[CQ-Contest] long post - ARRL 10 K4OJ CWQ HP

K4OJ k4oj at tampabay.rr.com
Wed Dec 15 23:37:34 EST 1999

This is a very long posting - summary of K4OJ S/O CW HP ARRL 10 Meter
contest, 1999

Running to catch WHO?

A second place finish in the HP CW contest last year, behind K1TO was okay
with me but when Dan told me we were close on Saturday night last year I
thought just wait 'til '99.  I had been ill last year and taken a time off
in the middle of run time on Saturday for a nap.99 would be different!

First order of priority was a new antenna.  While the 10-4CD at 140 feet had
won the contest twice and had served well.at this time of the cycle it
appears it is about a hundred feet too high!  I had sensed this in the SS CW
and the WW.  A quick check of N6BV's "All the right angles"  verified this
as well as that nagging feeling in my gut over the past year.

What antenna to put up?  A 10-4CD would be easy enough.and we have a short
50 foot tower at the W1CW/W1YL contest site which had a tribander on it
which could be a home for it.but I wanted more.  Ideally a stack of low
yagis would be nice.but there just wasn't time to pull it off..

What could be done would be a good gain antenna.one patterned after the W1CW
Hemi-426 design (coined form the fact that that boom was 426 inches.like the
muscle cars of the sixties from Chrysler with their Hemi-426 engines).  That
figure is supported by Lawson who states that an odd multiple of a quarter
wave will be a good gain antenna.and 3/4 wavelength is just that.

I had a Cushcraft 10-3 antenna I had bought off QTH.COM a few years back and
it was leaning up in the yard.I decided to take it and gut it for
components.add a 20 foot piece of 1/8" wall aluminum tubing procured
locally, some more element tapering  some machine work by my hero W1CW and
voila.a wide spaced 4 element yagi.  I sold the tribander to make way for
the new beam, as well as finance the operation.  W1CW added a Bencher-like
hanging pin assembly for the boom to mast plates and up it went.piece of

We had used the antenna in the CQWW CW and I knew it was working, I had A-B
tested it with the tall antenna and it was beating it out.  Like the recent
thread on the contest reflector - it is sunspot max time and low antennas DO
work well.the olde standby at 140 feet puts out about a gazillion lobes and
it too works well.but that low one looks to put out one  nice fat lobe.
Thanks to K7JA, NA8V and N4KM we also had thrown  up an A4S just before the
WW on a tower right next to the new ten meter beam.  It also worked
well.adding meat to the high spots low ants thoughts.

On Thursday night before the contest I went by the station and had dinner
with my folks as well as discussed my plans for the weekend.  Both W1CW and
I were worried about blowing up the front end in a second receiver on the
same band so I decided that for the first time in a long time I would go

Along with being SO1R I decided to take K3ZO's advice from after the 10
meter contest a few years ago and CQ more.I easily get into DXer/Tune Mode
and one way for me to avoid this pitfall would be to limit myself almost
exclusively to running.  At the beginning and end of the band opening each
day I  tuned the band.or when I would change frequency (usually due to an
AA6 with a signal like a buzz saw tearing me up) I would work what I tuned
past while looking for a new running home.but I had decided and stuck to a
just call CQ  policy.

As the contest started I had a thought..the signals were typically weak and
some of them were even weaker than the lowest sidetone setting on the Omni
VI.  I would go from listening to myself rather loud to trying to copy a
weaker station calling me for hopefully at least 2000 times this weekend, so
I asked myself; "self.why not shut off the sidetone completely?"  I switched
on "sound" on the computer (under the desk) and had more than enough of a
sense of my sending. I loved it.did I really need to listen to myself call
CQ - without the second radio to listen to in the other ear this would get
old really fast!  So, I committed to do just that.  I really like it.  The
first sign of a problem with this came when I reached for the paddle and
tried to say  hi  to a fellow Florida Contester.with the sidetone turned off
I had no idea what I was sending!  No problem I will turn the sidetone on
the keyer on.oooops, how do I do that..the keyer's instruction manual was
nowhere to be found and it had a series of push buttons on it.I hadn't a
clue what to punch (note if you have a W9KNI keyer and can make photocopies
of the instruction manual I will reimburse you for your cost for same!)

It wasn't until Sunday morning when the LONG Sunday was beginning (after
over 2,000 QSOs were in the log) that it occurred to me that I could just
use the second radio keyer.an MFJ Grandmaster with a pot for the sidetone! -
can you say DUH!..guess those rates were just too engrossing!  My apologies
for sounding a little terser than usual during those first 2K QSOs.a few
times I hit Alt-K but for the most part what y'all got was 5NN FL.

K1TO has his office holiday party on the Friday night of the 10 meter
contest.so it is kind of like I get a point spread from Dan the mutant.which
I think about all of us can use - how does he do it?   Needless to say when
Friday night only netted 159 QSOs - about 20 less than 1998 had allowed - I
didn't feel like I  had bet on a wide enough spread!  This in mind further
enhanced the "run don't tune" mindset of the weekend!

Saturday morning produced three great hours of Europe.when I got more than
two consecutive non-responses to my CQ's I would toggle antennas.bouncing
between the 140 foot 10-4CD and  the 50 foot long boom.  It seemed to work
(at least psychologically!).  Things remained steady all Saturday, by mid
afternoon I  had netted WAS and I was thinking this could be a good year!  I
watched my total qsos compared to last years log climb.  The  hoard of W
QSOs on Saturday night was joyous.the log was getting fatter and fatter but
where was the DX?  Didn't hear form VY1JA or a VE8 and I knew that PEI was
probably going to be a no show..the mult total was SO soft compared to the
132 countries we had worked on 10 in our M-S effort in the WW just a few
weeks earlier.well, there was always Sunday.  I was about to shut down on
Saturday night but first chatted with 'TO on Saturday night and found I was
ahead of him.I told him we had better beware of N5RZ - he said we should
worry about W4PA at the W4AN superstation in Georgia.  I laid down the
headphones on the table and looked at my log.pleased with Saturday, ahead of
K1TO.of course I did listen to Dan call CQ's for about ten minutes.KN5H
called him with a big signal and I debated staying up a little longer but I
opted to crash and get a good nights rest with hopes of another morning into
Europe like Saturday's had been.

Sunday morning was productive.but still no multipliers.I started calling CQ
to the Southeast in hopes of maybe getting the attention of some South
American multipliers.I did not even have an HK in the log.but decided to, as
NP4Zed says "just keep running".  With what was still a pathetic multiplier
by mid afternoon I decided I HAD to do a band sweep..worked some easy mults
with numbers in the 2000 range, like P40V, and started wondering if I had CQ
'd a little too much.  The QSOs kept coming and I watched the spread grow on
Sunday from about 400 to about  500 QSOs over last years log.I was having a
blast...running is fun.

The dust is settling now and I have proved the old axiom that you have to do
both run and S&P..it looks like I was indeed the QSO King.but with a mult 1
less than last years log at 141 - AND MORE IMPORTANTLY: 11 LESS THAN W4PA'S
AND 5 LESS THAN K1TO's.well, it looks like third place for me.I had a
hundred more QSOs than W4PA and 50 more than K1TO (he had made up 100 of the
150 I had gotten on Friday night when he was at a party).

It is a shame that there is not more DX activity in this one.the band was
open.I  had DUs and other spicy DX call me.but no GI.no HK..what's up with

Bottom line..before dupes 2524 QSOs.up over 500 form last years 2001 before
dupes.net QSOs 2416.  Last year I speculated with WC4E about the possibility
of 2000 CW QSOs in this contest.next year I ponder 2500.be sure that I will
have a distant remote antenna on a second rig before next December
however.S02R for sure in Y2K!

Q-Rate says:

5/min @ 0549
31/10min @ 0542
161/hour @ 0632

Congratulations to W4PA who found the mix of QSOs and mults.and  to K1TO for
beating the spread! N5RZ and NS0Z also were ever present.

This was a really fun one.writing this brought back the goosebumps of this
past weekend.thanks to W1CW and W1YL for their support of my "run"
addiction!  How can you not love this stuff?

Last QSO = W7WHO

73, special thanks to everyone who called me :-)

Jim, K4OJ

k4oj at arrl.net

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