TopBand: HC8N

Bill Tippett
Sun, 28 Feb 1999 10:39:16 -0500

Hello Topbanders!

        I've almost recovered from the trip to HC8 and HC (got a bad
strep throat somewhere) and would like to share a few details of my
experiences there.

        First, the HC8N location is simply fantastic!  It is on the
northern slope of San Cristobal Island at >600 meters above sea level.
You can see the sea for approximately 270 degrees continuously with
the seashore about 6 km away to the north (toward NA).  There is NO
manmade noise whatsoever!  Trey N5KO and others are building a beautiful
house with the 3rd (top) floor dedicated to radio with huge picture windows 
and fantastic views in all directions.

        When we arrived, there were no antennas for 80 or 160 but we
had a very nice 42 meter tower supporting a Cushcraft 40.  Trey had
suggested an elevated GP for 160 sloping north from the top of the tower
so I estimated the overall length at 130 feet, climbed the tower and 
attached it to one of the legs at the top.  We then checked the resonance
and found it necessary to shorten the wire to 125 feet which may have
been caused by a higher velocity factor due to using insulated wire. 
We used 4 elevated radials at about 3+ meters above ground.  It was
almost dark by the time we decided to try out the antenna around 0 UTC
on 16 February.  We worked several North American stations and the
antenna seemed to hear well but I could tell there were many underneath
the QRN that would require Beverages to hear 100%.

        The next day we began work on adding an 80 meter inverted-vee
to the top of the same tower and also on two Beverages, one for NA
oriented at 0 degrees and one for EU at 40 degrees.  The Beverage for
NA had to run between the 4 towers and underneath one of the elevated
radials with a total length of about 200 meters.  The EU Beverage was
more isolated and also longer at about 300 meters.  The first night (18/2)
I was were able to spend at the site (18 km from where we were staying
via a rough dusty road), I verified that both Beverages showed some
directivity and was pleased to work many EU even though we had very high
storm QRN and a couple of carpenters pounding nails about 3 meters from
our ears util 0430 UTC!  The next night (19/2) Trey and Steve K6AW stayed
and had an even better night due to lower QRN and no carpenters!  Before I
returned to be with my XYL that evening, I recall hearing 5B4ADA with
an S8 signal on the unpreamplified EU Beverage on the FT-1000MP meter!
I was now convinced that both TX and RX antennas seemed to be working well.

        Our contest results on 160 were 454 QSO's with 54 states/provinces.
This equalled the result of 6D2X right on the USA border so I was pleased.
Our 80 meter results (868/58) were also the best of any multiop and our
Beverage was very key to these results as well.  It appears that we may
have set a new record for the Multi/Two category in the ARRL CW.  I remain
convinced that the key to winning contests as well as DX'ing is 90% hearing
ability, whether it is 160 meters or 10 meters!  

        For any of you who missed HC8N, do not despair!  There will be
many opportunities in the future as HC8N is developed into a major contest
site in the Western Hemisphere.  Eventually Trey hopes to do multi-multi
operations and there will be plenty of single operator contests in the
interim.  For ARRL SSB, W6NL will be operating single op and for the CQ
WPX SSB, N6KT will be single op.  The antennas are up and they are working
well so keep trying in case you missed us this trip.  Thanks to all for the
QSO's and to Trey for my first experience operating a DX contest from "the
other side" will be hard to top this!

                                                73,  Bill  W4ZV

P.S.  What a pleasant ending to catch E44/HA1AG last night (very
strong on CW around 04 UTC through the contest QRM, QRN, etc.)  I thought
I was going to completely miss E4 since E44DX ended before I returned!  

FAQ on WWW:     
Administrative requests: