MiQP K8K Mobile Multi-Op LP
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Mon Apr 23 13:39:13 EDT 2007
Michigan QSO Party
Operator(s): K8MR, W8DRZ
Class: Mobile Multi-Op LP
QTH: 27 Counties
Operating Time (hrs): 12
Band CW Qs Ph Qs
80: 69 17
40: 392 63
20: 253 23
Total: 714 103 CW Mults = 63 Ph Mults = 30 Total Score = 142,383
Club: North Coast Contesters
K8K 2007 Michigan QSO Party K8MR, W8DRZ operators:
80 69 17
40 392 63
20 253 23
Tot 714 103
S/P 44 23
Cty 19 7
By county, in order first activated:
SAGI 8 0
TUSC 43 3
HURO 40 3
BAY 42 6
MIDL 34 5
ISAB 36 2
CLAR 22 10
GLAD 39 7
AREN 42 3
IOSC 57 4
OGEM 38 3
ROSC 27 3
CRAW 26 4
KALK 32 1
MISS 21 5
WEXF 23 5
OSCE 36 2
MECO 13 6
LAKE 14 11
NEWA 12 1
MCLM 29 11
KENT 27 2
GRAT 11 2
CLIN 9 2
SHIA 19 1
INGH 5 1
LIVI 9 0
This was not the usual well practiced K8MR/M operation.
I have everything well tweaked on the 1996 Ford Windstar, all loaded and at 2
pm on Friday headed off to pick up W8DRZ. I had to make one stop at the local
bank. When I came out from that, the van never seemed to get running right.
Half a mile down the road it was clear that it was having major trouble, and in
another half mile if died in the middle of the road, a quarter mile from home.
Bad news, but thank God it was not in the middle of Kalkaska county that it
decided to die.
I called AAA and an hour later a tow truck showed up. I had him haul it to my
usual garage, and followed him there in my other car, a 1998 Ford Escort. Not
surprisingly, they could not get it in that afternoon, so I proceeded to unload
the van into the Escort and headed home.
At that point, the inspiration of Ethan, K8GU took over. Knowing that he had
run a couple of mobile QSO parties in WI and/or MN with his Escort, I decided
it was worth a try.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening turning the Escort into a mobile
radio station. I installed the mag mounts on the roof and trunk, connected some
ground wiring between the antennas and the car frame, connected the trunk lid to
the frame, hooked the power cable removed from the van to the Escort battery,
running that through the driver door opening. Got the Ham Sticks tuned OK.
Then to make an operating position. I found a piece of plywood used in an
earlier van operating table, nailed a 2x4 to make a single leg, and balanced
that between that one leg, the corner of the folded down back seat, the back of
the front seat, and the door. It wasn't great, but it held the laptop and K9LU
paddle. It was the best I could do on short notice.
After some not very good sleep, I got up at 5 am Saturday and left home about 6
am. Got to Jim/DRZ's QTH about 7 am. Loaded his stuff, set up his GPS, and were
ready to set off again. The Escort would not start. Dead battery. Headed off to
find the local auto pasts store. Not open until 7:30. Went back to DRZ land,
took out the dead battery, went back to the store, got battery, back to DRZ,
put in battery, left about 8 am. Again, the good news was that this did not
happen parked in the middle of nowhere in Michigan.
It was about a 4 1/2 hour drive to our planned starting point in Huron county.
We could see that we were not going to quite make that, so we modified our
route, heading east from Saginaw to start in SAGI, then through TUSC to our
original planned starting point in HURO.
In SAGI the bands sounded pretty flat. Nothing in close on 40, not much on 20.
We spent only a few minutes before heading off. In TUSC we started working
people reasonably well, and in HURO had some small pileups. For much of the day
40 was mediocre, but 20 produced very nicely, with a combination of DX, western
USA and FL stations.
We got into a good routine with K5YAA, KU8E, N6MU, and WA3HAE of switching to
SSB. Most of those were pretty polite about waiting until the pileups subsided,
though HAE just asked for SSB whenever he worked us. It turned out to be not so
bad, because several times we dragged some extra guys up to SSB who I doubt we
would have found otherwise. I never got much going as far as running on SSB,
but did get a number of people to QSY from CW for SSB mults. Thanks to guys
like VE1WT, VE9DX, N1IW, WA3GNW, K4AMC, N8NA, and W0JPL for helping out. I
missed a few other potential SSB mults with guys who were only CW or otherwise
could not QSY. Later in the evening I had some luck on 40 SSB, including W1WIU
in RI calling in on SSB, from where we moved to CW.
The rates during much of the day were such that I was thinking it was possible
to break our 2004 record of 1052 qsos, although I knew the mults were going to
be bad. However, that year I averaged over 100/hr for the last 4 hours. This
year the bands just died too early, so no such luck.
So the MiQP adventure in the Escort turned out fine. It wasn't as comfortable,
but I think the noise level may have been better than in the van. The $600 to
replace the alternator, battery, and belt tensioner in the van did not make me
happy. I did not mind the Escort battery, since that one was original equipment
and due for a new one. We did save a little gas with the Escort.
Thanks to all who followed us around Michigan. See you in the Ohio QSO Party
on Saturday, August 25.
73 - Jim & Jim K8MR & W8DRZ
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