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[CQ-Contest] [Fwd: Report of KU8E/K4BAI IOTA Contest Expedition toJekyll

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Subject: [CQ-Contest] [Fwd: Report of KU8E/K4BAI IOTA Contest Expedition toJekyll Is, GA]
From: <ku8e@bellsouth.net>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 17:07:05 -0400
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
See K4BAI's interesting story of our adventure to the coast of GA for the IOTA 

Just some observations on my part ..

Why is there so little activity in this contest from NA ???  The EU stations 
make 3 times as many
QSO's then the highest score in NA. Now I know how all the VK/ZL stations feel 
during a DX contest when hardly anyone turns their beams down their way !! 

This contest could have some potential if the rules were tweaked... How about 
more points for 
working someone on a different continent ???  Right now 99% of the activity is 
from EU and they
have no incentive to work anyone else. Also, how about more points for QSO's 
that island stations
give out. You get 15 points for working us but I only get 3 for working you... 
unless you are on an island.

Maybe the contest sponsors can do something to encourage NA participation ???  
I know they have
some plaques awards for top NA island / non-island stations.  They also have an 
expedition class with 100 watts and a single element antenna. Only thing is 
there can't be a bridge from the main land
to the island to count for the expedition class. Don't really understand why 
that should be a requirement ??  It's just as easy to fly to a Carribean island 
an operate as it is for us to drive over the causeway to Jekyll island which is 
pretty rare on the IOTA Island list. Why exclude these islands ??

John, K4BAI, and myself have made a trip to nearby islands the last two years. 
These trips have been more for fun and to activate a "rare" one for the 
deserving. We knew before we started that it was a long shot for us to have a 
competitive score that was good enough to actually win a plaque for something 
for our efforts. Not sure if we will bother anymore since it would be nice to 
have some
incentive to make the trip in the first place...

73, Jeff  KU8E

> From: John Laney <k4bai@worldnet.att.net>
> Date: 2005/08/03 Wed PM 04:21:51 EDT
> To: secc <secc@contesting.com>,  Jeff Clarke <ku8e@bellsouth.net>, 
>       "John Sheets" <n8qgc@bellsouth.net>, 
>       Jim Jordan K4QPL <k4qpl@nc.rr.com>,  Paul Newberry <n4pn@arrl.net>
> Subject: Report of KU8E/K4BAI IOTA Contest Expedition to Jekyll Is, GA
>                      IOTA Contest
> Call: KU8E
> Operator(s): KU8E, K4BAI
> Station: KU8E
> Class: Multi-Op LP
> QTH: NA058, Jekyll Is, GA
> Operating Time (hrs): 24
> Summary:
>   Band  CW Qs  CW Mults  Ph Qs  Ph Mults
> ----------------------------------------
>     80:    0       0        0       0
>     40:  220      39        2       1
>     20:  291      33      144      28
>     15:    0       0        0       0
>     10:    0       0        0       0
> ----------------------------------------
> Total:  511      72      146      29  Total Score = 380,871
> Club: South East Contest Club
> Comments:
> TS850S, 100 watts output, 20 m dipole at 20 feet, 40 m "T" vertical, NA 
> logging
> program.
> After our disasterous expedition to a camp ground on St. George Island, 
> FL for
> the IOTA contest last year, Jeff, KU8E, and I hadn't planned to go to an 
> island for the contest this year.  It is always disappointing since most 
> of the
> activity and interest is in Europe and, if conditions aren't good to Europe,
> rates are often rather slow.  However, Jeff and his family went to St. 
> Simons
> and Jekyll Islands, GA (same IOTA group) on vacation in July and Jeff 
> checked
> the IOTA website and found that the Georgia Island group (NA058), which 
> includes
> St. Simons and Jekyll Islands was credited only to a small percentage of the
> program participants.  So, he suggested that we give it a try again this 
> year.
> We were unable to find a place to reserve in advance and, indeed, many 
> places on
> the islands showed no vacancies for this weekend on their websites.  We 
> decided
> to go and try to find a place to rent to set up for the weekend with a 
> fall-back
> plan to operate near the water from the car with portable antennas and 
> maybe go
> on to Amelia Island, Florida in the afternoon if the GA rates were slow.  We
> both took Friday afternoon off work and left for the 5-hour drive to the 
> coast
> around 1:30 PM.  We wanted to get to Jekyll Island and look for a place 
> before
> it was dark.
> We were QRV as K4BAI/M on the trip over on the 20 and 30 meter county 
> hunter's
> nets.  We had to stop to change resonators, so we didn't change bands 
> but once,
> moving from 20 to 30 in the early evening.  We were encouraged that we 
> worked
> DL5AWI in a number of GA counties on 20 and also worked one European 
> station on
> 30M from the mobile installation.  We arrived on the island and went QRT 
> from
> the mobile to look for a site.  We checked several motels, many of which 
> had no
> vacancies and most of the rest didn't look like they had a good place for
> antennas near enough a room to run the coax in.  The Holiday Inn seemed a
> possibility, but they said we would have to move from one room on Friday 
> night
> to another on Saturday.  Since the contest starts at 8 AM local time, that
> didn't seem workable.  Then, we checked a place called Villas by the 
> Sea.  It
> looks like a large motel/convention center with a steak house 
> restaurant.  It
> turns out that the units are condominium units rented at the front desk on
> behalf of absentee owners.  Yes, they did have some vacancies.  We 
> didn't tell
> them about radios or antennas for fear that we would be refused for fear 
> of TV
> interference or other inconvenience to other guests.  They permitted us 
> to look
> at a room and it seemed to be a pretty good location.  There were 
> sliding glass
> doors looking out on a natural green area that contained trees and soem 
> shrubs
> this side of a children's play area.  We felt that we might be able to 
> run the
> coax also to the car and use the mobile antennas.  We did leave and 
> check out a
> couple of other places after they agreed to hold the unit for one hour 
> for us.
> Not finding anything better, we returned, rented the unit for two nights and
> unloaded the car so everything would be safely inside.  Then we caught 
> the last
> seating for dinner at the restaurant at about 9:45 PM.  The food was 
> quite good
> and not too expensive.
> We had planned for Jeff's TS850S to be the main rig.  If we had two separate
> antenna, we would use my IC736 to try to spot multipliers and band 
> openings.  We
> also took an Alinco DX70 to use in the car if the TS850S had some 
> problem, since
> the IC736 will not operate from d.c.  We also brought two electronic 
> keyers, two
> Heil headset/boom mikes, a laptop computer, a small antenna tuner, two 
> sets of
> bandpass filters, wires, tools, etc.  Jeff had built a vertical that 
> would have
> required some effort and would likely have attracted attention if we had 
> erected
> it.  So, we decided to put up just one antenna, a 20 meter dipole that 
> Jeff had
> constructed the previous week.  The coax feeding the dipole had a coax 
> coupler
> about 17 feet from the feedpoint and Jeff had prepared a box with an antenna
> tuner and coax connectors to be inserted into the feed line to turn the 
> dipole
> into a "T" vertical for 40 meters.  He had also cut and brought 4 
> radials for 40
> meters to use with the vertical.  We considered putting up the dipole on 
> Friday
> night in the dark, but we had forgotten to bring an flashlight and, when 
> we went
> outside to survey the area, we found that there were a lot of other 
> owners or
> guests sitting on their patios or balconies looking out at the area where we
> intended to put the antenna.  So, we decided to erect the antenna at first
> light.  The dining area of the condo unit had a nice solid table and three
> chairs which served nicely as an operating table and a large screen TV 
> was in
> the corner behind the operator's position.  We set the radios and 
> accessories up
> on Friday night and listened on the bands connected to the dipole in the 
> room.
> We were able to hear a few CW signals, primarily on 40 M.  We turned in for
> about 6 hours sleep and were up by 6 AM on Saturday.
> We had a bit of difficulty in throwing the string up into the trees 
> after we had
> selected a site for the dipole since there were many small limbs that kept
> getting in the way of a good support point on the trees, but Jeff was 
> successful
> in getting the ends of the dipole supported about 20 feet in the air. 
> If we had
> brought Jeff's fishing rod and a golf ball with an eye-hook in it, our usual
> method of getting antenna supports up, we might have been able to 
> achieve more
> height, but we didn't want to get the coax too far off the ground, since we
> would have to insert the antenna tuner in the line 17 feet from the feed 
> point.
> We did notice that one owner was out on her porch observing our project, 
> even at
> that early hour.  We didn't say anything to her, but ran the coax into 
> the room
> through the end of the sliding glass door.  We kept the curtains open 
> during the
> day time so we could enjoy the outdoor view and also so we could observe if
> anybody tried to mess with the antenna or feedline.   The feedline came 
> down in
> some brush near a picnic table, but then ran through brush until it ran 
> across a
> ten foot wide path used by golf carts and foot traffic and thence into the
> room.
> The 40 CW meter band had some ragchewers, but no descernable contesters 
> warming
> up.  The 20 meter band was about dead.  The start of the contest saw us 
> on 20
> CW.  There were some weak signals from Europe, but most signals were 
> from the
> US, Canada and the Caribbean.  The skip seemed pretty long at the start, 
> but it
> shortened up and we were able to hear more US stations after a while. 
> We didn't
> seem to have the usual morning JA opening at first, but we could hear 
> some JAs
> after an hour or so.  We were not able to get JAs to answer us, but 
> JA9IFF did
> call in for our only JA QSO.  VY2TT had an outstanding signal at the 
> beginning
> of the contest, as did VP2E.  Several XEs called in early and the relatively
> high level of XE stations calling us for IOTA contacts was noticeable 
> throughout
> the contest, although they didn't seem to be interested in calling CQ
> themselves.  Two G stations called in the first few minutes and we were 
> able to
> hear a few European stations running, but couldn't get through the European
> pileups to make a QSO.  We made 39 QSOs the first hour and the rate 
> dropped to
> 33 for the second hour.  3 US or Canadian stations spotted us during the 
> first
> two hours (many thanks), but that didn't help much as there wasn't much 
> activity outside a few other IOTA island stations.  We did not have the 
> internet
> available, so packet spots were retrieved for information later.
> Last year, we signed "KU8E/P" to try to call attention to the fact that 
> we might
> be portable on an IOTA island.  That added to the length of the call and we
> weren't sure it actually helped, so this year we just sent KU8E NA058
> frequently.  I noticed that N2US/P was using the portable designator, 
> but most
> of the other US IOTA stations were not.
> In the third hour, we went to 20 SSB and were surprised by being able to run
> some US and other hemisphere stations.  The weak Europeans we had heard 
> earlier
> had faded out by this time with mid-day absorption.  We had 52 QSOs, 
> mostly SSB
> in the third hour.  During this time, Jeff went to the grocery store and to
> check out possible vacation and IOTA contest operation places on St. Simons
> Island.  I notice the neighbor owner walk over near the picnic table and 
> look up
> at the antenna while she smoked a cigarette.  I was headed out to tell 
> her what
> it was when she walked on away, so I didn't speak to her.  About 30 minutes
> later, two golf carts arrived with four maintenance workers from the 
> Villas.
> They drove over the coax outside the room without apparently noticing it and
> stopped near the coax feed to the antennas and began looking up.  I 
> walked out
> to explain what it was.  The head man seemed to be pretty sharp and said
> something like, "That's to help your radio reception, isn't it."  I 
> assured him
> that it was exactly that, told him it would be down the next morning, 
> and to let
> us know in the unit if it caused any problem.  He said that he knew it 
> hadn't
> been there the night before and that it had been reported to maintenace 
> by the
> other owner.  I said thanks and that I was glad to have met them, and 
> that was
> that.  When Jeff got back, he said that, now we had "permission."  I 
> told him
> that it might not be actually permission, but that I didn't think there 
> would be
> any more problem.  He bought a flashlight, which came in handy during 
> the night.
>   We had the TV on (there was a cable system) and never saw or heard a 
> bit of TVI
> in our unit.  This had been one of my major concerns and I had intended 
> to bring
> a low pass filter, but had failed to do so.
> We listened to 15 meters several times during the day and heard only 
> K9NW, a VE
> station or two, CU4M, and F5VHY.  We considered trying the get a few 
> mults by
> using the antenna tuner with the dipole to try to tune it on 15 M (this 
> TS850S
> does not have the optional ATU), but signals on 15 never justified the 
> downtime
> this might require, so we considered slugging it out on 20 M, mostly CW 
> and some
> SSB.  We hoped that the band would open to Europe about 1930Z as it had 
> while we
> were in the car on Friday, but it opened much later on Saturday, at 
> least to the
> extent that we were able to make a few European contacts.
> Rates from 15 to 20Z ranged from 39 to 13 per hour, but we kept CQing and
> calling anybody we could hear in the contest and working 
> US/Canada/Caribbean and
> some Northern South America.  One of the first DX stations we could hear was
> C4EU in Asia, which I believe was George, 5B4AGC.  He apparently had huge
> European pileups and I don't think we ever got through to him nor did we 
> hear
> other US station work him on 20M.  In the 21Z hour, we finally began to do
> better into Europe and the rate picked up to 46 for that hour.  We had a 
> couple
> of European spots in the 22Z hour and that seemed to bring a lot of European
> callers.  The rates for 22Z and 23Z were 54 and 46 respectively and a lot of
> them were from Europe.  We were very pleased to make so many European 
> contacts
> with 100 watts and a simple dipole, which must have been 300 yards from the
> ocean which an intervening condo unit.  We ended up with 154 European 
> QSOs on
> 20, of which 28 were on SSB.  During the 00Z hour, we returned to 20 SSB and
> worked everyone we could hear and work after the CW rate had begun to 
> die.  That
> brought us 31 QSOs and a number of SSB IOTA multipliers.
> Around 01Z, we took a listen at 40 meters and the signals from Europe seemed
> pretty good. So, we were QRT for about 10 minutes, went out with the 
> flashlight
> and inserted the tuner into the coax line, ran out three of the radials, and
> tuned the antenna for 40 meters CW with the MFJ antenna analyzer.  Jeff had
> fixed bought materials for sandwiches for lunch and some frozen 
> foodstuffs that
> he cooked for supper.  One of us was always operating and the other could do
> something with food or the dishes.  I like to listen when someone else 
> operates,
> so I was seldom not listening to the receiver.  At first, 40 M was 
> pretty hard.
> The US IOTA stations had pretty big pile ups and most of the DX stations 
> running
> had big European pileups and it was hard for us to get through. 
> However, as the
> evening wore on, we were able to run and a few spots from Europeans 
> helped.  I
> went to sleep about 0330Z and Jeff had our best run of the contest at 
> the 04Z
> hour of 60, many of whom were Europeans.  We ended up with 97 Europeans 
> on 40,
> which we considered pretty good with the simple antenna and low power. 
> About
> 05Z, Jeff woke me up and he turned in for a while.  The end of the European
> opening was coming up quickly, although I did get to work a few more through
> European sunrise.  After that, the rates were really slow.  I kept on 
> CQing and
> calling anybody that I could hear that wouldn't be a dupe.  We did get 
> YV7QP,
> ZL1TM, and VK2GR.  Rates were 18, 12, 10, 9, and 10 for the hours 
> through 09Z.
> Jeff took over and I went back to sleep for the last two hours.  40 
> meters was
> just about dead as far as contesters was concerned.  We both tried 40 SSB
> without success, simply due to lack of interest by US stations.  I 
> worked K9NW
> and Jeff moved K3PJW to 40 SSB for a new multiplier on that band/mode. 
> The rate
> for 10Z was down to 5.  Jeff then removed the antenna tuner from the 
> line and
> returned to 20M for the last half hour or so.  He worked a VK4 on 20 CW 
> and one
> European multiplier on 20 SSB.  The rate for the last hour was 10. Jeff had
> taken down the antennas by the time I woke up 30 minutes after the 
> contest was
> over.  We were able to load the car by check-out time.
> We did a bit more mobiling on the CW CHN on 20 M on the way home, but 
> conditions
> were pretty bad and there wasn't much activity.  We tried to give Jerry, 
> W0GXQ,
> a new GA county on 30 M, but, for some reason, the 30M Hustler whip was no
> longer resonant when we tried to change to that band.  I did work 17 
> stations
> with 5 watts QRP in the Flight of the Bumblebees QRP contest, but time 
> in that
> contest was limited by giving out new counties on CHN and by my driving 
> a couple
> of hours during the middle of that Sprint.  Band conditions seemed to be 
> pretty
> bad, but it was fun to do some 2xQRP contest work from Jeff's car.
> Our result of 657 non-duplicate QSOs far exceeded our pre-contest 
> expectations
> with 100 watts and simple wires.  Thanks for all the QSOs and an enjoyable
> weekend.  Jekyll Island and the Villas by the Sea are very nice.  QSLs 
> for the
> IOTA contacts go to KU8E.
> 73,
> John, K4BAI.
> Posted using 3830 Score Submittal Forms at: 
> http://www.hornucopia.com/3830score/

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