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To: 3830@contesting.com, rbrandon@austin.ibm.com
Subject: [3830] ARRLDX CW W5KFT(K5PI) SOAB HP
From: webform@b4h.net
Reply-to: rbrandon@austin.ibm.com
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 06:28:21 -0800
List-post: <mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: W5KFT
Operator(s): K5PI
Station: W5KFT

Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 44
Radios: SO2R

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:   19    14
   80:   75    41
   40:  553    77
   20:  343    73
   15:  566    85
   10:  745    89
Total: 2281   379  Total Score = 2,588,949

Club: Central Texas DX and Contest Club


There are so many layers to the onion of ham radio.  The headline for this
contest has to be "K5PI discovers the effects of sleep deprivation".  Who needs
drugs?  Just try to copy Morse code for two days straight!

I did single op in the CQWW CW contest, but I "only" operated 41 of the 48
hours.  I got a little sleep both nights and each afternoon.  This time I was on
for 44 hours, but I only managed to sleep during one of the three off periods I
took.  I worked all through Friday night/Saturday morning.  It may have been
caffeine, or it may have been nervous energy, but I couldn't sleep at all during
my hour and a half off early Saturday afternoon.  I took another hour off late
Saturday night (0600Z) but only nodded off a couple of times.  By Sunday
afternoon, I was useless.   At 1935Z, I went down HARD for a little over
an hour.  I woke up groggy, but ready to go -- or so I thought.  I sat down at
the radio and for somewhere close to five minutes, I seriously could NOT
remember what I was supposed to do.  Okay, I'm supposed to hit F1 to call CQ,
and I'm supposed to hit Alt-D as well -- I've been doing that for the last 36
hours, but damned if I can remember anything else. Let's see -- someone calls
me, and then . . . I type something, I think . . .  if he's DX I think that's
good, but wait . . . there's that dupe thing . . .  I'd better not call anyone
yet because I'm not sure I'd know what to do . . . Well, no answers to my CQs,
so I'd better try . . . hmmm, maybe that's it -- okay he answered me -- which
antenna am I on? . . . 

Very, very fortunately this was not during any significant opening.

At other times, I struggled with some strange ideas that there was a special
protocol for contacts on 40M, and that the Russians high in the band on 20M were
avoiding me for some bizarre reason -- why else wouldn't they answer my CQs!

There were some tough times to be sure, even a few times when it took a great
deal of will just to keep going, but just then something really cool would
happen.  Some highlights:

My first hour was 106, mostly on 10M.  79 QSOs on the 10M run radio was 50%
better than I've seen before in this contest, and I was able to work in 27
contacts on the second radio for a great start.  

I hit a gold mine on 20M Saturday night a little before 0730, watched the rate
go through the roof for a half hour, and picked up 14 needed multipliers.  20M
is still mysterious to me -- it can be very fickle when the sunspots are up, and
I've been surprised quite a few times what happens.  I understand the K5TR crew
made even more of this opening -- I was late to the party trying to work Europe
on 40.

Just after that, I found a bottomless pit of JAs on 40M that I ran for four
hours.  This was the kind of opening I'd heard about but never experienced.  The
QRN had settled down, and even the QRP guys were Q5 copy.  I'll never grumble
about JA QSLs again.

Saturday morning to Europe was a little disappointing.  I started running on 15M
just after 1300Z and moved the run rig to 10M an hour later.  I didn't crack
100/hr that morning -- signals were down.

The beverages were helpful once again for the low bands.  The SE beverage made
it much easier to rip through 160M and pick up the Caribbean guys.  I worked my
first ever JA on 160 fifteen minutes before our sunrise.  

Coming into Sunday morning, I was very punchy but the increase in the rate
helped get me going.  I hit 15M at 1322Z, and things were going pretty well. 
Then the rate started to really sag, and I decided that a mass exodus to 10M had
happened.  So I started running on 10 at 1406Z, but I couldn't get anything
going.  It seemed as if the bottom had fallen out from a solar flare of
something.  All I could hear were the EU super stations -- not terribly loud --
and the east coast guys.  I went back to running 15M at 1451Z, but didn't get an
answer for four straight minutes!  I made a S&P run through 15M, picking up a
dozen EU superstations, then tried to run 15 again.  Lousy rate.  Finally, at
1530, I went back to 10M, and found that the band was wide open.  I ended up way
up the band, but finally got some action going.  

Through all of this, I was not making good use of the second radio. After 38
hours with no sleep, I'd been looking forward to parking and running some high
rate then finally getting some sleep.  I kept wondering if I was on the wrong
antenna or something.  In fact, for about a half hour after I finally settled in
on 10M and after I pulled one of the radios a little toward me on the desk, I
thought 15 was completely dead -- only to find out I'd yanked out one of the
connectors into the beverage interface box. 

I finally got my hour of sleep at 1940Z, got back on, and sort of limped across
the finish line with 61 more contacts and 8 more multipliers.  I wasn't sure I
had enough wits about me to fight the famous last hour pileups, and so I decided
to skip that madness.  After all, I was getting a good little batch of JA calls
from running.  And I had three mults call *me* during that last hour.  But in
the end, I couldn't resist.  With 20 minutes to go, I jumped into the fray for
D88S on 20M, not having any clue where D8 was.  I finally dupe checked him and
the software said South Korea.  Huh?  Late afternoon on 20?  And loudest on the
SE antenna?  I got him in four or five tries, and later found out that he was in
Antarctica.  I then found 9V1YC holding a snarling pack at bay just up the band
and got him in a couple of calls.

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