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Sun Apr 1 16:35:34 EDT 2007

                    CQWW WPX Contest, SSB

Call: P40W
Operator(s): W2GD
Station: P40W

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: Aruba
Operating Time (hrs): 35:43

 Band  QSOs
  160:    5
   80:  400
   40:  450
   20: 2195
   15: 1275
   10:   48
Total: 4378  Prefixes = 1096  Total Score = 16,826,888

Club: Frankford Radio Club


Equipment:  IC756ProII, Titan Amp. (1KW)  Win-Test Logging Software

Antennas:  160M Vertical Dipole, 3 ele 80M wire beam EU, 160/80 Inverted V, 2
ele 40M wire beam NW, 4 ele 40M wire beam EU, Force 12 4 ele 20M, Cushcraft 4
el 15M, Force 12 5 ele 10M, Force 12 C4 tribander + 40M
Beverages NW, N, NE, E/W

This was a last minute trip.  P49Y asked me to come down to make some antenna
repairs, so I had an opportunity to put P40W on the air once again.

Conditions leading up to the contest were pretty good early in the week, 160
and 80 were dead quiet, and 15/10 were showing some strong signs of life on
Thursday.  But it all went downhill Friday.  The high bands were stone dead and
a very active weather system over the HK/YV border moving east was generating
lots of QRN from T-storms.  And to make matters worse, a local powerline QRN
source had popped up, the result of salt buildup on the power lines after
nearly a month of no rain on Aruba.  It peaked NW from the station, and I
couldn't find a combination of antennas that would lower the noise below S-7,
particularly on 15M where the spikes were particularly strong.  Not very

Decided to start the contest on 20 meters up around 14300.  Signals weren't
exceptional but there were plenty of stations to work.  The 241 first hour was
by far the best rate of the weekend, and the next 2 hours of 217 and 154
weren't bad, but after three hours 8P1A/W2SC was already 100 ahead.  This would
remain the trend all weekend.  

The 0300 hour was spent on 80M.  Unlike ARRL DX PH, I found CQing down around
3700 was productive, fewer stations were doing split operation.  The 87 hour of
mostly EU was encouraging, the 3 ele wire beam was working.  Went to 40M at just
before 0400 and the rate to EU was even better, with another 122 stations added
to the log.  Rates to the USA on 40M were lousy, I never really got a decent
run working split all weekend, and didn't even think to go up into the US phone
band to go simplex (live and learn). The remainder of the night I drifted back
and forth between 40 and 80, even tried about 15 minutes on 160 with very poor
results, the QRN was just too high.  At 0829 called it a night and took a 3.5
hour sleep break.

Saturday morning started out on 20M at 1200 but quickly transitioned to 15M
before the end of the hour.  The rate to EU on 15M wasn't great, but the band
exhibited some signs of life, even though EU signal levels were S-3 on average.
 On of the mistakes made all weekend was to try and force 15M to play.  This was
particularly evident on Sunday when better rates were available on 20M.  Between
1400 and 2100 UTC kept bouncing back and forth between 20 and 15, rates in the
120 to 160 range, not good not bad.  A brief 10 minute sprint on 10M at 1800
scooped up about 18 contacts, mostly PY/LU but 3 W5 stations made it.  Never
heard any USA other than Texas all weekend.  Finally decided enough with 15M
and went to 20M at 2100, to enjoy two 180 hours back to back and finished out
the first day with a 140  hour.  Spent another hour on 20M, then briefly tried
40M before taking an hour off.  Found 80M better the second evening than 40,
esp. to EU.  But this was a fatal error, I should have concentrated more effort
on 40 to be competitive.  Sigh.

Took a 6 hour sleep break at 0700.  Woke up to find 20M in poor shape, heard
P49Y really struggling.  Decided to take another hour off, listened again,
worked a few stations, conditions were no better, and took my final off time

When I got back to the mic at 1400, went to 15M and had three hours of 100/hour
EU run, not great, but they kept coming back, right at the noise level. 
Fortunately the line noise had temporarily subsided, but I could hear the
'eggs' ready to fry at anytime.  So tried to masx out the quiet time on 15 for
several hours.  In the end, I should have transitioned back to 20M earlier.  At
1830 there was a brief 10M openning to Texas, EA, CT and Africa.  No volume, but
some signals were failry loud on 10M.  The bottom of the sunspot cycle, can't
expect much.

Transitioned to 20M at 1900, to run EU.  Only one more trip to 15M at 2100 to
run W's for rate broke up the pattern.  Finished out the contest with a 184
hour and 20 mults on 20M.  

After the contest P49Y came by to take me to dinner where we also met up with
P43W and P49MR.  These post-event social gatherings make the weekend so much
more enjoyable.

Congrats to W2SC for his great winning effort at 8P1A, to AE6Y/P49Y for giving
me the opportunity to put his station in order and the enjoyable time we spent
together before and after the contest, and to my hosts Humphrey and Corrie who
continue to tolerate the maze of wires running about all over their property
when I'm in contest mode on Aruba.  


John W2GD/P40W

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