W6UE NAQP CW SOAB
W4EF at pacbell.net
Sun Aug 2 19:04:30 EDT 1998
NA QSO SUMMARY SHEET
Contest Date : 02-Aug-98
Callsign Used : W6UE
Operator : W4EF
Category : SOAB
Default Exchange : MIKE CA
Name : Michael C. Tope, W4EF
Station Location : Caltech ARC (CITARC), W6UE
Mailing Address : 3944 East Mountain View Avenue
City/State/Zip : Pasadena, Ca 91107-4905
Antennas: 20 Meters - KT34XA @ ~110'
40 Meters - 4 Element KLM Monobander @ ~100'
80/160 Meters - DIPOLES @ ~100'
Country : United States
Team/Club : CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
BAND Raw QSOs Valid QSOs Points Mults
160CW 4 4 4 4
80CW 35 35 35 19
40CW 87 87 87 33
20CW 35 35 35 23
Totals 161 161 161 79
Final Score = 12719 points.
Used this NAQP as an opportunity to take a stab at two radio contesting.
After spending the afternoon putting what I thought were the finishing
touches on my two radio switch/keyer/TRlog interface box, I headed over
to Caltech's W6UE club station with gear in hand. I showed up around 0000Z
- well into the contest - and began setting things up. The first monkey wrench
in my plan came early on when, I discovered that the W6UE antennas were stuck
pointed north, despite my best efforts to dislodge the Spaulding Hall Tailtwister
from its frozen state. After reconciling myself to the fact that the contest
would be run with a somewhat suboptimal antenna system, I proceeded to begin
the task of wiring the two radio switch into the umbilical of cables
that would service the two HF radios. My 11th hour activities also included
converting the TRlog config file from FQP (Florida QSO Party) to it North
American counterpart and woofing down a Crazy Chicken Sandwich from El Pollo
Upon connecting the key line from the two radio box to the TS830, a steady
sidetone appeared reminding me of a long forgotten fact that the 830 uses
negative keying, a feature which my box didn't support. After the
momentary shock and disappointment had passed, I reconciled to use UE's AEA
morse machine and vibroplex paddles on the 830, and my MFJ 8044 keyer with
TRlog interface on the 950. The moving my hand from paddle to paddle, wasn't so
bad, but CQing on the 830, meant that I either had to send manually and try to
S&P simultaneously, or stop and figure out how to program the memories on the
morse machine (**? $%#$%^@#). Also, the fact that I couldn't really test my box,
really irked me. After some QSOless contemplation, and a walk around the Caltech
grounds, it occurred to me that I could quickly modify the MFJ keyers negative
keying output to work only when the second radio was selected (the two radio
interface and TRlog CW interface reside in the MFJ keyer box). A little searching
of the UE schack revealed a soldering iron, solder, and hookup wire (radio shack
speaker wire). An old paper clip served as a proxy for the tweezers which were
sitting in my workshop two miles away. After a few minutes of soldering, and
another episode of frustration (I hooked the keying circuit up to the audio output
the first time), I had a working system. My enthusiasm was again short lived
as the computer crashed while TRlog was switching between radios, leaving
a long string of cipher like characters imbedded in the log.dat file. After
what seemed like an eternity, the computer finished rebooting, and I was off and
running around 0310Z. From this point on, the hardware seemed reasonably
well behaved. I did have a few audio blackouts, which I soon traced to a
disintegrating phone plug adapter (this adapter was summarily executed shortly
after the end of the contest). My incremental in-situ preparations, also
included a few short breaks to remove the last remnants on the Florida
QSO party from the memory strings in the TRlog keyer database.
My apologies to anyone that I unintentionally stepped on. My box has an audio
reverse switch which puts the audio of the unselected radio into the headphones,
thus allowing one to send a CQ on the selected radio while listening on the
second rig. Unfortunately, in a couple of instances, I got overly excited
and started answering someone I heard on the second radio while still transmitting
on the first radio.
Despite a couple of short term "bursts", my average rate
didn't seem to improve a whole lot with the two radio system, but it was
fun having the capability to do something productive during the CQ time.
Perhaps with a little more practice the new system will help me push my rate
that extra 20% or so that seems to make the difference between okay scores
and competitive scores.
Trlog's post contest log analysis reported 53 band changes, and 23 second
radio QSOs. It was a real blast finally having this capability which seems
have become as prolific as memory keyers in the contesting world.
Cu next time!
I have observed all competition rules as well as all regulations established
for amateur radio in my country. My report is correct and true to the best
of my knowledge. I agree to be bound by the decisions of the Awards Committee.
Date ___8/03/98_ Signed ___Michael C. Tope_____________ Call __W4EF____
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