[VHFcontesting] K0SGI Sept 2004 results

Brent Casavant b.j.casavant at ieee.org
Tue Sep 14 16:20:51 EDT 2004

Hello again,

The K0SGI multi-unlimited station (Glen KC0IYT, Jason N0RPM, and Brent
KD5EMB) again operated from George Ohmann Park (EN34ks) in Eagan, MN.
It's a high spot, but is surrounded by trees and houses making 10g nearly
impossible and likely interfering with other bands.

Our station setup was a replay of the June contest, with only a few changes.
An 18' ladder with a TV rotor and 10' EMT conduit mast formed our main
"tower".  This held antennas for 144 thru 902.  A second mast of 2x10' EMT
conduit held the 6M antenna.  This time we mounted the 1296 and 902 antennas
at the top of the mast (about 25') and the transverters were in a box just
below the rotor.  Jason brought a 170W amp + preamp for 144.  Brent felt
that both the preamp and the power helped out a lot.


 - Working beyond EN34 on 1296: K9CVC and W9FZ/R (twice).

 - W0ZQ on 10ghz "leaf scatter": 8.5 miles and S7 signals

 - Utilized much more CW than previous contests, particularly
   with N9TTX, who hung in there with us for over a half hour
   completing CW on 50, 222, and 432.  Also got W0PHD on 2m CW.

 - Watching Glen climb our ladder tower to reseat a remote thermometer
   in the transverter case.

 - Sweeping (except 10G) W9FZ/R in EN35.  Swept W0ZQ as well as W9RAY/R
   in both EN44 and EN45 on all common bands.

 - N0UNL on 2m in EN10.  K2YAX on 2m in EN74.

 - The incredible amount of activity in EN34 and EN44.  There were very
   few idle moments, a far cry from most other recent VHF+ contests.

 - Keeping about the same number of grids worked, compared to June,
   despite 6m never opening.


 - We neglected to tie down our sun shade since we moved it several
   times a day to keep it shading us.  Sunday, the wind blew it away,
   breaking the leg off of one corner.  It survived the rest of the
   day with the aid of some rope, but now it needs a replacement part.
   Brent was in the middle of a 432 QSO with N0KP as the tent passed
   overhead, and amazingly didn't say anything on-air to earn us a
   letter from the FCC.

 - During setup Sunday, something happened that blew fuses on an IC-706,
   2m amp, and took out the inverter for the rotor (it has fuses inside
   which were not blown and appears to have no reverse voltage protection).

 - Transverters were a constant source of problems. Saturday, we couldn't
   even get around EN34 on 902 and 1296 and static was S7 - S9 from both
   transverters.  One channel of the new PTT buffer (an op amp, a couple of
   diodes, a resistor and a mosfet) didn't switch, but it was a 2-channel
   buffer so the other channel was put in use.  During teardown, Glen
   discovered that he had the coax swapped between the transverters!  The
   few contacts we did make were courtesy of a low quality antenna switch
   with poor isolation.  A Saturday evening debugging session uncovered a
   loose wire on the PTT buffer board, and the RF gain in the transverters
   was reduced to bring the noise level below S1.  After this, the
   transverters worked great on Sunday!  Thanks to those who suffered
   through this with us on Saturday, and gave us a second chance on Sunday.

   The indoor/outdoor thermometer probe fell out of the transverter box,
   leaving us with no idea how hot it was inside.  In June, it had become
   extremely hot inside the transverter box (which as now been painted
   white).  Our first try was to poke it in from the bottom, but that left
   it at the cool bottom, right near the fan.  After becoming concerned
   about it, the ladder was climbed and the sensor probe was put in from
   the vent holes at the top revealing that the inside temperature was no
   higher than the outside air.  Whew!

   Sunday, all cables were labeled using twist-ties with a masking tape
   label  Looks goofy, works great.

 - An extendable mast (DK9SQ mast -- like a fishing pole) was used to hold
   the 2m groundplane.  It  collapsed a section and fell over.  Out of 360
   degrees available to choose, which way did it choose?  It found Brent.
   [Editorial note: I didn't say anything unbecoming on-air that time either.]

 - Though we improved considerably, we still didn't take maximum advantage
   of the available rovers.  Most notably we missed N0DQS/R entirely, found
   K0PG/R and K9ILT/R only once, and KC0FXY/R only twice.

Memorable quotes:

 - "If you mount it like that, do we have to operate lower side band?"
   -- Brent, KD5EMB, on seeing his 222 Yagi being mounted with the
      feed-point on the bottom of the antenna.
 - "Really - I do know how to send 34!"
   -- Jason, N0RPM, on his inexplicably persistent CW sending struggles.

After packing up for the weekend, we visited Bruce W9FZ/R at the Mendota
overlook, on our way to Perkins for our traditional post-contest supper.

We'd really like to thank everyone who operated, particularly those who
stuck in there with us during difficult QSOs.  And of course all the
rovers -- it was nice to hear K0MHC/R and N0HZO/R in there so often,
particularly when none of us remembered the callsigns from previous
contests.  Also, a big thanks to W9FZ/R for making it so incredibly easy
to sweep the bands with him -- Bruce's pileup handling technique is
second to none.

Photos and additional commentary should be available in a few days
at http://reality.sgiweb.org/k0sgi/.  For now you can see photos at

And last but not least...

Band	QSOs	Value	QSOPts	Mults
50	32	1	32	8
144	62	1	62	14
222	21	2	42	7
432	29	2	58	8
903	4	3	12	2
1.2	8	3	24	4
10	1	4	4	1

Totals:	157		234	44
Claimed Score: 10296

Now, to start preparing for November Sweepstakes...

73 de K0SGI (Silicon Graphics, Inc. Amateur Radio Club, Minnesota branch)

Brent Casavant			http://www.angeltread.org/
KD5EMB				-.- -.. ..... . -- -...
44 54'24"N 93 03'21"W 907FASL	EN34lv

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