webform at b4h.net webform at b4h.net
Sun Oct 28 21:58:54 EST 2007

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: N7RQ
Operator(s): N7RQ
Station: K8IA/N7RQ

Class: M/S HP
Operating Time (hrs): 41

 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
  160:   15     8       11
   80:   74    15       36
   40:  186    26       57
   20:  368    33       93
   15:  291    26       80
   10:   71    12       22
Total: 1005   120      299  Total Score = 1,100,294

Club: Central Arizona DX Association


Position 1: T-T Orion II to Alpha 91B, Dunestar 600 BPF auto-switched by Array
Solutions LCRD

Position 2: TS-870 S to Alpha 76 (tnx K7WP!), Dunestar 600 BPF manually
switched, Idiom Press rotator interface to Yaesu 2800 at position 1. 

N1MM Logger, performing in its usual flawless manner. 
N8LP "LP-Rotor" for position 2 control of rotator box at position 1. 

160 - Shunt fed 78' tower with 54 radials
80M - Inverted Vee, 66' apex (shunt fed network soon for this band too)
40 - M-Squared 40M3L 3 el yagi at 71', supplemented by hasty Saturday erected
Inv L to cover high phone segment better. Worked ok
20 - 3 el SteppIR at 78'
15 - 3 el SteppIR at 78'; 40M Inv L
10 - 3 el SteppIR at 78'

Special Thanks:
To Monty N7CIX, for his assistance in helping me network the two positions. It
was complicated by two computers having vastly different operating systems. TNX

To John K7WP, for the loan of one of his Alpha 76 amps, when our new SPE amp
was never delivered by contest time. John even drove a round trip 40 miles to
deliver it, when he realized how time crunched we were Friday. TNX JOHN!

To Mike KC7V, for making a pair of Dunestar 600 BP Filter assemblies available
for purchase at a very attractive price. They worked awesome Mike!

To QRP Contester Extraordinaire, Gary N7IR, for helping me measure antenna
isolation and BPF characteristics with all that neat HP gear he has. That gave
me great piece of mind Gary, and let me know where the "trouble" band
combinations were. TNX!


Sandy, N7RQ, and I were married in June. Part of integrating our lives was the
realization that she is as enthused about contesting and DXing as I am, so
integration of her station, for both DXing and Contesting, was foremost on my

Many hours and dollars were spent making the shack readied for two stations. An
operating position was developed and a dedicated 120v 30 amp circuit installed
just for her stuff. A separate 240v amp circuit was installed as well, for a
new SPE 1K-FA for her position.

Dunestar Bandpass filers were acquired and its characteristics and antenna
isolation was measured to develop an deployment plan. Auto switching was
acquired too, Array Solutions LCRD for the Orion II and Elecraft KRC2 for the
N7RQ TS-870S.

Some things went smooth, some didn't. Most that didn't will be rectified in the
coming months and hopefully be fully ready for ARRL DX SSB, our next M/S

The first problem arose due to the usual situation of one coax for the three
high bands. No way could we operate a Run and a Mult station on those bands.
Next will be a separate antenna to supplement the SteppIR and offer the needed

The Dunestar 600 BPF's, obviously designed for cw band ends, both have
unusually high loss on 75m ssb. Both on the order of 5 db! Because you transmit
as well as receive thru these filters, that meant they must be deenergized for
75m operation. Thus, it was measured and concluded that we could not safely
(receiver safety) operate 75 and ANY other band in the usual Run+Mult
configuration with them deenergized. 

Also, by our (N7IR and I) measurements, it was on "the ragged edge of risky" to
operate 40 and 15 at the same time. I took the conservative road here and didnt.
More to evaluate here later as well. A separate antenna,  away from the existing
tower, will do the trick.

In addition, the quickly constructed Elecraft KRC2 decoder, although it passed
the checkout procedure, doesnt recognize the band data from the TS-870S. More
to look at re this, and soon. 

That left 40 and 20 as the only possible simultaneous Run + Mult situations. OK
for a first time, but certainly not ideal.

The mising new amp became the hot button, as we got close to the contest day.
It would be a pretty inefficient M/S if position 2 could only run 100w!
Fortunately, good friend John K7WP came thru with the loan of a Alpha 76.

Networking the two computers sounded like a cinch. Unfortunately one was a Win
2000 machine and the other a Win98SE machine. They didnt like eachother.
Fortunately, local networking guru N7CIX spent almost a day emailing back and
forth with me and we finally got them talking. BUT, I couldnt get N1MM talking!
Ten hours if screwing around with that and all of a sudden N1MM started
networking, and that was in the wee hours of Friday morning.

All was setup in time for the contest but then Murphy stung! Thirty minutes
before the contest the 3 el SteppIR lost its mind. High swr everywhere in the
ham bands. The 15m setting looked fine on 23Mhz, ugh! The usual calibrate
procedure didnt fix a thing. Successive Retract + Calibrate doings did
eventually fix it, but not until we had been in the contest, very
inefficiently, for 30 minutes and performed that procedure at least three
times. This made quick band changes on 10-15-20 impossible as I now had to get
the antenna analyzer out, each time, and make the sure antenna had gone to
where the display indicated. Follow up will be very soon with the SteppIR

Several other minor equipment issues came up during the weekend, one of which
was due to a brain dead K8IA. That all worked out. Nope, I wont tell you what
stupid thing I did. (Hey, I've had 5 hrs of sleep since Thursday!) ;-)

I did, primarily, the evening low bands and Sandy primarily did the daytime
high bands. That worked out well until I fell ill on Saturday evening.
Unfortunately, the rig(s) remained unattended for a good part of Saturday
night. The 40m line score you see is embarassingly low, but basically a one
night total. Aw, the band was crappy anyway.;-)

This contest was a good baseline for us. We know where our contest strengths
and weeknesses lie and where our equipment/antenna limitations are. We know
what we need to do to integrate addional ops. This was good, we'll see you all
again soon!

73, Bob K8IA
(2nd op at N7RQ)
Arizona, USA

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