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Sun Feb 17 22:03:13 EST 2008

                    ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: KE1FO
Operator(s): KE1FO
Station: KE1FO

Class: SOAB(A) HP
Operating Time (hrs): 13.5

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:    0     0
   80:   56    44
   40:  130    67
   20:  204    65
   15:   16    48
   10:    0     0
Total:  406   187  Total Score = 227,766

Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club


Had hoped to do this contest seriously, but some family commitments colluded to
keep my operating time to a minimum.  I didn't have my full heart into this
one, so no SO2R.  Had some nice time on Friday night (40 and 80 were very nice)
and then got up for a Saturday morning EU run, which was a lot of fun.  Finished
out Sunday night chasing mults and Q's on packet.  All in all had a great time. 
I love CW contests.  Details below.

*Pre Contest*

Before I realized I was not going to be able to do this contest full tilt, I
worked out a couple of kinks in the shack.  For a long time, my SO2R switching
has not been working right.  I can never set the headphones to "split" mode
with one rig in each ear.  I finally discovered what the issue was in
preparation for this contest.  I opened up my MultiKeyer thinking I had a bad
headphone jack.  When I got inside, everything looked great on that connector -
no bad traces, no bad solder joints that I could see.  So I gave everything else
a visual check.  At that point I noticed that not only is the headphone output
stereo, but the right/left audio inputs are stereo as well (for rigs where 1
vfo can be in each ear).  In my reassembly of my shack 2 years ago I had used
mono cables between the rigs and the MultiKeyer.  Replacing those cables with
stereo cables brought the "split" audio back.

I also moved the antenna tuner back into the shack.  It was in the next room
with the antenna switches, and i had to run there to tweak things if the SWR
got bad on 80.  Now I could just do it in the shack.  Very nice change.

*The "NEWS"*

About mid-week, I heard from my son's godparetnts that they had been able to
work out coming up for the weekend for my son's birthday party.  So,
entertaining was in the works.  They would be coming on Saturday morning, so
I'd at least get a few hours on Friday evening and Saturday morning.  In the
end, they left right after my son's party at 2 today, so I came back and was
able to get on for another 3 hours this afternoon.

*Session 1:00:00z-05:24z*

All S&P, and mostly following packet spots.  I felt really loud, like shooting
fish in a barrel for the most part.  Very surprising what I could work.  Some
surprises were T32OU on 40 (pretty big pile), and the ease of working stuff to
my west (usually my low dipole does not compete well), but I was able to bag
several KH6 stations with ease.  I felt loud, but when I tried to run on 40, I
got nothing but dead air, and since my motivation was not high, I didn't engage
the 2nd rig to go into "CQ Machine" mode and see if I could get something going
if I called for a long period.  

*Session 2:10:05z-15:44z*

Started by clearing out all the mults on 40 and 80.  Lots of good stuff, ZM1A
on 40, ZM2B on 80, VK2AEA on 40, VK3IO on 80, VP6DX on 40.  At 11:35z I moved
to 20.  Cleared the bandmap and settled in at 14080 an hour later. Worked about
110q's in the next 3 hours.  So, while for me that's a run, it's really a slow
trickle in comparison.  Chased some more mults starting at 15:00z and then made
some 15M q's - not much there, but it was some good stuff.  Would have been nice
if a few more folks got on 15!  Had a another very short run at 14041 and ended
at 15:44z when my friends arrived.

*The Blip*

After arriving home from a party at around 1am, I sat in front of the rig for
about 20 minutes and picked off a couple nice mults on 80 and 40.  KH7Y on 80
was nice (wish I had a 160 antenna, he asked me to move for the VT mult). 
Interesting time of night to operate.  80M is open to so many different places
-  West and East at the same time.  While I only worked a couple q's then, it
was interesting to have KH7Y on 80 followed by CT9L on 80.

*Session 3:Day 2 21:21z-23:59z - "The Bonus"*

My friends had planned to stay through dinner on Sunday evening, however
something came up and they needed to head home a little early.  Started out on
40 for a minute (because that's where the rig was when I turned it on) but soon
realized that I'd better high-tail it to 20 and 15 to work the western mults
before the propagation goes away.  Worked my only JA at all on 20M at 21:24z. 
SM2B was a struggle on 15 - good thing my ESP was working.  KH6NF was the same
on 15.  Also worked KL7RA on 20M, which I never seem to be able to work
(Sweeps, CQWW, ARRL DX - never).  I'll have to make sure I remember the time of
day I was successful and try that in other contests.  

Most of the rest of this session was simply shooting fish in the packet barrel.
 Did try to run briefly at 7046 with little success, and then again at 7082,
again with little success.  I need something more on 40, maybe a loop will go
up next year.  

At about 23z I saw I had just about 360 contacts.  400 sure would be nice, but
at the rate I was going, it was not looking good.  I took my DXer hat off, and
just started combing the bands.  Worked all the KH6's on 20M (they were lined
up on the band right around 14030 - quite funny - one right after another
KH6MB, then KH7Y, then KH6NF, then KH6LC).  Managed to work VK6DX on 20, and
T32OU.  The pileup on G4BUE was impressive on 40M also, but somehow I got
through on 2 calls.  Ended up with 406 q's with DL5JAN being the last one.

Thanks everyone, especially my wife and family for putting up with my absence
so much.  Won't be on for SSB, but I hope to make an appearance in WPX CW.

See you down the log.

73 de Al, KE1FO

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