[3830] NAQP CW VA7ST Single Op LP

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Sun Aug 8 08:13:57 PDT 2010

                    North American QSO Party, CW - August

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

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 5.5

 Band  QSOs  Mults
   80:   24    10
   40:  105    40
   20:  209    41
   15:    9     5
Total:  347    96  Total Score = 33,312

Club: British Columbia DX Club



SO1R Gear:
* FT-2000 + N1MM Logger
* SteppIR 3-el. at 27'
* 40M SteppIR dipole at 27'
* 80M 2-element wire vertical array
* Nothing up for 160M right now

A rather dicey NAQP at this end. Last time I did this poorly was 2004, when I
only had temporary low wire dipoles.

Checking last year, I realized the soft spot in activity had been on 15M
(duh... flux was 68 last August), but with flux at 85 this weekend I figured a
competitive score would have to include a decent 15M showing. 

I opened on 20M for the first 7 minutes just to get the the feel of things --
plenty of activity there -- then flipped to 10M... dead as a stump, then 15M,
which was hardly open here but there were signals. 

Landed a few CAs, TX, OH, WV... but by 1822z I realized there was no sense
burning up operating time on 15M if the band was, in reality, just this side of
dead. I wanted to squeeze everything I could out of 15M, but only when it was

Disappointed by 15M, I took a break right away at 1823z (11:23 a.m.), thinking
I'd come back in an hour and things would have opened up. But at 1825z the
X-ray flux showed the sudden onset of an M-class flare - perhaps a sentient
flare, maliciously timed to coincide with the start of NAQP. I had quit mere
moments before it arrived in earnest, so I missed the band dying completely,
but it was dead for the remainder of the contest here. 

With 15M off the team, I was left with one star player: 20M. The band was
packed with signals, but it was clear that there were big holes in coverage --
close in was unworkable, and the New England states either weren't active or
there was no path. Same for the Eastern provinces, Maritimes and NL, with the
notable exception NS, thanks to Rich VA1CHP and Scott VE1OP).

Through the early afternoon, I plugged away on 20M but rates were not what they
should have been and I felt my enthusiasm flagging. So I took my second
hour-long break at 2044z (1:44 p.m.).

I came back to the same soft conditions, and took yet another break at 2300z (4
p.m.) which lasted three hours. Back on at 0212z determined to hit 200 Qs on
20M, just because I usually do. The band was steady but not all that strong, as
most had gone to 40M an hour or two earlier. I stayed till 0248z, and went to
40M after reaching 209 on 20M.

The SteppIR dipole is a great piece of gear, but last year I made 222Qs on 40M
with the thing at 47' -- this year, gusty winds convinced me to keep it at 27'.
I think it likes a little air in August, as I managed just 105 Qs there this
time. Took me 2.5 hours to get that, and my 40 mults on 40M was down from 51
mults last year.

Cascading down the bands event further, I found 80M kinda empty. Going there at
about 0430z, I was already considering this outing a washout. When I realized I
was working mostly very close-in WAs, with little input from beyond the
Rockies, I decided not to stay in the chair, and I pulled the plug with an hour
left to play.

I think I need an NAQP CW team to keep me in the chair next August.

Thanks for the contacts -- it was great to hear so many new callsigns in this

-- Bud VA7ST

Year-over-year for August NAQP:

2010: 347    96  33,312
2009: 551   128  70,400
2008  386   116  44,776
2007: 481   131  63,011
2006: 457   129  58,953
2005: 419   129  54,051 <- added tower and beam
2004: 175    72  12,600 <- wires only
2003: 261    86  22,446 
2002: 191    72  13,752

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