[3830] IARU KQ2M SO Mixed HP

webform at b41h.net webform at b41h.net
Mon Jul 26 06:01:20 PDT 2010

                    IARU HF World Championship

Call: KQ2M
Operator(s): KQ2M
Station: KQ2M

Class: SO Mixed HP
Operating Time (hrs): 20.7

 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Zones  HQ Mults
  160:     0     0      0        0
   80:     0     0      0        0
   40:   331    44     21       27
   20:   854   607     44       45
   15:   352   222     28       33
   10:    79     6      7        9
Total:  1616   879    100      114  Total Score = 2,045,198

Club: Frankford Radio Club


With WRTC approaching, I was very interested in getting on for IARU and working
“the teams”, however there were some major hurdles to overcome – most
notably, a complete lack of working low-band antennas and my Top HG205CA
dangling from its coax at the top of the tower and repeatedly banging into the
other HG205CA’s at 54’ and 82’.  After extensive chainsawing to clear the
overgrown trees, I spent two days in the woods in 100 degree heat clearing brush
and then with a slingshot and fishing line (with better aim that I expected) so
that Wednesday before IARU I had a working 3L 40 meter wire beam @ 50’. 
Thursday, Mark, K1RX came down from NH and we were able to disassemble most of
the upper 20, bend the elements back into shape and reinstall it at the top of
the tower, no easy feat considering it was dangling upside down, and then had
to go up 50’ vertical feet while being twisted up and around the top set of
star guys!  Naturally the coax was shorted so creation of a new phasing line
was Thursday evening’s project.  Friday AM the coax line was attached and the
antenna worked!  I was too tired to fix the 40 meter 4-square or try to
re-install the 80 meter 4-square or 160 meter inverted L, so I was just going
to have to see what I could do without them.  Friday evening I discovered that
when I phased the Upper 20 with either the middle or lower one, the phased pair
dropped 3-4 s-units compared to either antenna alone!  Uh-oh.  I got a sinking
feeling in the pit of my stomach that when the coax jumper was attached to the
Top 20, it was attached the wrong way, reversing the center conductor and
shield compared to the other two 20 meter antennas.

I got up at 3:30 AM on Saturday and checked the phasing combos again with and
without the top antenna.  No doubt – the top antenna feedline was reversed. 
At 5 AM I began creating a “double-pigtail” adapter, installed at the
bottom of the tower, to reverse the connections at the top.  Fortunately, this
worked and the stacking now sounded “normal”.  Too late to do anything
except hook up the rest of the station and get ready.

At 6:30 AM I heard K1RM working G’s on 10!!  I listened and, sure enough,
heard them short-path about S3.  This was extremely rare – in fact – I
don’t ever recall a direct path opening to Western EU on 10 in July at 1030z!
 15 was open as well – also unusual at 1030 Z.  I worked a few stations and
then spent the next 30 minutes getting everything working and making some
sandwiches.  At 1130z – 7:30 AM, I was ready with my limited SO1R setup (I
have not operated two radios in more than 5 years!) but with a nasty line of
T-storms only about 30 miles away and heading toward me, it didn’t look like
I would be on for long.  

10 and 15 were almost dead by 1200z, the start of the contest, and so I went to
20 where I had lots of trouble copying the weak EU stations through the long S9
static kerrrasssssshhhhhhes!  If I was an alligator for the first few hours, I
apologize – the T-storm line got to within 5 miles of me and then began to
break up – we got some heavy rain, but just North and just South of me, they
got the fireworks.  I was very lucky!  As the rain died down and the storm
slowly moved on, the static died down a bit and it became a little easier to
copy stations.  The JA’s were louder than the EU stations, but almost none
called in.  The rate was disappointing on 20 so at about 1220z, I went to 15
and it quickly began to look like the German spotting clusters found me as I
started to work streams of DL stations!  With cndx picking back up a little bit
I went to SSB with good rate but “ESP weak” stations and then I qsy’ed to
10 at 1330z where 10 had re-opened back to EU shortpath!  In all the years I
have operated this contest since the 1976 – Bicentennial Celebration- which
was the forerunner of the IARU Radiosport (which started in 1977), I  cannot
ever recall a single direct path morning EU opening on 10 in IARU!   I quickly
worked about 50-60 stations and the opening closed, so it was back to 15 SSB
which was open decently to EU by now.

For those not familiar with IARU Radiosport contest, operating Mixed mode is
the ULTIMATE SPRINT!  You have 24 hours to work everything on both modes on 6
bands, and for some bands like 10 and 15, that means you have only one
“shot” to work everything – Saturday afternoon, or in the case of 40 and
80, only a few hours on Saturday evening.  Question: How can you be in two or
three places at once?  Answer: You need more than 1 radio so that you can run
on one band and tune all the other bands and sub-bands to pick up those mults
that you will not hear again!  I used only one radio, so that meant that I had
to leave the run freq. every time I wanted to explore the other mode or another
band; a HUGE disadvantage, especially when it turns out that you should have
stayed where you were!  Operating with one radio also means no mult passing to
another band/mode unless that is where you are going to stay after you qsy!

15 SSB was good with 150+ hour rates but I had to try 10 again and so a quick
qsy to 10 @ 1430 and then back to 15 cw @ 1440z with mediocre cndx, but then
around 15z I was quickly called by JA1TRC, UA9JLL and E21EIC followed a little
later by HS0ZEE, all with good sigs and louder than the EU stations, which were
still mostly S3 or less.  At 16z, I realized that while the rates were good,
there were far too many mults that I was not working and might not hear again,
so a quick sweep through 15 CW and SSB 10 mults and 20 q’s in 20 minutes. 
Then it was off to 20 at 1640z – oops – too early, back to 15 cw, up to 20
SSB and then back to 15 cw at 1715z with mediocre rates.  EU was weak on 15 and
20 and stateside was no better as the mid-day absorption was too high.  Finally
@ 1730z, 20 began to come alive and I ran well until 19z when it was time for
SSB.  Well…. not exactly, EU sigs were still too weak and it was clear that
most of the EU stations were beaming at each other as I could hear them running
each other all over the SSB band and they were not yet listening for US!  I
searched and pounced for the HQ stations alternating between 20 CW and SSB and
occasionally checking 15 where I heard the same loud G stations but nothing
else.  Finally at 20z, 20 SSB began to roll, but again, not so well.  Back to
cw @ 2045z and it was “off to the races”.  Apparently, there was so much
interest in EU to work the WRTC stations, that the EU stations were
predominantly staying on cw and ignoring SSB! Every time I qsy’ed from SSB to
cw, my rates picked up!  AMAZING!   

21z was a blur of high speed cw and I was having a blast!  Finally with signals
getting strong, I made my 4th attempt to run on 20 SSB, and THIS time, I had
rate!  At 2315z I qsy’ed to 15 for a three minute sweep of the cw band hoping
for a JA and some Pacific, heard a few EU stations STILL! And then back to 20
SSB where rate stayed at 150/hr!  I left a wide open 20 SSB at 00z because
there was very little time left for 40 meters – and this time I started by
working the mults first, instead of running.  I snagged 25 mults in 20 minutes,
found a run freq. at 0025z and the wire beam, worked with 150/hr rate until
0140z when EU began to fade and I quickly tried 40 SSB.  I had decent rate for
20 minutes then back to 40 cw for alternate running and s & p and then a solid
run for the next hr @ 135+. 

At 03z it was time to change bands again (remember no 2nd radio), found a ZL on
15 and then went to 20 SSB which was WIDE OPEN into Russia!   What an amazing
run of Russian SSB stations for the next 45 minutes, and then at 04z, back to
20 CW for another hour of Russia, US, VK/ZL and some EU.  As the band quieted
and the rate died, I quickly tried to find all the WRTC stations I could. 
Although I never had any serious thoughts of being able to find all 48 stations
while operating Unassisted, the WRTC checklist was beginning to fill up rapidly
as they called in and I found other stations that I had not yet worked.  It was
especially interesting to note the number of times that 4 or 5 of the WRTC
stations would call in within a 5-7 minute period as though cndx had changed
over there and simultaneously the ops were making the decision to s & p rather
than run.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear how similar in strength most of
the stations were and I give lots of kudos to the WRTC committee for
“leveling the playing field” with station locations!

At 05z I s & p’d some more Pacific and EU stations but 20 was almost dead. 
Now was the time to turn the top 20 West and see if I could run the US –
which I had been avoiding for the previous 17 hours!  Sure enough, I quickly
got some good rate going to the Central and Western US, but the signals were
weak and the static crashes were gobbling up the stations.  VK activity was
good and they were louder than the US!   I ran for the next hour until 06z when
I went back to 40 cw.  Surprisingly 40 was still open to EU, but it was spotty
and I did not have the low-angle signal I needed to run.  Since I had nothing
other than a wire beam fixed on EU, there was little for me to do on 40 with EU
sunrise having taken place hours before and signals fading out.  If you were in
Europe, there was no good reason to stay on the low bands, 20 and 15 were the
places to be.  Since I had no 80 and 160 meter antennas, I was done until 20
opened again.  Without the necessary low-band antennas, I knew that I had given
up an easy 50+ mults on 40-160 and probably 400-500 q’s, but that’s life. I
was just happy to be on at all.  I went to sleep at 0645z and set my alarm
clock for 0930z.

My goal became breaking 2.0 meg Unassisted with limited operating time and only
3 hours on 40.

At 0940z I was back in the shack and 20 was just AMAZING!  Although the signals
were modest – 539 – 559, the band was WIDE OPEN and everyone was pointing
there antennas at the US.  There was no time to put up the coffee, it was run
as fast as possible – with the rate meter climbing into the 250+ range on 20
CW! There were a few 5 q minutes and even a 6 qso minute on cw!  Shortly after
10z, BD4SX called in for zone 44, then RA0JBL in z33.  A brief attempt to run
on 20 SSB was a flop and cost me a great run freq, whereupon I qsy’ed to 40
cw.  Since I had not worked anyone West on that band, I knew that there had to
be a few mults – amazingly enough I worked FO8RZ, KH6MB and ZM2B in zones 63,
61 and 60 in the next 5 minutes with the EU wire beam!  A quick check showed 15
almost dead, so back to 20 cw for 15 minutes and then over to 20 SSB to try to
catch the remaining WRTC stations.  I found a few, and now I was missing only
R37U, who I never did find.  I would have to be happy with working 47 out of
the 48 WRTC stations.  Back to 20 cw where KG6DX found me from zone 64,
followed by UA0IT z24 and DV5PO z50 in the next 5 minutes and then UA0ZS z35 a
little later.  I almost made the “clean sweep” of Russian Asiatic zones,
but I missed one or two.  I thought that I could run out the clock on 20, but
at 1150z I hit a wall and the run stopped dead.  Nothing to lose but try 15 –
as soon as I hit the band switch I found a LOUD VQ90JC  in z41 and then 8N3HQ @
1159z JARL.  RC9O heard me from z21 but no q.  W1NG was my last qso at 1159z. 

Before UBN’s I had  2,495 q’s   9,557 points  3.83pts/q   100 zones and 114
HQ stations for an UNassisted SO1R SOAB Mixed HP score of 2,045,198 in 20.7
hours.    2495 x 214 = 2,045,198

I was extremely pleased with my score in 20.7 hours using only one radio with
only 3 hrs spent on 40 with a wire beam and no 80 or 160!  

There was no doubt in my mind that activity was pumped up by the WRTC stations
and EU stations getting to work them as well as the generally quiet geomagnetic
cndx.  20 was open all night, no doubt hurting activity on 40 – 160.  15 was
better than I could have hoped for at the bottom of the cycle and 10 was a
complete surprise.

I was completely blown away by the fact that almost every time I went to SSB
from cw, my rate DROPPED!  While part of that was the fact that signals were
down since the band openings were marginal to EU as a result of the low solar
flux at the bottom of the cycle, it was mostly because the EU and Russian
stations were working each other and the WRTC stations in a cw “feeding
frenzy”.  The cw activity was SENSATIONAL! 

I find it ironic than in Europe, there is more cw activity than ever, while in
the US it is the opposite; where cw activity is in decline and there is more
SSB activity than ever.  Since I love cw, I am very happy to see all the
additional cw activity.

Special thanks to the WRTC2010 committee for their amazing work to make this a
fabulous WRTC competition, and thanks to the great WRTC ops for showing the
world how to operate a contest and excel on both cw and SSB.  It was a pleasure
to listen to them operate, especially to hear their proficiency on cw.  I rarely
had to give my call more than once on cw – they copied it the first time!  I
also enjoyed the fact that most of them quickly turned up the cw speed when
they answered me – trying to save a few fractions of a second of time by
sending faster to someone they knew who could copy a fast exchange.

I enjoyed this IARU contest as much as any over the years.  The 24 hour
“Sprint” format means that every SECOND counts since you only get one
chance at most of the band openings and many of the mults.   The night-time
Summer cndx means that you get an opportunity to work stations on the other
side of the globe that you rarely hear in the Winter.  Of course, what I love
most about IARU is the fact that you get to work EVERYONE, on BOTH modes in the
same contest!!!  It just doesn’t get any better than that!
Thanks for all the q’s and the memories!

Bob KQ2M
kq2m at earthlink.net


BREAKDOWN QSO/mults  KQ2M  IARU HF Championship  Single Operator

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

  12    .....    .....    .....    49/12   113/11    .....   162/23  162/23 
  13      .        .        .        .     117/5     49/13   166/18  328/41 
  14      .        .        .        .     129/11    25/2    154/13  482/54 
  15      .        .        .        .     128/7     10/1    138/8   620/62 
  16      .        .        .      38/6     55/20     1/0     94/26  714/88 
  17      .        .        .      72/13    13/1       .      85/14  799/102
  18      .        .        .     143/6       .        .     143/6   942/108
  19      .        .        .      72/14      .        .      72/14 1014/122
  20    .....    .....    .....   110/2      1/1     .....   111/3  1125/125
  21      .        .        .     128/2       .        .     128/2  1253/127
  22      .        .        .     153/6       .        .     153/6  1406/133
  23      .        .        .     129/6      9/2       .     138/8  1544/141
   0      .        .     108/30      .        .        .     108/30 1652/171
   1      .        .     130/7       .        .        .     130/7  1782/178
   2      .        .     100/7       .        .        .     100/7  1882/185
   3      .        .      17/0    112/4      2/1       .     131/5  2013/190
   4    .....    .....    .....    83/8     .....    .....    83/8  2096/198
   5      .        .        .     115/2       .        .     115/2  2211/200
   6      .        .      14/1     13/1       .        .      27/2  2238/202
   7      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   2238/202
   8      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   2238/202
   9      .        .        .      48/1       .        .      48/1  2286/203
  10      .        .       6/3     70/2      1/0       .      77/5  2363/208
  11      .        .        .     126/4      6/2       .     132/6  2495/214
  12    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    ..... 2495/214
DAY1      .        .     375/48  1461/89   574/61    85/16      .   2495/214
TOT       .        .     375/48  1461/89   574/61    85/16      .   2495/214

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