webform at b4h.net webform at b4h.net
Thu Jun 5 17:10:55 EDT 2008

                    CQWW WPX Contest, CW

Call: PJ2T
Operator(s): WI9WI
Station: PJ2T

Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 36

 Band  QSOs
  160:    0
   80:    0
   40: 1290
   20:  941
   15:  440
   10:    4
Total: 2675  Prefixes = 851  Total Score = 9,962,657

Club: Society of Midwest Contesters


This was my fifth consecutive year of running the CW WPX contest from PJ2T. I
arrived Tuesday about 2100 local after an all day trip from Madison. After
unloading the car and a quick beer, I fired up the station and ran into my
first problem. I couldn't get the computer to key the radio at the main run
station, radio 1. After fiddling around for a couple of  hours I decided I was
too tired to properly troubleshoot the problem, and went to bed. The next
morning I started over and still couldn't get it to key. I fired up station 2
and all worked well there. Some  switching around of equipment convinced me it
wasn't a hardware problem, but I still couldn't get it to work. I operated a
while on station 2, then with some on the air help from K8ND, and email help
from K8ND and W8TK worked on it some more. Finally I gave up and operated from
station 2 the rest of the day. The next morning after a good night's sleep and
some coffee I started over from scratch and solved it in less than an hour. The
cause, basically operator error, and not approaching the problem in a logical
fashion. The rest of the pre contest time was spent doing some operating,
mainly on 40, 30, and 17 meters, going downtown, going to the beach and having
a few beers.

There have been some recent problems at PJ2T with local noise generated at two
transformer poles. At times it has been S9 on some bands. When I got there it
was S5 on most bands, and as the days went along it abated to about S1-2 by the
start of the contest.

I elected to start on 40 meters. My strategy this year was to maximize 40 meter
6 point QSOs at the expense of higher rate on the high bands, patricularly at
the transition period around local sunset. I figure a rate of 100 6 pointers on
40 beats 150 3 pointers on 15 or 20, and the mults would come with time.  I
started low in the band but could not get a good rate going, I changed
frequencies 4 times in the first 30 minutes, and finally settled in at 7053 for
the next 6 hours. Forty was very crowded as anticipated, and the noise was a
problem, but with a seemingly right combination of filtering, some DSP for the
noise, and 6 dB of attenuation to cut the chop, I was able to hang onto the
frequency. The rates were 100/hr the first 5 hours, and then began to drop as
anticipated. At 0630 I took a short break to make coffee, and then ran lower in
the band until 1130, an hour after local sunrise,with about 870 QSOs, mostly 6
pointers, in the log. The band was still open to the US and JA, but I needed a
break. I slept about 2 hours, had a little breakfast, and then got on 20. The
band was just starting to heat up to Europe when the power failed at 1610.
After about 30 minutes I decided to start the generator, but the instructions
for hooking into the power system of the station were nowhere to be found, and
I wasn't about to wing it. I couldn't nap because I had just had a cup of
coffee, so when the power came back on after almost 2 hours, it was basically a
wasted 2 hour unplanned break during some prime run time. When it came on I ran
Europe for a bit, then went to 15 which was open to Europe, but mainly to the
US with good rates. Then it was back to 20 for an hour, and  then on  to 40 for
some more 6 pointers just after sunset. I stayed on 40 until about 0630 when I
just had to quit. I'm not one who can stay in the chair for 48 hours, or even
36 hours without a break. I had a headache and needed sleep, even though I was
still working a few western Europeans on 40. After a shower I set the alarm for
5 hours of sleep, and felt a lot better after I got up. Then it was back to 20
for some reasonable rate on Sunday morning. The noise problem began to get
worse Sunday on all bands, and on 20 particularly in the direction of the US.
There seemed to be 2 sources on 20, one the pole near the Sunset Waters Resort
in the US direction, and secondly a seeming mechanical source which turned on
and off every 20 minutes or so. When both of these were going it was nearly
impossible to work anyone with the US beam. So I mainly used the European beam,
because the noise was much better, but this cost me some QSOs with weaker US
stations. Fifteen finally opened by mid afternoon, but rates were lower, and
there was severe noise toward Europe on 15. For several hours I'd spend 20 or
so minutes on 15 and when the rate dropped go back to 20.  I finally spent the
last two and one half hours of the contest on 14042. I decided to stay on 20
rather than go to 40 at the end because the rate was probably better and I was
picking up a lot of multipliers, and figured I'd get more mults on 20 rather
than 40 with the higher rate. With about 6 hours to go it became apparent I had
at least a shot at 10 million points, rarefied heights for this operator. As it
turned out 3 more mults, or about 16 QSOs without any mults would have given me
that. I left a few minutes of operating time on the table (about 14) when I took
too long a second break. It's my own fault. Bummer.

Even so this is my best score ever in any contest. Even with the power and
noise problems it was fun, particularly the last couple of hours chasing 10M.

PJ2T isn't really set up for single operator contesting except as basic vanilla
SO1R. There were certainly times I could have used a second radio, particularly
on Sunday afternoon, but I'm not about to start recabling radios unless W0CG
does it himself, plus there's no SO2R box there.

Thanks everyone for all the QSOs and the patience of folks giving me serial
numbers and calls over and over through the noise, particularly on day 2.

PJ2T (Op:WI9WI) SO AB HP SO1R No packet, no skimmer, no second radio.

Thanks to Geoff, W0CG/PJ2DX, and Cindy for the use of the wonderful house, and
to the CCC for the use of the station and their support.



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