[3830] ARRL Sep VHF K2DRH Single Op LP

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Tue Sep 13 23:05:33 EDT 2005

                    ARRL September VHF QSO Party

Call: K2DRH
Operator(s): K2DRH
Station: K2DRH

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: EN41vr
Operating Time (hrs): 

 Band  QSOs  Mults
    6:  180    82
    2:  133    53
  222:   46    24
  432:   69    31
  903:   19    14
  1.2:   32    18
  2.3:    7     7
  3.4:    5     5
Total:  491   234  Total Score = 174,096



Saturday conditions were way down here.  After an initial good hour, the QSO
rate dropped way off.  There was no propagation to speak of above 432 MHz and I
had to ask a lot of stations to sked me later or the following morning in hopes
that we could make contacts up there.   From experience I’ve found that unless
it’s a multiop, generally leaving things to chance that you’ll run into them
later without making a sked is a bad bet with maybe a 30% chance of success.  It
got a lot better in the cooler evening hours after the sizzling hot Midwest day,
but the stations just didn’t seem to be there to work and the microwaves bands
were still way down.  Most of my 903 and above skeds didn’t work out above 1.2
GHz.  Nice tropo directly to the north but unfortunately there aren't that that
many stations to work that way.  No enhancement the east or south and I had
horrible power line noise to the west that gave me lots of trouble when I looked
up towards the Minneapolis area.  I was still dog tired from all the tower work
Friday getting 3456 installed so I went to bed right after my WSJT skeds and
missed out on the aurora Saturday night.  Should have realized what the score
was when I didn’t hear any stations calling CQ on 50.260 WSJT, but it just
didn’t register! 

Sunday morning conditions seemed fair and while there were no really big hours,
QSO’s went steadily into the log.  No real enhancement anywhere, just normal
flat conditions most of the day.  High point was working KM0T 316 miles away on
3456 at 1:00 in the afternoon after failing to make it in the morning.  Picked
up a little 6M Au on Sunday afternoon before the band opened on ES to the SE. 
The Es was fun but since it stayed into FL most of the time, it was easy to work
it out.  Found myself CQing to no takers after a while, so would go back to 2M
for a while, work a few there and then go back, find a new frequency and work a
bunch more before it dried up again.  Seemed like lots of mults, but not much
depth and I would run out of stations to work pretty quickly until the band
shifted to a slightly different area.  During the 6M opening K4XR suggested we
try 2M and was able to log him down in EM64 537 miles away on 2M CW ..... very
weak but workable!  Also worked K5YPV in EM54 at 4880 miles on CW, however
wasn’t able to work anybody else.

2M was also less productive than it should have been on Sunday evening too since
it seemed like a lot of folks were on 6M, hunting and pecking for Es stations
despite the limited depth.  Sunday after dark we finally got a little
enhancement out to the east, but there were few stations to take advantage of it
with since the stations out there seemed to be pointing elsewhere and unaware of
us for the most part.  I’ve always found it difficult to come up the back of
their antennas even with 200W!  And the ones I did find were few and far
between.  Did work VE3FGU in FN04 (568 miles)who was astute enough to point west
and call on CW.  Ironically Ied ran into KB8U who I didn't worked almost the
second the contest was over!  He obviously had one heck of a good time with the
conditions at his QTH and really put in a killer effort!  We tried to run on
3456 just to see if we could do it but the conditions still weren’t there. 

All in all this was a frustrating contest for me.  We didn’t get much in the way
of tropo enhancement out here.  I was also disappointed that I didn’t hear very
many rovers on during the contest and consequently I didn’t work as many higher
band contacts as I’d hoped.  I was also down in strength a good bit on 2M.  The
amp that I normally use was working fine earlier in the week when we had a good
tropo opening (I worked Pete at K3EAR in FM while he was getting the station
ready).  But when I went to set the drive and output levels down to 200W on
Saturday morning before the contest, I discovered the amp had no output!  Had to
run with a tired old brick that only put out a little over 100W.  Made it a lot
harder to attract attention and I had to move my antennas around a lot more. 
Don’t ever let anyone tell you being 3db down doesn’t matter … it definitely
does in a contest!  If you can't work them on 2M, you can't QSY them!

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