The Contest Computer by Agent 6 and 7/8

W3MM at W3MM at
Mon Dec 4 23:39:49 EST 1995

Well I made a major blunder and also a major omission in the discussion
on the hard drive and the system bios. I will first correct the blunder.

Jim, AD1C, pointed out my error in a message to me today. This caused me
to go into research mode, make a phone call, and reverse my brain 3 months
to find an article that I had previously read. 

I said "Do not run drivers to fool the bios so that you can use a big drive. 
Reason: TSR is running all the time."  Jim wrote that this is a driver not
a TSR. He is 100% correct. What these drivers do is provide an overlay
for the BIOS, which in turn allows the entire hard drive to be fully
The down side? It takes up 6K of memory. OK!  What this means is that 
this method is a viable solution to the big drive on the contest computer.

Thank you Jim for the info and the kick in the butt. Everyone needs a kick
in the slats from time to time.

Now I will take care of the major omission. The reason that I omitted the
following is that I have never done it and don't know anyone who has done
what is about to be forwarded to you.

I received a nice message from Phil, NA4M, in which he described how 
he rectified the problem. I will sort of restate what he sent to me:
"Purchase a drive controller card that has add-on BIOS and LBA support.
These neatly allow use of big hard drives without running drivers such as
"On-Track" (BIOS overlay scheme) or changing the mother board bios.
 The additional BIOS on the card used in conjunction with it's LBA
(Logical Block Addressing) mode allow the system to utilize the big hard
drives. The controller card I use is a "Promise 2300 Plus"."

Now we have 3 options! I will list them in order of preference based on the
additional research that I did today.

1. Upgrade the BIOS or upgrade the motherboard.
2. Purchase a new drive controller card
3. Use the BIOS overlay scheme

My thanks to Jim and Phil for their most usefull input. I now feel that we 
we have flogged the subjects to death.

  VY 73 de Dave, W3MM     w3mm at

>From D.C. Henderson" <n0dh at  Tue Dec  5 04:56:24 1995
From: D.C. Henderson" <n0dh at (D.C. Henderson)
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 20:56:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: N0DH ARRL 160 Soap Box
Message-ID: <Pine.SV4.3.91.951204200304.28577A-100000 at comtch>

Comments on this years 160 test.

5 khz dx window:
Its alive! and it works. Most who had a tempoarray lapse quickly QSY'd
when reminded. My self included. My logging software uses the <shift> key
to QSY the rig. I was putting in a note in the log (using the shift keys)
while the program continues to pound out CQ TEST. The next thing I know
someone is telling me QSY WINDOW. I hit the shift key enuf times in
entering my log note that I qsy'd down 4 khz from my 1837 run freq. RED
FACE...groan. One down side of the window is that the illegal Japaneese
fishing boats who we usually hear on 1820 moved up to 1830 for a while on
Sunday morning., guess it was the only clear freq they could find! 

Pacific North West Propagation:
Was worse this year than last. Inspite of a better antenna system made 200 
fewer QSO's than last year. What is even more amazing is how localized 
the propagation on 160 is. After seeing the notes from the east coast you'd 
think it was business as usual back there who cares that the A index was 
11 and not 2 like the weekend before when I worked 15 zones and 25 
countries. I never heard a New England station all weekend that wasn't 
right down in the noise. Central US was ok and Texas did real well, 
worked 6 Alabama stations couldnt find one in SS, go figure. Lots of JA's 
and a UA0 but no VS6 or 9M8 like last year. No VK's (for a month now) and 
no ZL's (ZL2SQ where were you??)

Activity Level:
Was it just propagation or was the overall activty level down this year? 
Last year there were stations all the way up to 1900 KHz. This year there
was no one above 1855. The SSB crowd musta been pleased about that and as
near as I could tell they returned to use the spectrum.  Maybe I'm just
trying to rationalize how after nearly 24 hours of air time I worked 200
fewer than last year. 

Sob Story complete with happy ending:
Five days of storms with steady winds at 30Mph and gusts to 60Mph, took 
down one of my two inverted L's in the phased array and 3 of the 4 new 
beverages. Wind subsided enough on Friday that I took a day of vacation 
and got everything back up by noon. Storm returned Sat night but 
everything held.

Contest Diet:
First night decided that I would not do any caffine. Mistake! By 2 AM I
was practically hallucinating from lack of sleep. (note that normally I'm
a noncaffine kinda guy anyway so a little bit really gives me a boost). 
Dried and fresh fruit, carrots. nibble often. Was drinking V8 juice with a
healthy slug of "Buffalo" brand chipotle mexican pepper hot sauce (no
lie!).  This last ingredient apparently has amazing powers to generate
methane. I switched to coke the 2nd night was more alert and the 
explosive gas content went way down ~8^).

Crowd Control:
Seems to me that all the retoric in recent months about contest etiquett 
paid off. No one tried to sit on me or steal my run freq. I almost felt 
like we could call it a gentlemans band again. Maybe it was the lack of 
participation noted above leaving lots of usuable spectrum.... I hope its 
the former.

See Yall again next year
It's been real........
n0dh at

>From k4sb at (Edward W. Sleight )  Tue Dec  5 05:02:08 1995
From: k4sb at (Edward W. Sleight ) (Edward W. Sleight )
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 21:02:08 -0800
Subject: ARRL 160 K4SB's One Night Stand
Message-ID: <199512050502.VAA13439 at>

I really don't want to talk about it. Had everything nice and ready to
go on Fri. Including a 2 day old OMNI 6. ( boy do I love that thing! )
Decided I would walk the 2 Bevs, and check out everything. All OK.
( #1 1000' at 020 degrees, #2, 600' at 270 degrees ) On way back in,
decided support rope to 160 ant ( T ) needed tightening up a little.
Tightened up, broke line in center. Newton's 1st law worked to 
perfection. Time 1600 local. 1 hour to go. Panicked! Climbed tower, 
installed new line and used another line in a different tree. Ant
slanted to West. Would not load...Dark +1. Said "hell with it" started
contest with 80 meter dipole at 110'. Had pants pulled down by many
wanting the frequency. S&P. One guy wanted to know if I was QRP. Took
names of all. Worked about 75...sleep

Saturday morning...Vengence is mine. Short session with EZNEC and out
comes the balloon. 380' vertical airborne in about 1 hour. Showed -291
ohm reactance...grabed a 3" coil from junk box and wired it in series.
Grabbed end of vertical. Got the hell shocked out of me from static 
buildup. ( several times ) Finally grounded that sucker. Tried rig.
SWR 1:1 at 1837. Took nap.

575 Qs, 8 countries, 66 sections, 0 dupes ( bless CT 8.42 )
79,476 final.

..overslept...on at 1800 local with Omni and Titan cranked up
to 1KW out. Got out list of names from night one, and began kicking 
ass! One K2 tried to have a go at it...lasted about 30 sec. Local 
QRPers say they have to stay at least 30 kc away from me. Tried to talk 
W4HR into coming over for Multi...said too on knees and 
begged...still no. Worked all DX ( ON4,FG5..called me XE/, /HH2, VP2 ( 
thanks K3RR ) YV1, and a couple others ) Missed 
ME,SDG,MT,MAR,SK,BC,VI,PAC,AK...worst showing in
many years. Got excited when AL7H called me. Swear he said AK. Put out 
on packet. AL7H sends qso 599KY on packet. Conditions terrible for DX 
on both nights. Great signals from the 8s and 9s, and a couple 6s...GO 
putting in a good signal. Worked the band dry about 1 am. Total time on 
about 7:30. Good observation of the window by US except for 1 K2 (3?) 
in the lower part. Best rate 139 in hour. Good VE3 signals but didn't 
even hear others missed. Offered 6 pack on packet for ME and MT....For 
benefit of SouthEastern Packetcluster members, neither ME nor MT have 
4s or 0s in the call, especially when they're 30/9. Finally worked WTX.

Great time...would like to hear about signal if you remember working 
me. Great working all of you. See you in the SSB, and the baloon will
be up ( pray for calm wind all )

>From Jim Stevens <ki4hn at>  Tue Dec  5 05:31:40 1995
From: Jim Stevens <ki4hn at> (Jim Stevens)
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 00:31:40 -0500
Subject: ARRL 160 SWL Report
Message-ID: <01BAC2A9.21C17CA0 at>

Someone (K7SS?) asked about right coast signal reports.  Well I don't =
have a 160 antenna, so I listened some on my Cushcraft AP-8 vertical =
while I was wading through the 400+ posts from SS and WW.  Here is a =
report with some comments:

Listened off and on from 0110Z on 2-DEC (Friday night local) until about =
0500Z.  Used a TS-850S and the vertical.  Listened from 1.800 MHz up to =
about 1.835 MHz.  Loudest down:

Call             Section      Signal       Comments
AA4NC           NC         S9+10     Hey we're only 5 miles apart
W9LT             WV        S9
N4AR              KY         S7-S9
AA8U              MI        S7
K3WW           EPA       S7
K2TW             NNJ       S7
W3GH           WPA      S6
NX0I               MO       S5            Good signal from "way out =
WE9V            WI         S5            As usual sounds louder than the =
N2NT             NNJ       S5
WA2SRQ       NNJ       S5
K8HVT           CT         S4
W3OV           EPA       S4
K2WI             SNJ        S4
N2WK           WNY     S3
K1BNQ          CT         S2
WA2VYA       NNJ      S2
W5XX            MS       S2
KE9I               IN         S2
K3SA              MD       S1
W4XD           VA        S1
K8AQM         MI        S1

I also copied the following stations at S0: WB1GQR, ND9O, K4ISV, K3JXO, =
(only DX heard).

I noticed that the band seemed to "turn off" and then back "on" =
periodically.  By this I mean, I would be hearing many signals of =
varying signal strengths and all of the sudden the band would die.  I =
would only hear the strongest stations, and their signal strengths had =
gone down to S0-S1.  After a few minutes, it would seem to "turn back =
on".  I'm not familar with 160 propgation.  Is this a form of QSB that =
has a long period?

Jim, KI4HN
ki4hn at                

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list