[3830] ARRL Sep VHF N6NB Single Op Port QRP

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Wed Sep 15 03:45:09 PDT 2010

                    ARRL September VHF QSO Party

Call: N6NB
Operator(s): N6NB
Station: N6NB

Class: Single Op Port QRP
QTH: Near Tehachapi, CA
Operating Time (hrs): 

 Band  QSOs  Mults
Total:  809   127  Total Score = 264,922



The September VHF contest was about as good as it 
gets.  The Southern California Contest Club rovers 
had a very successful weekend.  The club itself has 
enough points to contend once again for the top club 
aggregate score in the country, something that was 
unheard of for a west coast club until recently.

For me personally, this was my best contest as a single 
operator in 31 years.  Instead of operating with the 
rover group, I operated in the single operator portable 
category on an access road near my Tehachapi beacon site  
in DM05.  I was able to work the rovers everywhere they 
went on all bands, even with only 10 watts, as required 
in this category.  That part was no surprise because we 
have had rovers go on DXpeditions to rare grid squares 
100-150 miles from the main rover group.  Those 
DXpedition stations often use 10-band toolbox stations, 
which run 10 watts or less on all microwave bands.  They 
often also run under 10 watts on two meters even though 
their rigs are capable of more because the same rig serves 
as a microwave i.f.  If an operator ran full power to  
to work straight through on two and then quickly went to 
the higher bands without remembering to turn the power 
back down, the result would be disastrous.  Most trans-
verters can handle no more than 5 or 10 watts of input 

Nevertheless, I found that running 10 watts was frustrating 
at times, even at a 6,800-foot elevation.  Many Northern 
California stations that are ordinarily easy to work just 
couldn't hear me.  But about sunset Sunday evening we
got some tropo up the San Joaquin Valley and stations
beyond Sacramento finally started answering my calls 
at long last.

In the end, I had a claimed score of about 265K.  The 
current record in the single operator portable category 
is 171K, set 13 years ago by K9PW in Illinois.  I really 
want to thank the SCCC rovers for being the wind beneath 
my wings.  I especially want to thank Carrie Tai, W6TAI, 
for going to several remote grid squares alone, including 
one late at night.  Her solo run (on a completely different 
route than the one followed by the rover group) gave me 
an extra 50,000 points--with 122 extra QSO points and 
18 multipliers that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten.  
She was the #1 classic rover nationally in June (based 
on the claimed scores on the ARRL website), but this time 
she sacrificed a chance to do that again to go to 
places so isolated that rovers often skip them.

Not since the September, 1979 VHF contest have things 
gone this well for me.  In that one, I operated atop 
Mt. Equinox, Vermont and had the highest single operator 
score ever recorded under the old scoring system.  (ARRL 
sections were the multipliers then.)  That 1979 contest 
also ended with a good tropo opening:  my high score 
was made possible by tropo that extended from Vermont 
to Texas.

We're not likely to see that kind of tropo in California, 
but this contest was almost as memorable.


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