TopBand: XE2/W0AH 160M CQ SSB contest low power, low antenna!
Mon, 8 Mar 1999 14:37:09 EST

Operated 4 hours Friday and Saturday evenings from a hilltop on the most
southern point of the Baja penisula, just outside of Cabo San Lucas, 600 miles
south of the AZ/NM border.

XE2/W0AH  43 contacts   211 QSO points    Score:  3376    8 hours operating

LONG:  I thought a few of you might like my story of how easy it is to get on
160M using an IC-706 and coil of wire that will easy fit in your suitcase.  I
love experimenting with antennas.  In 1957, I made my first 160M contacts
using a undertermined length of wire run into the coax conector of a Viking
II.  This antenna was simililar except that without the Viking II's pi-network
tuning or an antenna tuner, I had to find the correct lenth of wire to
resonnate on 160M using the little IC-706. 
      Using an MFJ antenna analyzer in my driveway the night before we left
for Mexico, it took only 15 minutes to roll about 130' (unmeasured) of wire
off a 160' roll of 20 guage wire, string it over some small Aspen trees, and
find the correct length.  
     I was amazed that this quarterwave length of wire, connected on one end
with an aligator clip to the 2M whip on my Pathfinder and averaging only 10'
above ground was less than 10 dB down from my 90' top-loaded vertical (which
performs quite well- 107 countries worked on 160M in 6 months last season)
during some A/B tests.  I worked stations in nearby states up to about 600
miles away.
    I rolled the wire up and put it next to my IC-706.  The next day I would
pack them in my suitcase for a week trip to Los Cabos where my wife and I
would vacation.  I promised I wouldn't "do" ham radio except for a few hours
Friday and Saturday nights during the CQ 160M SSB test.
     I did contact a local ham, Rosalio, on 2M FM Wednesday asking him about
where I could buy some wire (I had forgotten to pack my measured roll of wire)
and where I could operate.  He was very helpful and even made arrangements for
me to operate on the highest hill where the 2M repeater tower was located
using the 60' tower to support one end of my antenna if he could get the key
to the tower enclosure which, unfortuately, never happened.  
      On Thursday I bought about 150' of 16 guage, insulated electrical wire
at the hardware store; that evening I set up my VW in a vacant parking lot
nest to the Marina Fiesta Hotel and laboriously (sans MFJ Antenna Analyzer)
found the correct length of wire to resonnate on 1850.   The wire I bought was
much heavier than what I had intended to bring so I had trouble finding
support objects to get it much above 9' in height, but conditions were good
and I heard lots of 4's and even some 1's calling DX stations on CW.  I worked
AA4MM in FL at 1700 miles from what seemed to be a poor location surrounded by
higher ground and buildings.
       The next evening I set up on the 800' hill with the Pacific ocean to my
west and the Sea of Cortez to my east.  Wow!  What a sunset!  It took about 10
minutes to get the antenna supported by the highest vegetation; it averaged
maybe 10' above ground.  From the previous night's results in the vacant lot I
thought 100 contacts, maybe 200 contacts, was possible.  
     It was not to be.  Conditions seemed much worse than the night before.
Also, there was S9+ QRN stateside.  I made only 16 contacts, the furtherest
being N0AH in WY, 1300 miles.   I was so frustrated I took down my antenna at
9PM and repositioned it in another direction and maybe a couple of feet
higher.  It made no difference.
      The next night conditions were slightly better and less noisy.  I
repositioned my antenna again, this time getting it maybe 15' above ground.  I
worked 27 additional contacts including KE8I, VE6JY, and VE5RA, all around
1800 miles.   I also worked KH6CC.  The loudest signal from stateside was N7DD
followed by N7KQ and N7DF who were both strong.  Only a few other signals made
it to S9.  I never heard AA4MM or any W1's 2's,or 3's. I heard very few 4's or
I think if the band had been less noisy, I might have worked over 100
stations.  I called dozens of stations who CQ'd in my face!
     At 11 PM Saturday night, I took down my antenna in less than 10 minutes
and was asleep in the hotel by midnight.  The next morning we had an early
flight back to Colorado. 
Doug  W0AH        <A HREF="">

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