TxQP W0BH/M SO Mobile LP
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Thu Oct 4 12:40:58 EDT 2007
Texas QSO Party
Class: SO Mobile LP
QTH: 26 counties
Operating Time (hrs): 16.5
Band CW Qs Ph Qs Dig Qs
80: 6 0
40: 94 342
20: 443 129
Total: 543 471 0 Mults = 100 Total Score = 283,600
Score includes 26,000 bonus county points, 500 bonus mobile points and
will go down a little after dupe checking.
In case you can't wait to find out, Lorna and I did made it back to Kansas
safe and sound and our van still doesn't start! For the rest of the story ...
I've really come to enjoy mobile contesting, so when XYL Lorna (K0WHY)
volunteered to drive for me in the TQP, I couldn't resist. We headed out
from Kansas Friday afternoon with 33 counties in the Texas Panhandle region
waiting for us. I'd planned an overnight stop in Guymon OK figuring rooms
would be easy to come by only to find that construction and a sports
tournament had filled the town (depressing at 11:00 pm). After 45 minutes
of "no vacancy", a room opened up due to a cancellation, so a few hours
of sleep became more than a dream after all.
Up before dawn to get the antennas and computers installed in the '91
Chevy Astro van. The rig is an Icom 706MkIIg w/tuner running 100 watts to
two Huster vertical short masts on triple mag-mounts. The CW mast has
40/20/15 resonators, the SSB mast 40/20 (15 works for both) on a manual
antenna switch. The computer is running NA for logging with rig control
and CW keying enabled.
Saturday was hard work. Conditions were poor in the first three counties
and signals were weak on all bands for the first several hours. Conditions
improved as the day went along, but no real runs the entire day. With 20
so weak and RTTY taking out CW on 40, I spent lots more time than I would
have guessed on 40 SSB and managed to work 54 Texas counties, most of them
the first day. Even my one four-county line didn't produce a pile-up although
I spent extra time there simply enjoying the rate meter finally hitting
triple digits. In Carson county, we hit a pretty good bump in the road causing
my hand to bounce on a number of keys totally locking up NA. Normally NA
recovers, but this time when I reloaded, NA crashed indicating a scrambled
file. I'd been backing up the QDF file after each county, so I reloaded the
previous county file and kept going. On Sunday evening, I was able to recover
all the Carson county Qs when I fixed the scrambled file with Norton Utilities
(two bytes were indeed scrambled).
I probably should have stayed at the four-county line longer, because late
Saturday afternoon and evening was really slow with lots of unanswered CQs and
plenty of time to S&P. I even tried 80m CW and was surprised a few stations
could hear me. When we finally pulled into Caprock Canyon State Park after
dark, we found a wonderful campground and campsite where we set up our tent
and had a late supper.
Morning showed us the incredible scenery in this part of Texas canyon country.
The camp headquarters opened at 9:00, so while Lorna paid for our site, I put
Briscoe county on the air. Conditions started out with louder signals than I'd
heard all day Saturday. Then 20 came in and FINALLY I knew why I'd made the
down from Kansas! As Lorna maneuvered on sometimes really narrow dirt roads
through the Texas bush country, she dodged a cow, occasional snakes, wild
turkeys and prairie chickens and kept those counties and pileups coming. I just
sat back and enjoyed. An experience you want over and over again!
With a couple of hours to go in the QP, we found ourselves cutting through the
corner of Potter county near Amarillo on I40. Lorna missed the rest area, so
pulled off on the next exit and we parked near a bridge to work down the pile.
After 15 minutes of non-stop action, I told her to head out since we were well
behind our schedule and had a number of "rare" counties still in front of us.
With a Heil noise-cancelling headset, I don't hear the van starting or running,
but I do remember seeing a funny look on Lorna's face and definately noticed
that we weren't going anywhere. It's tough to leave a pileup, but when Lorna
said the van wouldn't start, I was suddenly QRT and under the hood. The engine
turned over just fine, plenty of gas, just wouldn't fire. Fuel pump? Ignition
module? Computer? Couldn't tell. A very friendly Texan stopped to help and
still no go. After 10 or 15 minutes, we decided it wasn't going to start. Lorna
volunteered to arrange a tow and with nothing else to do, I decided to get back
on the air. As I made Qs, I let folks know that POTT would unfortunately be my
last county for the day.
The tow truck, a big flatbed type, arrived at 1930Z with 30 minutes left in
the TQP and took only a few minutes to winch us up. The operator told us to
stay in the van which suited me just fine because that meant I could once
get on the air to finish out the TQP and I did .. tow truck mobile!
The tow dropped us at the auto shop recommended by our friendly Texan who
said it was also next to several motels and eating establishments. That all
turned out to be true and this time there was room at the inn. No auto repairs
on Sunday, so at 7:30 the next morning, I was at the front door and again met
several very friendly Texans. They promised to get right on the van and did.
Around 11, I came back for a progress report and found the van missing, so I
assumed it was out driving around. It was, but the surprise was that it had
started right up in the morning and the mechanic said they hadn't been able to
make it not start. After a number of tests, the boss said that they didn't
to just change out parts, so I decided to drive it back to Kansas without
turning off the engine. We did and we made it 400 miles back home with no
problems. In my driveway, I turned off the engine, unloaded the van, started
the van, backed it into the garage and took out the key. The next morning it
wouldn't start again and still won't two days later. Another tow this morning,
both covered by towing insurance. This time the van didn't start at the shop,
either. End of van story for now!
Back to the QP stats. NA says I worked 15 hours but I'd say it was more like
16.5 hours of actual operating time counting unproductive CQing. I worked an
even 100 multipliers including 54 Texas counties and one DX station (CU).
States not worked : AK NV UT HI ND SD NE ME
Provinces worked : AB SK ON NS
Special THANKS to the "regulars" who make a mobile's life so much fun. Here's
a list of those who worked me 11 or more times (no one worked me 10 times).
13 N5DO, K3TW, N3RJ
12 N4JF, N8II, K5NA/M
11 NX5M, W3BBO, N5MT, WB2ABD, W9IU, WA3HAE
I heard lots of you working mobiles that I couldn't hear. Here's a list of
mobiles I did work .. again THANKS!
12 K5NA/M (always the loudest)
4 KB6OJE/M, KJ5UY/M
Deaf Smith 42
Lorna and I drove a total of 1321 miles from Kansas round trip and had a great
time, even with the van troubles. We both want to thank the members of the
Texas QSO Party Committee for their hard work which obviously paid off. And
thanks to all of you for riding along. Count us in for next year!
73, Lorna k0why and Bob w0bh
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