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Tue Feb 19 16:23:43 EST 2008

                    ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: W3BGN
Operator(s): K2TW, W2GD, W3BGN
Station: W3BGN

Class: M/S HP
Operating Time (hrs): 48

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:  137    63
   80:  378    83
   40:  872   104
   20: 1675   114
   15:  155    70
   10:    9     4
Total: 3226   438  Total Score = 4,233,708

Club: Frankford Radio Club


Work commitments prevented my annual February trip to P40W.  Fortunately my
neighbor, W3BGN, had a seat for me at his station which has been piloted to
consistent top 5 finishes in ARRL DX CW M/S for literally decades.  

This was my first participation in an M/S entry in ARRL DX since 1977 (the last
was a two weekend ARRL DX CW event with a hotshot teenage operator WB2FLF, who
we all know now as N2NT, and K2SX, from my home QTH in WNJ - so so long ago). 

I really didn't know quite know what to expect.   But the veteran ops in the
shack took control and directed the show....I became the defacto runner which
probably was the best strategy for everyone.  Learning the station's complex
antenna switching system takes considerable time.

The low bands were terrific the first night....quiet conditons, and signals
seemed loud out of EU.  Had a very nice run on 40 the first few hours while the
other ops were tracking down mults on 80 and 160 in their brief QSYs to these
bands.  We used the allowed six hourly band changes very carefully.  Steve's
station is top tier on 160, and he exploited this to our advantage too. 
Looking back, we probably didn't run enough on 80M the first night, but the
mult total didn't suffer it seems.

20M was great Saturday morning.  The runs were Carib caliber, put a pair of 180
clock hours together back to back and then kept the rate meter hovering near 150
for much of the next several hours too.  WOW!  The two stack was playing.

But 15M never really produced the first day.  We struggled just to hear the
Carib stations, and after considerable effort only 40 mults made it into the
log during the day.  Ten meters, forgetaboutit, ZERO qsos day one.  Never heard
a station to work.

The pace predictably slowed the second day.  We went to 40M about 2100 or so,
the rate picked up nicely compared to 20 which was already waining.  But condx
didn't seem as good as night one, the noise level was higher, probably the line
of storms out in the central USA.  Most of the running was done on 40 again the
second night, with mults added from 20, 80 and 160 sporatically.  In
retrospect, the run rate on 80 was probably better and might have been
exploited further.  Nice to work KL7RA on 160....thanks Rich!  

Sunday morning we finally saw 15M come to life ever so briefly, just enough to
add a handful of EU mults and another 25 or so total mults during the day. 
Kept checking 10M regularly, and we were rewarded with a few SA mults, many at
the ESP level.  

Again transitioned to 40M about 2100 for a rate boost.  Nice to have a 7X call
in for a new one.  In the last hour we added KG6 and HL on 20, and OY on 160. 

It was a pleasure operating with two very skilled M/S vets, which provided me
with a great look at how the M/S game is played, and we all seemed to have
plenty of seat time (and snooze time too).  And Steve's family are terrific
hosts.....the food was first class all weekend.

Congrats to the K1LZ, K1IR, KT3Y, K8AZ and so many other M/S teams for the
close competition.....and a HUGE thank you to all the DX stations who stuck
with this contest despite mediocre conditions.  

Maybe in the years to come I'll venture into the multi-op world somewhat more
frequently.  Had a fun weekend....that's always the bottom line.


John,  W2GD - for the W3BGN M/S Team

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