[CQ-Contest] CQWW SSB Comments

M.G. Brafford brad4 at roanoke.infi.net
Tue Oct 28 13:09:13 EST 1997

Summer of '97 has not been kind to Goode, Va.  I guess one could call this
"the year of lightning." On June 26th my # 2 tower took two really big
hits, causing about 7K dollars damage to various peices of electronic
equipment. My insurance company (State Farm) worked with me to cover all
the damage, but of course it takes time to fix or replace everything. Among
other things my new 5X5X5 stack of Hy-gain 105CA's were rendered useless,
and the TH7 + 105BA combination on tower # 1 were also damaged. Clint
(W4PY), my XYL Sylvia, and I had just finished the 5X5X5 105 stack, back in
late April, so this really hurt. I felt like quitting, but quitters never
win, and winners never quit. To make a long story short, on Friday morning
of the contest ( 24-Oct )  I was soldering and hooking up the last
connections to the WX0B StackMatch's. After fiddling with the new FT-1000MP
and T/T Omni VI Plus,  I decided to use my reliable 12 year old IC-751A in
the contest. A contest is not the place to learn how to operate a new rig.
I don't know about you, but the older I get the harder it is to bounce back
from adversity, and with badily failing eye sight, it just adds to the
negative curve. After reading K3ZO's, and 3DA5A's post's it's obvious that
we all have troubles. Two months ago I was helping my good friend and
neighbor Herman Cone ( N4CH ex WB4DBB ) install a new Tri-ex LM-470E Sky
Needle. Just as the tower riggers, and crane operator got the tower 90%
vertical, a tower sling snapped, and the tower fell, doing about 5-7K
dollars damage. The good part of all these stories is: no one was hurt;
physically that is...hi.. Bottom line "we all have troubles!"  As my
friends know I'm a 10 Meter Nut, and a hopeless Tower/Antenna freak, so
please forgive me. Now for my contest impressions, if you haven't dozed

Comments: I was a little down Friday night when the 5's were running JA's,
and Central Virginia had almost no propagation. Saturday morning however
yielded a short, but eventful, opening to Europe. Signals were excellent on
the stacks till the band suddenly shifted to the South. I was quite
surprised to find the TH7 + 105BA stack worked amazingly well to that
direction. Later in the day, After calling a Pacific station for what
seemed like hours, I was ready to throw in the towel. Propagation seems to
come up from the South to mid North Carolina, and cut off like an aluminum
curtain. I did manage to QSO two JA stations around 22:00Z. I was hyped-up
Sunday morning, so I rolled out at 4:00 AM ( local ), and warmed up the
The usual weak opening occured at about 11:50Z to ZS and PY/LU. The real
excitment started at 1349Z when EA1EYG answered my CQ. He said I was 15
over 9 on the N/E stacks. AT LAST A CHANCE TO USE THE 5X5X5. A wild ride of
Europeans followed ! The "last 10" rate meter peaked at 195.7. I was
working them at 4 per minute. ZOWIE! this is fun! Occasionally an African
station would call in, and I would spin the knob on the WX0B StackMatch to
select the TH7 + 105 East/South stack. Jay's StackMatch really works! To
cap off a really good day later, I blasted that Pacific Station in one
call. ( Propagation sure helps )  I have more stacks planned for next year.
tower Man W4PY says lets go for a big South stack. Uuuummmmm. ooooook. 10
Meters requires a combination of runs, and S&P. I tried as hard as I could
to keep the rate up. This contest got 100% of me, I gave it all I had, but
the only way to beat the Southern Latitude stations is to move QTH's.
Virginia just doesn't have propagation to the Pacific and Asia in the off
sun-spot years. Thanks to all the guys who worked me, See you in the "CW". 
73,  Mick ... W4YV      


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