[3830] KsQP K0AP(@K0RU) Mobile Unlimited HP

webform at b41h.net webform at b41h.net
Wed Sep 1 05:55:17 PDT 2010

                    Kansas QSO Party

Call: K0AP
Operator(s): K0AP, K0RU
Station: K0RU

Class: Mobile Unlimited HP
QTH: Mobile KS
Operating Time (hrs): 10

 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Dig Qs
   80:    0      0      0
   40:   95      9      0
   20:  463    166      0
   15:    0      0      0
   10:    0      0      0
    6:    0      0      0
    2:    0      0      0
Total:  558    175      0  Mults = 49  Total Score = 99,176

Club: Kansas City DX Club


K0RU - Navigator/Driver: Considering all the obstacles we had to deal with,
Dragan and I sure had allot of fun.

Let me explain, 1st off that previous Monday I had trade-in my Lincoln Town car
and purchased a brand new 2010 Ford F150 4x4 truck.   Of course now I have less
than a week to transfer everything that was in the car into the new truck.  On
Friday afternoon (day before the contest) the antenna was mounted and that was
it, no radios, no coax, no power, nothing else was completed.  Dragan calls and
says we can do this, we started Friday evening around 6pm to begin installing
all of the equipment.  Rig: Yaesu FT857D, Amplifier ALS500, APRS Rig, APRS ant,
Extra Battery, Large DC Cables, CAT5 cables, Metering, 2 laptops, keyer and
whatever misc junk we needed.   By 3 AM (6 hours before the contest was to
start) we had been up all night installing everything we were finally ready to
fire everything up to see what worked and what didn’t.   OMG, we have power,
but we also have RFI/EMI everywhere.  Computers tripping/locking up, radio
keyer locking up, RFI tearing up everything you could imagine in the truck. 
Quickly grabbed my box of RFI Clamp on chokes and started choking every cable
you could imagine.  We were finally able to get things settled down where we
had full output 400 watts on 20 meters, with no RFI and we could run 100 watts
on 40 meters (amp just wouldn’t stay online, kept tripping) .  We finally
said it was good enough; we have to get on the road.  By this time it’s now
5:00 am and the contest is starting in about 4 hours.

Dragan headed home to get his bags packed and get a shower, I jumped into the
shower and grabbed my bags and off I went, picked up Dragan and let him drive
west on I-70 until we got to Topeka where we planned to stop and grab some
breakfast and then I would take over driving.  This would give me about 1-1/2
hours of sleep.   While driving to Topeka, Dragan had never driven a vehicle
with such a large antenna on it, didn’t realize that every over pass he was
driving under, the Antenna was striking.  I’m sleeping, I’m not hearing
anything, by the time we get to Topeka, KS the entire top portion of the
antenna (Tar heel HP200) corona ball was gone and the top of the antenna was
bent over like a fish hook.

We both shook our heads and said oh well, let’s go.   I take over driving
from Topeka, KS heading NW toward Dickinson and Washington County lines. 
Dragan by this time was firing everything up Rig, Laptops and Amplifier etc.
getting ready to start a run.  When we realized the RFI problem still was
haunting us, by interfering with the keying circuit on the logging laptop.  At
this time, 8:30-8:45 the countdown clock is ticking, we are not at our targeted
county line to begin the run were still a good 1 hour from there and we are
still having all kinds of troubles getting the logging laptop to stay online
while keying without locking up.  Finally we get things under control with the
laptop, not realizing we had even consider getting the GPS laptop up and
running we had no idea where we were or what direction we needed to travel to
get to where we needed to be.  We knew the county we were in and just began the
contest at that point.  While Dragan is running the county, I’m driving like a
mad man trying to get to a county road with a sign to tell us where we were.
I’m following and gravel road that eventually turns into a 2-lane trail, that
eventually winds and twist through some trees towards this lake which I could
see off in the distance.  As we’re travel down this 2-lane path, all of a
sudden the radio goes dead (no receive) and there was a loud THUMP.  I knew
immediately what had happen I just struck a large tree branch with the screw
driver antenna.

Sure enough, climbed out of the 4x4 truck and there sets the antenna bent over,
busted off at the base mounting bracket completely snapped off.   2 hours or so
into the contest and we are dead in the water, no antenna.   Tear open my
toolbox in the truck, and in the box are some fittings from some old antennas
I’ve used in the past for hustler mounts.   Quickly I scrambled and was able
to come up with a completely new base thread mount that I knew I could make
work.  Tore of the antenna from the main mount, bent everything back into place
with a pipe wrench and installed the new base thread assembly onto the Tarheel
HP 200 and away go.   We are up and running and on the air once again.   (That
Tarheel is tough), we hit the tree branch hard, and it did not damage anything
on the antenna itself, it simply snapped off the base mount assembly.

After the tree branch incident with the antenna we both agreed we needed to get
the GPS laptop up and running with our map so we could stay on schedule, but
also on the right roads. 

We are so far behind on our planned schedule we decided it was time to just hit
the major road heading East (hwy 36 – The Pony Express Highway) and start
knocking down some of these counties and try to catch up or we weren’t going
to be very successful.   Off we go, both of us are so tired we just can’t
seem to grasp whats going on, we are constantly be plagued by RFI into the
logging laptop, Dragan would start a county CQ call, the pileup would begin and
he would get the 1st or 2nd station logged and the stupid computer would lock up
on us.  Nuts, this kept going on and on, we would put chokes on this, on that,
everything we could get to.  Finally we decided it had to be that specific
laptop, so quickly we pushed the logging software off from that laptop onto the
other and swapped the GPS software over with the maps and changed laptops.  Wow,
its working.   Bang, we are up and running.   Off we go, county after county
running the pileups as we moved along.  On the fly, Dragan’s running a Q rate
of about 40 to 50 per hour.   We finally reached our evening destination Topeka,
KS once again where we planned on holding up for the night.  The brand new truck
with less than 700 miles on it, was covered with dirt from end to end, what a

The next morning, we decide to push on, heading SW towards Osage, Lyon,
Wabaunsee counties and westward.   The pileup is holding mild, nothing to brag
about, but the stations are still calling.   We finally reached the county of
Wabaunsee, KS.   I spotted a gravel road leading up from Lyon to Wabaunsee
which put us in the parking area of an old school house landmark.  We parked
and at that point I started posting spots for Wabaunsee, KS on DX Summit and
County Hunters net.   Wow, station after station was calling, the pileup was
intense.  First we were on Phone 20 meters running 500 watts and working DX
stations left and right and it seemed every station calling us was saying Wow,
what a strong mobile signal your 20+ over S9 etc.   Dragan is pumped, this is
his first time on the run like this, he has never run any counties for county
hunters, let alone a QSO Party.  Finally we switched over to 20 Meter CW on
Wabaunsee, KS and again the pileup just kept coming, wave after wave.  I saying
to Dragan, we have to go, we are going to run out of time and not get all the
counties we want to run.  We have already been setting here for 1 hour and the
pileup is still strong.  Finally we both decided it was time to move on, sorry
to all those we didn’t get, but time was ticking and we had to move on.

County after county were running on the fly SSB and CW Dragan is bouncing all
over the place trying to keep the laptops down and key from flying as I’m
driving back roads up and down, up and down hills.  When we come to Marion
County, KS we need to take a 2 track that cuts across a farm land towards
another county (can’t remember right now where we were) but the two tracks
was nothing but two tracks in tall grass.    Slowly were driving across this
farm land 2 track when again, all of a sudden the receiver goes dead. Nothing! 
 Stopped the truck, climbed out and sure enough the entire top whip of the
antenna is completely gone.  Poof!   It had come un-threaded from the screw
driver coil (someone forgot to put a lock washer on it) and the whip portion of
the antenna was gone.   Since we were on this 2 track and had not been driving
very fast I knew we should be able to find it, so we slowly begin backing up,
after about ¼ mile there it was laying on the tracks.   We put it on (with a
lock washer this time) and off we went, up and running again.
It was a wonderful adventure, and it seems to never amaze me how much fun we
can have running as a rover in a QSO Party.   I’m looking forward to running
in the TX QSO Party because last year I had a wonderful time there and
hopefully I will be alittle more prepared this time than we were for the KS QSO

Dragan did excellent, considering all the obstacles I was putting him up
against as the driver/navigator he did a fantastic job of operating.  

Photos are available at: www.k0ru.net/ksqp

K0AP - Dragan - Operator: "Despite all the issues we had along the way it was
so much fun activating KS counties, some literally in the middle of nowhere.
When I lived in Z3 Macedonia I loved chasing counties. Now, the hunter became
hunted. Who was going to bet that this will happen to me 10 years after, hi!
Anyway, Rob K0RU has invited me to join him in this adventure which I gladly
accepted without much hesitation. He generously offered my call sign to be used
for this operation and I thank him for that very much. We did not activate all
counties we planned to but still managed to activate 22 of them. Notable was
working DL3DXX from 14 counties, N6MU 19, W7GVE 18, NT2A 15, KO1U 14 etc...
CU next year."

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