[3830] KsQP W0BH/M Single Op LP

webform at b41h.net webform at b41h.net
Sun Sep 5 09:42:19 PDT 2010

                    Kansas QSO Party

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: 39 KS counties
Operating Time (hrs): 17.3

 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Dig Qs
   80:    5      0       
   40:  258    160       
   20:  632    589       
Total:  895    749      0  Mults = 52  Total Score = 217,516

Club: Hesston College ARC


After last year's excitement in the "new" Kansas QSO Party, I was really looking
forward to another run.  XYL Lorna (K0WHY) once again volunteered to drive, and
she was determined to stay on schedule.  As many of you know, I put together a
"flight plan" before my trips and post a link to it on my QRZ.com page. Last
year, we followed the plan closely on Saturday, but ended up missing the last
three counties on Sunday. Fortunately (and I had checked), other ops covered
those counties, but the pilot in me wanted to do better.  The schedule often
slips because a really good run develops at a county line and I overstay my
time.  This year was different as you'll see shortly.

Folks often ask how my van is set up, so let me go into a bit more detail than
usual. The Astro van, now with with 273,000 miles on the ticker, ran the same
equipment as last year: Icom 706MkIIG with remote mounted head, Logikey K-4
keyer, MFJ travel paddle, MFJ voice keyer, three Hustler vertical sets on
triple mag-mounts (20SSB/40SSB/10, 20CW/40CW/15 and 80CW), two Dell laptops,
Lind DC-DC converters for both laptops, NA software for logging, keying and rig
control, DeLorme GPS and Street Atlas software for navigation, and a Heil
noise-cancelling headset.

The Icom radio, GPS computer and FM car radio interface (so Lorna can listen
in) are powered by the van battery. Everything else is powered by a big
deep-cycle marine battery which runs the logging computer, keyers, and level
converter the full 12 hours.  A second identical battery is along for Sunday or
for a jump start in case we stay too long at a county line (the jump start has
happened on more than one occasion!). An external 12v fan blows air
continuously on the radio.  I do have a tuner installed but rarely use it.  All
antennas are tuned for my operating frequencies to eliminate lag time when
switching bands or modes. In my equipment box, I carry an extra Logikey keyer,
paddles, inverter, configured logging computer, 20m and 40m antennas and masts,
and an Icom 7000 with another microphone and headset. In the past ten QSO
parties I've run mobile, I've had to swap ALL of these items out at one time or


With 72 miles to the first county line, we headed out on schedule.  Well, OK, I
told Lorna 7:00am when I really meant 7:15, and 7:15 it was!  The weather was
forecast to be in the mid-90s, typical summertime Kansas weather and way down
from 108 degrees several weeks before. We were travelling the same route as
last year, so I knew the drive to the first Reno/Rice county line was over good
roads and provided a nice relaxing start (and coffee break) before the
excitement began.

Twenty miles into the trip, "Bridge Out."  No problem, that's what a GPS is
for. How were we to know that the entire 15 miles including the bridge at the
other end of the road was also out?  Every time we tried to get back on track,
"Road Closed."  We finally got the message, stayed on sand roads, and made it
to Hutchinson in Reno County with a sigh of relief.  Once again heading west,
an ominous and all too familiar orange sign appeared in the distance: "Road
Closed."  To borrow a phrase from my cousin who happens to live in Hutchinson,
"Oh, brother!".  How much money does this county have for road repairs?  I
though we were in a recession!  The wild turkeys and deer were also out in full
force in the sand hills west of Hutchinson.  We finally detoured south and found
a paved road which wasn't under repair (it should have been), arriving at our
county line stop with five minutes to spare.

But we made it.  On time.  I plugged in the logging computer, powered up the
keyers and tuned across the band.  Nothing on 20, static on 40. Where was
everyone?  I'd announced a start on 7036 CW, so at 1400Z, I put out a CQ.
Nothing,  Another CQ and W0ZQ came back nice and strong .. our first of 31
contacts during the next two days.  OK, maybe the band is in better shape than
it sounds.  CQ CQ CQ ... nothing more for 5 minutes when I gave up and tried
20m.  KO1U was in there from MA, but not loud.  CQ CQ CQ .. nothing more for 5
minutes when I worked W4VQ in FL.  At least I could log 2 Qs for each since we
were on a county line!  So far, 2 Qs each at 1400, 1405, and 1411. From 1411 to
1421 I tried both 40CW and 20CW and SSB with no luck.  Finally at 1421, 20m
started to open and a few calls came in, but the net result was 7 Qs from each
county for 23 minutes of work.  Oh, brother!  Lorna saw my discouragement and
correctly left the line several minutes early.

It could only get better and did .. well, sort of.  40m was just not in most of
the day like it was last year.  Every county, I'd always cycle through 20CW,
40CW, and 20SSB.  Had I been getting calls on 40CW, I would have gone to 40SSB,
but the propagation just wasn't there.  I know there are lots of ops out there
in nearby states that need KS counties (including N4CD!), but this year on
Saturday, 40m was virtually dead.  At 1429, now in Stafford county, N6MU
appeared for the first of what turned out to be 74 contacts.  John didn't get
in the log from REN/RIC because he couldn't hear me either, but he did get in
the log from all my remaining 37 counties.  How he does that with 100 watts and
only a backyard vertical from the Los Angeles area continues to amaze.

So we were off.  As we got further west, the wind really started to blow from
the south and made east/west travel something Lorna really had to concentrate
on.  Once we got to the north/south parts of the route in western Kansas, the
tailwind portions were really nice, but it was dusty.  Our air conditioner
compressor locked up on us this summer, so no A/C, and the windows had to stay
partially open.  Dust kept settling on the computer screens and had to be
cleaned off frequently or the reflected light made them too hard to see in the
sun.  In Scott county, Lorna started to get sleepy (it had been a long week for
both of us), so I ran the county, then drove for 25 minutes to give her a nap. 
That really helped, and soon she was back to keeping us on schedule.  We hit
the 25 county lines on Saturday either early, or within one or two minutes of
our scheduled time. At our five scheduled three-county line stops, we left
exactly on time whether I was ready or not!  Instead of fighting it, I simply
said to myself, "I have this much time, what's the best use of my time here?" 
That led to some interesting new strategies for cycling through bands and modes
which worked well and I'll likely use in the future.

As we approached the Sheridan, Thomas, and Gove three-county line, I got a call
from W6RO on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. California. The club station was
being visited by a number of newly licensed hams who were listening in. It was
fun working a number of them with help from the control op at the station. 
Perhaps we'll hear more from all of them in the future!

At the end of the day, we hit the last county line exactly on schedule.  Lorna
headed north towards I-70 and pulled off in Goodland for a coffee stop.  Once I
worked down the pileup, I tuned around a bit and found a very loud station CQing
on 40 SSB.  I surprised N0NM, also in Sherman county, with a call and a short
QSO.  When Lorna returned, we headed just across the border to Burlington,
Colorado, for an overnight visit with relatives.  After backing up my log, the
first day's total was 958 Qs and 48 multipliers in 12 hours, way down from last
year but not bad considering the 40m conditions and additional competition for
band space from other events. Unlike last year, we shared part of this weekend
with the OHQP and the HIQP.  How much that helped or hurt I'm not sure, but we
certainly had no problem getting the OH and HI mults! Overall, a long but good


Lorna's nap yesterday must have helped .. she stayed up 'til 2:00am chatting
with her cousin's family!  Like last year, our plan was to start out part way
through Cheyenne county, the furthest northwest county in Kansas.  Even though
it was a late night, we made it out the door on time and headed north out of
Burlington, enroute back to Kansas. THUNK. A bird hit the van window.  A few
minutes later, thunk.  Another one.  Two more thunks later and we were starting
to wonder what was going on.  Swarms of birds along the road, perhaps migrating.
 We slowed down.  Up ahead, two pheasants started walking across the road
without looking both directions.  One pheasant spotted us and put on the
brakes, the other one took off low .. BIG THUNK.  Oh, brother!  The pheasant
broke some molding around my headlight, but at least it didn't hit my antennas.
 We made our Cheyenne county start point on schedule, changed drivers, and away
we went for Day 2.

Right away, it was obvious that the bands were in better shape.  40 was in, 20
was in, life was good.  Saturday was work, Sunday was fun!  As we cruised along
in northern Kansas, I remember thinking that this had been a really smooth QSO
party so far.  About then we started smelling something hot, not exactly
electronics, but definately from inside the van.  With previous smoking radio
experience, Lorna immediately pulled over.  I jumped out, checked the back
where the radio was mounted, and found a towell had fallen over the radio
causing some serious heat.  We were smelling the towell getting quite hot and
I'm sure the radio would have soon followed.  Opening the door, we finally
appreciated the Kansas wind as it cooled things off.

With 14 minutes to go and right on schedule, Lorna pulled up to our last
two-county line stop between Lincoln and Ellsworth counties.  Lots of ops were
waiting for Ellsworth, so I knew it would be busy.  I'd been running on SSB but
switched to CW as we arrived.  Several minutes into the run, we definately
smelled hot electronics.  I stopped sending and found that I'd forgotten to
switch to the CW antenna, the only time this trip.  Once again the wind helped
us out and we were back running again after a minute of cooling. I have to
compliment the ops during that run.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, gave me all
the help they could by waiting for Qs to finish and listening more than
transmitting.  All too soon, our six hour Sunday run was over with an
additional 697 Qs in the log.  It felt really good to get out, stretch, and
finally have a late lunch!


We operated 17.2 hours, 1688 combined Qs, 445 unique calls, 11 dupes. Lorna
ended up with 44 contacts in her log.

States not worked : AK NE ND SD
Canadian mults not worked : QC SK NT
DX worked : DL3DXX (21 times) HA XE

Six-hour Rates (W0BH only)
Saturday 1400-1959  86 Qs/hr compared to 145 Qs/hr last year
Saturday 2000-0159  67 Qs/hr compared to 114 Qs/hr last year
Sunday   1400-1959 123 Qs/hr compared to 164 Qs/hr last year

Total W0BH : 1644 Qs 52 mults = 217,516 points

County Breakdown (in visited order)

Saturday (500 miles during the QSO party)
1   REN    7   Reno
2   RIC    7   Rice
3   STA   49   Stafford
4   EDW   75   Edwards
5   FOR   40   Ford
6   HOG   40   Hodgeman
7   PAW   29   Pawnee
8   BRT   26   Barton
9   RUS   57   Rush
10  ELL   52   Ellis
11  TRE   42   Trego
12  NES   55   Ness
13  LAN   31   Lane
14  GOV   55   Gove
15  SHE   15   Sheridan
16  THO   19   Thomas
17  LOG   35   Logan
18  SCO   66   Scott
19  FIN   37   Finney
20  KEA   33   Kearny
21  WIC   42   Wichita
22  HAM   21   Hamilton
23  GLY   37   Greeley
24  WAL   26   Wallace
25  SMN   14   Sherman

Sunday (271 miles during the QSO party)
26  CHY   32   Cheyenne
27  RAW   48   Rawlins
28  DEC   53   Decatur
29  NOR   74   Norton
30  PHI  103   Phillips
31  GRM   40   Graham
32  ROO   40   Rooks
33  SMI   96   Smith
34  JEW   47   Jewell
35  OSB   40   Osborne
36  MIT   47   Mitchell
37  LCN   54   Lincoln
38  RSL   44   Russell
39  ELS   26   Ellsworth

Special thanks to the following ops for 10 or (way) more contacts:

74 N6MU
38 N4VA
36 W0MU
32 K4ZGB
31 W0ZQ
27 KS5A
15 NU0Q
14 K0DEQ
13 K4OD W4VQ

Kansas mobiles worked: K0HNC/m

W0BH Award Winners - First Place ---- Very Honorable Mention
Most overall Qs ---- N6MU/74 -------- NT2A/46 and W7GVE/46
Most CW Qs --------- W7GVE/46 ------- N6MU/41 ------ N4VA/31
Most PH Qs --------- N6MU/33 -------- AC5O/20 ------ NT2A/18
Most counties ------ N6MU/37 -------- W7GVE/35 ----- NT2A/34

Lorna and I drove a total of 1012 miles round trip from Kansas.  I'm hoping a
year from now, I can convince her to try her schedule magic again. Thanks to
Randy (N0LD) for coordinating the coordinators and checking the logs, to Kent
(KB0RWI) for continuing to improve the web site, to the other sponsors, and to
the rest of the volunteers. Special thanks to the mobiles, portables and base
stations for once again putting on a great show. See you all again next year,
and bring your friends!
73, Bob/w0bh and Lorna/k0why

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