[CQ-Contest] W1WEF CQWW CW Story

Jack Schuster w1wef at snet.net
Tue Dec 12 13:34:58 EST 2000

Jack Schuster        W1WEF

Before I forget whether or not I was in the contest, I like to put
together notes for future reference. My goal this year was to beat my
score of last year when I placed in the top ten US SOHP.

Like Randy, K5ZD, I feel that getting a lot of sleep the week before is
key to being able to stay in the seat. Last year I think I operated 42
hours…the most I ever did. This year, due to problems sleeping caused by
some shoulder problems for which I have been doing special exercises, I
didn’t stockpile as much as I would have liked.  My plan to sleep for
about four hours before the contest was foiled when I was having lunch
at my operating desk, and spilled a glass of cider all over my
keyboard!  Instead of sleeping, I had to go out to get a new keyboard!
After that event, I couldn’t sleep.

Last year I started with a 147 hour on 40. I had my 1999 .BRK sheet
beside the operating position, so I could track my progress vs last
year.  This year I had a second FT1000D  set up with separate antennas
far away from the main station antennas, with almost no QRM between
stations. The second radio was barefoot, with a 40 dipole at 40 ft, a 20
vertical dipole and a 10 vertical dipole. I had automatic 2 radio
switching that let me listen on the second  while cqing on the first,
and automatically switch back to the first at the end of the cq unless I
pressed a switch to stay on the second radio. Since the contest, Randy
advised me to listen to both radios at the same time.

I decided to start on 40 again. FIRST MISTAKE…I didn’t establish a
frequency I could hold early enough, and couldn’t find a run freq at the
start!   I started sweeping upward from 7013 and put A61AJ, GW3KGV, SV,
PY0F, GU and others in the log  before I settled on 7022.where I ran for
only 8 mins before deciding to s&p again. About this time I thought the
band sounded funny with low signal levels…only to realize finally a bit
later that it was because the RX Mix control wasn’t full CCW! At 0045 I
managed to find a run hole at 7005 where ZS4TX,4K9W, 9G,called in…but at
0100 I had only 109 Qs in the log , well down from last year. My only
consolation was that in the K1ZZ .BRK sheet I had from last year, he had
90 Qs at this time (but Dave had a lot more mults and was S&Ping other

 I managed  to stay on 7005 the whole second  hour, and at the end of
the hour I had  226 Qs. I love to run! Stayed on 7005 until 0219Z, when
I decided to check 80. (no use of the second radio yet). Going to 80, I
only made 8 Qs…too early…and went to 20. Here as I swept up the band,
almost every Q was a new mult. From 0255  to 0302 I picked  up a few Qs
on 15, and then went to top band for the first time. Let’s see if the
effort to get the vertical part of the Inv L higher paid off!

  CN8WW, VE3ZI, K0RF, ON4WW, C6AKP, DL2ZAE go into the log without much
competition in pileups, and I go to 80. I stay for 40 Qs S&Ping, and go
to 40 without any running on 80. On 80 I have a 4 sq with 4 sloping
dipoles fed by the Comtek box. It’s not as good as my 4 top loaded
verticals seemed to be, but I got rid of the elevated radials.  I run a
bit on 40, and go back to 160 at 0404Z.Twelve Qs on 160 and 9 more
mults.  The Eu opening tonite sounds real good. I’m not even using the
Eu beverage or phased pennants, and signals are super…one of the best Eu
openings I can recall.

 At some point before now, I changed bands and found that the computer
wasn’t responding to my typing…it was lagging. Fortunately I recognized
that this was something I’d seen before. I grabbed a Radio Shack snap on
ferrite, wrapped three turns of the keyboard cable and it was fixed!

0430Z and back to 20 to run a while. Still some good Eu signals and a
lot of UA9’s. I get a JA in the log and remember I have a second radio.
I pick up two strong stations on 40 on the second radio, make one more
on 20 and go to 160. Twenty two Qs including two dupes, but add six
countries and 5 zone mults, including KH6CC. I remember when visiting
Jack on the Big Island, that he listens to 160 every day at around 05Z
on 1826. I  worked him right there at at 0458Z! Back to 40 to run a bit
on 7050, then to 80 to sweep from the bottom up. I get to 3503 and
there’s a hole! It’s late enough to run now, and run I do until 0608
when it’s time to hit 160 again for 14 more Qs and 7 new countries.

Now it’s S&P 40 and to 20 for Eu sunrise at 0652.  I run at 14080  for a
while, and check 160 one last time, go to 80 and pick up YV, PJ2, KP2,
6Y, HC8, and VE before going back to 40. Bouncing around between  20,
40, 80, and 160 until 0840 when 20 is open to Eu. I stay until 1008Z
when I go back to 40 for a JA, KH6 and KL7. On 80 I pick up KH7R, and
back to 40 pick up HC2 and YV before gg back to 20. On 20 I  run on
14002 until my second radio tells me that 10 is open with big signals. I
bypass 15 and run on 28002.  for over two hours without moving. All in
all  I stay on ten for over 5 hours, with my .brk sheet showing 125,
180, 151, 103 and 138 hours.

I started this writeup a week ago, and finally got back to it!  Ill try
to  touch on the highlights for the rest of the contest and spare some
of  the details.

After a long run on the same frequency, I finally S&P and pick up all
kinds of good mults as usual when I S&P. It’s so hard for me to leave a
great run, but I should know by now I have to stop and  search more
often. 5X1 at 28131 is one of the goodies I might have missed had I not
done it.   I run some more on 28001, do another sweep finding 3V8BB and
others before going to 15M for the first time at 1649Z. I start there by
S&Ping, and once again every contact is a new mult.I sweep to 21108
before I stop to run, sweep from the bottom up again , stop at  21024 to
run a few more, continue  sweeping up the banduntil 1847Z when I visit
ten again. The first contact is J3A but not a new mult…Sweeping upward I
put 15 more mults in the log from SA, the Carribean and KL7, before
going  to 20. I sweep there, go back to 15, use the second radio for two
Qs (and one is a dupe on 40), before I go to 40 and run on 7059.

At 2230 back to ten, where I add a JA, HC8N, VK, ZL and KH2, before
returning to 15, then 20, 40 and 80 and a run on 40.   I can change
bands in 3 seconds and have no problem remembering to switch the
amplifier and setting the plate and loading to premarked spots.
Everything else is automated. At the end of the first day I have 2246 Qs
in the log.

I start off running 40, but at 0212Z I fizzle out. I haven’t  even
visited 80 or 160 the second nite, and  weariness gets the best of me
and I go to sleep! I didn’t even set the alarm…intentionally…but get on
again at 0841Z, work 40 and HC8N on 160, and get off again from 0920 to
1033Z. I find OX and Zone 2 on 40, and go to 20 , then 15 and ten. I
know by now there’s no way I’m going to match last year’s score of over
6M. Back to 15 for some good running until 1643Z when I think something
happened to my radio. I listen on radio 2…the best use yet for that
radio and it sounds the same! The band has dropped out like turning off
the lights. I find Randy…ask him if the band sounds normal and he says
“something happened”.  I hear Doug Grant Cqing, and he aptly puts
it…”the sun farted”.  I get off and mention to my wife what happened,
and she shows me an article in the paper that she just read which
predicted bad solar storms and the times they would occur! I never gave
it a thought to check other bands, but after the contest learned that
ten stayed open during my 17 minute off time!   I got back on 15 and it
was back in good shape , I add three mults…HB0, Zone 2, and 5B4, and
bounce between the high bands a few more times picking up mults every
time I S&P a band.

At about 2100 I go to the bathroom and discover we have no water! I find
the  jet pump is running and sounding terrible, running dry. This puts
an abrupt end to the contest for me, for now I try to get an emergency
pump/well service guy out on a Sunday night. As it turned out, I got
water back Sun evening, and the cause was a stuck toilet handle that
kept the flapper valve open apparently for hours.

I managed to wind up with 5.1M in the log with a little more than 36
hours operating time.  I didn’t enjoy the contest this year as much as I
had hoped to, probably because I didn’t sleep enough before hand. While
I had a  SO2R setup of sorts, I made almost zero use of the second
FT1000D with the wire dipoles. Perhaps by next WW I’ll have a real SO2R
setup with real antennas and a second amp, and be able to listen to both
radios simultaneously. I don’t know if that’s what it takes to  be able
to discipline myself to do it or not.  On the other hand maybe I’ll join
a multi…or go on a contest Dxpedition…

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