[CQ-Contest] arrl m/m story (long)

kl7ra kl7ra at blizzard.gcgo.nasa.gov
Tue Mar 7 00:41:05 EST 2000

Contesting in the Multi-Multi category can be really fun. This is
a (not so short) report of the KL7RA M/M operation this weekend
for any one interested in starting or operating from this

The plan:
I noticed years ago that at the closing bell all the positions had
evolved into QSO running machines. Everything was fixed by this
time and the ops were just having fun running without messing with
their headsets, radio or program features. Rate was king. I had
this great idea to run the ARRL phone M/M and then "freeze"
everything in place for the "big" one (for us) WPX. I didn't have
enough people interested in this contest for a full blown M/M, but
enough interested to come out for a few hours or few days to
practice rate and a few needed to learn the logging software.

The start:
Everything was ready with 10 and 15 open to the USA. I watched the
clock on the 40 meter position click over to zero and we were off
and running. The 15 meter op had a rough start with a large pile
of callers, but the plan was the plan and I resisted "taking
over". He finally got
into the zone and did fine after awhile.

The first Failure:
I was sitting at the 40 position ignoring 15 meters cries for help
as best I could when the monitor went dead. Easy fix. However it
wasn't the monitor but the PC. This was a battle hardened machine
and used for years but the p/s decided it was done with this
contest after 15+ minutes. I raced to the house to grab a spare
and was back on line after loading all the necessary files etc.

When it rains it pours:
The 40 PC off-line dropped the network and the ten meter PC
crashed. Not good as this was a serious rate band at 280+. I
looped around the 40 PC to recover, but the 10 meter PC continued
to crash. I wanted to find the reason for this crash, and with the
help of Wigi, the ten meter op, we ended up with a box with only
AC and keyboard attached, an older version of the software, no
database. This PC would only run about 10 minutes at a time before
the keyboard would freeze. After a test for RF, I gave up and
replaced the box with another spare, but by this time the band was
heading West. Glad this wasn't the WPX.

Still raining:
By this time 20 meters started to open with a good rate and the
big guns from the East Coast were getting loud on 40. If I hurried
I might even get four transmitters on at once for a few minutes as
10 and 15 were dropping fast. I no sooner found a freq on 40 when
the 20 meter PC crashed. This machine was running the same exact
"stuff" as 15 which didn't miss a beat. I was out of working
spares so I grabbed an old 486-50 from the garage and rebuilt it
on the station floor (no desk space left) while the 20 meter op
continued to reboot after every 20 Q's or so. This isn't as bad as
it seems as you can spend that time asking Europe not to call.
With this replacement done I finally was ready to have fun myself
on 40.

Passing a kidney stone:
Our slice of 40 is only 25 KHz wide and it was packed. I have been
contesting for 36 years and can't afford to lose too many more
friends so I looked for someone I didn't know. I found a station
in the Crib that needed help so I fired away. He fired back and I
was on the floor, headset and all, in intense pain. Later
diagnosed as "passing" a kidney stone", whatever that is. I got up
and tried to get to my home, a short walk from the station, but
didn't make it. One of the ops went out to check on me a few days
later (few minutes, but why ruin a good story) and found me face
down in the snow. Gary got me up and said I need to handle stress
a little better. I convinced him I was shot in the back by a stray
bullet or something. He had been through this and said the pain
would switch off after I passed the stone. I kept walking up and
down my drive way, drinking orange juice when I could and throwing
up most of it up along the way. On the return trip my wife would
try to get me to go to the hospital as I grabbed another orange

Switch off:
The hour went by and the worst pain in my life switched off as
quickly as it had started. I told the contest god I was just
kidding about never stealing frequencies again and jumped into the
40 meter battle. One of the ops asked if I was okay and I said
"yes, why do you ask?" He said "because you don't have any lips!"
I guess you can say I was ashen white.

Our stateside propagation can be good or bad this far North, but
the  Europeans were loud all night on every band. They were as
loud on ten as I have ever heard them. It's rare to hear Europe on
75 meters from Fairbanks and they were loud there as well. We had
spent the day asking them not to call and I had to tune through
"loud" Europe stations on 75 to find weak US signals. No justice
in this world. I had spent the last few weeks in Germany and was a
guest of the Bavarian Contest Club. I cringed every time a German
station would call in to say "hello" and the ops would run them

Night shift:
I didn't plan on a night crew for this contest, but as the
conditions were very good the first night I got some volunteers
for the next. Larry, N1TX, operated 20 (a grueling band at times)
and the band stayed open to the states all night. I watched Ed
fall asleep and his head slowly fall towards the keyboard. When he
hit the board it launched a CQ and he jumped awake and asked the
intruder to QSY as he had been on the frequency for an hour (a
lie). He looked around and said "boy I'm tired, I just got in a
frequency fight with my own voice keyer.

The end:
Sunrise finally came shutting down the low bands. Ten was late to
open but produced good numbers the last few hours. Twenty went
very quite the last 8 hours and fifteen's propagation was mostly
Europe. I looked over the station this morning and it's a mess.
But a plan is a plan and I will leave it as is. If I could get
this past weekend's great
Europe propagation for the WPX we will be all set.

Rich  KL7RA

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>From J. Allen" <jallen at polarcom.com  Tue Mar  7 23:23:35 2000
From: J. Allen" <jallen at polarcom.com (J. Allen)
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 15:23:35 -0800
Subject: [CQ-Contest] ARRL DX... YT or YU... but NOT NWT de  VY1JA

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Hi gang,

It is great to be back in the contests again.  Thank you to all that helped
so much.
In the last ARRL DX contests, a number of ops had a problem with their
software again.   I have written in the past to this reflector, to RAC, ARRL
and other contest organizations, as well as to CT, NA, TR, Writelog, and
other contest software producers, letting them know that the correct
abbreviation for the Yukon Territory is YT, not YU or YUK and definitely not

RAC and ARRL have changed the abbreviation in their rules from YU to YT as a
result of the early messages sent out.  (Thanks for the change).  Some of
the software manufacturers still have packages that do not accept YT for
Yukon and need to be fixed.

During the ARRL contests I gave out YT as the multiplier, or "Yankee Tango"
and was again caught by ops who are frustrated because they could not get
their software to accept YT.

It takes time to suggest, "Try YU, YUK or VY1", until they finally have
success.  Time that would better be spent sending the YT multiplier to the
other ops who are standing by listening to this repeated fiasco.

I have a few suggestions... Before the next contest that has YT as a
multiplier, please make sure that you are using the current version of your
software.  This might require that you actually register it, which you
should do if you are content with the package.

Try it before the contest to see that it will take YT for Yukon Territory.

If you find that your software doesn't, then send the supplier a message
asking them to make the change.  Lets inundate those slow to make this
change with e-mail...

I am hoping that before the next contest and especially long before Sweeps,
we have this fixed so that we can roll along without a QSL message pending
on the op on the other end figuring out how to get YT into the computer.
In answer to the personal messages, my family and I are doing as well as can
be expected under the circumstances... loosing 7 family members in less than
a year and a half has taken its toll.  We have just come out of Quarantine
for Whooping Cough.  I apologize for cutting ARRLDXPH short, but my voice
was played out and I was having trouble concentrating due to the sickness.

ARRL DX is not one of my favorites, but I did try to be there on all bands
for a while.  Many ops asked for band changes that worked well.

I hope that no one chased me without success.


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N:Allen, C.E.T;J.;Parke
FN:J. Parke Allen, C.E.T
ORG:Yukon Energy Corporation;Energy Supply
TITLE:Electrical Mtce. Lead
TEL;WORK;VOICE:(867) 633 7066
TEL;HOME;VOICE:(867) 633 4249
TEL;WORK;FAX:(867) 633 5683
ADR;WORK:;Double Wide;;Whitehorse;Yukon Territory
Yukon Territory
ADR;HOME:;;S15, C117, RR2;Whitehorse;Yukon Territory;Y1A-5W9;Canada
RR2=3D0D=3D0AWhitehorse, Yukon Territory Y1A-5W9=3D0D=3D0ACanada
EMAIL;PREF;INTERNET:j.allen at yec.yk.ca


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