K5ZD (W2SC opr) ARRL SSB Part 2

tom georgens tom=georgens%Eng%OpenSys at fishbowl02.lss.emc.com
Mon Mar 11 08:38:44 EST 1996

Here is the scond part of the message.

Twenty was absoultely incredible with q's and mults rolling in all 
afternoon.  After 20 shut, I searched for mults for a while and went
to 40 and 80.  Had some success on 40 just before 0Z.  Finished the
first day at 1573/286 with 1078 Q's on 20.

Around 1Z K1AR stopped by asking to compare scores.  I do not like to 
compare scores since it tends to demoralize me but I figured I had to
give him a score.  In addition, Randy's computer had a problem where 
the colors in CT would abitrarily change and I spent most of the 
contest with the colors being pink and grey.  As such, it was very hard
to read the score box.  In fact I could not pick out the numbers 
without putting my face right up to the screen.  When we exchanged,
I was stunned to find that I was 50 Q's ahead but he had around 40
more mults.  The difference was 15 meters where he had 50 mults and
I had 6.  He was up by about 150K but I was quite happy to even be in
the ballpark.  I never expected to be that close, let alone ahead on
q's.  Things were not so bad and my feeling was that if 15 had the same 
opening on Sunday, I could pick up the mults when the 20 rate was lower 
and this could be a game.  

I pressed very hard that night on 40, 80, and 160 and I slowly picked
up some ground.  John told me he was going to sleep but I decided to
stay up.  I eventually took a 10 minute nap when things got very slow.
160 was a disappointment the second night.  Randy has a big signal
on this band and I was hoping to pick up some multipliers by CQing
but it was to no avail.  By 10Z, my QSO lead on AR was 120, his
multiplier lead was around 25, and the point differential was down
to 70K.

Twenty was even slower to open on the second day.  I suspected that
this would be a bad omen for 15 despite the fact that the same thing 
happened on CW and 15 was better the second day.  After a few hours
of running we were still 70K apart.  Unfortunately, 15 never opened
to Europe and there was no way for me to catch up on the multipliers.  
I compounded the problem by leaving a runnable 20 to chase South
Americans looking for unusual mults.  Not being able to effectively 
use the second radio really hurt at this point.  When I was on 15,
AR had a 140 hour on 20 and it was never close again.

As of 18Z on Sunday my 10 meter total was 0/0 but I heard one of the
LU's say that they were going to 10 so I checked there periodically 
for the rest of the contest for the sporatic openings.

Eventually ran out of gas in the last 2 hours and AR pulled away 
even further.

In the end, I never really recovered from the 15 meter blunder on
the first day and attempts to make up ground proved counterproductive.
However, when the contest was over I was not the least bit disappointed.
I told Randy that it was like being handed the keys to an Indy car on race
day.  My goal was to keep from smashing into the wall and not 
necessarily to beat Rick Mears.  As time goes on though, it is starting
to gnaw at me.

Of course I would like to congratulate K1AR and thank Randy for the
use of his station.  He has done a great job building the place.  I
have operated from only a few other places but, in each case, I never
really felt louder than I do from home.  I expected the same to be the
case this weekend but it was not true.  I felt very loud on all bands
(perhaps is was the fact that every 10th station said I was the 
"loudest on the band") and the difference from my home station was
very tangible.  Randy's internal setup is very simple and intuitive
and, most importantly, it worked.  The two radio setup proved to be a
handicap for me but a better operator could use it to great 
effectiveness.  Interstation interference was also near zero.

Randy was also the perfect host.  He delivered orange juice and wheat
thins (combined with 4 bottles of warm soda it was my entire sustinance)
and stayed away from making suggestions or anything else that could 
be construed as assistance.  Another thing about his station is that
you can look straight ahead out a window into his backyard.  It is
very good for the eyes and eliminates the "closed in" nature of 
contesting.  It was particularly interesting to watch the weather
since we had rain, snow, sun, clouds, thunder, and lightning.  In 
fact the snow static was so bad that nothing could be heard at times.

On Sunday morning, Randy came down to say that it was lightning 
outside.  I said that was ridiculous in March.  As he was looking out
the window, lightning lit up the sky, the radios browned out, and
a tremendous clap of thunder came 2 seconds later.  Fortunately, that
was the only occurrance but it sure woke me up for a while.

Overall, conditions were poor but I had a great time and I learned
a great deal.  Thanks again to Randy for actually giving me an 
opportunity to compete for the top spot.  

73 and thanks for the contacts,

Tom W2SC  w2sc at emc.com

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