[SECC] ARRL 160 AA4LR Single Op LP

Bill Coleman aa4lr at arrl.net
Mon Dec 3 23:37:08 EST 2007

                    ARRL 160-Meter Contest

Call: AA4LR
Operator(s): AA4LR
Station: AA4LR

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 17.7

Total:  QSOs = 625  Sections = 73  Countries = 7  Total Score = 101,680

Club: South East Contest Club


15m shunt-fed tower with 30 ground-mounted radials (most 60' four are  
125 doublet fed with open wire at 10m
Half-size K9AY receiving loops

Elecraft K2/100 w/ KAT100 running 80-100 watts
Kenwood AT-250 (for doublet)



After looking over the results from the ARRL 160m last summer, I had  
decided I needed to put in a greater effort this year. I figured I  
couldn't compete with W8JI in the High-Power category in Georgia (I  
can't use the amp with the shunt-fed tower anyway), but the Low-Power  
category was one with scores in the 70K range the last couple of  
years. Also, given this is the sunspot low, 160m ought to be really  
great as well.

The last couple of years, my efforts were limited due to equipment  
failures. The shunt matching network had failed abruptly in 2005 on  
the second night. The revised network had failed at the start of the  
contest in 2006, costing me 4 hours of prime-time operating.

I'd done a good job repairing the matching network in 2006. It had  
worked all year. A bit of maintenance the week before gave me  
confidence that I wasn't going to have any antenna failures. The rest  
of it was a matter of spending hours in the chair operating.

With some pre-contest analysis, I found that my efforts from the  
previous two years had lots of Qs, but fewer multipliers (just under  
60) compared with other stations in Georgia. This likely due to the  
fact that I mostly ran stations and did very little S & P. Both of the  
last two efforts were right about 7 hours of operating time. I figured  
if I could double the amount of time, that 500 Qs should be possible,  
and 75 multipliers seemed reasonable as well, with a target score of  

I also wanted to get some confirmations for my 160m CW WAS. I have all  
but six states confirmed, only lacking AK, HI, NV, ND, UT, WY. I  
figured that AK and HI would be the hardest, and would require me to  
get up before dawn.

Contest started out well, I quickly found a spot to CQ, and the rate  
meter read over 240/hr briefly at the start. I'd have a series of good  
runs, interspersed with some S & P. The first night, I focused mostly  
on rate, figuring I'd get a second shot at multipliers the second  
night. After staying up late, getting up an hour before dawn was  
really tough. But 20 minutes after sunrise, I'd finished with 392 Qs  
and 74 mults. I had already significantly bested last years effort,  
and was more than on track to make my goal.

Second night was tougher, since I'd has a busy Saturday, little sleep  
the night before, and was at it again. The excitement of the contest  
kept me going. By the time I threw in the towel at 0600z, I had 590  
Qs, 79 mults. I'd more than met my goal. When I got up early in the  
morning, I figured I might be able to break 600 Qs. But could I make  
it to 100 K points? I S & P'd furiously, skipping over stations I had  
worked previously. I broke 100 K just before dawn, and finished up  
with a few more stations.

On the multiplier front, I worked all sections missing only ND, SF,  
AK, AB, MB, NL & NT. Of these, I never heard any stations in any of  
these sections, with the
exception of AB, as I heard a VE6 calling someone the second night. DX  
was C6A, HI (HI3A called me while I was CQing), CO, G, PJ2, 9A (9A2DQ  
was extremely loud) and XE. As it was, I worked 48 states on 160m in a  
weekend (All but ND and AK). That's amazing.

A couple of equipment notes. The doublet was basically useless -- only  
a couple of Qs made on that antenna. The Shunt ruled. Not bad for an  
antenna barely 1/10 wavelength tall. The K9AY loops were marginally  
helpful in a few cases. I tried to put up some full-sized loops, but  
the wire I was trying to loft into a tree got caught and broke, so I  
wasn't able to complete thats.

In the last month, I started hearing some broad S3 noise starting  
around 1825 kHz up to about 1840 kHz. It's not stable and tends to  
drift around. The rest of the band is about S1 atmospheric noise.  
Since this is the "sweet" part of the band, including the DX window,  
that was really frustrating.

Had one other weird thing with the K2/100. The amount of current it  
needs to produce 100 watts output seems to vary with temperature. As  
the unit gets warmer, the current demands get higher. Aftering CQing  
for a long time the second night, the power supply started to protest  
by producing a loud hum in time with my code. It only happened couple  
of times off an on, but it was very disconcerting. I was afraid my  
power supply would fail, and then I would be off the air.

I'm hoping this score might be good enough for a certificate. The  
Southeast Division leader for low power had 104K last year, so maybe  
I've got a shot there, too. In any case, I've established a new  
personal best as well as worked 4 of the six missing states for 160m  

[ UPDATE: I've already gotten LoTW confirmations for UT and WY ]

Posted using 3830 Score Submittal Forms at: http://www.hornucopia.com/3830score/

Bill Coleman, AA4LR, PP-ASEL        Mail: aa4lr at arrl.net
Quote: "Not within a thousand years will man ever fly!"
             -- Wilbur Wright, 1901

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