[3830] K5ZD IARU CW Only Story (really long!)

Randy Thompson k5zd at ma.ultranet.com
Sat Jul 25 14:33:54 EDT 1998

For some reason, the CQ Contest reflector did not accept this message.  I
guess it wasn't about CW speed, license structures, FT-1000MPs, or any of
the other 'contest' issues that are discussed in great detail there.

My first ever CW only IARU effort...

                IARU HF Championship -- 1998

 Call: K5ZD                     Country:  United States, WMA
                                Category: Single Operator, CW Only, High


 160       31       63     2.03     10      6   1/4-wave GP
  80      141      399     2.83     19     17   Inv vee @ 95', 1/4-wave GP
  40      480     1788     3.72     29     24   40-2CD @ 110'
  20      816     3478     4.26     30     25   Stacked 205CA @ 100'/50'
  15      755     3281     4.35     36     24   Stacked 5-el @ 70'/35'
  10       34       78     2.29      6      5   TH7DXX @ 90'
Totals   2257     9087     4.02    130    101  => 2,099,097 points

Radio 1 - IC-765 + Alpha 76
Radio 2 - TS-930S + L-4B

The Story...

It has been awhile since I did a contest for real (SS CW last year!).
Aborted efforts in CQ WW CW and WPX CW plus a multi-op in ARRL CW and a
guest op for ARRL Phone left me itching to see if I could still do a
competitive effort.  With its 24 hour format and funny summer time
conditions, IARU looked like it would be fun. I decided to do CW only so
that I wouldn't have to worry about microphone and keyer switching.  And it
was much quieter for other members of the household.

I searched my files and the Internet but found little info on what the
strategy for this contest should be.  W2SC had a big score two years ago
with 1900+ QSOs and 165 mults.  I figured this would be a worthy goal.  I
also suspected W4AN and some of the other CW only types would be trying hard
as well.

Woke up Saturday morning just like going to work.  Took the dog for a walk,
ate breakfast, then got the station ready.  The contest starts at 8 AM local
time so it was just like sitting down at my desk for a day at the office.

Tuned the bands in the hour leading up to the start.  It was too late for
40m.  Twenty sounded strangely empty.  When I heard S59AA at 599+20db on
15m, I knew where to start.

Set up on 21024 and it was off to the races. I got blown off my frequency
about 14 minutes into the contest and searched frantically for another.  Two
minutes later 21001 sounded clear and I was running again. Literally!  I
have never experienced such rate to start a contest.  The first four hours
on the run frequency were 169-134-113-123.  Almost all European and Asian

I managed to sneak in a few second radio QSOs on 20m just because I didn't
want to miss any multipliers.  It was obvious all the activity was on 15m
because there was hardly anything on the other bands.

Some of the more interesting callers on 15m in the first two hours included
RA9YN in zone 31, a bunch of zone 30 stations, PU1KDR, H20A (who I thought
was S20A every time he called me), SV1SV (a surprise HQ mult), VR98BG
(wow!), and LU1VZ.

About 14Z I started hearing a few stations on 10m.  I spent about 15 minutes
calling CQ on 10m while I tuned around with the second radio on 15m.
Nothing really interesting called on 10m (bunch of zone 8 stations) but I
did manage to snag a zone 7 and zone 6 (the only time I heard anything out
west).  The mult hunting on 15m was productive as well.

I got back into running on 15m up around 21046 and was rewarded with instant
rate again.  Plus UA9KJ in zone 21 followed by YB0ECT!  Like VR98BG, the YB0
was watery, but easy to copy and just as big of a surprise.  I was amazed at
the amount of activity from Eastern Europe and Russia.  Worked lots of zone
29 stations.  PA0LOU called in to give me my only 'special' multiplier of
the weekend.  A second YB called in more than one hour after the first.

About 15Z I recaptured 21001 and kept running.  Somewhere about this time
the bands started to develop a bad sound.  The northern Europeans who had
been booming in began to show some hollowness and the auroral buzz came up
on the backscatter signals.  Even so, the rate continued to be excellent and
I kept working the second radio for mults and QSOs on 20m.

The first LU showed up on 10m about 1630Z.  I also was amazed when YU0HQ
heard me on skew path.  I heard CT1BOH work P40HQ, but I never got a shot at
working Jose.

At 1700Z I made the jump to 20 meters expecting some big rates as I rework
all the activity from 15m.  It didn't happen.  The band just didn't sound
that good.  The rate felt slow, but that was probably just due to the return
to more 'normal' levels after the excitement of 15m!

While CQing on 20m I fell out of the chair when I heard JA6ZLI on 15m at
1711Z.  He was the only JA I could hear but easy to work.  That's something
like 2AM in Japan!  I found TF3IRA on 15m about 30 minutes later for another
interesting mult. At 1833Z I found EP2MKO at the very bottom of 15m.  I
would later work him on 20m as well.  XE1RGL was another second radio catch
on 15m (and my only XE of the weekend).

Meanwhile, I kept running on 14004.  Around 19Z I caught 8P0V and W1AW/0 on
10m for two nice multipliers.  I revisited CQing on 15m about 1915Z and
found a few straggling Europeans, 7Q7EH, and ES9A.  The rate was slow, but
the Europeans were quite loud well past 2000Z when I returned to 20m.  I
made QSO #1000 at 8:10 into the contest.

TU2XZ called in for another interesting African multiplier.  When you figure
the competition is going to work the same common zones and HQ stations that
you do, those rare African and Asian zones are doubly precious!  As are
those HQ stations that call you, such as SV1SV for a second band.  TL5A had
a roaring pile-up on 15m but was listening up 1 kHz which made him easy to
work.  PY7OJ called in on 20m to give me my only zone 13.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about a 24 hour DX contest is the
feeling that you can't let any opening get away.  This is really clear when
you realize that from W1 we only share one hour of darkness with zone 29 and
three hours with zone 27!

I made my first excursion to 40m at 2149Z and worked YU0HQ and W1AW/0.  Then
I heard TU2XZ calling someone on what sounded like a sked or a pass.  I
called him and he gave me a moral boosting multiplier.  Still daylight
outside!  I was hoping that was one that W4AN wouldn't find.  I returned to
20m after a few minutes as it was obvious the band wasn't really ready yet.

I finally made the move to 40m at 2249Z by CQing on 7004.  I was getting
answers but the rate wasn't that great.  After 15 minutes, I took a walk up
the band and captured goodies like TL5A, R3HQ/6, ER7A, RN1AM (19), RZ9SWR,
and YW5LB before going back to 20m at 2330Z.

The Europeans were more runnable on 20m, but it was obvious the time was
getting rather late over there and activity was beginning to drop.  RW0A
gave me a thrill and zone 32.  I found WL7KY and KL7Y both booming in on 15m
about 2350Z.  This gave me some hope for a JA opening.  I managed to work 3
JAs between 2353 and 2357 and the opening was over.  Talk about being in the
right place at the right time! Back to 20m for more CQing.

Local sunset is around 0030Z.  I went to 80m about 0012Z and was surprised
to find the band very quiet (i.e. no QRN) and a number of good European
signals.  I was able to work RW3XW for zone 29 and OH2AQ for zone 18.  Plus
R3HQ/6 and some of the other big HQ guns.  I couldn't get any answers to
CQs, but I could be heard if I was patient and kept calling.  My first 30
minutes on the band resulted in 14 multipliers.

At 0042Z I went to 160 just to see if I could hear anything.  VE1ZZ gave me
zone 9 and I tried calling a number of Europeans.  Only DL1IAO (who had a
good signal) was able to copy me.  After 10 minutes of frustration, I took a
scan across 40m and worked a number of QSOs and multipliers.  I felt the
next 2 hours were critical from a multiplier standpoint and I didn't want to
miss anything.  I tried to constantly keep moving.  At 0103Z I found a weak,
watery, and very lonely TF3IRA calling CQ on 7026.  That felt like a good
one and kept me pushing.

I finally got a run started up at 7033 KHz.  The rate was good but with few
multipliers.  JY9QJ gave me zone 39.  Not wanting to miss anything, I broke
off a clear frequency and 100+/hr rate to check 160m again.  More fruitless
and frustrating calling of European alligators!  The back for a spin across

At 0203Z I finally cracked the European barrier on 160m by working OL8HQ,
PA6HQ, DA0HQ, and YU0HQ (six bands!).  The increasing number of HQ stations
is definitely tilting the multiplier advantage in favor of the East Coast.

Back to 40m for more CQing.  There were some excellent signals on 20m, but I
didn't want to give up the possibility of low band rate and multipliers so
stayed put.  EM5HQ and ES9A called in to give me two new ones.

I tried 160m again at 0245Z but signals were going down.  The peak of the
opening was well before Eu sunrise.  I scanned across 80m and captured a few
more HQ stations.  My inverted vee works well enough that I can call
stations, but not well enough to allow me to CQ successfully on this band.
Even so, one brief run did get EA4URE and LZ98HQ to call in.  One more
listen to 160m at 0319Z (nothing happening) and it was back to 40m.

I snagged HC8A through a big pile-up, then found KP4Y and IY2ARI for new
ones.  I finally squeezed in at 7019 about 0330Z and set up shop.  The rate
was excellent and I marveled at how loud the Europeans were as much as 2.5
hours past their sunrise.  It sounded more like November than July!  About
0345Z I realized I was missing zone 27 on 80m, so I put the second rig there
and started looking.  Luckily found G8G within 2 minutes and got him for the
mult without missing a beat on the 40m run frequency.

I was still running on 7019 at 0513Z when EA8ASJ called in to give me a new
zone.   CT1BOH called me there at 0534Z and I noticed that it was right at
his sunrise.  I asked him to try 160m and we made it!  Unfortunately he then
went back to 40m and moved my competition W4AN to 160m also...

With 40m all but gone to Europe, I spent the next several hours tuning
across all of the bands and chasing multipliers.  KH7R and LT1F responded to
two of my few CQs on 80m.  I moved WB0O from 80 to 160m so I could get zone
7 (really!).  R1ANL (where is that guy located?!) called me on 40 for a rare
zone.  I worked PA6HQ on 40m at 0624Z and he was still well over S9 - wow!

I was amazed to work K6XX on 160m at 0630Z.  I moved 8P0V from 20 to 160m
for a multiplier - thanks Dennis.  Found 20m was mostly gone to Europe, but
there were still some QSOs to be found.  Turned the beam North and was
surprised to find a few loud JAs.  Worked JA7DLE for a new mult on 20m at
0646Z.  At 0700Z I was able to call CQ on 40m and have a few more Europeans
answer.  I moved VX4YU from 40m to 160m for a new mult (he was my only zone
3 but got him on 5 bands - thanks OM!).

Last Eu on 40m was ON4ASW at 0719Z.  That's only 4 hours 20 minutes past his

Got a little bit of a run going on 20m around 0745Z.  It kept me from
falling asleep and allowed me to keep looking for low band multipliers on
the second radio.  TF3IRA called me at 0830Z for a new one on 20m.

At 0857Z I lucked out and was able to work JH7XGN on 40m.  Not sure he would
have gotten the call except that someone called me and he was able to figure
it out.  The flutter was pretty bad and signal levels were low.  KH8/N5OLS
had a great signal on 40m and thought about trying to move him to 80m but he
seemed kind of busy at the time.  At 0903Z was happy to get through to XK7SZ
on 160m for a new mult. Then worked EA8ASJ on 15m at 0910Z (first signal I
heard on the band).  Called CQ on 80m at 0915Z and had ZL1AIZ answer.  Not a
bad 30 minutes in the multiplier and propagation department!

The bands just didn't want to open with the sunrise.  I had noticed the same
on Saturday, but it was even worse this morning.  GB5HQ and IY2ARI helped
the score.  Ran on 14018 from 0936Z to 1036Z. R1ANL called in for another
multiplier. Found P40HQ on 40m with the second radio well after my sunrise.

At 1100Z I made the jump to 15m hoping to repeat the magic of the day
before.  The band was just barely open and it took a lot of CQs to get each
QSO.  OM8HQ called me (I thought I already had him).  I took advantage of
the slow rate to also tune 20m on the second rig.  Called and worked RT3A
and then had OZ7D call me for a final HQ mult.

Final Comments

For those of you still reading...

- 24 hours is a great length for a DX contest.  The strategy decisions and
pressure not to miss an opening really keep the excitement level high.  Plus
it doesn't hurt so bad the next day.

- Propagation was unusually unusual.  We expect funny high band openings in
the summer when the North pole is always seeing the sun, but who would ever
expect the low band conditions we got.  It was better than many winter

- I logged the contest using WriteLog for Windows by W5XD
(http://www.contesting.com/writelog).  I also used it for WPX CW. WriteLog
performed flawlessly for both logging and scoring and it is nice to be able
to stay in the Windows 98 environment for logging and access to Geoclock.  I
did convert the log to CT so I could present the breakdowns in familiar

- This contest was fun!  Any CW contest where you can work 2250+ QSOs in 24
hours is a winner in my book.  I was in the chair for all but 5 minutes and
never went more than 8 minutes without a QSO.

- I tried to concentrate on 5 point QSOs and multipliers with multipliers
being more important.  The good conditions and growth of HQ stations shows
up when you compare W2SC's 165 mults of two years ago and my 231 this year.

- Is this a new record?  I think it breaks the USA record.  It also breaks
the highest world CW only score that I could find in the last 8 years (ZY1RL
2.05M).  I expected 8P0V to be ahead of me and didn't realize that LT1F and
C40A were also CW only.  Great competition and scoring all around!  Thanks
for the QSOs and see all of you again next year.

73 -- Randy, K5ZD

Continental Breakdown

                    160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America   CW   25   77  173  167  133   23  598    26.4
South America   CW    0    3   11    7    9   10   40     1.8
Europe          CW    6   57  282  609  575    1 1530    67.5
Asia            CW    0    1    5   25   34    0   65     2.9
Africa          CW    0    1    4    5    4    0   14     0.6
Oceania         CW    0    2    5    6    7    0   20     0.9

Hourly QSO/Multiplier Breakdown

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT

  12    .....    .....    .....    10/5    169/14    .....   179/19  179/19
  13      .        .        .      11/7    134/9      2/2    147/18  326/37
  14      .        .        .       6/3    113/10    16/2    135/15  461/52
  15      .        .        .       5/0    123/6       .     128/6   589/58
  16      .        .        .      20/6     64/1      6/3     90/10  679/68
  17      .        .        .      81/3     15/3      3/1     99/7   778/75
  18      .        .        .     105/3     10/5      4/2    119/10  897/85
  19      .        .        .      43/5     39/3      3/1     85/9   982/94
  20    .....    .....    .....   121/4      6/1     .....   127/5  1109/99
  21      .        .       5/5     94/3      2/1       .     101/9  1210/108
  22      .        .       8/5     70/6      6/3       .      84/14 1294/122
  23      .        .      31/13    32/1      8/2       .      71/16 1365/138
  00     6/4     20/14    21/4     13/0      2/0       .      62/22 1427/160
  01     2/2     23/4     62/4      1/0       .        .      88/10 1515/170
  02     9/4     16/7     49/4      3/0       .        .      77/15 1592/185
  03     2/0     30/3     78/4      7/0       .        .     117/7  1709/192
  04    .....     3/0     98/1      8/1     .....    .....   109/2  1818/194
  05     4/2     23/6     56/3     13/0       .        .      96/11 1914/205
  06     4/2       .      22/3     17/3       .        .      43/8  1957/213
  07     3/1      5/1     27/3     18/0       .        .      53/5  2010/218
  08      .       9/0     14/3     40/1       .        .      63/4  2073/222
  09     1/1     10/1      5/0     38/3      4/1       .      58/6  2131/228
  10      .       2/0      4/1     44/0      6/0       .      56/1  2187/229
  11      .        .        .      16/1     54/1       .      70/2  2257/231

TOT     31/16   141/36   480/53   816/55   755/60    34/11      .   2257/231

>From QRATE:

1236:    5 per minute     (300/hr)
1238:   36 per 10 minutes (216/hr)
1259:  179 per hour

Randy Thompson, K5ZD
11 Hollis Street, Uxbridge, MA 01569

E-mail k5zd at ma.ultranet.com
Tel (h) 508-278-2355 (w) 508-337-6600 x-213

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