[3830] N5JA (N1RR opr) Breakdown+Story (Long)

N1RR at ix.netcom.com N1RR at ix.netcom.com
Sun Nov 9 22:03:34 EST 1997

                     ARRL SWEEPSTAKES -- 1997
 Call: N5JA (N1RR opr)               Country:  STX
 Mode: CW                            Category: Single Unlimited
  80   125             Sloper
  40   561             2ele @ 70' NE + Dipole NW/SE @ 70'  WX0B StackMatch
  20   517             4ele @ 60' NE + 6ele KLM @ 130'(r)  WX0B StackMatch
  15   156             4ele @ 50' NE + 4ele NW @ 90'       WX0B StackMatch
  --------------------------  115  2nd Radio QSOs
  Totals   1359   x   79      Score:  214,722
Power Output: 1500 watts     Hours of operation: 24
Equipment Description: FT1000D/Alpha 89 + FT1000D/AL-1200
RX antennas: Many N5JA beverages !  TopTen Devices A/B selector switches

HOUR      80       40       20       15    HR TOT  CUM TOT  
  21    .....    .....    65/28    25/9      90/37   90/37 
  22      .        .        .      81/14     81/14  171/51 
  23      .       1/0     64/3     16/2      81/5   252/56 
   0      .      68/2      9/0      2/1      79/3   331/59 
   1      .      83/5       .        .       83/5   414/64 
   2     9/0     32/3      1/0       .       42/3   456/67 
   3     7/1     64/1       .        .       71/2   527/69 
   4     1/0     62/3       .        .       63/3   590/72 
   5     4/0     49/1     .....    .....     53/1   643/73 
   6    12/0     48/0       .        .       60/0   703/73 
   7    48/3      5/0       .        .       53/3   756/76 
   8    29/0      3/0   (30 minutes off)     32/0   788/76 
   9      .       OFF       .        .         .    788/76 
  10      .       OFF       .        .         .    788/76 
  11      .       OFF       .        .         .    788/76 
  12    10/0     19/0   (15 minutes off)     29/0   817/76 
  13     1/0     19/0     27/0     .....     47/0   864/76 
  14      .       3/0     30/1  (30 minutes) 33/1   897/77 
  15      .       1/0     41/2      6/0      48/2   945/79 
  16      .       8/0     39/0       .       47/0   992/79 
  17      .        .      40/0      7/0      47/0  1039/79 
  18 (30 minutes off)     12/0      8/0      20/0  1059/79 
  19      .        .      46/0      2/0      48/0  1107/79 
  20      .        .      42/0      5/0      47/0  1154/79 
  21 (30 minutes off)     20/0      2/0      22/0  1176/79 
  22      .        .      47/0      2/0      49/0  1225/79 
  23 (15 minutes off)     32/0       .       32/0  1257/79 
   0      .      15/0      1/0  (30 minutes) 16/0  1273/79 
   1     2/0     40/0      1/0       .       43/0  1316/79 
   2     2/0     41/0       .        .       43/0  1359/79 
DAY1   121/4    465/15   416/34   152/26       .   1154/79 
DAY2     4/0     96/0    101/0      4/0        .    205/0  
TOT    125/4    561/15   517/34   156/26     ..... 1359/79 

After meeting Jon Barclay AA5BL (Now N5JA) and Don Barclay N5OLS at Dayton
several years ago, I've looked forward to seeing them at each Dayton. Each
year we'd chat for hours in the Contest Super Suite about the last years
activity and each other successes and what we've learned.

Jon mention that he was gonna miss SS CW this year because he'd be returning
from their KH8/N5OLS M/S CQWW SSB effort on the Sunday of SSCW. Having always
wanted to "do SS from Texas", I said that it would be a shame for the station
to sit idle, and that I was willing to fly down and give it a go. Later
during Dayton, Jon agreed and we immediately started discussing the plan.
Jon has wanted to expand their station to operate as SO2R / M/S and would use
this opportunity to step into this arena. We discussed the bare essentials
for SS CW SO2R and he was excited too. It was also decided that once there was
enough of the N1RR station up, they'd be welcome anytime !

During this summer, as I and several helpers were cutting down trees
preparing for my towers, I was bit by a tick resulting in Lyme disease.
- Please protect yourself and learn about ticks and Lyme disease.-
This was a factor and added to the challange.

But as things might, there's never enough time. I understand that Jon worked
very hard on the station especially during the week before he and his wife
left for for KH8. Thank you Jon AND Sheila !

I would fly down Friday, and meet with Dale (now N5XT). We'd then head onto
the Barclay family ranch to the radio shack, a cinder block building made by
the twins and Jon's father-in-law. 

But in all our preparation, reviewing Jon's previous breakdowns etc, I was
still concerned about stategy and propagation from South Texas versus my
previous experiences. Who better to ask than 5-time SS CW champion Randy,
K5ZD. On the eve of my trip, Randy spent nearly an hour on the phone with me.
We broke it down to two essential goals. This was enough to remove some of
my worry. Thank you Randy - There's more to come !
( And Randy from Massachussetts was on my tail the entire weekend !)

It's a 2 and 1/2 hour drive from the airport and I arrive at N5JA at 8PM
Friday. Dale meets me and we head right out to the shack, It's dark and there
are a ba-zillion stars in the sky - I'm in the country ! As we approach the
door, there are two huge spiders with legspan of 5 to 6" ! Dale is ordered to
dispense with the spiders. The shack is about 10' x 18' including a small
fridge, microwave and a couch. Sheila has stocked the fridge with Pepsi and
other great stuff. We check the radios and Amps, all's well. After about
20 minutes, it's back to the house for some much needed sleep. I will
have more time tomorrow to settle in.

Saturday morning
After visiting with Jon's grandparents, it's out to the shack. I had arranged
with Dave K1TTT (Ex.KY1H) to check propagation and the station. We chatted on
and off through the day. I worked DX on 10m and 20m. The only rotor available
is for the 6L KLM 20M at 130'! The switching for 15m,20m and 40m includes BIP
and each antenna separately on 15m, 20m and 40m thanks to Jon installing the
WX0B boxes. I returned to the house to get some more supplies, since I hope
to not leave again until Sunday night.

As SS begins, it appeared that 20m was the band, 65Qs in 45 minutes. I surf
15m on the second radio and decide that there are just as loud stations there
and after a few 2nd radio QSOs, I go. The second hour is 81 QSOs on 15m and
then I return to 20m at 2300Z but maybe it's too late. After 45 minutes, it's
on to 40M. 

Here is where things got tougher. 20M is closing and everyone is heading
for 40m! The 0200 hour is a disaster ! My run freq goes bad, and the effect of
working guys that are 100 to 175 QSOs ahead is demoralizing. I try to scan 20M
and 80M for additional QSOs, 1 and 9 respectively, but this is barely enough
to salvage the hour! I am very disappointed, stopping is considered but is
quickly pushed aside.

During the next hour, another run freq is established with 64 40M QSOs and
2nd radio activities bring in 7 QSOs from 80M for a good 71 QSO 0300 hour !
The next two hours are similar, but still I feel like quiting ! After all of
Jon's efforts and my travel, I won't let this happen!  After logging 12 2nd
radio QSOs on 80M in the 0600 hours, I decide to try running on 80M.
(Eventhough it is said in Texas: "If your on 80m, you're losing !")

The 0700 hour was 48 QSOs on 80M plus 5QSOs on 40M with the 2nd radio. More
importantly, there were two big highlights late in the 0700 hour:
1) Trey N5KA called in and I send him nr 747 and responded with 744 QSOs and
he asks for a fill on my number ! Being as close to him at this point after
that bad hour really pumps me up. I felt much better and would rally on this
one point right to the end.
2) VY1JA called in on 80M and gave me nr 13 ! The sweep is still possible.
Only need the new NL section plus VE1 and VE4. I figured that if I didn't
have all of these by noon-time, I'd be in big trouble.

At 0830 I start an off-time, mostly because I am very tired. But this was
a minor mistake. My rate was well over 50/hr and I should have remained on!
I eat a granola bar, set my alarms and take my medicine. By about 0900, I'm
sleeping. I remember waking twice before 1215.

I warm-up an english muffin start operating. I decide that I'll CQ 80M, and
tune 40M. Rate is low (30/hr) , but I'm searching for Canada. Change to 40
running and tune 80m. Next it's running on 40 and tuning 20m. 20 is good
enough to run and I am quickly rewarded with VO1GO calling ! Then the rate
drops and I take a 30 minute off-time. I come back on tuning 40 and 20 and
find VE1UA on 20m and then Derrick VE4VV ! I'm done - SWEEP ! Now I can
settle in for 20M.

>From here on, it's just a matter of keeping the rate up. When it drops, I
get off. While off, I walk around outside and eat and check the medication
schedule. Jon comes home, but heads home to bed. He'll be back for the last
hour. I have the motivation of staying ahead of Trey. I don't listen around
for anyone's numbers, I keep tuning for QSOs. Along the way I learn something
about what will work better for me in the future with 2 radios. 8 QSOs in
the 1600 hour, 7 in the 1700 hour and 8 more in the 1800 hour !

Until it gets near dark, I stay on 20m. I keep checking 10m and 15M, but
these bands are too long. Next, I wait to go to 40M until after "sundown"
(famous Texas phrase). I try to take the sunset period off on Sunday in
New England and that translates to Texas as well. Also in NY/New England,
the last hours are worse than the rest of Sunday. The surprising thing is
that as the time marches on, there's still plenty calling, but not many to
call on the 2nd radio. As 20 closes, I run on 40m and tune through 80m.
I am surprised by the number of W6,7 and W0 that call in during the last
2 hours along with the usual east coast. 

After Jon and Sheila left Don and Melissa at KH8/N5OLS, Don had nothing to
do but enjoy SS and listen to their home station. He later reports certain
situations were callers were not getting through. Two out of twelve beverages
(two wire) were dead, but I did not think anything of it. Jon also thinks
there may be a few far-end beverage tranformers that may have been blown, too.

Jon and I give # 1359 to Tim,K3LR and sit back to listen. As the 1997 SS CW
top ten fills in, Trey calls in on 3830 with 1383, ending 24 ahead of me.
Maybe he rallied on my number too! K5BN with K5GA opr, is probably ahead of
me too.

After travelling to Texas for the first time, and operating completely alone
in Texas for the first time, and not being at my best physically, I am very

Where could I have found/planned more QSOs?
Start on 15m then go to 20m/Get my first 100/hr:        20 more QSOs
Focus through the 0200 hour:                            40 QSOs
Stay on after 0830 til rate drops:                      20 QSOS
Return after 1230Z:                                     10 QSOs
More 2nd radio work:                                    20 more QSOS
                                                Total: 110 + 1359 = 1469
Thanks to Jon and Sheila, Don and Melissa, Dale, Randy and my family.
Charlie - N1RR at contesting.com 

FAQ on WWW:               http://www.contesting.com/3830faq.html
Submissions:              3830 at contesting.com
Administrative requests:  3830-REQUEST at contesting.com
Problems:                 owner-3830 at contesting.com

More information about the 3830 mailing list