[3830] OkQP W0BH Rover-Assisted LP

webform at b4h.net webform at b4h.net
Wed Mar 12 15:07:42 EDT 2008

                    Oklahoma QSO Party

Call: W0BH
Operator(s): W0BH
Station: W0BH

Class: Rover-Assisted LP
QTH: 23 OK counties
Operating Time (hrs): 16.5

 Band  CW-Dig Qs  Ph Qs
   80:      44       0
   40:     629     113
   20:     472     177
Total:    1145     290  Mults = 58  Total Score = 232,870



Last year was so much fun that I just had to try the OQP again! My spring break
and Lorna's (K0WHY) spring break didn't line up this year, but at the last
minute, Lorna said, "When do we leave?" The switch from unassisted to assisted
was an easy choice!

Equipment was the same as last year including the Astro van that ended up
tow-truck mobile in the Texas QSO Party: Icom 706MkIIG, two Hustler vertical
sets (20SSB/40SSB and 15/20CW/40CW with 80CW and 10 available), MFJ travel
paddle to a K3 keyer, Dell laptop running NA with keying and rig control, and
Dell laptop with DeLorme GPS and Street Atlas software. Two additions: both
computers got Lind DC/DC converters which completely eliminated my noise
problems from the inverter (thanks for the suggestion, Tom!). I also installed
a tiny FM transmitter from Radio Shack to broadcast receiver audio to my
dashboard FM radio for Lorna to listen to from time to time (which paid off as
you'll see later).

My dad Lives on a farm in Grant County (GNT) which is a northern border county
with Kansas in the middle of the state. Since we had to head home again on
Sunday, we planned a loop west on Saturday, then a trip east all the way to
Ottawa county with a diagonal back home to Hesston KS. I'd noticed that Roger
Mills, Ellis, and the panhandle weren't covered, so after arriving at the farm,
I added RGM and ELL to my Saturday trip and planned a panhandle route for Sunday
with a diagonal back home in case someone else didn't pick it up. As it turned
out, Jerry (K5YAA) picked up the panhandle counties, so we'll keep that route
for next year.

Saturday morning was 17 degrees, but the bands were quiet and the activity
started almost immediately .. a good sign. LOTS of ops on and the "regulars"
quickly got their first Qs into my computer. I deliberately didn't worry as
much about a schedule this year, particularly at 2 and 3 county lines. If the
rate was good, I kept at it until it slowed down, and I made a point of going
to SSB and found lots of interest there, too. Three problems came and went. For
the first half hour or so, I had intermittent RF momentarily locking my keying
interface, a problem which I'd thought I'd solved long ago with shielding. I
was about to pull out the ferrites, but rearranging the cables solved the
problem. I also had RF getting into my Heil headset on SSB transmit when I
turned on noise cancelling. I did pull out the ferrites for that one which
solved the problem. I also fat-fingered the 706 and spent 5 minutes trying to
figure out why everyone was suddenly really distorted and weak. Knobs are

Lorna is a great driver, but she also enjoyed the stops as did Sasha, my
10-year-old black lab. The population is pretty sparse and folks that see us
are curious about the van with all the antennas. At one back-country stop, a
lady drove slowly by while I was operating. I waved and got no response.
Further down, she found Lorna and Sasha and the conversation started something
like this:

   (Abrupt and gruff) "Are you with that blue van?"
   (Polite) "Yes."
   (Very abrupt) "What are you doing?"
   (Polite) "I'm bird watching. Did you talk to my husband in the van?"
   (Still abrupt) "No. What's going on?"

Lorna explained a bit about the QSO Party and invited her back to check out the
operation which she did. It turned out they'd had a break-in recently with guns
stolen, so her concern was understandable. She told Lorna she had been planning
to call us in to 911.

As we travelled along, Lorna was trying to find radio stations to listen to,
but often nothing to her liking appeared. I showed her where to tune so she
could hear receiver audio and was impressed when she started listening to the
SSB Qs. Lorna knew John, N6MU, from the TQP, so the next time John found us on
SSB, I asked him if he would like a Q from Lorna using her call. Lorna was
nervous, but I knew John would make it easy for her and her first QSO Party Q
was in the log (had to figure out how to code it separately in NA). The next
time we were on a 3 county line, John asked for Lorna again. I got a smile from
Lorna as she reached for the mike with a bit more confidence. Knowing a great
deal when he overheard it, K3TW also asked for Lorna and got 3 more Qs as well.
It started from there, and I really, really appreciate you all helping Lorna
make her first QSO Party Qs an enjoyable experience for her. Her final total
was 82 Qs and I think she'll do it again!

The day moved right along and we had too much fun in each county, so we got
further and further behind schedule. It's hard to pass up a county that's only
a few miles away, so I quickly dropped down into Washita for a few minutes
before we hopped on I-40 for the return trip. I had a nice run in Caddo (CAD)
which should have continued into Canadian (CAN) but didn't until I suspected
the similarity of the county abbreviations. I slowed my code speed down and
changed my timing and suddenly everyone was back! As the sun was going down, we
got off the Interstate and headed across southern Kingfisher (KIN) county on a
red sand road through some beautiful rolling midgrass prairie. Four deer slowed
us way down as they took their time crossing the "trail" right in front of us.
The Saturday QP ended with us over 100 miles and 3 counties short of goal (one
which we'd catch Sunday and the others scheduled by other mobiles). 1114 Qs
were in the log after 12 hours.

Sunday started way too early. I knew about the time change but didn't know if
my atomic alarm clock would adjust. To be safe I set the alarm so that if it
didn't adjust, I'd still be up in time. The alarm went off and I asked Lorna to
check her watch. She said it was 6:30 CDT .. time to get up. I got dressed and
was starting to put on my coat when she took another look at her watch (more
awake this time) and found out it was only 5:30. You get the idea! An hour
later again came too soon. I went out to check the van and found one of the
rear tires totally flat. It took almost an hour to change the tire (for once,
I'll not bore you with details, but I will say that it's not a good idea to put
the new tire on and then head in for breakfast while the van is still on the
jack because you might forget to tighten the lug nuts the rest of the way).

I suspect the first hour on Sunday probably wasn't too active, but the missed
hour of drive time cost us two counties and lots of Qs at the other end. Plenty
of QRN on all bands early, but that improved as the day progressed. Enroute, we
got pulled over by a local small town officer who was just curious about the
antennas (but very polite and friendly). Lorna chatted with him while I kept
operating. We decided to head straight to the CRA/DEL/OTT line (Ottawa is the
most northeast county in the state). As we got closer, we saw lots of trees
broken from the recent ice storm. We knew from last year that the county
intersection is on private land. This year the gate was locked, so we settled
for DEL/OTT instead and finished out the QSO Party watching cows watch us. As
the OQP became history, a lady rancher stopped and didn't really believe our
explanation since I wasn't on the radio anymore. She turned around and drove by
slowly again with cell phone in hand. We had planned to have a late lunch there
but plans change!

On to the stats. We operated 16.5 hours, 1547 combined Qs, 366 unique calls, 29

States not worked : ND RI AK HI
Canadian mults not worked : AB MB NL NT QC
DX worked : DL, F, I, OM2VL (7 times!), XE

County breakdown (in visited order)

Saturday (454 miles)
1  GRA : 99
2  GAR : 64
3  ALF : 105
4  WOO : 59
5  MAJ : 95
6  BLA : 63
7  DEW : 177
8  WDW : 73
9  ELL : 39
10 RGM : 55
11 CUS : 52
12 WAT : 15
13 CAD : 39
14 CAN : 44
15 KIN : 44
16 LOG : 35

Sunday (176 miles)
17 KAY : 37
18 OSA : 72
19 WAS : 59
20 NOW : 76
21 CRA : 42
22 DEL : 48
23 OTT : 43

The "regulars" who make new county lines so much fun really outdid themselves
this year. Special thanks to the following ops for 10 or more contacts:
37: N6MU
36: N2CU
25: K3TW
24: N4IG
23: N4PN
22: N9FC
21: W7OM, WB8JUI
20: WA3HAE
18: KO1U, VE3CRU, W5LE
17: AE1T, WB2ABD
16: KF2O, N8NA, W8MJ
15: W8WVU
13: AB7RW, W5ESE
11: W4AMC, K4PBY, KN4Y, N4CD
10: W2LHL, W8CAR

W0BH Award Winners

Most overall Qs: N6MU/37  N2CU/36  K3TW/25
Most CW Qs:      N2CU/32  N6MU/24  K3TW/20
Most PH Qs:      N6MU/13  N4IG/8   W7OM,KG8N/6
Most counties:   N6MU/21  N2CU/20  N4PN,K3TW/19

Lorna and I drove a total of 990 miles from Kansas round trip and had a
terrific time. We both want to thank the OKDXA for sponsoring the OQP, all the
other mobiles and Oklahoma base stations for generating the excitment and
putting all 77 counties on the air (congrats to N6MU for the Sweep!), and
especially the rest of you for riding along. The OKP is already on both our
calendars for next year.

73, Lorna k0why and Bob w0bh

PS Look for one or both of us in the Missouri QSO Party on April 4-5, and the
Nebraska QSO Party the same weekend as the Florida QSO Party. Last year, I
think I was the only mobile in the Nebraska Party and as it turned out, the
person who worked me the most took home the plaque (again, congrats, John!).
N8II was a very, very, close second. If you hear me while chasing Florida
mobiles, give me a call!

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