[3830] ARRL Sep VHF K2DRH Single Op LP

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Tue Sep 12 14:20:24 EDT 2006

                    ARRL September VHF QSO Party

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

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 

 Band  QSOs  Mults
    6:  141    50
    2:  176    51
  222:   65    31
  432:   98    34
  903:   20    15
  1.2:   41    21
  2.3:   11    10
  3.4:   12    10
Total:  564   222  Total Score = 203,796

Club: Society of Midwest Contesters


September is a time for changes, however one really unwelcome change was the
sudden cold front that turned off tropo propagation on Saturday and most of
Sunday here in the Midwest.  The contest started with lots of stations to work
hoping for the good conditions we’d enjoyed in recent weeks, but it soon
slowed way down since very little out of the ordinary was happening.  All in
all it was pretty flat and 903 and above were just about impossible to work out
past 250 miles.  Reminded me of a January contest, only with more rovers who
braved the unseasonably chilly, windy and rainy weather.  There was so little
going on that by Saturday night I was beginning to wonder if the final score
would even break 100K!  

Things picked up a bit after dark and a few of the northern stations like K0AWU
in EN37 that are normally just out of my flat conditions range with low power
went into the log easily, but only on 6M and 2M.  Activity seemed down,
especially from Chicago and Minneapolis/St Paul, while some of the more
sparsely populated grids to the West were a lot better represented than usual. 
WSJT went pretty well on 6M as always, but the rocks seemed far fewer and weaker
on 2M.   It was during the first WSJT sked that my 2M receive went dead and I
thought I’d lost my 2M preamp (again!).  Great!  The icing on the cake!  A
quick check confirmed that the receive was further down than it should be even
with the preamp switched out of line, but the SWR was still fine.  Frantic
troubleshooting determined it was trying to receive through the amp (and not
doing all that bad a job of it).  The auxiliary T/R output relay in the
transverter was sticking closed.  I didn’t work that first 2M sked, but
finished out all my other WSJT skeds successfully by applying percussive
maintenance with the handle of a screwdriver.  Afterwards a work-around relay
was rigged at the expense of an hour of precious sleep.   

Sunday morning conditions were a little better to the east but the enhancement
to the north had gone away and while I completed on 222 with K0AWU on JT65b and
heard (actually saw is a better word) his high power signals on 432, he
obviously couldn’t decode my 100W.  Should have done it the night before! 
Q’s went into the log slowly but steadily and the higher bands were working
out a whole lot better.  My “normal” flat conditions range on 903 and 1296
seems to be around 300-350 miles with the well equipped fixed stations (as
opposed to 400-450 on the lower 4), even with the overly restrictive 10W SOLP
power limit right at the pairs of max element loopers on each band.  Many times
I hear them but they won’t hear me even though they all have really good
receivers!  I can usually work K8TQK EM89 and K4TO EM77 right at 400 miles, but
only because of their excellent stations since they are just barely above the
noise here.  I’m not sure about 2304 and 3456 yet since I haven’t had them
long enough, but so far the 1296 workable stations at 300 miles are mostly
unworkable on those bands so I suspect it may be a lot less.  Hard to tell for
sure since there are so darn few stations to work within 200 miles of me even
except the rovers.  Then it depends on if they find a good spot or not.  Rarely
even work my own grid on 903 or 1296 unless W9UD makes time to get on, and have
never worked it on 2304 or 3456!        

Sunday was slow and steady and the rovers like WA9SNR/R, KF0Q/R, K0JK/R, and
WB8BZK/R really helped the QSO and grid total especially on 1296 and above. 
Sunday evening saw some enhancement along the cold front line to the south into
Memphis, Kansas and even Oklahoma, but there were few stations pointing up this
way to work.  Tried with Steve AG4V in EM55 several times before we finally
worked on 903 and 1296, but then we spent about 45 minutes trying 2304 (he did
hear me briefly!).   Of course this was right about the time of the brief 6M Es
opening to Florida that Dan, N0URW told me I missed during our post contest
round table.  This is the second time that we spent way too much time trying to
work a band during prime time, so I should know better already!  I was rewarded
with QSOs with K5OMC and W5RCI in EM44 on our 2M coordination frequency so it
wasn’t a total loss!

Often the end of a contest brings in a flurry of good mults and this one was no
exception.  In the last 10 minutes I worked KB9BQA in EN63 on 7 bands for four
new band mults and finally pushed the score over 200K!  More new mults on 2M
and 6M also went into the log just as the final bell was sounding.  Not a great
contest considering how insane the June ARRL and July CQWW were, but certainly a
solid one with fairly decent conditions overall.     

73 de Bob K2DRH EN41vr IL

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