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Wed Jul 17 22:58:37 EDT 2002

                    IARU HF World Championship

Call: WC1M
Operator(s): WC1M
Station: WC1M

Class: SO CW HP
Operating Time (hrs): 24
Radios: SO2R

 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Mults
  160:     7    0       5
   80:    87    0      17
   40:   293    0      48
   20:  1067    0      72
   15:   463    0      52
   10:     4    0       3
Total:  1921    0     197  Total Score = 1,495,033

Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club



160M  -  trapped vee @65'
 80M  -  delta loop @75', trapped vee @65'
 40M  -  40-2CD @50', 4-square
 20M  -  4-el @70'
 15M  -  5-el @50'
 10M  -  6-el @50'
 580' NE beverage

 All yagis on separate tubular towers


FT-1000D + Alpha 87A, FT-1000MP + Acom 2000A, Writelog, TopTen band decoders 
and switches.

Despite a so-so showing, I had a lot of fun in this one. WRTC adds an exciting
dimension to what is already a pretty neat contest: 24 straight hours, starting
with the morning high band opening to EU, one shot at each opening, zone mults,
HQ mults, different points for different locations, etc. I've always liked

Unfortunately, I haven't been all that competitive in it the last couple of
years. This is my best score yet, which feels good since conditions were rather
poor on Saturday afternoon, but it looks like I just missed the top ten again.
The problem was that I got absolutely killed on 15m, same as last year. I was
down over 100 Qs from the leaders on 15m last year -- this time it was 200 Qs. I
was able to make up for about 100 of them by switching to 20m fairly early on
Saturday afternoon (1630z instead of 1900z as planned), but I just couldn't keep
up. While the competition started out with 120/hr-130/hr on 15m, I could barely
squeeze out 85/hr. I had to S&P like mad on the second radio just to get the
rate up to 100. Placing high almost always requires a big start -- it's very
hard to make up for a deficit at the beginning. I was out of it by the end of
the first hour, but since I didn't know it I tried very hard for the rest of the
contest. I'm glad I did.

So, what's going on with 15m for me? Could it be propagation to northern New
England? Probably not. I have the 5-el monobander on a 50' portable military
mast, so the conventional wisdom would say it's not high enough. If that's the
case, why were my 15m Qs about the same as the rest of the top ten in WPX eight
weeks ago? The 15m antenna was at 50' in that contest, too. But it wasn't the
monobander -- it was a C3E tribander! This makes no sense to me. The monobander
has always been disappointing in comparison to the C3E and I don't know why.
When I first got the monobander, I put the 15m portable tower on terrain that's
20 feet higher than the C3E tower and required 150 feet less coax. Received
signals on the two antennas measured about the same then. Now that the 15m tower
is slightly lower than the C3E tower, and uses 200 feet more coax, the C3E is
always louder. The 4-el 20m (@70') and 6-el 10m (@50') are always louder than
the C3E. The tribander only has two elements for 15m on an 18-foot boom (maybe
12 feet of which is used on 15m) and the monobander has five elements on a
24-foot boom. Hmmm. EZNEC says that with both antennas at 50', the monobander
should be 3dB louder than the C3E. What the heck is going on here? I measured
the elements and verified their sequence on the boom a few months ago. The only
thing I haven't done is check that the element spacing is correct. It's a
Force-12 EF-515, which has the element-to-boom plates pre-riveted by the factory
in the correct positions. At least I assumed they were correct. Guess I'll have
to measure that, too. Other than that, I can't explain the anomaly. Any ideas?

BTW, I would have used the C3E in IARU, but had to take it down to make room for
the 40-2CD. Trade offs.

On the bright side, the 40-2CD indeed outperformed the trusty old 4-square for
running EU, but I preferred using the 4-square for S&P on the second radio --
can't beat the instant direction change and excellent F/B. The big surprise was
that, even at 50 feet, the 40-2CD was the same 5-15dB louder than the 4-square
to VK2 that it is to EU. Guess the low angle on the 4-square can't overcome
5.5dB in gain, even on lengthy paths. The 20m monobander was an ace, allowing me
to post one of the higher 20m totals. 10m was dead as a doornail here in the
north country and 160m was not much better.

80m was a little better than I expected, and that became the source of a
tactical mistake. I ran pretty well on 80m in the second half of the 0200z hour,
and when signals picked up during the 0300z hour I stayed on and ran another 50.
Unfortunately, a high percentage of the QSOs were with low-point USA stations. I
would have been a lot better off running 40m that hour or moving to 20m which
was very loud to EU. I thought it was too early to go to 20m -- that might be
true in the fall/winter, but not in the summer. I got there by 0400z and had a
real good run.

That's about it. I didn't get enough sleep the week before (returned from a
cross-country trip on a red-eye Thursday), but I don't think that was much of a
factor. I felt great during the entire contest, except for the deadly last two
hours. Like KT1V, I had a real hard time then. My head kept crashing into the
keyboard! Things picked up during the last half hour, though, when I was able to
get some rate and chase some mults. Like I said, it was lots of fun.

Oh yeah. I only had 52 contacts with 31 OJ stations. I wasn't hunting for them,
though. All were worked on 15m and 20m. Not a peep from OJ on 40m and lower.
Most USA ops said the OJ stations sounded about the same, but I thought some
were noticeably louder than others. Some definitely had higher rates. Several
times I heard one OJ station running a big pileup while another up the band was
pleading for QSOs. I think the teams did a fabulous job and think we all owe
them hearty congratulations and thanks for making it an even better contest.

Next project is to raise the 40-2CD portable tower to 75-feet and maybe side
mount the 10m monobander on the same portable tower, fixed NE. Gotta figure out
if it's safe to do that. This would free up a portable tower for C3E. Gotta
measure the element spacing on the EF-515, too.

After each contest, I make a habit of telling my wife how I placed. As scores
are posted on 3830, I'll say, "Well, I've dropped from fifth to seventh.", or
"I'm out of the top ten now." Then I give her a dejected look, sigh, and say the
only way I can do better is to put up a pair of 100-foot towers. My 6-year old
daughter, who loves to get Mommy's goat, has caught on and now daily asks, "Why
won't you let Daddy have two 100-foot towers?" My wife will say, "I don't like
the way they look." After giving me a mischevious grin, my daughter will
respond, "I think towers are great!" Ah, the wisdom of youth. Actually, the wife
is showing some signs of relenting -- she's taken to calculating what she can
get in exchange. If I can put up one or two big towers without the neighbors
noticing and without overwhelming my beautiful property (possible, but tricky),
I'll do it! Dream and do, dream and do.

Hey, I can't believe we have to wait 4 1/2 months until the next big CW contest!
Don't we need a major contest in September????

73, Dick WC1M

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