[3830] ARRL FD WZ3AR(@WX3B) 1D LP

webform@b4h.net webform at b4h.net
Sat Jul 2 23:23:35 EDT 2005

                    ARRL Field Day

Call: WZ3AR
Operator(s): WZ3AR
Station: WX3B

Class: 1D LP
Operating Time (hrs): ~18

 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Dig Qs
  160:           1       
   80:         313       
   40:         247       
   20:         374       
   15:          52       
   10:           0       
Total:   0     987      0  Total Score = 1,974



All in all, this was a fun contest, although there were some low points (see
below). Unlike some of my past 1D FD efforts, this one was lower key. Rather
than iron-manning the thing and working through 24 hours straight, this time,
when I got tired, I slept. I ended up taking two three hour naps which likely
cut my QSO total a fair amount but it made the contest a LOT less of a strain.

The bands were mixed: 20-80m were generally good but 15m had only some isolated
openings and 10m was completely barren. There seemed to be a lot more F stations
this year than in years past and I worked a lot more Montana stations than usual
(maybe all of them). Has anyone ever noticed how close the abbreviations for New
Mexico and Minnesota are (NM and MN)? I never noticed this before but it tripped
me up a few times in this one for whatever reason. The problem is compounded by
the fact that N and M are right next to one another on the keyboard.

I actually had 1207 QSOs but 70 of them were dupes and 150 of them were QSOs
with other D stations, which don’t count for me. That’s right, more than 18%,
almost one out of every five, of my QSOs counted for zero QSO points. Maybe it’s
time to dump the 1D category and find a generator so that I can go 1E and count
QSOs with D stations. I’ve also never had so many stations dupe me before. Sure
some of them probably copied my callsign wrong or worked someone else when I
thought they were actually working me, but I have a feeling a lot of them were
due to sloppiness on the part of the other operator.

I had some fantastic runs on 20, 40, and 80m but there were also long periods
where I couldn’t get anything going at all. There were also times when the bands
were so crowded that it seemed like everyone was calling CQ and no one was
actually working anyone. Up until this point in my contesting career I have
focused primarily on the mechanics of contest operating and maybe it’s time to
focus more on band strategy.

I brought my own voice keyer equipment to Jim’s place but I couldn’t get it
working when I got there so I ended up using one of Jim’s MFJ-434 external voice
keyers. The thing actually worked alright and they are very convenient to use.
They do, however, have one major flaw: when hooked up to the Mark V they would
often cause the VFO to start scanning. Turning the radio off and on and using
the frequency lock didn’t solve the problem and pressing one of the buttons on
the VFO was the only way I found to stop it. 

I was looking forward to using Jim’s big EF-420 20m monobander but a couple
weeks before the contest Jim informed me that the beam seemed to have suffered
some damage in a recent storm and that it was exhibiting very high SWR and
attenuated receive. Nevertheless, the C3S did OK on 20m but things might have
been a little easier on that band if I had access to the big monobander. On a
similar note, the 40m wire beam worked well in its broadside directions (to the
NE and SW) but it was weak to W8, W9, and northern W7. Indeed, there were a lot
of stations located in that direction that were about the same signal strength
regardless of which way I had the beam switched.

Thanks a lot to Jim, WX3B, for letting me invade his house for the weekend and
operate the contest from his station. I actually met Jim for the first time just
weeks before the contest, although I had worked him on the air several times
before that, and he was a great host. He even went to the trouble of running all
of the antenna cables and rotators to one of his six operating positions so that
I wouldn’t have to jump from station to station during the contest, which I
greatly appreciate. Jim has a modest station but it plays really well and I had
a lot of fun piloting it during FD. The station setup is given below.

FT-1000MP Mark V @150w
160m: inverted L with 24 radials
80m: dipole at 55ft
40m: 2 element N3OC inverted V beam at 50ft switchable NE/SW
20m: Force 12 C3S at 55ft
15m: Force 12 C3S at 55ft, Force 12 EF-415 at 55ft


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