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[3830] ARRL Jan VHF K2DRH Single Op LP

To: 3830@contesting.com, k2drh@arrl.net
Subject: [3830] ARRL Jan VHF K2DRH Single Op LP
From: webform@b41h.net
Reply-to: k2drh@arrl.net
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 14:45:59 -0800
List-post: <3830@contesting.com">mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes

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

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 

 Band  QSOs  Mults
    6:  122    51
    2:  145    50
  222:   51    28
  432:   79    35
  903:   18    15
  1.2:   25    16
  2.3:    3     3
  3.4:    3     3
Total:  446   201  Total Score = 150,147

Club: Society of Midwest Contesters


Hepburn predicted a totally bleak weekend for tropo propagation and was right on
the money.  The bitterly cold and dry weather kept the noise levels way up high.
 Couple all that with the total lack of any Es or Aurora (though a few signals
up north sounded a tad raspy on Sunday evening) and you get the perfect
prescription for a lackluster January VHF Sweepstakes.  Stir in the Bears
Packers rivalry and you have an even slower Sunday afternoon in the Midwest. 
This contest lived up to all of that excitement and more.

Iâ??d been inordinately busy in October and November with work, medical, travel
and family stuff so nothing much got fixed.  The record cold and snow in
December and January pretty much precluded any tower work so I went with the
same configuration on 1296 and above as Sept that limited my ability to work
2304 and 3456.  Fingers only work for a few minutes in single digits.  A week
before the contest a power supply AC plug dislodged itself from the wall (a dog
or N2KMAâ??s vacuum? nobodyâ??s talking) causing a 6M transverter failure when
the relay dropped out that keeps the TS-850 from transmitting into the Rx port.
 Luckily that was easy to deal with.  A diode failure on my transverter IF
switch killed the 432 receive.  I had no diodes (didnâ??t come in time) but I
had another box albeit with a ratty rotary switch and less band to band

As predicted the contest was slow, but not really all that much slower than
usual.  Come to think of it, it was pretty normal compared to the last few
years.  For the most part it was tough working 903 and above out any distance. 
The sub zero temps kept the rovers home in droves and I worked only one
stalwart, KF0Q/R who only brought the bottom 4.  When condition are like that
folks just donâ??t seem to hang around for the whole contest, so you have to be
in the seat all the time to catch them for that hour or so they give it before
they get bored, then go do something else.  Luckily everyone doesnâ??t get on
at the same time.  By evening I was on pace for a typical January.  WSJT went
well, the rox were pretty good and I made all of my skeds except for one I
learned later had equipment problems on the other end.  But there were few
randoms to be had, so I went to bed and got a few hours sleep.  

This was the contest for ratty pots, connectors, switches and brushes.  I had
2M go dead on me on Saturday only to find that the transverter Rx IF gain pot
had gotten oxidized (an easy fix).  The AF gain on the microwave IF rig is
getting really bad and the transverter switch for the lower 4 bands was just
awful.  My mic rig switchover connections went ratty and had to be cleaned. 
Finally the rotor stopped turning a couple hours before the big game.  One of
the brushes had slipped in the DC motor and was arcing.  I didnâ??t bring up
the tools to fix it right by reburnishing the rotor, but got it working again
anyway.  Sure was cold up there!  Of course it crapped out again about 3 hours
before the end of the contest necessitating a more permanent (and even colder)
fix in the dark while it was snowing.  Who says radio contesting is not a
physical sport?

Sunday brought some unexpected but short lived long haul stuff out almost 500
miles to the south, but for the most part it was pretty dead with few stations
on at any given time.  6M tropo and scatter were good all contest.  The
atmospheric and electrical noise was horrendous to the west and even to places
to the east where it usually isnâ??t a problem.  The usual good stations did
well on 4 or 6 bands out to 400 miles, but there seem to be fewer and fewer of
them all the time.  The second to last hour brought a lot of new mults to the
south so Iâ??m glad I went up the tower again, but the last hour was really
slow this time.  All in all, a typical January effort with a slightly better
score than last year.

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