jimsmith at shaw.ca jimsmith at shaw.ca
Thu Jan 24 15:37:40 EST 2002

                     North America QSO Party - SSB
Call: VE7FO

Class: SOAB LP
Operating Time (hrs): 9

 Band     QSOs  Mults
  160:      0      0
   80:     18      9
   40:     21     12
   20:     95     34
   15:    205     51
   10:    196     46
Total:    508    152  =  77,216




January 24, 2002 12:27
As mentioned in NAQP CW story, the sound card is working again so should be 
able to have SBDVP calling cq instead of me.

It's been bugging me that I have no presence on 160.  A couple of days before 
the test I started looking around the yard to see if I could do something about 
it.  I have 50 ft of very skinny tower (9" or so face).  I plan on putting this 
up in a corner of the yard (although not all 50 ft because, if it falls over it 
could land on the bare HV line running down the lane behind the house) and 
using it for an inverted L.  I thought I could maybe mickey mouse 30 ft of it 
on a temporary basis.  I discussed this with my elmer (VE7IN) who suggested 
that the maximum dependable number of additional mults this would give me would 
be 3 and asked me if 3 mults were worth 1-1/2 day's work to create something 
that wouldn't be permanent.  Sulkily, I acknowledged that it wouldn't, (A man 
convinced against his will is of the same opinion still - credit to Auntie 
Mame's nephew - Clarence something or other) but I still wanted to get on 160 
so tried my 40 and 80 dipoles.  Zowie, I can get 100 W on 160 into the 80 
dipole with the MkV with about 3:1 SWR.  Not sure I should be pleased about 
this because it suggests the dipole isn't behaving the way an 80 dipole should. 
 Fired up on 160 for the first time in my life to try it and worked someone on 
the WA/OR border.  Awright - 3 mults are possible, BC, WA and OR.

Next task is to get sbdvp.exe and the sound card working again and program TR F 
keys for NAQP.  Been so long since I used DVP I couldn't even remember how I 
had everything hooked up.  Oh yes, Heil into Mic In of the sound card and Line 
Out into the MkV Patch connector.  (One day I'll have my beautiful, green 
Heathkit {now it would be called HeathKit} phone patch hooked up again.  Even 
better, one day I'll have every audio in and out on a patch panel or mixer 
board where I can get at them.)  Always a problem getting at the sound card 
jacks as the computer is in a tower case that sits at the end of the op desk on 
the carpet.  It doesn't have casters on it so it's a pain to move it out to get 
at the back and then in again.  Bought 4 casters, found some particle board, 
cut it to the size of the computer footprint, screwed the casters to it, 
resisted the temptation to try using it as a skateboard and put the computer on 
it.  Much better, but need some way of convincing the computer that it and the 
particle board are supposed to move as a unit.  Also need a cable management 
system to keep all the stuff plugged into the back of the computer off the 
floor.  Hard to move it back in when the casters get hung up in all the wires 
lying on the floor.

OK, time to get ready for the main event.   The last time I made a serious 
attempt at recording sound files (cq,  Jim BC,  etc) for the DVP I had a 
variety of problems with how they sounded.  One was that the average sound 
level varied somewhat from one file to the other.  Another was that I had dead 
air at the beginning and end which was a little disconcerting.  At the 
suggestion of W0MN on one of the reflectors I downloaded an audio file editor 
called GoldWave.  http://www.goldwave.com  It's great.  It will take any audio 
file and increase the level to a standard value.  This took care of my level 
inconsistency.  It is also very easy to cut chunks out of the file.  This took 
care of my dead air problem.  The DVP files created by SBDVP.exe are recorded 
at an unusual sampling rate.  Not a problem for GoldWave.  You can set the 
sample rate to what you need.

What name should I choose?  From the few NAQPs that I have operated it has 
become obvious that there is no penalty for using a name that is not your own.  
I need only make reference to the many chads and one bubba out of Florida a 
while ago.  In my first NAQP I used Jim.  I got back, "Tim? Kim?  Lynn?", and a 
few even more obscure.  In the next SSB one I used James.  For a start, "Japan 
America Mexico England Santiago" takes more time than "Japan India Mexico".  I 
got back, "Wayne?  Duane?  and even a Dwayne".  Also, got a (didn't like) 
"Jane?"  I am using the Heil HC4 element but, still.  This time I thought I 
might try "Jimbo" in an attempt to reduce the number of fills required,  I 
thought about how I would feel If I got back "Jumbo", "Dumbo" or, even worse, 
"Bimbo", thought about all the guys I have worked who now have Jim in their 
trmaster.dta database or equivalent and decided to stick with Jim.

Started learning GoldWave and making the recordings late Friday night after 
everyone had gone home from a birthday dinner party here.  Hmm... maybe I 
shouldn't have had those last two glasses of wine.  Oh well, got them done and 
looked at the time.  Aaarrrgh it's 3 am.  NAQP starts in 7 hours!  Went to bed. 

All times are local (PST).  

Slept through the alarm.  Got up at 11:30.  First Q at 12:11.  Oh well, don't 
have to worry about off time strategy.

1211 	Start on 10.  Make 1 Q.  Something wrong with the rig.  VOX seems to be 
tripping and hanging for no reason.  Fiddled with VOX sensitivity.  No 
difference.  Decided to shut off VOX and use the MOX button for PTT.  Shut off 
the VOX.  Problem still there.  After much fiddling aound I remember that I had 
been playing with the Squelch control the previous day and it was still up.  
Turned it down to zero and problem went away.

1255	Make my 2nd Q.  Very grumpy.  Feeling tired along with some effects of the 
party.  Having troubles making sense of the crowded together signals.  Good 
thing it isn't cw.  Thinking of quitting.  Decide to try running.

1459	167 Qs, 46 mults.  Still on 10.  Had a 70 hour and a 94 hour and a 10 
minute rate of 144 at one point.  Hey, feeling a lot cheerier and glad I didn't 
quit.  If I keep this up I might break 600 Qs.  Rate falling off near the end 
and don't want to miss the 15 mults so switch to 15.

1825	377 Qs, 97 mults.  Rate slowing down.  Probably been here too long.  
Switch to 20.

2020	471 Qs, 130 mults.  Couldn't get the rate up on 20 and mult production not 
very good either.  Better move to 40.  Probably stayed on 20 too long.

2159	508 Qs, 152 mults.  Couldn't get anything going on 40 or 80.  Some success 
CQing on 40 but rate very poor.  80 was pretty well all S&P.  What about 160?  
Kept listening there and heard nothing.  

Final result compared to cw test - more Qs - fewer mults - poorer score.  
Pretty happy to break 500 Qs in a bit more than 9 hours though.

Felt like I was always late getting to a band.

Some of those who read my NAQP CW story may be wondering how I made out with my 
SO1.5R system (SO2R with one MkV).  Well, it does work and I find it easier to 
use on phone than cw, mostly because of my poor cw skills.  I used it quite a 
bit and did make some Qs I wouldn't have otherwise.  Finding mults is slow, 
though, because can't hear while transmitting.  However, once you have found 
one, switching Tx to his frequency, turning off dual receive, working and 
logging him, switching Tx back to run frequency, reenabling dual receive and 
restarting auto-cq takes just 5 keystrokes, including the 2 Enters for calling 
and logging, and no fiddling with the radio.  No, I still don't have the 
documentation finished.  Took on some consulting work which is chewing up the 

Thanks for the Qs, everyone and see you in the next one.


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