NA QSO CW score/comments W4PA

Scott Robbins srobbins at
Sun Jan 12 16:20:29 EST 1997

NA QSO CW single operator
760/177 = 134,520 claimed score

Breakdown by QSO's per hour:
18-19Z  69
19-20Z  67
20-21Z  65
21-22Z  70
22-23Z  79
23-00Z  83
00-01Z  97
01-02Z  97
02-03Z  78
03-04Z  55
off 0400-0600Z

Breakdown by band:
160: 18/11
80:  100/32
40:  351/47
20:  158/41
15:  84/30
10:  49/16

Equipment: Two Omni-VI xcvrs
10/15/20  TH7 @ 90 ft
          6 el 20m @ 105 ft
40        3 el @ 75 ft
          dipole at 15 ft
80        dipole at 30 ft
160       dipole at 30 ft

Comments:  I operated from K4FW in Gatlinburg.  Al has an excellent
hilltop`location but his station is set up for DX, not contesting.
All three big yagis are on a 125 ft rotatable tower, on a single
relay switched feedline.  Meaning you can't point the antennas
different directions or use the 40m yagi while one of the other
yagi's is in use.  Makes the use of a second dipole essential for
two-radio 40 and 15 when the other beams are in use.

I went up there on Sat morning to set up the station.  We had about
2 inches of snow in Knoxville Friday and I had heard there was up to
8 on the ground in Gatlinburg.  Undaunted, I decided to go see if I
could make it up the hill anyway.  The roads were passable but not
terrific.  The 40 mile trip took about an hour and a half (usually
about 50-55 mins.)  I made it to the house but no way was I going to
make it up the driveway.  About 5 inches of snow covering it.  Parked
the VW, and it took four trips of 200 yards uphill in the snow to
load all the stuff out of the car.  Extra radio, ps, tuner, computer, 
cables, 40 and 80 dipoles, and food.

In three hours got all the gear set up, put up the extra dipoles for
40 and 80 up (as it turned out, didn't use the extra 80 one).  Only
snag of the day popped up:  The 80/160 dipoles are relay switched as
well, and the relay was stuck on 80.  Never did get it to work, and
used the 80 dipole loaded through a tuner on 160.  I couldn't get the
SWR below 3.5 to 1 but it worked marginally well (see QSO total). 
Thankfully the Omni-VI has no power foldback or danger of final damage
so I was able to run it anyway (how's that for a shameless plug?).
I learned how to put up dipoles in 5 inches of fresh snow when the
temperature is 18 degrees:  Do it the week before or don't bother.
Too damn cold for me.  I had to repeatedly go back inside the house
because I was getting wet from falling snow coming out of the trees.

I decided from looking at last year's results that I was going to only
take off time if the rate went below 60/hr.  I started on 28.025 looking
for local QSO's but nothing materialized.  Went to 20, started calling
CQ and then started the usual round of band changing with the two radios.
The 40 meter dipole was working fine on 15 and I was even able to CQ 
with it successfully there while searching 10 and 20 with the yagis.
The rate started off slow but began to pick up rapidly in the 5th hour.
Had a good opening on 10 to W8/9/0 and ran it for a good 20 minute
stretch at one point.

This was my first major effort with the TR program after using CT for
the last few years.  With the exception of logging a few QSO's on the
wrong band near the start, I got the hang of it pretty fast.  It's very
hard to remember not to hit the TAB key when CQing (like in CT) - and
I kept kicking myself into S&P mode all through the contest.  I also
could not remember the Alt-V command to move downward in band for a 
given rig and kept using Alt-B and cycling through the bands - next
time bring the manual!  I felt good enough with TR that I think I'll 
use it for ARRL DX CW as well next month.  

The peak rates were right at and after darkness on 40.  I pointed 
the three el NE at the 1's/2's and had a endless stream of
callers on 7.035 for better than 3 hours.  Lot's of 5's off the back.
In the meantime I was hunting QSO's on 80.  I spent very little time 
CQing on 80, probably a couple of stretches of 15 minutes each at best.  

My mult count would have been
much better if not for the 160 antenna.  Only the very loudest (S9 or
better) were hearing me, except VE3EJ, who was about S5 and came right
back to my call.  Even the S9 stations I had to call several times, on
average to get their attention.  A lesson for next time:  get something,
anything up for 160 if I can't get the antenna to work.  I would have
had the time if I had not bothered with the extra 80 dipole that I never
used, BUT - I didn't check to see if the 80/160 relay was operable first
and by the time I tried it out I was out of time.  Just assumed it was
OK!  Dumb!

I kept waiting for the rate to subside to mult hunt a little (at close
to 100 an hour I was having a hard time working anything on the 2nd
Omni-VI), and finally decided at 0330 to go to 160 and 80 and hunt
mults only.  Most of my 160m QSO's were in the last half hour I was on,
hence the rate dropping to 55.  By that point, 40 had dried up a bit,
but I would have had another 80ish hour because I was at 40 QSO's 
in that hour at 0330.  Tough choice, but working a mult every 4-5
mins. would equal the rate and I figured (correctly) that I'd continue
to find new Q's on 40/80 at the same time. Was S&Ping on 40/80/160
simultaneously for the last half hour concentrating on multipliers.
A third radio would have been handy (did I just say that?  Gulp.)

Time went by very quickly, but 10 hours is a good length for a contest.
Don't have to commit an entire weekend and then feel sleepy for the
next two days.  See you in the next one.

Scott Robbins W4PA
<srobbins at>
Tennessee Contest Group

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