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[3830] NAQP CW K7IA Single Op LP

To: 3830@contesting.com, k7iaham@gmail.com
Subject: [3830] NAQP CW K7IA Single Op LP
From: webform@b4h.net
Reply-to: k7iaham@gmail.com
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2014 03:42:15 +0000
List-post: <3830@contesting.com">mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    North American QSO Party, CW - August

Call: K7IA
Operator(s): K7IA
Station: K7IA

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 4:23

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:    8     7
   80:   83    31
   40:  146    40
   20:   37    23
Total:  274   101  Total Score = 27,674

Club: Virden Contest Club



I worked this one as a portable setup in our slide-in truck camper parked at
Milt's (N5IA) remote operating site south of Safford, Arizona.  I was one of 13
amateurs who served as ground crew for Milt's latest quantum improvement of his
remote station's antenna farm, and Friday evening was the first of a two day
effort to raise eleven Rohn 25 towers to ultimately serve as a 4-square array
for 80 meters and an 8-circle array for 160 meters.

The NAQP CW event is near the top of my favorites, and I wanted to find a way
of working at least some of it in addition to being involved in such a large
and interesting antenna project like this one, 150 miles from home in New

Just as some background, two years ago, Milt, Larry (N5BG), my wife Erin
(KB5ZKE) and I installed a quarter wavelength, base insulated Rohn 25 tower for
160 meters at Milt's Arizona remote site to-be.  We also installed a ground
radial system for it.  It was the first amateur antenna on the site, and we did
it only a few days before the 2012 IARU in July so that Milt could operate the
event on 160 meters using the callsign W1AW/7, by arrangement between ARRL and
the Arizona Outlaws Contest Club.  Despite the expected summertime conditions
on Topband, the antenna played quite well--good enough, in fact, for Milt to
pursue the idea of installing an 8-circle array for 160 meters at his Arizona
site.  The IARU 160m tower was therefore the first installed tower of the
8-circle array, and now you can understand why we raised "only"
eleven other towers in the past two days.

You can imagine how much planning, permitting, and work Milt has navigated to
get to the point where nearly 1100 feet of tower steel would be raised
beginning two evenings ago!  Following the paperwork, Milt has spent the last
several weeks (months?) assembling the tower sections to full length on the
ground and installing guying cables at the appropriate heights above ground. 
He also enlisted ground crew help within amateur ranks in Arizona and New
Mexico and coordinated ground crew show/no show with availability of a crane
for weekend rental.  No easy task, but it all came together at 1600 local time
on Friday.  Milt started us with a "chalk talk," and then we did the
"dress rehearsal" by setting up the 80m 4-square towers, completing
the task before dusk as we somehow evaded monsoon season thunderstorms and

Saturday morning came early at the site at 0500 local, and by 0530, the crane
was ready to lift Tower #2 of the 8-circle.  The early start was intended to
give us some relief from the southern Arizona sunshine and heat, but it also
gave us some working time before monsoon thunderstorms, which usually begin in
mid- to late-afternoon.  Or so we thought!  On this particular Saturday, the
panoramic view of the San Simon River valley revealed multiple T-storms,
including a couple of huge ones heading our way.  We had to stop work and get
under an awning shelter twice while T-storms passed overhead.

Even with a few mechanical problems (would it be antenna party without a few
problems to solve?), we finished the job before sundown on Saturday, and we
said our farewells to new friends.  Milt inventoried the tools he had placed in
the "tool cribs (five gallon buckets)" that he issued to each of the
three guy cable teams and found a slight shortage.  Erin and I walked the
antenna field with Milt to find the tools.  Admiring the work, we found the
tools right where they were left (including a guy cable grip still gripping
it's cable within easy reach!).  Our stroll was a great way to end 12-plus hour
wet and hot work that day.  Milt hit the road for his home, about 45 miles away,
Erin put supper into the skillet, and I set up my portable station in the
camper, which I had parked immediately adjacent to Milt's school bus-converted
into a rolling ham shack.  Milt had invited me to use the IARU 160 meter tower,
an old friend of two years earlier, and I used an SGC 230 Smartuner to make the

I made my first QSO at 0100 Sunday.  20m still had some activity and I worked
S&P to get a feel for how the 160m vertical worked on 20m (and lower)
bands.  Every station I called replied immediately on 20, and most did on
40-160 as well.  I did some running on 40m with good success and 80m with
moderate success, but 160m was simply too noisy for the attempt.  My setup was
simple--no Rx antenna system--and the low bands were noisy with monsoon noises.
 I quit earlier than desired, when raindrops began coming through the camper's
ceiling fan and the click, click, click sounds of antenna electrical discharges
came through the headphones.

Hat's off to you, Milt!  Your sense of organization, planning, and supervision
are superb!  Your "tool cribs" were a nice touch, and you well
coordinated the activities of the three guy cable teams, who were many meters
apart.  You still have some work to do, of course, but you changed the horizon
in southern Arizona in the meantime.  Many thanks for the invitation to
participate and to squeeze in a few hours on Tower #1!  May this quantum leap
be successful!

As for the NAQP, thanks for the QSOs and apologies who could hear me better
than I could hear your calls.  Many asked me to repeat my name or state, and I
had to chuckle that K8IA BOB AZ and K7IA DAN AZ were working the same bands,
while I was using N5IA MILT's antenna.  Guess I should remain on my own ranch
in NM in the future!

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