[3830] W1NN/M MQP Score

Hal Offutt japancorporateresearch at compuserve.com
Sun Apr 29 18:48:45 EDT 2001

W1NN/M Claimed Score in the 2001 Michigan QSO Party

CW QSOs      422
SSB QSOs    179

Total QSOs   601



CW    29
SSB  32


CW    31
SSB  25

Total Mult 117

Score:          1,023 points X 117   =     119,691 points

County Scores

County     CW QSOs    SSB QSOs      Score

BRAN               28                41                     4,559
STJO                33                24                     4,140
KZOO                56                26                     7,590
CALH                37                24                     4,508
BARR               54                41                     8,344
EATO               84                23                      9,741  
INGH                47                  0                       2,632
JACK                53                  0                       3,392
WASH             30                  0                          900

Hourly Rate Breakdown

Hour             Contacts

1600                 33    
1700                 23
1800                 56
1900                 44
2000                 62
2100                 42
2200                 65
2300                 61
0000                 62
0100                 51
0200                 52
0300                 55

Total              606  (includes 5 dupes)

Comments and Excuses 

I left my hotel in Livonia (I chose this because it is one of the few
Embassy Suites in the state and I wanted a good sleep Friday night after
all the driving on Friday) too late - about 9 AM.  One problem in staying
in a hotel is that you have to haul all of the gear inside and then haul it
back in the morning.  On the way to my starting point, there were some
terrible thunderstorms that slowed me down.  Fortunately things cleared up
by about 10:30 or 11:00 AM.  There was some rain during the last hour of
the contest, but it was not bad.  It could have been a lot worse.

My strategy as a solo operator is to minimize driving and maximize the
contacts from each county.  I do operate while driving from county to
county but it's not efficient (especially after dark) and I always try to
keep the driving down.  I usually head for the gravel roads in the country
where there is no traffic and the scenery is nice.  The ideal is to begin
the contest close to a four-county intersection so I can get to my first
four counties with only a couple minutes' driving.  This time my plan was
to start out near the Cass/St. Joe/Van Buren/Kalamazoo line, but due to my
late start I realized that I was not going to get there in time to set up,
so I had to alter my route even before the contest began.  I planned to end
up in the parking lot of my hotel and operate there for the last 45
minutes, but because I had so much trouble in the beginning, I was over 30
minutes away from the hotel when the contest was over. 
The hourly breakdown figures tell the whole story.  260 contacts in the
first half of the contest, and 346 in the second half!  Those disasterous
first two hours really hurt.  The problem was - what else? - antennas.  
Basically, I just didn't have time to get them adjusted before the contest
started - a fatal mistake.  I had nearly an hour to set up and I got the
20/15/10 meter Hustler array working okay, but I just couldn't get that
damn bug catcher adjusted.  I've had problems with it before and maybe I
should have pitched it long ago, but I've been convinced that it makes me
louder on 40 and 80, so I've stubornly stuck with  it.  The last time I
used it - in October - I managed to get it working perfectly, and it paid
off.  Why it didn't want to load properly this time I don't know. I even
purchased an MFJ 259B to make adjustment easier but it didn't seem to want
to work with the bug catcher.  

So when the beginning of the contest came I was still fooling with that
stupid antenna.  Finally, I had to get out the MFJ tuner and use that to
get the SWR down.  This seemed to work but it required not only changing
the taps on the coils but retuning the tuner every time I went from phone
to cw and from 40 to 80.    My first contact was at 1615 but I continued to
have problems through hour two.  It didn't make sense to move on until the
antenna was working on 40 and 80, so I ended up staying in Branch county
for 2.25 hours.    

Although there were a lot of frustrations this time (and a lot of cussing
during those first two hours!) I feel pretty good about the second half of
the contest.  Once everything was working properly, the rates went up and
things went very well.  The late start derailed my plan to make good use of
10 and 15  which hurt the mult total.  The few times I tried to move
stations to 15, we ended up in the middle of a huge DX pileup or on top of
a YU contester.  Skip seemed too long anyhow for most US stations.  On the
other hand, conditions on 40 and 20 were nearly perfect and 80 wasn't too
bad later in the evening.  I never made it to 75 so I don't know what I
missed.  Static can make it awfully difficult for people to hear mobiles on

Despite the equipment problems, I still had a great time.  Even when things
don't go right, this activity is the funest aspect of contesting and ham
radio to me, which is  why I am willing to drive 500 miles to operate one
of these events.  The ops were great, the turnout was great, the MI
countryside was beautiful, my 86' chevy wagon didn't break down, and I was
able to completely escape from work and other problems.   What more could a
body ask for?  I shall return.


Hal W1NN


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