[3830] CQ160 CW K1LT Single Op HP

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Sun Jan 29 22:06:27 EST 2017

CQ 160-Meter Contest, CW

Call: K1LT
Operator(s): K1LT
Station: K1LT

Class: Single Op HP
QTH: Ohio EM89ps
Operating Time (hrs): 29
Radios: SO2R

Total:  QSOs = 1288  State/Prov = 59  Countries = 52  Total Score = 460,095

Club: Mad River Radio Club


I typed most of this report during the daytime Sunday.  The last hour
may allow about 10 more QSOs.

I did no special preparations for this CQ WW 160 contest other than
the usual Friday afternoon inspection of the 14 short verticals that
make up the 2 phased arrays.  About a month ago I rebuilt the Beverage
switching box to clean out 12 years worth of dirt accumulation.
Apparently, the gasket between the box and the lid developed a leak
which allowed just enough moisture to make things ugly without
actually causing any failure.

This weekend was all about the propagation.  Friday evening was a
severe case of audible but deaf Europeans.  This condition often
occurs at my sunset but usually goes away a couple of hours before
European sunrise.  Not this year!

After the first couple of hours, I became aware that I was sharing my
frequency with a European station that did not hear me.  I could
consistently hear "9K" but not enough to decode a callsign. 
later a Texas station pounded my frequency calling 9K9K, so maybe the
"9K" was 9K9K.  By European sunrise Saturday morning, I had worked
only about a dozen Europeans and those were a struggle.  After
European sunrise, working Europe got easier!  I worked stations after
their sunrise from SP, DL, G, S5, and F with G4AMT capping the
daylight DX at 0853Z.

The lack of DX opportunities seemed to keep the band full for much
longer than normal which resulted in higher than customary rates.
Thus I managed to stay awake despite the office chair until about
0930Z and napped on the couch until 1115Z.  I got back on and tuned
the band until 1230Z and went back to bed because I was too tired.
Therefore I likely missed a dozen or two potential QSOs.

I got back to the radio around 2200Z.  Saturday evening propagation
sounded more conventional.  Europe was workable at my sunset and
generally got better through the night.  DX signals got weaker as they
always do from about 0200Z until 0500Z and then signals quickly got
much, much better.  I enjoyed a very decent run with strong signals
and low noise from about 0545Z until 0630Z when someone threw a
switch and turned it off.

Since I was getting sleepy, I replaced the office chair with the
recliner, and CQed all night, with just a little dozing during the
0900Z hour.  If I stay in the office chair, the sleepiness conquers my
willpower and I eventually quit (like I did the first night).  But if
I use the recliner, then the worst seems to be one or two dozing off
periods which then allows me to stay awake the rest of the night.
There are 2 15 minute empty spots in the log, and I'm sure at least
one of those was a kitchen visit.  So the recliner is my compromise
with the sleep demons.

About 0930Z I parked myself in the JA window at 1816.8 and pointed the
receiving antennas at JA and VK.  I didn't hear any JAs, VKs, ZLs or
A3s but there were consistently several west coast callers on 1817 who
apparently could not connect with the DX station they were chasing
(and could not actually get on the frequency they wanted to use).
Anyone know who was on 1817 for about an hour around 1000Z?

I used the SO2V technique with the K3/10 connected to the transmitter
nulling 2-element phased array.  I could even hear Europeans and other
DX with this arrangement.  I forgot to transfer the K3/10 frequency to
"knob B" on the K3/100 only a couple of times, which is a vast
improvement over previous years.  Some day I will automate that

I had some difficulty with new noises this year.  First, there is a
persistent broadband 60 Hz buzz that cycles on and off at about 4
times a second.  This noise raises the noise floor about 3-4 db and
seems to come from the east-northeast.  I first noticed this noise
earlier in the season, but it was not troublesome then.  Second,
during both nights there were periods of an impulse "relaxation
oscillator" type noise that sounds like someone revving a chainsaw.
This noise would slowly build up over a few minutes, and then go away
after about 30 minutes and repeat after another 30 minutes.  While the
noise was present, the "revving" would occur every 5 seconds or so.
This noise might be a natural phenomenon but it is new and comes from
the northeast.  In both cases, I could position a null over the noise
by pointing the east phased array in a non-optimal direction.

DX worked: 5B, 9A (4), C6, CN, CT, CU, CX, DL (35), E5/s, E7, EA (5),
EA6, EA8, EI (2), F (5), FM, G (19), GM (2), GU, GW, HA (4), HB, HI,
HK (2), I (5), IT9, KH6 (4), KP2 (5), KP4, LX, LY (3), LZ (2), OA, OE,
OH (2), OK (12), OM (3), ON (3), P4 (2), PA (10), PJ2, PY, S5 (5), SP
(4), UA (3), UA2 (2), UR (5), V3, XE (4), YO, YV, and ZF (2) for a
total of 52 entities scored as 91 5 pointers, 162 10 pointers, and
1035 2 pointers.

Equipment: K3/100, P3, K3/10, Alpha 8410, homemade SO2R stuff, 2x3
BS-EF phased array, 2x4 BS-EF phased array, 65 foot "Tee" over about
75 radials, 750-foot SE Beverage.  There are other Beverages, but I
didn't use them.

Running yearly comparison:

    Year  QSOs  States  DX  Hour  Raw score  Ops
    2017  1308    59    52   29    460,095    1
    2016  1210    58    54   28    456,848    1
    2015  1274    59    42   30    374,609    1
    2014  1199    58    48   30    367,820    1
    2013  1329    58    58   32    536,140    2
    2012  1297    59    47   30    396,016    1
    2011  1471    59    67   30    670,320    1
    2010  1559    58    75   39    776,587    2
    2009  1416    59    71   30    757,510    1
    2008  1350    58    64   38    553,758    2
    2007  1063    58    68   32    422,100    1
    2006   764    58    47   26    260,505    1

Someday I'll add the 10 point QSO totals to the breakdowns above.
Those figures might offer some insight into relative propagation

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