First Contest Stations

PaulKB8N at PaulKB8N at
Fri Apr 26 00:20:36 EDT 1996

Thinking back on my first contest station brings back many fond memories.  I
was licensed as KN9WVJ in 1960, and started by using 80M Command sets
purchased from Fair Radio.  Later that year, I purchased a Johnson
Adventurer, and picked up a used Heath AR-3 and QF-1 Q Multiplier.  It didn't
take long to realize that the AR-3 wasn't up to the task, so I bought a
Morrow 5 band mobile converter, which converted the AR-3 into a fairly "hot"
dual conversion receiver.  My first SS was in 1963, and I believe I made
about 150 QSOs.  In 1964, my total was up to 240, not bad for 50W and a hand
key! When the 807 died in the Adventurer, I replaced it with a 6146.
 Eventually, two 6146s were squeezed into the Adventurer box, and it ran a
very hot 150W out.

Antennas were all longwires, ranging in length from 66' to 600'.  I usually
had four antennas up at any given time.  I was blessed by a great location, a
large lot overlooking the Wisconsin River Valley.  

In 1966, I entered the Air Force Academy, and my studies took me away ham
radio until late in my Junior year.  I was reticketed as W9LIZ.  The club
station at the academy consisted of a TA-33 that had been almost completely
destroyed by the Colorado winds.  The coax runs ferom the second to the sixth
floors were also very old and lossy, so even simple dipoles didn't load or
perform well.  I didn't enjoy using the club S-line on CW, so I borrowed the
club's 75A-4 (with all filters) and found a really ugly old Ranger, and set
up a station in a 6th floor janitor closet and strung a stealth  200'
longwire between two dorms.  This antenna was hugely successful on all bands,
particularly 160M. Was it WA0CVS that I did battle with so often on that
band?  The ugly Ranger was eventually replaced with a very pretty Ranger II.
  To this day, this combination was my favorite rig.

As my senior year was drawing to a close, I bought a Drake R-4B, and used my
new-found wealth as a second lieutenant to purchase a matching T-4X a year
later.  I never really felt competitive in contests until the 1971
Sweepstakes, when I realized that my score would have put me in the top ten
low power box had I bothered to send my log in! 

Now I'm an Air Force Colonel with four kids, one entering college.  Wish I
still had the disposable income I had as a lieutenant!

Whenever I get a little depressed about "only" making 800 Qs in SS, I need
only recall my days of nervously pounding on a hand key for two weekends a
achieve a whopping score of 30K points!!      73, Paul KB8N

>From Craig Cook N7ENU <cookc at>  Fri Apr 26 04:21:29 1996
From: Craig Cook N7ENU <cookc at> (Craig Cook N7ENU)
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 20:21:29 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Antenna input sought
Message-ID: <199604260321.UAA00755 at>

        I believe this was asked on the reflector a while back, but I never
saw many responses and did not get a summary, so here we go again.

        What do y'all think of putting a vertical antenna on top of a tower
that has a tri-band beam presently installed. I am thinking possibly of a
Butternut HF2 for 7 and 3.5 mhz. Mainly want to cover 7 mhz, but 3.5 would
be a bonus. I mainly work the domestic contests and do get on and play in
the occasional dx test as well.

        My main reason for wanting to try this is to get rid of some of the
wire antennas that are hanging off the tower in various directions, and
secondly to have a 7 mhz antenna that is fairly high above ground, with a
full size radiator and a decent counterpoise.

        Two ground/counterpoise options come to mind. The beam and tower
would act like a radial, maybe? It is 60 ft. tall, almost a 1/4 wave at 3.5
mhz. Another option would be to run a wire or wires down the tower that are
solidly connected to the ground lug on the vertical, maybe the ends of these
could be connected to ground rod(s)? Possibly some combination or all of the
above? Elevated radials in huge numbers would be cool, but then I would be
back where I started, not to mention the beam would be in the way.

        This is a little pistol situation, but I hope for a mega-station
response to my little proposal. Thank you in advance for any and all input.

                                Craig R. Cook - N7ENU
                                cookc at

>From jfunk at (jim funk)  Fri Apr 26 04:24:13 1996
From: jfunk at (jim funk) (jim funk)
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 22:24:13 -0500
Subject: Ground Rods Made Easy
Message-ID: <9604260324.AA23373 at>

Re AD4VH's technique:
        Yes, it works in IL.  Don't need a hose, either.  About a gallon of 
water properly applied will let you sink an 8 foot rod.  Not only that, you 
can actually pull the sucker a day or two later if you've sunk it for a 
Field Day installation.
                                                73, Jim N9JF
Jim Funk - Amateur Radio N9JF - Rare Birds and Brown Cows, Ltd.

>From w2vjn at (George Cutsogeorge)  Fri Apr 26 11:42:12 1996
From: w2vjn at (George Cutsogeorge) (George Cutsogeorge)
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 96 10:42:12 GMT
Subject: Summary "To Break up or not"
References: <960425212509_478476174 at>
Message-ID: <M.042696.034212.55 at>

Sorry to repeat myself as I told this story the last time this subject came up. 
For those that may have missed it: About 1966 when I installed an 80 foot Rohn 
25 with a 204BA on top and other antennas to come, the question of insulated 
guys came up.  The installation was on top of a hill with the ground gently 
slopping down in all directions.  Three sets of three guys were used, 
uninsulated.  Some measurements of RF current in the guys indicated substantial 

One summer night when there was no wind and the ZLs were rolling in on 20 a 
friend lowered the top guys and pulled them in close to the tower.  I watched 
with amazement as the signals increased 2 to 4 S units on my 75S3.  (3 dB per.) 
Reversing the procedure reversed the result.  

There may be situations where this effect it not as dramatic, but if you want 
to compete are you willing to take the chance?  There is an old saying in the 
scientific community that goes: " One valid test is worth 1000 expert opinions."

George Cutsogeorge,  W2VJN
Umpqua, OR.

>From Gary Schwartz <garyk9gs at>  Fri Apr 26 04:47:37 1996
From: Gary Schwartz <garyk9gs at> (Gary Schwartz)
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 22:47:37 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Ground Rods Made Easy
Message-ID: <Pine.3.02.9604252234.A22241-c100000 at>

On Thu, 25 Apr 1996, Michael Tope wrote:

Hi Mike,

> Just in case all you folks out there in the enlightened masses haven't
> figured this out yet, I'll share this bit of ground rod wisdom with you.
> This technique was suggested to me by a colleague of mine - Haskell Walker
> KJ4ZZ - and is very effective on the sandy soils found here in Florida.
> To use it, get yourself a 1/2" dia compression fitting to garden hose
> fitting adapter. Use this piece to connect your garden hose to one end of a
> 1/2" piece of copper tubing of the desired length (8' in my case). Then just
> turn on the water and watch with amazement as the ground rod literally falls
> into the ground like a hot knife in soft butter. Actually, in my case I hit
> hard pan (allegedly compressed sand) at about 4'. The first time this
> happened, my dysfunctional self-defeating alter-ego took over, and assumed
> the worst - solid rock. I abandoned the water drill and resorted to a
> cro-magnon strategy - hit it hard with a big hammer. This got the desired
> results, but wasted the better part of an otherwise good lunch hour. During
> my second and third attempts at using this technique, I managed to keep ole
> cro-magnon under control. I kept the water running and patiently worked the
> rod up and down until I broke through the hard pan. This took the better
> part of two or three minutes with the last three feet being smooth sailing.

Do you then withdraw the copper tubing and then drive a solid ground rod,
or just use the tubing for your ground rod?  Just curious......

Gary K9GS 
  /       K9GS       |______________________________
 /   FP/K9GS, TO5M   |Society of Midwest Contesters |____________________
(                    |   garyk9gs at   |Secretary/Treasurer/
 \   Gary Schwartz   |   K9GS at WA9KEC.WI.USA.NOAM    | Greater Milwaukee/
  \__________________|     PacketCluster: NB9C      |  DX Association (
                   (________________________________|       GMDXA      \

>From Terry Dunlap, AC6EF" <dunla004 at  Fri Apr 26 06:43:10 1996
From: Terry Dunlap, AC6EF" <dunla004 at (Terry Dunlap, AC6EF)
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 21:43:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Ground Rods Made Easy
Message-ID: <Pine.PMDF.3.91.960425214203.635559199A-100000 at>

>>Do you then withdraw the copper tubing and then drive a solid ground
rod, or just use the tubing for your ground rod?  Just curious......  73,
Gary K9GS

Yeah, that was my question too......I can't seem to get any water to flow 
through my ground rod <g>

73 de Terry AC6EF

>From Larry Tyree <n6tr at>  Fri Apr 26 06:28:07 1996
From: Larry Tyree <n6tr at> (Larry Tyree)
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 01:28:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Big gun definition
Message-ID: <199604260528.BAA02398 at>

Finally, a great subject for this reflector!!

> I am relatively new to this reflector so this may have been discussed in my
> absence.
> What is the generally accepted definition of a "Big Gun"? 

Assuming you are talking about contesting...  A Big Gun is someone who
has consistently scored high in some of the more competitive events
(ie: Sweepstakes, ARRL DX, CQ WW, Sprints - but not Field Day).

> How do you know if you are one. 

You receive a certificate in the mail and then you know.  The criteria
is kept secret, and the committee that decides is anonymous.

Some ideas of the criteria have emerged over the years and include any
of the following:

- Beating other big gun's in contests for several years.
- Making the top ten in a CW Sprint or CW Sweepstakes twice.
- Beating KR0Y once (even if he was running low power).
- Anyone with the word CONTESTING in their e-mail address.

> Is this a desirable goal?

This depends on your personal ambitions and personality.  There are
those who don't ever want to be known as big guns.  Others, have won
too many contests to have a choice.

> At what point does a "Little Pistol" become a "Big Gun". 

When you buy an amplifier, you are no longer a little pistol, but
you may not be a big gun yet (unless you bought a VERY big amplifier).

> Is QRP mutually exclusive with "Big Gun"?

Absolutely.  One year, N2IC (a big gun) ran 5 watts in the SS.  This
is a case where a big gun was QRP, but you have to be a big gun
first to pull this off.  The only person who could have qualified
for big gun status strictly from his QRP efforts was last seen smoking
a cigar in an Alpha ad.

Hope this helps.

Tree N6TR
tree at

>From Jim Reid <jreid at>  Fri Apr 26 07:40:29 1996
From: Jim Reid <jreid at> (Jim Reid)
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 20:40:29 -1000
Subject: Big gun definition
Message-ID: < at>

At 01:28 4/26/96 -0400, Larry Tyree wrote:

>> At what point does a "Little Pistol" become a "Big Gun". 
>When you buy an amplifier, you are no longer a little pistol, but
>you may not be a big gun yet (unless you bought a VERY big amplifier).

If you still have only a tribander and wire antennas for the lower
bands(40 and down),  but have bought an 87A anyway,  you are a 
mid-pistol(holds true even if you have participated in lots of 
contests,  but never, ever have submitted a log anywhere, 
or to anyone.) The amp is useful for working the more unusual
DX that often participates in contests,  which is the main reason
I have fiddled around in lots of contests from out here!  What are
submitted to someone later,  are the QSL cards that will come a
year or two after the contest,  if you send one first.  Of course,
your major operating mode is S&Ping.

73,  Jim,  AH6NB

>From James Brooks" <9v1yc at  Fri Apr 26 09:27:35 1996
From: James Brooks" <9v1yc at (James Brooks)
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 08:27:35 +0000
Subject: 3rd Asia Pacific Sprint Results
Message-ID: <31807ae9.equator at>

Any corrections or comments, please E-mail me ASAP before this
goes to the magazines.


James 9V1YC
9v1yc at

Final Scores - 3rd AP Sprint

(Winners - Each Continent, DXCC country and Overall)

* T-shirt winner  

VS6BG*    69 x 52     3588
JH0KHR*   63 x 48     3024
JH7WKQ    62 x 44     2728
JE1JKL    56 x 40     2240
JM1LRQ    54 x 40     2040
JH4NMT    53 x 38     2014
JK2VOC    49 x 36     1764
JF1SQC    43 x 35     1505 
JG1EIQ    35 x 46     1472
JA0FVU    39 x 34     1287
JH9FIO    40 x 30     1200
JH5OXF    41 x 27     1107
9V1YC     34 X 29     986
JA1XEM    31 x 25     775
JH4RUR    31 x 23     713
7J1ABD    27 x 23     621
JA6SRB    28 x 22     616
7K4BHA    27 x 21     567
JA2QVP    25 x 20     500  
JA8MXC    23 x 20     460
JF7VVL/7  16 x 14     224
JF7GDF    13 x 13     169
JA1POS     1 x 1        1

VK4EMM*   34 x 29     986

North America
W6YA*     40 x 31     1240
W2VJN     38 x 29     1102
N4TQO     29 x 22     638
N6ZZ      14 x 13     182
WA7BNM     8 x 8      64
KZ8E       5 x 5      25

UX7I*     35 x 22     726
ON6NL*     6 x 6      36
G4BUO*     4 x 4      16

Checklogs  (Thanks)


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