AA8IA Amateur Radio

NAQP CW August 2010 Summary

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Wow, what a great contest. All NA stations, no high power. This is my best chance to compete since I’m using low-slung dipoles and no amp.

10/15m were not what I would consider “open”, although there were certain some contacts to be made. For whatever reason I didn’t rack up nearly as many Qs on 20m as I thought I would. Either I didn’t spend enough time on 20m, operated on 20m at the wrong time, or there just wasn’t good propogation on 20m. I’ll have to look into that some more. 40m was alright, but again not all that I thought it would be. The highlight was 80m. Had I known 80m was going to be so productive, I would have thought to allot enough time on 80m to nab everything available to me. 160m was nice and quiet and I heard a lot of strong stations — unfortunately I could not tune up on 160m. If I could have, I probably would have had 1w ERP.

Thanks to W0BH and K0RF for providing me with a 5-band sweep. I am betting that if I had a 160m dipole up I would have at least been able to work W0BH on 160m, not sure about K0RF. I got K5CM, W0ZA and K0OU on 4 bands.

It was great to finally work some of the fellow MRRC crowd such as W1NN, WB8JUI, W8TM, N8SS, K8MM and K8DD as well as many NCC guys, a few close PA stations including KB3LIX, a few WV stations, and of course K4BAI, who I always look forward to working in a contest.

I think this is a great contest for people just starting out in contesting and/or those with very modest antenna setups (wires and no amps).

As usual, I was gun-shy about CQing. I ended up CQing on 10/15 since I figured there was not much of a chance of a response. As it turns out, I did get a few Qs on those bands by CQing. Probabaly not worth the time I put into doing it though. Once it was time for 80m, I took the plunge and set up shop on a frequency and started CQing well before the masses arrived. I was hoping to slowly be introduced to a pileup. It worked out good. I had my best personal rate, which was about 58/hr over the course of an hour and a half. In any real contester’s mind this rate is mediocre at best. But for me it was great since I never CQ. There were many times when I had multiple stations calling, reminiscent of what I would hear on Morse Runner. It was great to know that while I was working a Q there was another couple waiting for me.

Eventually everyone was migrating to 80m and I could hear other CQing stations very close by me as well as the ops they were working. I figured I may get passed over if the stations were strong enough and close enough on either side of me. It seemed like most stations were never bothering to zero beat [and I always try to when I’m S&Ping]. Because of this I was afraid to tighten up the filters for fear of not hearing some potentially workable stations. So I persisted until I had enough. It was a great introduction to CQing on a larger scale.

Working the NAQP made me realize that I have a long way to go as far as increasing my efficiency and operating skills in a contesting environment…. I didn’t run out of Qs in the NAQP, I ran out of skill and time. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s more fun and easier to improve myself than to improve my antenna situation.

My Results

Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH
Operating Time (hrs): 10

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
-------------------
160:
80: 119 29
40: 90 34
20: 82 26
15: 36 14
10: 30 11
-------------------
Total: 357 114 Total Score = 40,698

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Team: MRRC/NCC Team #2

Breakdown

44 states (not AK HI IA OR RI VT WY) – all bands combined

80 meters – 28 states
(AL CO CT DE FL GA IL IN KS KY OH LA MA MD MI MO NC NH NJ NY OK PA SC TN TX VA WI WV)

40 meters – 31 states
(AL AR AZ CA CO CT DE FL GA IL IN KS KY LA MA ME MN MO MS MT NC ND NJ NM NY OK TN TX WA WI WV)

20 meters – 23 states
(AL AR AZ CA CO FL GA ID IL KS LA ME MN MO MS MT ND NM OK TX UT WA WI)

15 meters – 11 states
(AZ CA CO FL GA KS MN NV SD TX WA)

10 meters – 10 states
(CO FL GA KS MN MO NE OK PA TX)

These results do not surprise me. 80/40 by default is going to be best for me east of the Mississippi. But, I should have been able to make more 40m contacts farther out. I think it was a combination of the antenna being too low and maybe not working 40m at the best time.

My 40-10m antenna was a flattop with one end at 25-30′ and the other end at about 13′, with E/W ends and the sides facing N/S. Of course at this low height I suspect it really didnt’ favor any particular direction. If I could get the 40-10m antenna up around 35 feet, then I may have a little more gain broadside — and I should also be able to get some more Qs out farther west.

For the 80m wire, if I could get it into a flattop configuration at 35′ average [and away from the house] I should be able to get some more gain locally. Because of the height limitation, I’m likely not going to improve much as far distance on 80m. I don’t think I’d see a decent improvement in 80m distance unless I was able to increase the height to 60’+.

Operating Times / Bands

20M 2:00 PM – 2:31 PM (17 Qs)
15M 2:34 PM – 3:11 PM (22 Qs)
20M 3:19 PM – 3:42 PM (17 Qs)
15M 3:53 PM – 4:41 PM (8 Qs)
10M 4:43 PM (1 Q)
20M 4:49 PM – 5:23 PM (23 Qs)
10M 5:28 PM – 6:21 PM (29Qs)
– CQ 5:40 PM – 5:50 PM (5/29)
– CQ 6:12 PM – 6:21 PM (6/29)
15M 6:26 PM – 6:34 PM (5 Qs)
20M 6:36 PM – 7:03 PM (16 Qs)
40M 7:06 PM – 7:41 PM (36 Qs)
20M 7:43 PM – 7:53 PM (9 Qs)
40M 7:55 PM – 8:15 PM (19 Qs)
80M 8:17 PM – 11:16 PM (116 Qs)
– CQ 8:38 PM – 9:35 PM (49/116)
40M 11:29 PM – 12:19 PM (35 Qs)
80M 12:22 PM – 12:27 PM (4 Qs)

I have no idea if I was working the right bands at the right times. I’m also unsure whether the time spent on 10m / 15m was worth it given the # of Qs and mults.

What is blatantly clear is that I need to do more CQing. Obviously when the bands are packed, and if I can be heard the first time, S&P is effective. But I suspect that in quite a few cases I may have been better off finding and parking on a frequency to CQ rather than S&P.

Prior to this contest I never had a full size 80m wire up. In fact, this current 80m dipole wasn’t even full size — it was 110 feet, still long enough to be an efficient radiator on 80m and hear well. It is an inverted V with a 38′ apex and the ends just inches from the ground. It is 12 feet away from the back side of a 2-story house. Definitely not the best place for an antenna. But it seemed to work great. Unlike in the past on 80m, this time I rarely had to repeat myself and usually was heard the first time I threw my call out. I realized a few things… (1) 80m is more than doable here, (2) i like 80m with a decent antenna, (3) depending upon the contest 80m is _the_band to be on.

For the OHQP in a few weeks I plan on having the 80m dipole up again on the 38-foot fiberglass Max Gain Systems mast, weather permitting. If I’m able to do this, I’m hoping to significantly improve upon my old OHQP scores. I’m hoping for some great fun then.

My plan, once Fall gets here, is to put an Alpha Delta DX-LB up. This is a 160/80/40m shortened trap dipole – 100′ in length. I plan to have it up as a flattop with center support at 38′ and the sides at about 35′ and 25′. That’s close enough to a flattop to call it one. Plus, it will be much more “in the clear” than the current 80m vee. I’m hoping my 80m performance will be better than with the current 80m dipole by virtue of it being a little more in the clear. I’m also hoping that it will allow me to make a few Qs on 160 during the stateside contests and local QSO parties that allow 160m (like PA). At that time I also plan on moving my current Alpha Delta DX-EE 40-10m shortened parallel dipole so that its more parallel with the ground and up another 15 feet in the air.

Written by Mike

August 9th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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