AE0M/6 CQP Score and Story (Long)

Tony and Celia Becker becker at
Fri Oct 11 00:04:02 EDT 1996

                           CAL QSO PARTY SUMMARY SHEET
             Date : 5-6 Oct 1996
    Callsign Used : AE0M/6
        Operators : AE0M, N0BBS
         Category : MS
 Default Exchange : # YUBA/BUTTE
             Time : 15:46 hrs
             Name : Anthony J. Becker
          Address : 3273 B. Rocky Water Lane
   City/State/Zip : San Jose, CA 95148
          Country : United States
            email : becker at
              RIG : FT-990, and 486DX2-66 MHz running TRLog v 5.82
            Power : 100W
        Team/Club : Northern California Contest Club

   BAND   Raw QSOs   Valid QSOs   Points   Mults  =20

   80CW       62          62        186       0=20
   80SSB      72          72        144       3=20
   40CW       67          67        201       2=20
   40SSB      54          52        104       4=20
   20CW      154         151        453      13=20
   20SSB     123         119        247      29=20
   15CW       11          11         33       0=20
   15SSB      13          13         26       0=20

 Totals      556         547       1394      51=20

    Final Score =3D 71094 points.

Story:  The AE0M/6 CQP Yuba and Butte counties expedition/operation:

The good news is the antennas stayed up and weren't stolen this year, we=
 were at the high point of the site instead down in the ravine (result of=
 first stolen antenna last year...), and we even had such creature comforts=
 as not just one but two working refrigerators and a real gas stove in a RV.=
  Now for the bad news.

We ended up not repeating the invitation to NCCC members and any local=
 reflector readers to join us.  While surveying the site for the new=
 clearing at the high spot of the property we found a pound of nails strewn=
 in the entrance to the existing drive one week before the event and began=
 to ask questions of a couple of neighbors as to why. =20

Both counties sheriffs departments confirmed much of what the neighbors=
 reported and more.  It seems the vandals were connected with a gang they=
 had just partly arrested and convicted last June of operating a crank=
 (methamphimine) lab on the property directly across the road from ours. =
 The gang members as a whole--including those still at large may have been=
 suspicious of our radio antennas, equating them with extra law enforcement=
 attention in the area, and sort of blamed us as being partly responsible=
 for their troubles. =20

It seems not to have occurred to their drug fried brains that had they not=
 _stolen_ two antennas of ours in the first place, maybe the local law=
 enforcement officers wouldn't have gotten extra curious and checked them=
 out.  This turned out to be irrelevant as we learned only Butte County was=
 suspicious for that reason.=20

Yuba County did the actual raid on the crank lab and knew nothing about the=
 stolen antennas or any of the other numerous property crimes that had=
 happened along our access road because the deputy responsible for that area=
 had never actually filed any of the reports he collected.  It seems he also=
 grew up with a couple of the gang members...  Yuba county was acting on=
 information collected about the source of problems in another deputy's=

Sooo, not only did we apparently have the doubtful perceptions of reality of=
 those still at large to worry about, but the questionable reliability of=
 the local deputy in the event the hoodlums decided to do more than their=
 usual petty larceny, vandalizm and target practice on the site as reported=
 by the neighbor next door to the former crank lab.  Yet, both sheriffs=
 departments--and the lots of good neighbors all wanted us up there...  So=
 with a "yippee-yikes - Yuba and Butte counties _and_ bust." up we went.

Not knowing how much we really had to worry about, we did decided that NCCC=
 members and Reflector readers probably would prefer not being invited to a=
 site whose updated apparatus list now included "9 mm or 44 caliber=
 communications equipment" and extra "security personnel".  The RV, as well=
 as the 9 mm and 44 caliber communications equipment both belonged to the=
 personal security personnel, one  'Pheonix' Bill.  Bill is a friend of mine=
 from High School who was forced to interrupt our time at college together=
 for a few years in the service by an Uncle.  Bill got the nickname =
 'Pheonix' after he joined the Navy in San Diego, accidentally came to know=
 something he should not have, and was given a choice of a transfer to "No=
 Such Agency" or "The Company" and chose the latter.  (No it is not a=
 misspelling, look up Operation Pheonix in the transcript of Bill Moyers=
 white paper report "The secret government").

Tony and Bill called ahead on Friday morning to check on the contractors=
 progress with the clearing and new driveway, and learned that all was=
 ready.   Hearing this, Bill decided to drive up in his RV, actually a 40=
 foot long GMC Coach formerly used to transport the Guy Lombardo Orchestra. =

Just to make certain we were not molested, we requested and received visits=
 and extra patrols by the Butte county Sheriff's department, patrols by at=
 least a quarter of a local motorcycle club, both courtesy of the efforts of=
 one of the members of Butte county's reserve communications unit, and=
 visits by virtually every neighbor on the road except for the ones plinking=
 in our general direction Saturday afternoon.  (Yes, that was gunfire, and=
 not ours, you might have heard in the background on 20 SSB) This last item=
 meant I never did get to try out my metal detector down in the creek, but=
 that is another story.=20

On the positive side, the new clearing was really nice for the tower and=
 tent. Since we didn't have a power outlet yet installed on the new=
 clearing, we had refrigerators but no air conditioning, meaning we needed=
 the extra refrigerators....  We figure it will be even better after the=
 rainy season when the poison oak oil is all washed out of the soil and it=
 no longer blows around like talcum powder in the slightest breeze, like=
 those from all the patrolling and visiting vehicles... In the meantime, buy=
 stock in "Benadryl" and "Cortaid" ointments...

It took five hours total to set up tower with tribander, wire antennas, tent=
 (necessary if nothing else to keep the dust out of all the equipment and to=
 keep the keyer working), etc., etc..  Tony came to the conclusion he really=
 needs to do something to minimize all this, especially when he found=
 himself so exhausted he could barely keep awake after the set up.  The rate=
 suffered a good deal most of Saturday.  We also found that somehow during=
 the transporting (perhaps it was that last two miles of washboard/gravel=
 road), the FT990's IF shift knob (not normally noticed or used) got moved=
 to fully CCW.  As a result I probably sounded like an out of tune baritone=
 for nearly four hours on 20 SSB Saturday morning, and probably why not many=
 people answered my calls.  I had suspected "something was wrong", only it=
 didn't seem to be any of the usual things.  The manual for the radio, along=
 with the _new_ LMR coax had _not_ been packed and Tony couldn't hear me=
 yell while he was giving directions and helping string the 80 and 40 meter=
 antennas about 25 yards away.

The 1750 W generator did not have enough juice to power the amplifier, and=
 at 2 p.m. both days, the computer decided it had enough of the 100 degree=
 heat in the tent--despite the use of additional sun-shades and a fan--and=
 took a siesta.  Soooo, we had to get a couple of repeats, reload DOS and=
 TR, and log with paper--all while trying to operate and answer questions=
 from neighbors.  Those of you who got QSO numbers 140 to 155 had better=
 check with us before turning in your logs.  BTW, can we count the eyeball=
 QSO's with the neighbors ????

We retired to the motor home Saturday night and left everything in the tent=
 overnight.  We weren't terribly worried about security at that point. =
 Between the poison oak, roots and the loose rocks still strewn over the not=
 yet fully smoothed clearing, and the more than 30 guy wires and lines to=
 the tower, 40 and 80 m dipoles, the tent, and two sun shades, we figured we=
 would hear anyone coming long before they got to the tent.  If they=
 successfully missed all these obstacles (some of which we failed to avoid=
 even in broad daylight) we were sure to hear them when they either fell=
 over the small refrigerator or various bric-a-brac we strategically located=
 just inside the closed door flap of the tent. =20

At about 2 a.m., our Bill and I heard something stumble over one of the guy=
 wires, but since the sound wasn't followed by recognizable cussing, we=
 figured it was a four-legged beast rather than two.  Since it also didn't=
 growl or roar, it wasn't the local mountain lion either.  He or she was=
 apparently still camped out at Mrs. Winchell's (the neighbor not the=
 doughnuts), along with the bobcat we spotted.

We had to interrupt operations for a longer period Sunday when the=
 contractor came by to review what had been done and still needed to be=
 done.  Tony insisted on leading the troupe over every road and trail that=
 now existed and then beyond.  Despite what we'd gone through he had finally=
 decided we should build some sort of cabin--bunker style, mind you, but=
 something permanent.  Of course in his enthusiasm he never gave us a chance=
 to put on either the anti-poison oak solution or any insect repellant... =
 Like I said, buy stock in Benadryl and Cortaid ointments.  If there is a=
 square inch of skin on my legs below my knees that is now uncovered with=
 bumps of one sort or another, I can't find it.  Bill is complaining of the=
 same thing.  Tony was the only exception, and we're still trying to figure=
 out why.

However in our review we learned two things about the newly opened parts of=
 our property.  There is a spring near where Tony thinks we ought to build,=
 so we won't have to pipe water _uphill_ from the creek, and there is=
 apparently a spur of the quartz pegmatite dike that cuts right across the=
 center of the property and the quartz has evidence of minerals in it... =
 Tony now wants to talk to Force 12 about _big_ antennas and a bomb-proof=
 tower, besides building the bunker...  I wonder if I cooked the wine in the=
 beef bourguignonne enough Saturday night...

At the end of the contest we packed up and started to leave only to discover=
 entering the new drive with a 40' bus was easier than leaving.  The=
 entrance wasn't quite wide and flat enough and we bent back the tailpipe on=
 itself and the muffler--requiring another half hour jury rigging the tail=
 pipe...  We all had just cleaned up and changed clothes by the way.

Oh well, despite the tension, heat, bugs of all sorts, poison oak, dust,=
 mishaps, missteps, extra non-radio traffic, etc., in 15 hours we still=
 managed to put 556 QSO's and 51 multipliers into the reconstructed log. =20

Funny Stuff: QSO # 555 was W5EHM whose exchange to us was serial number 55=
 in TX.  That's a whole lot of dits!, or as Pheonix Bill put it "a perfect=
 ending to go with the two ditzes who came up with this ditsy idea."


Celia/N0BBS (with Tony/AE0M's editing and Pheonix Bill's kibitzing)

P.S. Do we hear any additional wild west frontier volunteers for next=
 year???  Fire one round for "yes" and two for "no"...

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