good and I go
off to take a nap. 

As if to show me who was boss I awoke from my nap to find that Murphy had been
working on my SE/NW beverage which was now dead. A trip to the cow pasture
revealed that the remote relay box, which switches the beverages, was full of
water (for some time apparently) and that the relay had finally succumbed. 30
minutes later all is fixed and we are going again. Although not apparent till
later, it appears that Mother Nature is having another laugh and the bands had
died as well. The second and third tier of smaller stations were just not
with hour upon hour of 20-30 Q?s /hr. A peak from midnight to 2 AM on Saturday
when the rate meter moved back up to 70-90/hr range showed they were on the
band but just not copyable. 

In the end a better antenna system in 1998 (more efficient Inv. L + 4 Bevs)
versus last year (less efficient Inv. L + 2 Bevs.) couldn?t overcome poor band
condx. In the end I only missed KL7, VE6 and VY1 for mults but was down nearly
40 Q?s from last year at 780 Vs 817. I will miss the Stew Perry because of
holiday travel so see you guys in January in CQWW.

Keeeyyyyy Low wattt Nyynnne Noxious Xylophone

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