K5NA & Stew Perry Story

Richard L. King k5na at bga.com
Sun Dec 29 21:26:00 EST 1996

This contest has the potential to be a really good one. I decided to start
at 2300Z which is about 30 minutes before sunset. If I took an hour break
during the night, then I would finish my 14 hours about 30 minutes after
local sunrise which would have been perfect if things had gone as planned.

My inverted vee at 80 feet and 800 watts output seemed to be doing well at
the beginning of the contest. Though my rates weren't spectacular, they were
consistent and after three hours I had 167 QSOs. I had also been lucky to
have been called by a GW, G, and lots of east coast and some west coast. 

As I went into the fourth hour, I started hearing the static crashes. They
were in the background, but noticeable. Just the same, the 4th hour of the
contest saw me running KL7's (two in a row) and finding 4X4NJ in the window
using the old A/B vfo switching trick between CQs. To my surprise, Riki
(4X4NJ) answered me on the first call. But it took several tries for me to
finally get the grid due to the increasing QRN.

During the 5th, 6th, and 7th hour of the contest (03Z to 06Z), I worked KP4,
DL, KH6, XE, SM, GM, ON, and VY1JA. The band conditions seemed excellent.
However, my QSO rates had dropped to about 20/hour and there was another
problem that was getting worse and worse. I hadn't realized that I had been
gradually backing off the RF gain to compensate for the increasing static

At 06Z, I had 264 QSOs, and the static crashes were hitting 40 db over S9 on
the transmit antenna and 5 db over S9 on my temporary beverage antennas. It
had suddenly become an ordeal to work any station that wasn't really loud. I
had many callers but it was taking two or three tries to get the call
correct and then 5 to 10 tries to get the grid.

At 0800Z and 288 QSOs, I decided to take an extended break. My plan was to
be back on when some loud, east coast, early-riser stations might show up. I
took a nap and was back at 1100Z, but I only managed one QSO at 1112Z. Then
nothing until a couple more QSOs shortly after 1300Z. No JAs were heard
through the QRN but I did hear a loud west coast station working KH2D. I
couldn't hear KH2D through the static, and I listened really hard.

How did I do? I finished up with 291 QSOs and I don't have a clue as to my
final score. I used CT with the ARRL DX Contest configuration instead of the
VHF Contest configuration. The DX Contest gave me sunrise/sunset times in
the CHECK COUNTRY box and I couldn't get that with the other. I thought that
would be useful and the CT ARRL DX Contest doesn't care what you enter in
the four digit power column.

It was fun and I would like to do it again next year.

73, Richard

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