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To: 3830@contesting.com
Subject: [3830] CQWW VHF K2DRH SOAB HP
From: webform@b4h.net
Reply-to: k2drh@arrl.net
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 17:28:33 -0700
List-post: <mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    CQ Worldwide VHF Contest

Call: K2DRH
Operator(s): K2DRH
Station: K2DRH

Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 23

 Band  QSOs  Mults
    6: 1428   288
    2:  264    74
Total: 1692   362  Total Score = 708,072

Club: Society of Midwest Contesters


Iâ??d thought June was a barnburner, but this was a contest to end all contests.
 Conditions were nothing short of phenomenal on BOTH bands.  Even better than
the 2003 CQWW VHF where we had more widespread tropo conditions, but not nearly
as much Es.  It was the longest and most intense Es opening Iâ??ve ever seen
while contesting.  It opened early, stayed open both days and well into the
night.  A high-pressure dome over the Midwest made tropo conditions excellent
in all directions well past 500 miles. 

I found a spot around 50.150 and managed to hold for hours it even with the
occasional QSY to 2M by adjusting up or down a few KHz as the band shifted
around from the NE to the SE to the West, sometimes open to all three areas.  I
have three separate 6M antennas and found that the two low antennas (both 5el CC
at 20 feet) were really effective for quick switchovers from the dominant
direction.  The band stayed open to the NE just about all afternoon and I kept
the stack pointed there unless the West Cost was heard.  Didnâ??t stop to look
for DX at all since the rate was unbelievable for VHF, over 100 the first hour
and 130 plus for the next two hours.  Did work a lot of West coast stations. 
Signals were loud and sometimes stations were very close in.   Kept looking
every time I went to 2M for Es but even though I had reports I was 60 over I
found none.  Finally K1TEO called me on my run frequency and QSYâ??d me to 2M
where we hooked up on Es and I went on to log several other stations in the FN

Despite the 2M Es I had very few 2M QSOs in the log until I left a still very
productive 6M at over 60Qs/hour at sundown and started making some very loud
and easy QSOs in a lot of far off grids.  The rate went down but the 2M Qs and
mults came way up.  When it came time for a WSJT sked with K3EAR at 0430Z 6M
was still open but considerably thinned out so I worked them on SSB on our sked
frequency the we QSYâ??d to 2M where the tropo ensured that I heard them every
sequence, sometimes the entire sequence.  I looked for randoms on both 50.260
and 144.140 but heard no one calling.  Things were pretty quiet by 0630Z so I
took almost a four-hour nap until 1030.  I had over 900 Qs in the log already.

While things were very slow at first early Sunday morning, 2M was really open
and in a few hours Iâ??d logged a lot of new grids.  I got on 6M just as it was
starting to open up again and held onto a frequency between 140 and 145.  It was
harder to hold and the rates were lower since the band kept shifting around from
the NE to the E to SE the SW, occasionally opening on long single hops to the W.
 But somehow still managed several consecutive hours with over 90Qs an hour. 
K3EAR was kind enough to yield a very clear run frequency back to me when I
came back from a 2M QSY.  K8GP came up on my spot after a QSY too, but they
were fairly light at the time and quickly left.  Thanks guys, you are all
really courteous and definitely first class ops. 

 Unlike an op whoâ??s call I didnâ??t recognize who moved in 1KHz up only a
short while after heâ??d worked me and while I was still there and running.  I
went up and asked him to QSY and didnâ??t wait for a reply, but he didnâ??t
move either.  The second time he was so defensive I lost my cool a bit, so
shame on me.  He refused to move claiming heâ??d been there for hours despite
the fact I knew Iâ??d just worked him, his area had been open for me for a long
while and I had to be totally blocking his receiver.  So I tried to reason with
him blaming a changing band and asking him to squeeze a half up while I would
squeeze a half down.  He agreed.  I did my part; he reneged.  Good thing I have
a great receiver and most of the calling stations were strong, but I apologize
for all the repeats and to anyone that I could not pull out because of this
unwarranted and unnecessary QRM.  He apparently left after about 10 minutes, I
guess finally realizing that he couldnâ??t get anything going with me there so
loud and so close.  It takes a lot longer for some stations to QSY than I do,
and I quickly learned ask them to QSY, then work several more in the pileup
before going when I was sure they were waiting for me there already (most
times) to cut down on run frequency challenges like this.  Some were not there.
 I suspect they donâ??t realize how much you have to juggle or how difficult it
is to keep a clear run frequency on a crowded band, but most are very patient
and I really appreciate that.  

The biggest thrill of Sunday was when EA7KW called me in the pileup.  I
struggled with the call since it was so different but thanked Jose and kept
right on going although I was sorely tempted to QSY to the DX window!  We
donâ??t hear much European DX here on the border of 9/0 land and in reality
they are just another grid mult in this contest.  Later I did have a YV, KP4
and a KP2 call me fairly close to one another.  We have a good path into the
Carribean so it caused me to give up my run freq and go multiplier hunting
across the band, a very productive 15-minute excursion that netted some other
DX and a lot of rarer grid stations that call CQ and donâ??t tune the band
much.  Iâ??d had a few local friends alert me to stuff I should go and pick up
like that and I thank them all very much for that.  The calls from the FN grids
were fewer in the afternoon and I concentrated more to the SE and the SW. 
Several stations told me they had heard me on backscatter the day before but
could not get through.

Signals were strong again and I got a lot of 60 over reports, even on the low
antennas.   With this of course comes the inevitable â??youâ??re splattering
all over the bandâ?? or â??turn down your audio/compressorâ?? comments usually
dropped right in the middle of a QSO and almost never accompanied by a
callsign.  Usually there is only one or two and in the past they have been more
polite, but this time there were several and they were abrupt.  I get a bit
annoyed at this since itâ??s rude and I know I run a clean station with good
audio.   My usual reply is to thank them, tell them I donâ??t think so, maybe
advise them to turn off their noise blanker and then move on.  Most went away
but some wanted to stay and argue.  Occasionally I got deliberate QRM for
several minutes immediately after such an interruption.  Sometimes I got
deliberate QRM out of the blue.  I guess with the advent of more HF rigs adding
6M not only are there more stations to work but also some marginal HF ops have
arrived, bringing some really annoying habits with them!  Just like on HF it
seems to take all the fun out of it for them if you just ignore the QRM, acting
as if it wasnâ??t there.  

The station was in good shape going into this contest as evidenced by the 17
hours of 60 plus QSO hours, but Murphy is always waiting in the background. 
Early Sunday morning my tower top stopped rotating, but it was just a loose
cable connector in the shack.  Had a few bad moments when I pointed one of the
low antennas right at the house to work 6M into TX and the logging computer
locked up.  This happened 4 times until I finally found the right combination
of cable dress and ferrite beads.  Lost at least 15 minutes and still had a 90
QSO hour!  This was the most QSOs Iâ??ve ever made in any VHF contest, despite
being several hours shorter than the ARRL ones.  It was really a marathon, and
with both bands so open for so long more like a domestic HF contest as far as
rate and participation is concerned.  Definitely one for the record books.


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