[CQ-Contest] Story PJ4W SOAB LP (long)

Carsten Steinhöfel carsten.steinhoefel at web.de
Thu Dec 5 23:25:49 EST 2002

Hi guys,

as part of a three week holiday with my YL Britt (DL6BCF) to Aruba and
the Netherlands Antilles, we rented K2NG's house on Bonaire for a week
around the CQWW CW contest.

After operating the CQWW from Multi-Op stations for more than ten years,
this year was my first effort as a Single Op in this contest. I was hit
by Murphy a few times but all in all it was a great experience and I
learned a lot.

We arrived on the island from Aruba on the Sunday afternoon before the
contest. We were picked up at the airport by a girl from the rental
company. They had also organized a car for us, so we only had to follow
her. Fortunately we had rented a small jeep because after we passed the
main town Kralendijk, we left the paved road and went up the hill on a
track between Divi Divi trees and cacti. We left the Radio Nederlands
transmitter site below us on the left.

>From far off we could see several towers on top of the hill. Two of
these belong to Noah's QTH. There is a 60ft/18m tower with a C31XR near
the house and a 70ft/21m tower about 40m away, which is to be increased
to 90ft/27m with a 2el 40m Yagi next year.

The first thing I did was setting up the operating table with my TS850
and getting the coax and rotator cable from the tower into the shack.
When I was ready, I had my first encounter with Murphy - the SWR on the
beam was high on all bands and signals were weak. Well, it was soon
getting dark, so I quit and we went into town to walk around and have

On Monday morning I checked the coax connectors and climbed the tower
to check the contacts at the antenna, but everything looked ok. We then
went to town to get the box with coax, wires and some other stuff I had
sent to Bonaire with KLM cargo, so I would not have to carry it to
Aruba and later to Curacao. At the KLM office I signed some papers and
was sent to the customs warehouse to get the box. Unfortunately I did
not get it right away. I had to go to the customs office and fill even
more forms. I should then come back at 15.00 the next day.

Back at the house after shopping in town, I again had a look at the
contacts at the beam. Loosing the screw at the beam I suddenly held a
cable lug in my hand. I thought I had broken it unscrewing but when I
took off the isolating tape around it, there was no copper in there,
only some red powder... The coax shield had disintegrated into that red
powder even after I cut off a length of the cable.

On the next day after a tour around the south of the island we again
went to Kralendijk to the customs warehouse. I had to wait for half
an hour, but then I could finally get my box just before the warehouse
was closing at four.

Back at the house I put up an Inverted Vee for 40m on the 60ft tower
before it was dark, to be QRV at all. After dinner I had a few QSOs
with NA and EU, so at least this was working.

On Wednesday I replaced the coax on the beam. After I had put it in
place perfectly, I had to start over again because the beam turned in
the opposite direction of what I thought it did 8(

On Thursday I climbed a nearby cellphone tower and put two Inverted
Vees for 80 and 160 with common feedpoint up to 120ft/36m. The length
calculated with EZNEC fitted perfectly. No cutting was necessary. In
the evening I tuned the bands and heard lots of stations. I had an
easy QSO with CY0MM on 160m, so I had big hopes for the contest.

On Friday morning I got up early and put up a 2el Delta loop to EU
onto the 70ft tower. I was using the boom of an A3S for the antenna
fed with a 1:2 balun. Also here no retuning was necessary. Because of
the guy wires I could not keep a constant distance of 4m between the
elements but further calculations showed this would even increase
gain marginally costing some f/b ratio.

On Friday afternoon we went to town to recheck our flight to Curacao
for Monday, check our Email in an internet cafe and have dinner before
the contest. When we returned to the house I tested all antennas again
and found a high SWR on the 80/160 Vee. I went to the tower and found
somebody had cut the polyester line and the antenna was lying on the
ground. Apparently the cell company didn't like the shared use of
their tower. It was dark already so I had to go through the first night
without 80/160m antenna. I also had planned to take a nap for 

I started on 15 with good rates but they soon decreased so I changed to
20 where I also had my best (clock) hour with 184Qs. After 0200 I
scanned the band for multipliers and went to 40 where I stayed most of
the night. I went to the higher bands again at 1000 and rates went up
again. The last ten minutes (not QSO) rate was around 240/h several
times but I could not cope with Packet pileups well enough. Too often I
had one or two characters of a call wrong. To make sure I always waited
for confirmation of a correction and so the rate went down to around

After the bands closed to Europe I needed more than one hour to get the
80/160m antenna wires through thorn bushes to the 70ft tower. Because
of the 40m antenna I could not get the apex above 45ft. At 0000 I went
to 80 the first time. The results were not very good, but with a little
patience I could even get some Europeans into the log. The 80m OP at
A61AJ clearly had the best ears. On 160 I could only get some nearby
stations into the log.

At 0300 I suddenly felt very tired and once I was not sure if I had
finished a QSO correctly. Getting up early and then not sleeping before
the contest is just not good. I decided to take the three hour break I
had planned for after EU sunrise now, so I would be on the air again for
EU sunrise. After the break I was in good shape again and never felt
really tired again during the contest.

After 40m closed to Europe I was able to get a short run to the US going
on 80m. At this time I also noticed the SWR on the 40m Inverted Vee was
going up and down between 1 and 2.5. I did not notice any performance
problems so I didn't think about it any longer. Only when taking down
the antennas on Monday did I notice that one half of the Vee was loose
and flying in the wind.

Murphy hit again half an hour before the end of the contest when my CW
keying circuit stopped working and I had to use the paddles until the

As this was my first SOAB effort I didn't know what to expect. The QSO
total was about what I had anticipated, although with better copying
ability higher rates were certainly possible.

My multiplier total is way too low. Obviously I had planned for more on
80 and 160 and I was also a little lazy moving people on the first day
but what bugs me most is that I did not get enough mults out of band
scans. I was always proud to squeeze many mults out of the bands at the
M/S stations I worked from. Clearly I should have studied the openings
to the rarer zones better than I did.

Condx seemed pretty good although I never really could get a good EU run
going on 20m. 40m worked much better during the night.

Monday I was very busy getting down the antennas, rolling up wires and
cables and packing them, so we were on time for our flight to Curacao in
the evening. If it sounded like I was very slow with antenna work, well
I was but we were also doing a lot of sightseeing and some canoeing and
snorkelling as well.

Thanks for all the QSOs and for QSY to the people I moved. Thanks to
Noah for renting his house on Bonaire to me. It was a great experience.
Congrats to Bud and Con for super efforts.

vy 73 etc. de Carsten, DL1EFD


   QSOs   QSO points   Zones   Countries   Multipliers          Score
160m:          13         30       5         12     
80m:          111        322      14         35
40m:         1015       3030      21         88
20m:         1016       3037      32         92
15m:         1053       3136      28         93
10m:         1401       4171      25         99
Totals:      4609      13726     125        419     544     7466944


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