[3830] N5XU September VHF QSO Party M/L EM10

Kenneth E. Harker kharker at cs.utexas.edu
Mon Sep 11 15:50:45 EDT 2000

         ARRL September VHF QSO Party

    Contest Dates : 09-Sep-00, 10-Sep-00, 11-Sep-00
    Callsign Used : N5XU
        Operators : W5JLP, KB5LBN, WM5R
         Category : Multi-Limited
 Default Exchange : EM10
             Name : University of Texas Amateur Radio Club
          Section : South Texas (STX)
          Country : United States
        Team/Club : Central Texas DX & Contest Club

   BAND   Raw QSOs   Valid QSOs   Points   Mults   

    6CW        2           2          2       0 
    6SSB      17          17         17       8 
    2CW        4           4          4       0 
    2SSB      36          36         36      10 
  222SSB      10          10         18       7 
  432SSB      22          22         42       7 
  1GHCW*       3           3          9       3 
  1GHSSB*      1           1          3       0 

 Totals       91           91       119      32 

    (* checklog only, not included in totals)

    Claimed Score = 3,808 points.

This contest was an experiment. Having heard rumors that there was a
certain amount of discontent in the major Texas cities (particularly the
Dallas area) about VHF contesters calling CQ a lot on 144.200, we decided 
to try the contest by calling CQ off the call frequency almost exclusively. 
The hypothesis that one could still make a decent score this way was 

On Saturday afternoon, we had two zero hours. During this time, our
operators were calling CQ consistently on 144.205 MHz and 50.135
MHz, trying every direction to get some station to respond. Almost every
station N5XU worked this weekend on 144 MHz was either called by us
on 144.200 or moved to two meters from another band. Very few stations
found us on 144.205. Notable exceptions were K5TR, W5MB, and AJ4F,
all worked on CW. On Sunday, of course, there were four full zero hours
with a single QSO made over a five hour period. This isn't terribly
unusual for the September VHF QSO Parties of recent years in South
Texas. The zero hours on Saturday are very unusual. 

Just how much worse was our score this year? The worst since 1996, the 
first year that N5XU operated the contest. In 1996, the club station had 
just 10 watts on six meters, used an HT for 440 MHz FM, and had no other 
gear at all for 222, 432, or 1296 MHz. In 1996, N5XU made 69 QSOs on 50 
and 144 MHz combined. This year, we made only 59 QSOs on those two bands! 
Compared to last year, our score was down over 70%! Compared to 1998, our 
score is down 83%! 

Clearly, not calling CQ on the two meter call frequency is a sure method 
to kill a VHF contest effort in South Texas. There are a lot of stations 
out there that will never call CQ, and will not listen anywhere other 
than 144.200 MHz. Unless you call CQ to get their attention and get them 
to call you, they will not make it into your log. Being unable to raise 
QSOs on two meters greatly affects the QSO totals and multipliers on 
other bands as well, as many of the higher band QSOs are made by moving 
a station found on two meters to the other bands. This has always been 
the theory, but prevailing wisdom needs to be inspected once in a while. 
Maybe stations would tune around and find us after all? The unfortunate 
conclusion is pretty clear - to be successful, you must call CQ and make 
QSOs on 144.200 MHz. 

It was fun to work so many members of the Central Texas DX & Contest Club 
(CTDXCC) on the VHF/UHF bands. This was the best showing ever on VHF/UHF 
for CTDXCC members, with at least K5NA, K5PI, AC5AA, AB5K, N5KO, K5TR, N5XD,
W5TD, and N5IW making it into N5XU's logs. In fact, even though the two 
clubs' membership totals are almost equal, there were more stations on 
from the ranks of the CTDXCC than from the Roadrunners Microwave Group! 

Kenneth E. Harker      "Vox Clamantis in Deserto"      kharker at cs.utexas.edu
University of Texas at Austin                   Amateur Radio Callsign: WM5R
Department of the Computer Sciences         President, UT Amateur Radio Club
Taylor Hall TAY 2.124                         Maintainer of Linux on Laptops
Austin, TX 78712-1188 USA            http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/kharker/

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