I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecast all week. The predictions for Saturday were consistent — scattered thunderstorms with a possibility of severe ones. That forecast loomed in my mind all week.
I did end up checking out the 100′ wire, and everything seemed normal with it. I hooked it up and tested, and sure enough it still didn’t want to cooperate above 7040 kHz. I can’t figure out why a setup that has worked fine for a year suddenly wants to play differently. At any rate, when I heard contacts on 40m above 7040 kHz I’d turn off the autotuner and use the wire with about a 2.7:1 SWR, or I’d switch to the DX-EE. For all intents and purposes, the wires were working okay for this CW test.
I started the contest on time but could never get in a run on any band. 10m was poor, although there were some stations and I did garner some mults there. I expected more out of 15m. 20m was much better for me this year than last year. With the everpresent threat of thunderstorms, I always felt like I was pressing my luck. I took an hour break within the first four hours or so, which was a big mistake. 40m was fair, but I got there late and probably stayed on that band too long. I shut down for good at 0100z, five hours early. I missed 80m altogether, and historically it’s my best band in domestic contests. Of course I don’t have a 160m antenna yet, so nothing happened there.
It was fun, but I was too damned focused on the possibility of rogue lightning that I mentally never wanted to get into a run, since I might have to stop a good one should lightning be present.
As it turns out I only heard thunder once, and that was right before 0100z. When it decided to rain, it was light. There wasn’t a single lightning bolt to be seen. I gave up for nothing. I’m pissed… there is no other way to put it.
Being that last year was my first year playing a lot in contests, I figured I should improve on every 2010 score in 2011. This time I failed miserably. I had nearly the same mults as last year, but I was down 70Qs. Of course, last year I operated for 10 hours instead of the six hours I operated this year.
In calculating the damage, I figured that I should have been able to garner another 120+ Qs on 40m and 80m especially. But, after seeing the reports from other Ohioans regarding the heavy QRN, I probably wouldn’t have. But, I am sure that had I remained on the air for 10 hours, I would have definitely beaten my score from last August.
North American QSO Party, CW – August 2011
Sat, Aug 6, 1800z to Sun, Aug 7, 0600z
Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90ql
Operating Time (hrs):
Band QSOs Mults
160: 0 0
80: 0 0
40: 69 34
20: 108 40
15: 84 26
10: 25 10
Total: 286 110 Total Score = 31,460
Club: Mad River Radio Club
Team: MRRC/NCC #1
The Ohio QSO Party is Saturday, August 27th from noon til midnight EDT. I sure hope I can put in the full effort this year and improve upon last years’ score. Hope to work you in the OHQP!