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[3830] More on the N6O operation in CQP (long)

To: nccc@contesting.com, 3830@contesting.com
Subject: [3830] More on the N6O operation in CQP (long)
From: Ken Keeler <kenkeeler@jazznut.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2006 20:57:47 -0700
List-post: <mailto:3830@contesting.com>
Hi gang:  Here's more details on our multi-multi operation at N6RO, now 
that the dust has settled, and I'm somewhat caught up on sleep!

Results Summary, after dupecheck: (Gross QSOs before dupes: 4664)

Band   CW    Phone  Total    Operators

10      33        63       96    WA6O, KJ6EN, N6RO, W6ZZZ
15      310     788     1098    N6BV + relief
20      531     1046    1577    K6AW +
40      488     649     1137    N6RO, WA6O, K4VU, N6KLS, W6ZZZ
80      252     267     519     WX5S, WA6O, N6BV
160     98      70      168     WA6O, WX5S

Total  1712     2883    4595           Score = 632,316

An 'approximate' rate sheet will soon be on the CQP website, or I can 
attach the .txt file to an email reply request from you.  This will show 
you when the 10m opening occurred, and the unusually good 40m condx on 
Sunday morning,  peak activity per band,   etc.   Despite  computer and 
software problems, our team effort produced nearly a thousand more QSOs 
this year over 2005.  Here's some of the high and low lites:

Part of the fun of this operation is competing with previous years' 
performances.  Nearly every year, we've managed to surpass some band/mode 
record for N6O since 1997.  This year, K6AW achieved the highest ever total 
and CW QSOs on 20m, despite the band closing earlier than at the sunspot 
peaks.  Steve "sat in the chair" in iron man fashion for the entire daytime 
openings with only a few 'necessary' relief breaks.

The 40m team made contacts during each of the  30 hours, and set new total 
and SSB QSO records for 40m.  Vicki, N6KLS, drew a big crowd on the mid-day 
SSB shift on Saturday.  On Sunday daytime, new team member W6ZZZ dredged 
40m SSB to help secure the record score there.  Our other new team member, 
K4VU put his experience to work on both CW and SSB Saturday night, 
achieving the highest rates of the whole contest.  Welcome to the team, 
Mark and Robin!

Another iron man effort was N6BV's 15m  marathon.    Although he did not 
beat his previous band records (1620 Qs in 2003), Dean netted 600 more Qs 
than last year.  He also did a couple of shifts on 80m.  WA6O and WX5S did 
most of the 80 and 160m work all night Saturday, and the band totals were 
only slightly below our record numbers in 2005 on these bands.  160m 
activity seemed to be down, although the band was relatively quiet.

10m showed a glimmer of hope on Saturday.  I happened to be in that chair 
at 1930Z when the band started to open.  By 1945, signals from FL to MD 
were well over S9.  I had 10 minute rates of 180/hour on CW and 240/hour on 
SSB.  But it didn't last long!  By 2030, the opening was gone and we were 
back to scrounging around for W6s and PYs.  Thanks to KJ6EN, W6ZZZ, WA6O 
for slugging through the boring hours on 10m.

A fine tradition at our Multi-Multi events at Radio Oakley is the Saturday 
afternoon BBQ by chef Matt, WX5S.  The chicken, with Matt's special spices, 
and Portabella mushrooms were the usual excellent reward for a hard day's 
work at the radios.

Now, the rest... of the story.  Although we thought we were prepared, the 
computer network and  logging software hampered our efforts.  Steve 
installed a new version of NA on Friday night, and the five computer 
network seemed solid, but we could not give it a thorough practice.  (NA is 
the only DOS program that will send NR by band in a MM setup.)  Within a 
few minutes after the start of CQP, one computer locked up, and refused to 
function again.  We later sensed that familiar smell of hardware failure. A 
spare computer would not power up.  After a couple hours of valiant 
attempts by Mike to a computer at station #5 to work,  we moved antennas 
around and became a four TX setup, which is enough for this time in the 
sunspot cycle.  The whole team, particularly the night shift  (actually 
early morning - WA6O, WX5S, N6RO) missed the network functions of knowing 
what frequencies/modes to pass QSOs to the other band, and the messaging 
capability to keep everyone awake and motivated.  So we did it the 
old-fashioned way, shouting info to the other stations.

Special thanks to WX5S for his continuing software work on the CQP 
committee, and assembling the logs from the computers at N6O.  To get 
usable logs, he had to repair several corrupted lines in several of the 
logs.  Then when he got home Sunday night, Matt compiled the files into one 
log using his own special program.

You may ask why not transition to a modern Windows program? Everything we 
do has to be done six or seven times over:  new computers, network 
connections, etc.  So we stay with the old DOS programs as long as 
possible.  Matt has developed custom programs to merge the band logs and 
create a suitable log for entry, as neither NA nor CT can yet create a 
Cabrillo log.  Further, we feel the current versions of the Windows 
programs cannot handle every detail of a six or seven transmitter computer 
network in the contests we choose to operate.  We'll need that when the 
spots return, and hope that N1MM, WL, etc. are improved by then.

Despite the problems, we all had a good time and many laughs, even after 
the frequent lock-ups!  We're already looking forward to the forecast 
improvement in high band condx for 2007 CQP.

Thanks for all the Qs!!, N6RO             hmfic

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