ray ritchie icq4dx at starnetinc.com
Fri Jan 24 07:37:49 EST 1997

North American QSO Party

callsign : KF9YT
operators : KF9YT & N9VVV
category : M/2
exchange : Dave Illinois

Claimed Score = 966 Q's x 198 mults = 191,268 pts

We did alot of work around Dave's QTH to get ready for this contest.We put
up a Inv V for 160m @ 100' during a torrential downpour with 40+ mph winds
and some freak lightening.(Lightening in Chicagoland during January?)After 
typhoon blew through it got cold.The rain that fell got into the pot on the 
TIC ring that turns the 40m beam and when Dave went to turn it ,the pot 
broke.It is always something with those damn rings and trying to get parts
or  information from the "garage" where they make these things is a joke.
Dave replaced the pot on the warmest time of the week,10 deg. F at 11:00 pm
at 115'.He said lighting was no problem once the flashlight froze to his
lips.Then we put up an 80m delta loop when the wind chill was -35 deg.We
experimented with various feed point locations over the next few days and
ended up feeding it at the apex.When corner fed, it was rarely better than 
slopers already up.The loop was seldom used in the contest.
Friday before the contest I woke with a head cold and a bad sore throat.
Great!I stayed home to rest up and save my voice.I laid around all day 
studying some short skip propogation charts and dreaming of 300/hr rates.
I was cranked!Woke up on saturday and went out to lunch with Dave and his 
XYL Donna.During lunch Dave mentioned that the bands were really noisey.
That is not good.We got to back to Dave's and were all settled in the chairs.
It was 17:50.Dave was on 20m finding a nice spot and I was on 10m and 15m 
looking for some activity.Obviously 10m was dead (and stayed dead) with S7
noise so 15m was the band.Problem was that there was a loud and annoying
S9 noise level to the east and west and S3 to the south.Dave had the same 
thing on 20m.S9 noise in a low power contest is not good.Nonetheless, i'm
still pumped.My pumped-up-ness lasted about 20 minutes when I have only 
12 Q's.Screw this!I'm listening to 10m on the second radio and it is still
dead so it is off to 40m where it is at least quiet compared to 15m.Dave 
was also struggling on 20m with the noise but he managed to keep up a good 
rate.I spent the first 5 hours of the contest toggling between 10m,15m and
40m with hours of 48,22,26,27 and 45.I was mentally devastated.At this
point my beer rate was high than my Q rate.This made things worse.I was 
glad to see the sun go down so we could get onto the "quiet" low bands.
The S9 noise never went away.I've never seen KF9YT so determined.I guess 
he knew he was going to have to make up for my dismal performance.As it 
turned out,our 40m,80m and 160m was 2/3 of our total score.At least
some of the antenna work we did paid off.Dave did a great job fighting 
off the pig farmers on 80m while racking up the Q's.Our rates were:

    18 19 20 21 22  23 00 01 02 03 04 05 TOT  antennas
160                           8 20 39 48 115  Inv V @ 100'

80                  62 48 38 61 36 27 25 294  2 1/2 slopers and delta loop @ 80'

40  36  1 12 23 41  49 31 54  7  3       252  2L KLM @ 115'

20  67 54 52 48 24                       254  5L KLM @ 105'

15  12 21 13  4  4                        50  6L KLM @ 125' 

10         1                               1  6L KLM @ 80'
   115 76 78 75 69 111 78 92 75 58 66 73 966

Even though we fell way short of our goals,we did learn a couple things.
I learned to drink something other than beer and tequilla when your throat 
gets dry and when your rate plummets to almost nothing.Dave and I both 
learned to check for line noise noise at least a week in advance of any 
contest.The S9 noise on 10m,15m and 20m turned out to be a busted
insulator that was arcing on the power pole behind Dave's house.It got
fixed this wednesday,a little late.And we learned that more antennaes are
a must.You can never have enough.Sorry to all of those who called and
we couldn't hear or pull out of our noise.It won't happen again,I hope.
A huge thanks and apologizes to Dave and Donna for everything.We'll get
them next time!!!!!I hope to hear everybody in the CQ 160 contests from
the N9VVV squirt gun station.Listen up for KF9YT too,even though we will be
competing against each other this time.

                            tnx es 73 de,
                                     N9VVV-Ray Ritchie  

P.S.-Did anybody else get a call
     from a EP1CC on 20m or was
     somebody yanking our chain?
     Well,he's in the log.

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