[3830] NAQP RTTY VA7ST Single Op LP

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Sun Feb 24 16:54:52 EST 2008

                    North American QSO Party, RTTY

Call: VA7ST
Operator(s): VA7ST
Station: VA7ST

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 9.7

 Band  QSOs  Mults
   80:  123    41
   40:  125    44
   20:  173    46
Total:  421   131  Total Score = 55,151


Team: Aurora Busters


NA QSO RTTY - 2008-02-23 1800Z to 2008-02-24 0600Z - 423 QSOs

Total Time Off 2.30 hours
Total Time On 9.70 hours

N1MM Logger + MMTTY
FT-2000 (100w) -- SO1R
3 ele. CL33 @ 45'
1 x 40M half-square (aiming SE-NW)
1 x 80M delta loop

This thing started out oddly for me. (Being an idiot) I thought the 1800z start
time was 11 a.m. Pacific. So I did a walkabout, cranked up the tower at 10 a.m.
thinking I had an hour to kill. 

Came into the shack to see if I could lash up the two rigs for SO2R -- had done
this experimentally a few months ago, so I knew it works once I get the finicky
combination of dual soundcards and MMTTY working together. 

Glanced at the clock at 10:36 a.m. It said: 1836z. Waidaminit. 1836z? 

Drop everything. Turn on the radio. Signals everywhere. SO1R will have to do.
Gotta get in the game.

Tune around low end of 20M RTTY. There's Phil, VE2FU. Hey, great mult to start
out with, and he's in the bag at 1842z. Band is full. A few QSOs and just five
minutes later, I flip over to 15M to see if there's any action at all there.
Last year, 15M gave me 100 Qs and 27 mults. You die if you don't take every
available 15M mult. OK. I was late starting, so maybe if I go SO2R on 15M and
20M I can catch some of what I've missed.

Gotta get the SO2R going. Turn off the radios. I'll take a 30-minute break to
get this set up. Check the cabling and switch-selectable (short or open ~21')
coax stub filters on both radios. I'm set for 20M on the FT2000 and 40/15M on
the FT920. I'll use the tribander for 20M, and the ground-mounted trapped
vertical on 15M. 

Getting two identical soundcards sorted out is a nightmare. Cannot light up the
second one, until discovering that its mic-in is turned off in some buried
control panel setting. More than 1.5 hours later, I finally have N1MM and dual
MMTTY running and talking to the rigs. 

I run duelling CQs on 20M and 15M for my first-ever SO2R venture. Pretty cool.
15M is kinda spindly by now. No takers on either band, which is just as well --
I feel too excited to respond, hi. Then the vertical antenna craps out on me. I
knew the coax connector (under a foot of snow) was getting flakey. Sheesh. 

OK. A lot of time stupidly wasted. Try SO1R on 15M with the tribander, but...
the coax stub on that radio is set for 20M. Stray RF sets the COM port FSK into
some weird oscillation, and I have to restart the computer. Minutes pass. By the
time I get back to 15M the band is dead. Everyone's gone to 20M. 

I make ZERO 15M Qs, and am furious with myself. That's 100 contacts and 27
mults I'll have to make up on 20, 40 and 80M. Not likely, but let's see what

I have used up 2.3 hours of off time now in two segments. I have a little over
9 hours of operating time left. Things smooth out after that. Managed many more
20M mults than ever before. 40M was great, and so was 80M.

I've been using MMANA to model interaction between my two 40M halfsquares.
Turns out the EU-OC antenna is actually blocking my US halfsquare (acts as a
reflector, with main lobe to JA instead of US... and, conversely, the US-JA
wire is a reflector on the EU side of the EU-OC antenna. Well, that explains my
poor signals to US and EU, and great JA and W6/Oceania sigs on 40M since last

So, for NAQP, I lowered the offending wire, and had a proper half-square
"peanut" firing nicely across the US. This is how it was last summer when I
first installed the lone halfsquare and raved about it. I'm raving again! Wow,
sure is a stellar bit of wire. Have plans to shift things around in March (when
snow is gone) so the halfsquare for EU/OC is similarly unobstructed.

Maybe the rise in RTTY popularity explains the higher multipliers on 20M --
worked 4 more than ever before, and 8 more than in the previous two years.
Could have worked more Qs on 20M but wanted to hit 40M early so I made the jump
at 3:30 p.m. Pacific 2330z. It was a very smart move as the band was strong and
open to all of NA. Stayed there till 5:55 p.m. 0155z, and went to 80M for most
of the night.

80M was quite good. Made 43 more Qs and 11 more mults there than last year. The
80M delta loop got me through to most stations, but not all I tried.

Despite entirely missing out on 15M, I managed to come back to within 3 mults
and 33 Qs of last year's tallies, thanks to solid bands and keeping my butt in
the chair.

Will be watching to see how our team, the Aurora Busters, fares. I know VA1CHP
was hit with flu this weekend and was not able to play. I heard guys working
VE6YR. I worked VE4EAR on 40M and 80M, and VY2SS on 20M. So four of us were
able to make RF.

Though I didn't hit my goal of beating previous scores, I did see
more-than-incremental improvement on all bands I worked. Finished with a grin.
Next NAQP RTTY will try SO2R again and I'll be ready before 10 a.m., hi.

Score history (claimed)

NAQP      Qs    Mults   Score
2008 Feb  421   131     55,151
2007 Feb  454   134     60,836
2006 Feb  401   141     56,541
2005 Feb  420   142     59,640
2004 Feb  219   100     21,800
2003 Feb  191    87     16,616

20M    Qs  Mults
2008  173    46
2007  170    38
2006  135    38
2005  133    42

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