AA8IA Amateur Radio

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Ohio QSO Party 2011 Summary

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I had originally planned to operate using the N8W 1×1 callsign. However, prior to the start of the OhQP I was working the KsQP and had forgotten to change my station info in N1MM back to N8W. It wasn’t until I had made a handful of QSOs as AA8IA that I realized I didn’t make the change to N8W. So, I simply operated as AA8IA in the OhQP.

Different this year was the switch from the 105′ doublet to an Alpha Delta DX-LB+. I did this figuring that there would be a better pattern on 10/15/20m with the LB+ vs the doublet. Of course, I didn’t anticipate making many Qs on 10-20m during the OhQP since historically the bands of choice are 40/80m. 10-20m has been fairly pisspoor as of late anyway. I did manage a few Qs on 15m and about six dozen or so on 20m.

Last year, 80m was equal if not better than 40m, even with me not having access to 75m last year. Totally different this year. 40m never seemed to go long like it did last year. So I made many more Qs on 40m this year. The LB+ allows me to work nearly all of 40m without a tuner. I also got a Ameritron ATR-20 this year, which allowed me to tune anywhere I needed to go on any band. Initially I had problems on 40m with RF getting into my CAT/CW interface. Relocating the interface and snapping on some ferrite stopped the problem… this time.

As mentioned above, 80m just didn’t have the activity. There didn’t seem to be a lot of stations on 80m. Then again, upon looking over the scores of some other Ohio stations there was definitely more to be worked on 80m. I apparently didn’t show up on 80m at the right times. I had problems initially on 80m SSB (75m) with RF getting into the audio. KW8N brought it to my attention while I was making my first 80m Q. The only thing I could do to get rid of it was swap out my Heil ProSet + Hand Switch with the stock microphone and my Sennheiser headphones. Once I did that, 80m SSB was fine.

For reasons I won’t go into, I can’t use a footswitch. A handswitch is a pain in the rear end for keying the mic, and using the stock mic is even more of a pain. But it was a lot of fun, and a challenge, to continuously swap between the keyboard for logging and the microphone.

I’ve never worked so much SSB in a contest. It was a welcome change, aside from the points disadvantage. [In the OhQP you get more points for CW contacts.] It was nice to actually match voice to some of the people I’m used to working on CW/RTTY. I am longwinded. In a QSO Party especially, I don’t like to be a standoff. I try to be polite, and I try to repeat things an annunciate well enough so that the other guy [or gal] is less likely to need a repeat. I want the people participating to feel welcomed. After all, not only are the ops from other states our guests, but many of the in-state stations are not contesters but jump on an operate because it is Ohio’s own QSO Party.

As far as score goes, it went very well. Below is a comparison between this year and last year.

band/modeOhQP 2011OhQP 2010
80/cw55160
80/ssb5539
40/cw11947
40/ssb1510
20/cw6239
20/ssb130
15/cw51

The 80m CW total was down 66% this year, and the 80m band total was down 57%. The 40m CW total was up 153% this year, and the 40m band total was up 474%. The 20m CW total was up 58% this year, and the 20m band total was up 92%. The 15m total was exactly the same. The overall CW total was about the same this year, while the overall SSB total was up 461%.

Bottom line is that I made about twice the number of CW QSOs as last year and nearly doubled my QSO total by operating much more SSB.

It was great to work more DX this year. DL2HBX, OM2VL, and perhaps another 10 or so DX stations gave me a call on various bands/modes. Although DX do not count as multiplier, I’d really like to work even more next year.

Thanks to many… Kenny, K2KW, for again spearheading the promotion of the OhQP; the Ohio stations, who really stepped up to the plate to put counties on the air; the abundance of out-of-state participation — ya gotta have that!; the DX stations who joined us for the party, and the half dozen or so mobiles, aero-mobiles, and rovers for traveling far and wide [in some cases, from outside Ohio] to make counties available.

Oh yeah — Thanks to the guys who were spotting us Ohio stations, especially K5KG — a sudden influx of stations answering one’s CQ is a great pick-me-up.

Ohio QSO Party
1600Z, Aug 27 to 0400Z, Aug 28

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Jefferson Co
Operating Time (hrs): 12

Summary:
Band CW Qs Ph Qs
——————–
80: 55 55
40: 119 151
20: 62 13
15: 5
10:
——————–
Total: 241 219 CW Mults = 79 Ph Mults = 91 Total Score = 119,170

Written by Mike

August 31st, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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Upcoming Operating Events

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Below are some of the upcoming operating events I am interested in. For full details on any of these [and many others], check out the WA7BNM Contest Calendar

CWops Mini-CWT Test
1300Z-1400Z Wed, Aug 10
1900Z-2000Z Wed, Aug 10
0300Z-0400Z Thu, Aug 11

Hard for me to find time midweek for these short ones, but they sure are fun and help break up the monotony between the weekend tests.

WAE DX Contest, CW
0000Z Sat, Aug 13 to 2359Z Sun, Aug 14

Single-op stations can operate up to 36 hours, multi-op up to 48 hours. I forgot all about this one. I had a blast last year, but I struggled learning the whole QTC thing. I don’t think I’ll be any better off in that regard this year. The EU ops are brilliant, patient, and eager to take QTCs.

Maryland-DC QSO Party
1600Z Sat, Aug 13 to 0400Z Sun, Aug 14
1600Z-2400Z Sun, Aug 14

Two time periods. I want to make some Qs in this one since MD-DC is “just down the road” from me and they make contacts in the OhQP for us.

SARTG WW RTTY Contest
0000Z-0800Z Sat, Aug 20
1600Z-2400Z Sat, Aug 20
0800Z-1600Z Sun, Aug 21

This same weekend is the CW Ops Open inaugural and the NAQP SSB. I will have to sit out the SARTG WW this year.

CWOps CW Open
1200Z-1559Z Sat, Aug 20
2000Z-2359Z Sat, Aug 20
0400Z-0759Z Sun, Aug 21

I’m looking forward to this one. I’ve only operated once or twice in the mini tests, and they are great. I want to be there with bells on for this event.

Three separate four-hour tests. Work any or all three slots.

North American QSO Party, SSB
1800Z Sat, Aug 20 to 0600Z Sun, Aug 21

Single-op stations work 10 of 12 hours, Multi-op work all 12 hours.

SSB typically isn’t my game. Mediocre stations make poor SSB contesting stations. However, this is a domestic constest and is limited to 100w, so there will be lots of mediocre stations just like mine operating. I’ll play in this one.

Written by Mike

August 8th, 2011 at 1:13 am

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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West Virginia QSO Party 2011 Summary

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My back still hasn’t recuperated from all of the time spent in the chair for the June VHF QP and CQ WPX CW. I couldn’t manage to sit in the chair for any length of time. Also, something is wrong with the 80m doublet. It’s hearing worse on 80m than the 40m wire, and I was having difficulty tuning every band. I did a quick investigation and didn’t see anything wrong, but obviously something is broken — either at the feedpoint or in the ladderline.

West Virginia QSO Party
June 18, 2011

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

Class: Single OpMixed LP
QTH: Ohio-EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 1:52

Summary:
Band CW Qs Ph Qs Dig Qs
—————————-
80:
40: 6 11
20: 3 3
15:
10:
—————————-
Total: 9 14 0 Mults = 13 Total Score = 742

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Comments:

Score includes 300 points for working W8WVA three times. I only worked W8OP/m twice, and even worse was the fact that I only worked K8RYU/m once.

The June VHF QSO Party and CQ WPX CW required so much sitting time for me that I’m still trying to get my sciatica under control. I just couldn’t sit for hours searching out the random WV station or wait for mobiles to switch counties. I knew better and didn’t even try.

As you can guess from the 80m total, I must not have been operating in the evening. My heart wasn’t in it by that point. My 80m doublet was hearing less than my 40m wire on 80m. I was having trouble tuning every band on the 80m wire. I lowered the mast and looked over things briefly, and I didn’t see any broken wires. But somehow I had to have lost a connection / broken a leg of the wire. So 80m wouldn’t have been possible anyway.

This is only my second time working this QSO Party, and it was nice to see / hear a lot of fixed stations on. My score doesn’t reflect contact with a lot of fixed stations, but I’m quite sure many more counties were covered than I had heard.

W8OP and K8RYU sounded great on 40m when I worked them. I was really surprised that I was able to hear so many WV stations on 20m in early-mid afternoon.

The operating time is misleading. Like some others, I did tune around periodically on the bands looking for stations.

Thanks to all of the WV ops and the mobile ops for putting on a nice QP.

Written by Mike

June 19th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

West Virginia QSO Party Jun 18, 1600z to Jun 19, 0200z

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The WVQP is happening this weekend.

I plan on jumping on.

Written by Mike

June 18th, 2011 at 11:39 am

ARRL VHF QSO Party 2011 Summary

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ARRL Diamond Logo
Equipment used this year included the Yaesu FT-950 for 6m and the Yaesu FT-100 for 2m/440; a Par Electronics Stressed Moxon for 6m and a Diamond X300 dual-band vertical for 2m/440. I didn’t really plan nor expect any activity on 2m given that I was running a vertical and there wasn’t a whole lot of local activity. As it turns out, an additional factor in low VHF activity was the fact that 6m was open somewhere all weekend. I don’t remember what it was like last year, but I’m guessing conditions were better this year on 6m. Anyway, it’s obvious by the contest scores of others that a large majority played on 6m for the whole contest period.

I am never any good at recapping what happened during the contest. My mind is a blur after it’s all over. Notable was a nice West Coast opening, PJ2/K8LEE and T48K, and Florida/Texas very strong, all on Saturday evening. The better band conditions along with the Moxon this year (instead of a 40m wire) made for much more fun. Of course, I had to make about 30 trips out to the mast to turn it during the contest. After 6m died down Saturday night I swapped out the Moxon for the Diamond vertical and attempted to find something on 2m/440. I managed a few EN90/FN00 contacts as well as K2LIM on 2m. Heard nothing on 440, but I didn’t expect to and didn’t even try.

Sunday morning I turned the Moxon to FM/FN grids and got and handful or two of grids/contacts. It was great to manage a few contacts in that direction — as it turns out, some of my fellow MRRCers up north weren’t as fortunate into FM/FN. There was a lesser opening to the West Coast on Sunday — Seemed to be a much narrower section of stations available out West. Activity from the south was very poor compared to Saturday. The Heartland of America was out in force on Sunday though. I bet if you look at some of the scores from W0 you’ll see some really nice QSO counts.

Managed to work some locals / some MRRC guys, such as K8MR, N8VV, K1LT , K8MFO, and K8WFN. Worked quite a few other Ohio and MI stations that I had never heard from before this contest.

Had a lot of fun, but I’ll never bother with 2m/440 in a contest again until I have some directional gain antennas up and a rotator.

ARRL June VHF QSO Party
June 11-12, 2011

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: EN90QL East ohio
Operating Time (hrs): 13:16

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
6: 172 91
2: 4 3
222:
432:
903:
1.2:
2.3:
3.4:
5.7:
10G:
24G:
——————-
Total: 176 94 Total Score = 16,544

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

June 13th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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Alabama QSO Party 2011 Summary

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Alabama QSO Party
June 4, 2011

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

Class: SOMixed LP
QTH: Ohio
Operating Time (hrs): 7:19

Summary:
Band CW Qs Ph Qs
——————–
160: 0 0
80: 9 0
40: 63 8
20: 27 7
15: 4 1
10: 1 0
——————–
Total: 104 16 CW Mults = 48 Ph Mults = 9 Total Score = 12,768

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

June 13th, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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