[3830] NAQP SSB AA4LR Single Op LP

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Mon Jan 23 00:06:24 EST 2006

                    North American QSO Party, SSB

Call: AA4LR
Operator(s): AA4LR
Station: AA4LR

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 8.3
Radios: SO2R

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:    5     5
   80:   63    27
   40:  265    48
   20:   90    27
   15:   56    15
   10:    1    11
Total:  480   123  Total Score = 58,917

Club: South East Contest Club

Team: SECC #1


A3S/A743 at 15m (10-40m)
15m shunt-fed tower (80m, 160m)
Cushcraft R7000 at 2.5m (second radio)

K2/100 w/ KAT100
Kenwood TS-430S w/ AT-250


Wasn't sure I was going full time or not on this one until the last minute. As
it turned out, I ended up pulling the plug in the last two hours. Had a bunch of
fun before then, though.

Contest started slow on 15m, with nothing on 10m. I could hear several beacons
in the beacon band, but found no one up on 10m -- my only contact there was when
I moved WW4LL. After a quick run through 15m, found 20m a bit long. Conditions
were not going to be good. Usually 20m is a bread and butter band for us in the
southeast. Not this time - it was far too long. Did have KH6DV call in on 20m,
and I should have moved him to 15m.

Took a half hour at 1930z, was trying hard to S & P through the high bands, but
activity had died down somewhat - was hearing the west coast settle on to 20m
already. By 2030z, I did a brief run on 40m, then back to S & P through 20m. 

By 2130, I'd settled in low on 40m and had a good run. I also worked the second
radio on 15 and 20. In the next three hours, I kept running at various places on
40m. People kept calling! It was great. Best hour was during the 2300z hour,
where I worked 98 Qs, virtually all on 40m.

Best moment was when I was called W7OT. Mike and I have been friends for some
time, since we worked together at the same company years ago. That was two
cross-country moves ago for Mike. But, we'd never worked on the air before. He
called me, told me that he hadn't intended to get on, but he saw that someone
had spotted me on the cluster. 

After finishing the run on 40m, I also had a decent run on 80m. However, rising
noise levels made it tougher, so I took a break at 0130z to get something to
eat. I'd been on the radio for five and a half hours straight.

Then I made my first big mistake. Last contact was 0132z, I slapped the
headphones back on and made a contact at 0201z. Then I noticed my 80m rate had
just been cut in half. Oops. 28 minutes shot to heck.

It became harder and harder to keep the rate up, and my shunt-fed tower started
giving me problems. While the SWR would be fine at the 20 watt level of the
KAT100 auto-tuner, when I hit the antenna with 80-100 watts, the SWR would
skyrocket. A quick jaunt through 160m found the same problem (only worse), and
most stations had trouble hearing me. 

So, at 0300z, I pulled the plug.

Managed to make some use of the second radio for much of the contest. The
TS-430S isn't very effective with the R7000, but it did work ok. Made about 22
or so second radio QSOs.

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