[3830] V26M ARRL 10 Meter Test KQ2M opr. (Long)

Robert L. Shohet kq2m at eci.com
Tue Dec 23 20:27:54 EST 1997

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What fun to be DX again after 7 years!  Was not able to fly for 5 years
due to a very bad sinus infection that did not respond well to
antibiotics and caused me to get sick every contest - I almost stopped
operating contests a few years ago!

Spoke with Sam WT3Q before I left and he told me about the station where
he and other FRC members operate from.  After arriving in Antigua on
Saturday evening 12/13, I contacted Roy V21N who was very kind in
allowing me to use his fine station on Sunday to play in the test.

After some minor problems with the amp and rotator I was ready to
operate and heard 5R8FK at 1100z.  Unfortunately I could not work him
due to the amp problem and naturally after it was fixed he was gone. 
Did work KH8/N5OLS with the beam Northeast at 1112z (longpath) but did
not hear much else except for WP2Z.

Started hearing spotty Eu at 1125z and CQ'ed with little result even
though the I's were loud.  Expected the band to open with a bang and run
Europe like crazy but the conditions were having too much fun teasing me
to oblige!

Decided to take a break to get some food and drink at 1144z since EU
just was not responding and I had not eaten anything since dinner 18
hours before.

Got on at 1221z and this time EU was louder and less spotty, but no big
run and decidedly limited in countries.  Only G, DL, F, ON, EA and
nothing else.  My strategy was to operate CW only and try to win CW only
with one day of operation.  I thought I might have a chance but when
conditions started to go away to Europe at only 1245z I realized that I
had no chance so I thought that I would turn the beam NW and work the

Since the TS450 had only the stock 2.4 khz filters and no VBT I realized
that it was going to be a real challange to filter a big pileup "in my
head" like I had to do as HD5X in CQ WW '87 after my radio was stolen.

I turned the beam NW and the band exploded!  Without filters my only
chance was to crank the keyer to 40 wpm (to keep the pileup smaller) and
run guys like mad or I would be overwhelmed.  In 4 minutes the pileup
was 100+ stations and I worked 38 q's in the next 10 min, then 42 in the
next 10 min!  WOW this was AWESOME!  I took a couple of two minute
breaks to listen for EU but with no result (except the rate went down). 
Even with the breaks I still had a 196 hour on cw WITHOUT filters.  At 4
points per qso this was working real well.  Then I had a decision to
make, continue the CW pileup with no chance of hearing EU or other DX
through the US or go to SSB and GO WILD!  A huge SSB pileup without
filters from a semi-rare country is like driving a car with no brakes!

I couldn't resist.... SSB it was.  At 1510z I went to SSB and worked 
557 stations in the next 1:51!  With no way to filter stations it was
mayhem and I went into overdrive.  What fun and totally exhausting!  
Even at 300+ per hour the SSB run was generating LESS points per hour
than CW so I decided to go back to CW.  Was running again at 140+ per
hour until the amp developed a weird intermittent problem which would
cause the swr to jump to infinity without warning (and no one heard
Took offtime at 1955.  Tried swapping cables, retuning the amp, putting
a fan on the amp all to no avail with lots of frustration.  Jumped from
CW to SSB a few times with no real result except the realization that we
were still near the bottom of the cycle and 10 meters was going away.  

I spent a lot of time listening to the LU's (there are SO MANY of them!)
run US that I could not hear.  The amp problems resurfaced until I tried
simultaneously pressing the footswitch and then keying the radio.  This
seemed to work but the band had already folded by then.

What dramatic propagation!  Seemed like 10 had two modes - OFF and ON.
When OFF, no one heard me or I had to call them.  When ON, I had a
HOWLING pileup 100+ deep.  What an adrenalin rush!  Now I know how Rich
and Trey feel.

Even more bizarre was how selective 10 could be in the late afternoon.
I could RUN Colorado but not hear NM (and never did).  I could run VE4
and then VE5, 6 & 7 would call, but I would not hear the US.  5 minutes
later it was MD, OH and IND and almost nothing else.  Then it was Idaho
and CA.  5 min later back to running Colorado.

It was a wild and exhilirating experience.  Made me realize how much I
missed being DX and how much I missed being able to travel.

The 9 hours and 6 minutes of operating produced 1170 qso's (after
555 on CW and 615 on SSB.

The "OFF" periods 4:15 for   170 qso's
    "ON"  periods 4:51 for 1,181 qso's (CW & SSB for 208.5/hour)

Highlights were YB1AQS calling me longpath and the 11 qso's in 1 minute
on SSB, my all-time best rate!  Had a 9 minute on SSB also and several 7
minutes on CW.  Wonder what they might have been in CQWW?

Since there was no computer I had to handlog AND send cw with my right
hand as well! At 200+ per hour on CW and 300+ per hour on SSB hand
logging is quite an experience!

After the contest I entered everything into CT. Peak rates were as

CW                             SSB
Last 10  qso's   383.0 !       Last 10  qso's  692.3!!      
Last 100 qso's   202.1         Last 100 qso's  352.9 !

Best one hour rates were 202 on CW and 324 on SSB.

If I had filters and this were CQWW (without having to send and receive
serial numbers and sections) the rates would have been even higher.

It was so interesting to hear the US stations from the other side.  Who
I heard early and late, who was loud and who was not.  Who were lids and
who were master tail-enders and who figured out that the best place to
call me was at the edges of the pileup (where I could hear better).

Dupes were surprisingly low but then again it was a one-band contest and
I only was on for 9 hours from a semi-rare country.  By and large the US
operators were terrific, especially on CW (not quite as good on SSB) and
they seemed to respond well to a rapid fire one-call operation.  My only
hope was to get one call and immediately respond so that everyone
realized that they could only send their call once if they wanted to
work me.  This kept the rate up and made sure no one had to wait more
than 2 or 3 min to work me.

On SSB the guys who gave only the last two or three letters, I ignored. 
Not only does this waste time with fills back and forth but it is poor
operating practice.  A DX station either hears you or he doesn't.  If he
does he wants to get the WHOLE call so that he can work you without a
fill.  If he (or she) only gets a partial call out of the pileup you
still will give the call anyway.  But this is better than having to hope
that the station that gave two letters will remember to give his FULL
call when he comes back.  It was amazing how many times stations FORGOT
to give their whole call after I came back to a partial call.  Like I
said, POOR operating practice!

On balance, it was great fun and I can't wait to do it again in the near
future.  There is nothing like the thrill of being rare dx (the only one
operating in your country) in a contest with good? propagation.

Special thanks to Sam WT3Q and to Roy V21N for making it happen. 
Further thanks to Roy for letting me use his fine station on such short
notice and for his friendship.  Also thanks to Mickey V21AS for
approving my V26M callsign on Saturday night! and assigning me the V29M
callsign for future use.

Thanks to all who worked me (and wondered who I was) and the best of
holiday greetings and health and happiness in 1988!

Bob KQ2M (V26M and V29M)

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                     ARRL 10 METER CONTEST -- 1997

      Call: V26M   KQ2M opr.         Country:  Antigua & Barbuda
                                     Category: Single Operator
                                               High Power Unassisted
                                               Mixed Mode


       CW      555     2220       50       25
      SSB      615     1230       47        7

      Totals  1170     3450       97       32  =   445,050

00:00 - 24:00
24:00 - 11:07
11:44 - 12:21
19:15 - 19:55

Operated 9 hours 6 minutes on Sunday 12/14/97

All reports sent were 59(9), unless otherwise noted.

Equipment Description:

TS450 and Alpha 76 PA
6L Beam @ 70'


This is to certify that in this contest I have operated
my transmitter within the limitations of my license and have
observed fully the rules and regulations of the contest.

                             Signature _________________________________


               ROBERT L. SHOHET  KQ2M
               51 SCUDDER ROAD       
               NEWTOWN, CT 06470    


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