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Sun Apr 1 22:10:08 EDT 2007

                    ARRL DX Contest, SSB

Call: P40A
Operator(s): KK9A
Station: P40A

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Aruba
Operating Time (hrs): 
Radios: SO2R

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:  293    53
   80:  469    57
   40: 1062    59
   20: 2092    59
   15: 2177    59
   10:  144    21
Total: 6237   308  Total Score = 5,762,988



I arrived at my home in Aruba several days before the contest.   The 10m through
40m antennas are permanently installed at my station, however there are no
transceivers or low band antennas set up.  So, I spent two days laying down
ground radial wires for the vertical, putting up small RX antennas and setting
up two transceivers with automatic bandpass filters and automatic antenna
switching.  It is amazing how many wires are needed for wireless communication.
  Fortunately everything worked perfectly and I had some free time to do to do a
few minor household projects as well as relax on the beach before the contest.  
I planned on starting on 20m, however the band appeared to be in poor shape so I
started on 40m.  After 1 1/2 minutes of calling CQ and not working anyone I
realized this was a mistake and I switched back to 20m.  I immediately had a
huge pileup, which lasted for over an hour.   Signals were not particularly
strong, however I did work 321 QSOs per hour so I am glad that I changed bands.
  When I switched to 40m at 0120z I had much better success at running than
earlier in the contest.   At 0200z, I switched 160m to try and work a few
multipliers.   Usually top band is noisy in Aruba and stations have trouble
hearing me and I have trouble hearing them from my small property.  This time I
felt like I was back on 20m and I easily worked many stations and I had to
recheck my VFO to make sure that I was indeed on 1.8MHz.  After working 111
stations in 1/2 hour on top band  I went to 80m which was also in great shape
and produced similar rates. This was by far the best low band conditions I have
ever experienced from Aruba.    I stayed up all night jumping between 40m, 80m
and 160m.   Finding a clear spot on 80m was now very easy thanks to the new
U.S. phone band allocations, however many U.S. stations seemed to be avoiding
the new segments. I guess old habits are hard to break.  In the morning I went
to 20m and then 15m.  It appeared that most of the US could not work Europe on
15m, but they could work the Caribbean so rates were fantastic all day long.  I
kept one transceiver on 10m waiting for some opening, but I heard very little
from the U.S. and I only made two contacts on that band during the first day
and both stations were in Florida.    The second night was a repeat of the
first, except with slower rates and a dinner and nap break.  The rates slowed
down considerably the second morning and with only one multiplier on 10m I knew
I had to really work hard on that band.  I could hear South American stations
running on 10m, however I could not hear the stations that they were working. 
While running stations on 15m, around 1740z, KB5TX urged me to try to work him
on 10m.   I had my second radio on 10m all day and never hear a U.S. station,
but I tried anyway.  Surprisingly he was quite loud and we easily made contact.
 This was exciting as he was a new multiplier and also the first station that I
worked on all six bands.     I then switched to 10m and started to work
stations at a slow pace.  Unfortunately conditions only appeared to be good
toward Texas.  Apparently I was spotted on packet and I eventually worked some
of the very big stations around the country.   W6LD / P40L, who had commitments
preventing him for operating this contest from Aruba, made a great effort to
give me my only 10m California contact.  Working every new multiplier on this
almost dead band was definitely exciting.    I alternated between 10m and 15m
many times hoping that the signal would peak to other areas of the country on
10m, however this did not occur.    I tried to finish the contest on 20m
however rates got really slow and I switched to 40m for the final ten minutes. 
This was a fun contest with fantastic low band conditions and if 10m were just a
little bit better I may have been able to challenge K9PG s (WP3R) LP record.   I
would like to thank everyone who worked me, especially the 12 stations that
really toughed it out to log me on all six bands.  It was also great to work
the many newly upgraded hams.  They did a great job of properly making a
contest contact and I hope that they will enjoy HF contesting for many years. 
I spent most of the following day dismantling the station before heading back
home.  There is a picture of the house with a description of the antennas on
http://www.qrz.com/p40a . Please QSL via WD9DZV.

John KK9A / P40A
john at p40a.com

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