[CQ-Contest] SS past: Operating and logging
David L. Thompson
thompson at mindspring.com
Thu Jul 10 12:58:12 EDT 1997
Strange as it may seem W4KFC, W5WZQ (now W5UN), K6EVR et al were able to win
or place in the Top 5 in the ARRL SS without computer logging or 2 radio
1st off it was hard to win on either mode with 1KW. There was a mult (1.25
CW and 1.5 Phone) for running 150W or under. My first SS I remember K2AAA
ran high power and beat the winner by 300Q's but still came in second. True
the KW stations stood out, but seldom placed first. Most of us found that
with a good antenna system holding a freq with 150 watts was easy..why?
because almost everyone ran 150W or less! You gotta set the playing field.
With the excellent equipment and antennas today maybe we need to go back to
a low power playing field for SS.
Running was the thing for the winners. Who can forget K6EVR sitting on 21.3
for hours or W6PQW sitting on 28.6 (one year he never left that freq) or
W4KFC on 40CW Sunday nite running 20 to 25WPM taking time to work the slow
ones. Or KH6IJ (or was that K1BIJ) on 20 running 50WPM+. For the W5 or 6
or 7 21 and 28Mhz were the bands with 14Mhz as the common medium. We used
40 and 80 just for local mults (this was before beams on 40). If we could
sit on 21 or 28Mhz and work W1, 2,3,8, 9, ve1-3 for at least 6 hours
straight we knew that Yop 5 or 10 was within reach. From W5 we could then
catch W6, 7, 0, Ve5 to 7 in the late afternoon and run for another 4 hours.
It was obvious that a W6 (especially So. Cal) had the advantage as they
could beam East and work everything. I thought South Florida (beam NW)
would be its equal but I remember Jerry K4SXO/W5CME saying most forgot to
beam to Florida (South from W1 to 3) so they could not get the rates of a W5
Equipment was always a receiver and a transmitter. You had to spot (if
S&P), tune, and switch. CW ops went to TR switches and phone OP's went to
PTT or foot switches (VOX when SSB came along). Many as K3ZO noted had to
change tank and grid coils. The KWM1 was a revolution as everything was
within one box and you did not have to spot (plus you knew where you were).
The transceiver was the break thru that allowed SS to be cut from 40 to 24
hours without cutting scores/Q's. Lets face it...in 1959 making Q's was
hard without running.
The average SS contestant ran a tri-bander at 40 to 60' and dipoles for 80
and 40. I had a Gonset tri-bander on an 18' boom at 50' (W2LEC kept telling
me I had a killer signal in W2 on 20). A few hams had big mono banders but
they were rare (most were Dxers not contesters). K6YNB (K6NB) even did a
piece on how to win the SS and a tri-bander at 50' was the standard. My
chief rival W5DQK had Telrex beams stacked with the 10 meter at 45' and the
20 meter 2el almost touchable as you walked out of the shack. Shelton
worked everything he heard with those antennas, a BW 5100 and 75A3.
FinaLLY, We need to bring back the W6ISQ AA award issued one time in the
early 60's. Anyone who scored 200K got one and could be labeled an SS
Now back to 1997....I have got one Pentium PC calling CQ and one
answering/S&Ping packet spots..the transceiver is part of the PC and the amp
is solid state with a heat sink that will allow 100% duty cycle for 40
hours, the antennas rotate according to preset bearings by prefix and
accurate propagation programs for both long skip (DX) and short skip. The
PC's both self log and I have a WAN connection to CQ and ARRL so the log is
sent directly at contest end to the correct sponsor. N4UQ is standing by to
fix the amps, ComPUSA has a PC tech on site for the PC's, and Hy-gain sent a
tech with a complete spare parts kit and spare rotators. Having little to
do dr. Bafoofnik and I are going golfing. Fore!
73, Dave K4JRB
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