webform at b4h.net webform at b4h.net
Sun Mar 2 20:42:38 EST 2008

                    ARRL DX Contest, SSB

Call: K4XD
Operator(s): K4XD
Station: K4XD

Class: SOAB(A) HP
Operating Time (hrs): 24

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:    6     6
   80:   43    32
   40:   80    43
   20:  299    82
   15:  110    31
   10:   25     8
Total:  563   202  Total Score = 341,178

Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club


Wow, my ears hurt.  It's like trying to hear someone whispering to you from 3
feet away while you're in the fifth row of an Aerosmith concert in full blast. 
Actually it's more like being at the junction of several loud concerts going on
at the same time.  Only problem is that you can't just nod politely, it's
really important to understand that whisper!  

I did improve a little bit over last year's score, but Sunday was a really slow
slog.  I could barely keep the rate up to 20/hour.  I was thinking I would reach
800 or even 900 QSO's, but obviously never came close.  It was all S&P -- I
tried CQ'ing from time to time but never had a single reply.  Actually I had
one reply but even though he answered my CQ and I responded, we never finished
the QSO, I assume due to QRM. 

>From my "stream of consciousness" notes taken during the test:

I keep "grooming" the bandmap, removing obviously busted spots.  I must have
deleted "AP1A" ten times -- people kept spotting 8P1A that way.  Think, think,
think -- why would they not say "Aye Poppa One Alpha" instead of "Alpha Poppa
One Alpha" if it really was AP1A?

While most of the time people spit out their calls in a flash hoping to catch
the CQ'ers attention in the pile, I noticed many times that saying the call
slowly gets an answer when saying it fast doesn't. 

ZL3A booming in on 40M Saturday - like a local AM station.  We really seem to
have a good path from NC to NZ.

Sunday morning at 1320 -- slow slow slow -- <10/hour rate!!  Band has been
milked (by me anyway).  Finally worked a PA, for some reason hard from here.

Most butchered call on the cluster:  TI5 zero DX
I saw:
T5 zero DX
T5 oh DX
TI5 oh DX
TI5 oh X

T Oscar 5A must have been spotted a dozen times as T Zero 5A
Can't wait to see the UBN on that one.

"Did I really work him"? 
QRM and QSB galore: 
Him: <his call> <his call> contest
Me:  Kilo Four Xray Delta
Him:  Kilo Four Xray Delta 59 Kilowatt
Me:  Thanks 59 North Carolina, November Charlie, North Carolina
Him: <half of call> contest

Trying different antennas helps.  The hexbeam is usually the champ on 20-10,
but 9K2K was booming on it and I might as well have been calling QRP.  Switched
to the 160M inv L which tunes up on 20M, and snagged him on the second call.  So
that stuff you read about takeoff angle and verticals is not all made up by
people selling verticals...

After swinging the beam between EU and XE/LU/PY the "quick reverse" feature of
the SteppIR seems even more attractive.  I do like the "Azimuth Sort" feature
of WriteLog though, when I remember to use it it minimizes time spent rotating
the hex.

Set up the DVK in WriteLog and it works fine but stuck with live audio 99% of
the time.  The recording just didn't seem to cut it on S&P.

Used narrowest filter yet - 1.4 / 1.5 most of test.  vs. 1.9 in past.  Guess my
ears are adapting.  Contesting:  hours listening to weak signals in extreme
noise.  Greatest possible irony:  Are any of us also into extreme fidelity
stereo systems?  

FO5A/MM everywhere -- can't wait, having withdrawal from VP6DX

I hear KI4GUO, Barry K4CZ's son running 'em like a pro!!  Watch out Barry!

Are microphones illegal in the Czech Republic?  OK was my third most worked
country in ARRL DX CW, zero in SSB!

1716  What a slog, I've been on for 4:30 hours and only 81 Q's.  

Found a neat feature of DX Lab - Spot Collector has a spot statistics window
that shows spots by band and in real-time.  Leave it up on the screen and you
can notice when the spots start zooming in for a given band, without having to
keep going to that band to look.  

Finished with a flourish on 80M after a very slow period on 40M.  Found a
number of stations on 80M that I could work on one call.  And then it was all

Thanks everyone for the good ears and the Q's -- see you next time!

Rowland K4XD

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