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Sun Nov 2 00:46:32 EST 2003

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: P40W
Operator(s): W2GD
Station: P40W

Class: SOAB(A) HP
QTH: Aruba
Operating Time (hrs): 42

 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
  160:   27     7       18
   80:  267    16       64
   40:  579    23       80
   20: 1434    30      109
   15: 1954    30      117
   10: 2614    31      122
Total: 6875   137      510  Total Score = 13,053,872

Club: Frankford Radio Club


There is nothing better in contesting than operating off-shore in THE CONTEST -

And what a great way to spend a 10 day vacation!  7 action-packed days before
the contest fixing all the things that have broken since my last visit 11 months
ago, and then adding a few incremental antenna improvements - all before the big
show begins.  Lets see, restring NE beverage including the ground system (one of
the locals even removed the radials);  replace both rotators; repair chewed up
coax lines damaged by free wheeling antennas on Tower 1; replace damaged rotor
cable on Tower1; worry about release of an equipment shipment which included two
new antennas and the amp power supply.....finally received the shipment Tuesday
afternoon (thanks to P43P); build a new Force 12 C4 tribander+40 out in the
cactus field on a very hot Wednesday (so many rivits); remove the broken A4
tribander from Tower 2, diagnose and fix a rotor cable problem; raise the C4
onto Tower 2;  tune 40M element (2 climbs), diagnose new rotor problem on Tower
1 (3 of 4 mounting bolts had fallen out).....it never seems to end......diagnose
low signal strength on NE beverage (broken 9:1 transformer wire);  build a
Cushcraft 40M rotatable dipole but run out of energy to do another climb to
mount it on Tower1 before the contest; put up the 3 ele 75M wire yagi dodging
the cactus while stringing out the elements, get CTWIN working, run a telephone
line to the shack and test telnet access.  I'll bet the rent-a-shack crowd
doesn't have half this much fun in a week!  Never got the beach but managed to
see every World Series game enjoying ribs and a brew at Tony Roma's. 

This year P40W had the following antenna and equipment assets to play with:

Tower 1:
4 el Force12 20M at 70 feet (Note: These F12 antennas are now 9 yrs old and 
5 el Force12 10M at 76 feet  still in service despite exposure to one very
5 el Force12 15M at 84 feet  environment of constant wind, UV, and salt air.)
160/80 inverted V at 68 feet
40M inverted V at 65 feet

Tower 2:
New Force12 C4 Tribander (+ 40M rotatable dipole) at 60 feet

Between Tower 1 and Tower 2 is a catonary rope from which is suspended a 3 el
75M yagi (90 foot boom) at 60 feet aimed at EU (yes it really works)

NE/EU beverage - 750 feet
NW/US beverage - 450 feet 

Radio and Switching Equipment:
Icom IC756ProII
Tentec Titan Amplifier
Two B&W 6 position antenna switches
Homebrew FRC Power Divider Box (thanks W2NO/N2TK)
Ameco Nuvistor Preamp circa 1970

This was the first CQWW where I never felt that common overwhelming urge to
sleep.  Maybe the 4 hour nap just before the contest made a difference.  Or
laying off caffine the first day, or not eating any sweets the first day  (just
an egg sandwitch and Gatorade).  I slept 2 hours each night (immediately before
sunrise) - knowing my days of 48 hour efforts have been over for more than a

Started the contest on 10M....ran some S.A., looked for Asia (none called) and
quickly switched to 15M.  Great condx to USA....had a 340 hour - my contest
best.  Like everyone else found 80 and 160 very noisy with lots of absorption. 
Resigned myself to picking off mults - the low bands weren't very runable.

Saturday the rates to EU/USA on 10 and 15 were 200+ for hours and hours.  Hit
10M hard the first day not knowing what would happen to conditions with the sun
doing funny things.  Ended Day1 with about 4700 contacts....no too bad for a CW

The evening of Day2 I paid more attention to 40/80/160.  40 and 75 were runable
to EU at or just after their sunrise.  Managed to squeek out reasonable mults on
these bands but 160 remained almost useless (noise/absorption).  Always a thrill
to work A61AJ on 75M (they were 20 over 9 - thanks for the pass from 40M  Emily!
 Woke up 15 minutes before sunrise, just in time to add a few more mults on 75
and 40 before returning to the high bands.  I thought 10M was better Saturday. 
All weekend kept hearing strange noises on the high bands, and about noon local
time Sunday propagaton went out almost completely.  No signals at all on 20M,
and just USA, AF, SA and Carib on 15 and 10 with reduced signals.  Took the
opportunity to grab a quick shower and then decided to run W's on 10M - at
reasonable rates as it turned out.  Probably stayed too long on 10M, made the
transition to 15 and then 20.  Spent the last hour chasing telenet spots, adding
an addl. 15 mults.   

Had problems with CTWIN all weekend - the version I had crashed once an hour. 
Internet service is expensive on Aruba - $.06/minute, which effectively ruled
out a 48 hour connection due to the cost.  The compromise process of manually
logging onto the ISP, doing a sh/dx/100 on each band, and then logging off was
time consuming, tedious, and distracting - when done while still trying to
maintain a  run.  RF was getting into the phone line, impeding modem access -
installing ferrite didn't seem to help.

My hope before the contest was to break the SOA ABHP record.  But operator
errors and the sudden downturn of conditions Sunday resulted in coming up just
short.  Another year.....   After the contest had a great dinner P40A (KK9A) and
P40B (P43P).  These post-contest dinners have become a fun tradition on Aruba. 

The station is now plug and play ready for K4UEE/P40R who will be QRV for CQWW
CW in a 2OM single band effort.  I'll be over on St. Kitts doing M/2 at V47KP.

I want to especially thank my wonderful hosts Humphrey and Corry, as well as 
Jacob, P43P, Dan, W2NO, Pete, NO2R, Jeff, WC4E and members of FRC for their help
and assistance.  

Congrats to HC8N, 9Y4ZC, HC8N, PT0F, SU9NC, PJ7/AH8DX, and the teams  at VP2E,
PJ2T, C5Z, and A61AJ for truely superior results. 

73, John P40W/W2GD
W2GD at hotmail.com

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