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NAQP CW August 2011 Summary

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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

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90ql
Operating Time (hrs):

Summary:
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!

Written by Mike

August 7th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Contesting

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NAQP CW 2011 this weekend

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North American QSO Party – CW
1800z August 6 to 0600z August 7, 2011
NAQP Rules and Info

I typically love the NAQP tests. Overall, they are typically among the fairest contests. Perhaps fairest is the wrong word. You aren’t supposed to run high power, so if we assume everyone adheres to that rule, then this contest is about as balanced as it can be aside from any geographical advantage somebody have. It’s a great contest for us “little pistol” stations since it’s a domestic contest. We can work DX, but the vast majority of our contacts will be NA stations.

Unfortunately, I am having an extremely difficult time getting motivated. The last time I played in a contest, there was something going on with the 80m doublet / dipole / whatever you wanna call it. Typically I can tune anywhere on any band 40m – 10m, and I can typically tune 80m CW. But for whatever reason I was having difficulty tuning up anywhere on 40m as well as on 80m, and I could tell the tuner was struggling to tune on some others. Now, there is only so much that can go wrong with a simple wire antenna. If the legs are intact and the ladderline is attached, what else is there? It wasn’t raining over the last contest weekend, so it wasn’t an issue with wet ladderline. The push-up mast was all the way up and everything was taught.

I really don’t even want to mess with it. I’d rather put the damned Alpha Delta DX-LB Plus up, but I have to put it together first…. and that takes motivation. Then, I’d have to use coax, and the only coax I have of sufficient length would have to be robbed from the DX-EE dipole. That coax is 100 feet long [overkill] and probably has water intrusion since it has been up a year, is hanging directly down towards the ground from its apex, and has never been sealed. It’s already on the DX-EE, so for good or bad it does work to some extent. But I’d hate to go through the trouble of putting the DX LB-Plus up and swapping the coax to it only to find that the coax is in bad shape. Plus, I don’t have an analyzer to properly tune for a resonant sweet spot on all of the primary bands it handles, and I certainly don’t have the ambition to do it the hard way.

To add insult to injury, we are supposed to see scattered thunderstorms throughout the weekend. My luck would have it that it would storm throughout the 12-hour period and I’d have to lower the mast, remove the feedlines, and unplug all of the equipment.

I am hopeful that I can be on and that the 80m wire will work in typical fashion, but I’m not going to count on it. The odds are against me.

Good luck to all who participate!

Written by Mike

August 4th, 2011 at 11:39 am

Posted in Contesting

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