[3830] ARRL Sep VHF WK4P Limited Multi-Op LP

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Thu Sep 14 23:03:16 EDT 2006

                    ARRL September VHF QSO Party

Call: WK4P
Operator(s): WK4P, W4JJF, KD4UKT
Station: WK4P

Class: Limited Multi-Op LP
QTH: Whitetop Mtn, VA
Operating Time (hrs): 

 Band  QSOs  Mults
    6:  120    23
    2:  135    25
  222:   22     6
  432:   33     9
Total:  310    63  Total Score = 22,995



For the Sept VHF contest the team of Adam, WK4P and Kent, W4JJF, along with our
XYLs Karen, KD4UKT and Lynn ascended the highest road and 2nd highest peak in
Virginia, Whitetop Mountain.  As we headed up the mountain on Friday afternoon
the weather was perfect and the excitement of a long awaited contest expedition
was in the air.

After arriving we began to assemble the antennas.  We raised the 2m and 440
vertical and  put together the beams for 6, 2, 220, and 432.  As dark
approached a campfire was built and W4JJF checked into the net on the 145.35
repeater near Charlotte, NC  using a handheld, rubber duckie, and 2 watts of
power.  Watching the full moon rise we told stories covering a multitude of
subjects then headed to the camper.

I can't believe I'm about to write this but, an antenna can be too big.  Such
was the case with the 6 element, 6 meter beam we had hoped to erect on the
mountain.  After attaching the rotor and 6 meter monster to the 20 foot mast we
began to raise it.  Suddenly the rotor broke.  We repaired the rotor and tried
again, this time with shorter masts on both ends.  Again the rotor broke.  We
gave up, sat the antenna on a pipe about 4 feet in the air and put up JJF's
omniangle for 6.  The 2 meter and 220/432 poles went up easier and without
major incident.  We quickly arranged our operating tables and went on the air
shortly after 2 pm.

W4JJF settled in on 6, WK4P on 2, and KD4UKT on 220/440 as the contacts began
rolling in.  UKT and Lynn then took off to do their thing as us guys continued
in the frey.  JJF let out a "rebel yell" as he worked EM64 in Alabama.  Band
conditions seemed rather flat so WK4P moved to the 220/440 rig and began
sending CW or smoke signals as JJF likes to call it.  About midnight we decided
to move to the camper and rest for round 2 on Sunday.

After cooking us a great breakfast of eggs, biscuits, and shrimp the girls took
off on their bikes to ride the VA Creeper Trail while the guys hit the airwaves.
 Again no enhanced propagation meant digging for groundwave signals.  As the
afternoon rolled on, WK4P hit 2 meter FM hard, working stations 60+ air miles
away who were using HTs and duckies.  A pileup ensued, but when I went to pass
JJF a 440 FM contact he was gone.  After looking around I noticed the rain had
begun.  The rain quickly intensified and became a full blown thunderstorm.  We
quickly unhooked all the gear and put it inside the camper, setting up an
operating position on the dining table and one on the bed.  When the thunder
passed the rigs were hooked back up, this time W4JJF getting in on a short 6
meter Es opening and WK4P went back to pounding 2 meter FM, as the storm had
caused a problem with the 2 meter SSB antenna.  Finally the contest ended with
us both looking for that final contact.  

After the storm the wind had increased on the mountain with wind speeds
estimated at 35 mph.  Not a good thing when your're at 5500 ft in a camper with
antennas simply guyed up outside.  But everything held and breakdown began
before breakfast Monday.  By lunchtime the only trace that we had ever been on
the mountain was that some of the trash others before us had left was now

Overall W4JJF and myself are pleased with our first effort at mountaintop VHF
contesting.  We are already looking at ways to improve our setup for next year.
 Better yet we are pleased that our XYLs were part of the expedition and enjoyed
themselves as much as we did.  Be sure to listen for us next year from the top
of Virginia.

A note to the contest rulemakers.  Why not make the multi-limited category a
low power category?  As the rules stand now a portable, 4 band operation on a
mountaintop with 100 watts is in the same class as a fixed, 4 band, 1 KW
station.  A much more competitive situation for all would make any multiop
station running more than 100 watts or more than 4 bands a class "M" while a
station running 4 bands or less at 100 watts or less would be a class "L".

Peace and 73
Adam WK4P

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