TopBand: arrl 160 test
Mon, 9 Dec 1996 21:39:09 -0500

I thouroughly enjoy reading activity reports from the super ops with super
K0HA, NI6T, N6TR, W0SD, VK6HD, but suspect the several hundred other
participants in this reflector often wonder how deep in the "food chain"
(credit K0CS) some of this good DX goes!  I'm in northern Minnesota with a
modest topband station but 40 years experience in contesting/dxing.  TX ant
is a Alpha Delta sloper from 80' on the tower (well grounded with radials but
containing a mid tower beam on a side mount which pretty much precludes a
gamma rod for loading).  Amp is 87A so have lots of power!  Just before
contest installed a somewhat compromised 550' bev with ZJ box running through
friendly neighbor's back lot and terminating in daughter's back yard (that
took some planning!)  Goes north for 300' than NE for 250'.  Really hoped to
go full tilt on this event, but the stars wern't lining up on this
one--daughter (the same one) had a baby on Friday (wanted Mom and Dad there
and I mean there!  You guessed it 2:30 a.m. delivery Friday morning and 2
"must be a part of" family affairs both Fri and Sat evenings.  Oh well, take
what you can get.  Forget Friday night--can't stay awake anyway.  Get up
Saturday morning and pick up the first JA of the season--great signal from
JA5BJC and a few locals.  Check band around noon to see how the truly
committed are doing--sure enough there is WB9Z still at it!  Jump on around
22:30 and, without amp, (slight TVI) S&P at close to 100/hour for 90 minutes,
go out for eve and back on at 3:30Z.  Band real quiet, window amazingly clear
and several good sigs from EU--loudest I've heard this season!  Use amp now
and quickly pick up OZ3W, SP2FAX,OT6T,SM4HCM, DL1IAO,GM3POI, and TK5NN.  The
new bev really helps with elimating about 20-30 dbs of loud W stations, but
most of these guys were really coming through.  Too bad the loud N7/XE is in
the window or there might have been room for a couple more EU.  A decent run
spot is located and the rate meter hovers around 100 for a couple of hours.
 Only DX to call is G3PQV.  No new countries, but the best night of the year
on 160 for me!  Maybe the most exciting QSO was VY1JA for a first ever.
 Interestingly, I could hear anything anyone was calling around the 3:30 to
5:30Z time, but, by 06:30 to EU sunrise I started hearing east coast guys
working EU stations I couldn't hear a sound from.  Missed ND, SJV, SF, SFL,
VE 1,2, KP4,2, and KH6, but got 11 countries & 382 Q's in 7 hours--and most
importantly had a blast.  The real highlight of the long weekend was not
getting the wife too upset and taking part in  the delivery of a beautiful
new granddaughter.  Hope to make a better showing in the W1BB event.  John,
N0IJ (formerly K0IJL)

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