TopBand: The Stew from NI6T, plus

Garry & Yelena
Mon, 29 Dec 1997 00:25:29 -0800

Confessions of One Who Never Reads the Rules

First, I decided to use packet in the Stew, because I was more
interested in New Ones than in just having another mediocre score. I
thought that would make my entry M/S, and who cared? Had I read the
rules, I would have noted that packet was not allowed. Hence I am
disqualified and will send my log as a check log. So it goes.

1500Z is an oddball time to start, when one's sunrise is 1520. Smarter
west coast people therefore blew off the morning, but I decided to begin
with some DISTANCE, so I started then, anyway. That first hour brought
about 14 JA's, NL7Z, Tree, and a few others. VY1JA called me from the JA
window, so I returned the favor by coming back to JA1VY. After that, I
went back to bed.

I spent the afternoon working on a summer Beverage project with KA6W.
Yes, I know the winter solstice was last week--it happens. No, that
Beverage was not completed--we are still in the
take-the-machete-and-head-downhill phase. Redwood canyons are northern
rain forests, and very dense with nasty things like blackberries and
poison oak.

By the time I de-grunged, the sun was already well down, and the bigger
west coast boys were already posting Europeans. I toured the band,
logging North Americans, and then CQ'd. There was a persistent weak
signal in there that I could not decipher. Later, DJ7AA posted "NI6T, no
ears." WIll, you are so correct. Know the truth and the truth shall make
ye free. But I did work DL5XU, and the very loud GM3POI, amidst more

Out here on the edge of the continent, and down in a hole to boot,
openings have to be pretty special to include me, so it wasn't until
0342 that I snagged HA8BE for a New One. OK, the event was then
wonderful in my book---I am easily satisfied by any success. So, when I
got RA2FBC for another New One 40 minutes later, I got really pumped up.
The SM's were very loud--louder than I ever recall---especially SM4CAN
and SM5EDX, and PA0CLN (another New One) and S58A had Walt, AJ6T and I
on the telephone to each other. My last Euro was CT1BOH at 0800 and
things got quiet around 0830. 

At that point, I went off in a fruitless pursuit of T31BB. Norbert is an
SSB operator with apparently little interest in 160. But he was loud on
75m, and had said he would be QRV on topband at 10Z. In fact, it was
closer to 1100 and, when he went to 1840, there was no THERE there.
Nothing. Zilch. TI4CF managed to work him, marginally. Since you all
know Carlos and what he has, that says it all. It seems Norbert did
exactly what I had thought and feared--he put up a low dipole, with not
even a balun on it. The tallest thing on a coral atoll is usually a
coconut palm. Canton has some big towers, but not where he was. His
linear did not like the dipole, he said later, so he was barefoot. Last
year, when some of the west coast boys talked him into trying 160--after
he said he had no antenna--I was in the Yucatan and missed the party. It
looks like I might as well go back. Anyway, after that debacle, I went
to bed and fell into what the late great Lord Buckley once called a
"miser's coma."

Back to the Stew. Granted, 14 Euros is just another evening's relaxation
to most of you--a real SLOW evening for the East Coast, where a
topbander with only 14 Euros--even barefoot-- probably goes outside to
see if his TX antenna is still up. But it's a Big Deal to me, and to my
geographically challenged cohorts out here, I can assure you, especially
after weeks and months of watching the postings of stuff we never hear,
leading us to wonder  whether we should get a life.

But some babies are born with angels on their shoulders. One of these is
Danny, K6UT, who deserves some recognition. Danny started on topband
just last year, with an inverted vee at 70 feet, albeit in the clear,
south of Sacramento, where the river silts make for good ground
conductivity. He made a few good QSO's, couldn't hear some of the other
goodies. He did observe that he could occasionally work Europe off the
ends of the vee--where one gets some vertical polarization. Last night I
coaxed him away from 75. After a while, Danny, in a moment of either
inspiration or desperation, decided to see if he could hear better on
his 80m foursquare--he is a Big Noise on 80. Wonder of wonders, the band
leaped out of his earphones, and he started logging everything that
appeared. "Mr. Watson, come here, I need you," springs to mind. Today,
the day after, it got worse-- he worked everything I worked, and a good
deal more, and went off to dinner with 102 in the log. Not bad,
rookie--take a bow. Now if I can only figure out how to get him OFF 160

Garry Shapiro, NI6T
160 meters: not a band, but an obsession

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