AA8IA Amateur Radio

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Pennsylvania QSO Party 2011 Summary

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I really enjoyed the PaQP last year, and so I figured I’d operate this year as well. I was really hoping to make some 160m contacts, but I could only manage to get the dipole to tune extremely low in the band and was only able to squeeze out one Q. No matter, the rest of the party as a blast. 40m was a hotbed of activity on SSB and CW. I never thought to try RTTY this year. I did manage to work the bonus station, K3SMT, twice.

On Saturday night I found 80m to be noisy and lacking in contacts. I’m not sure if everyone just stayed on 40m much longer than usual or if the noise was so bad that I just wasn’t hearing people. But, typically on 80m I do pretty good into neighboring states. So I’m really thinking the activity was down on that band.

K8MR/M, W3USA/M, N8II/M, WA3WSJ/M, W3NO/M, K3YTL/R, K8RYU/R, N3SW(/R?), W3WPA, WU3U/R, KD8MQ/R, and NK8U/3, WI8T and W3TDF apparently running /P were all worked one or more times. A special thanks goes to these folks for getting out of making the extra effort to put counties on the air.

I believe Saturday night I had all but 7 or 8 counties. So I spent Sunday just hoping I’d run across the remaining ones, although I wasn’t hopeful. After getting some of the needed counties from mostly mobile/rover ops I ended up needing just one county — Sullivan. Then, on 40m on Sunday afternoon I heard W3ZR answering another stations CQ and stating he was in SUL. I broke in and asked if I could contact W3ZR, and the running station kindly obliged. Unfortunately, W3ZR was already gone. Then, I looked for a clear freq down the band a little bit with the hope that I could sit and call CQ and maybe have W3ZR stop in. I stopped in a clear spot, listened for a minute and was about ready to ask “is this frequency in use?” when lo and be hold, I heard W3ZR asking the same thing. I waited patiently for him to determine that the freq was not in use and to start calling CQ. When he did, I pounced. W3ZR in SUL was the last county I needed for a sweep, and I got him! Upon reading the PaQP reflector afterwards, W3ZR wasn’t even scheduled to be operating in Sullivan Co, so it was a stroke of good fortune that I ran into him.

All in all I think I probably made about 40 more Qs than last year. I am claiming a sweep, and I think I was missing 6 or 7 county mults last year. I sure wish I could have found more CW to work. I looked for K8MR, W3USA (both were K8MR but with different drivers) as well as K8RYU, K3YTL and W3NO when I could, but I was hardly chasing mobiles. i should have though, since most of them were on CW. I needed more points, and CW was a way to get it.

Being so close to PA, the only bands really worth using were 40m, 80m and 160m. I heard at least 12 stations on 160m CW when I tuned around briefly Saturday night, but since I couldn’t get the antenna tuned I didn’t work but one station. I really really wish I would have been able to do 160m. I also wish there would have been more ops on CW.

K8JQ and W8TM were omnipresent, so my hope of winning my section were dashed early on. Those guys are running far better antenna systems than I. The contests need a category for “low wires only”!

I had a great time. I’ll be back next year to give it another try, but I doubt I’ll be able to improve upon the score from this year.

Thanks to the sponsors and all to all of the stations who were on the air in PA, especially W3ZR and all of the mobile and rover ops.

Pennsylvania QSO Party
1600Z, Oct 8 to 0500Z, Oct 9
1300Z-2200Z, Oct 9

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90ql
Operating Time (hrs): 15

Band CW Qs Ph Qs RTTY Qs PSK31 Qs
160: 1
80: 35 24
40: 115 144
20: 1
Total: 152 168 0 0 Mults = 67 Total Score = 32,024

Club: Mad River Radio Club


Thanks to all of the PA stations — and an extra pat on the back for the mobiles
/ rovers. I had a lot of fun. I am claiming a sweep — we’ll see if that
pans out. That’s eight more counties than I got last year. Sullivan was hard
to come by. Thankfully W3ZR showed up on a frequency that I was about to QRL?
on. Of course I waited for him to CQ and nabbed him ASAP.

I was hoping to do some 160m CW, but dummy me forgot to verify the antenna
would tune. Shows you how much I play on 160m.

I bested last year’s score, but not by a whole lot. Most of the additional Qs
were Phone Qs. I wish I would have made more 80m Qs Saturday night, but it was
noisy as all get out and most people stayed on 40m really late.

Thanks to the sponsors as well.

Written by Mike

October 11th, 2011 at 10:37 am

PaQP 2010 – Summary and Results

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Great contest. Lots of stations. Quite a few mobiles (two of them being the W3USA pair and K8RYU from Ohio and the MRRC). I worked a lot of SSB, and I CQd quite a few times — sometimes with some results. For me, only 80m/40m were available for operation being that I am right next door to PA. I did manage to work K3MJW (the bonus station) on 20m RTTY as well as on 160m SSB. My 80m doublet would not tune 75m, but I threw caution to the wind like I always do and made some 75m SSB contacts anyway. Of course the antenna wouldn’t tune on 160m either, so the 160m contact with K3MJW was a 5-watter with an SWR probably about 50:1 hah.

In general, the PA ops were great. They were plentiful, seemed to respect the bandplans more than ops in many QSO parties, and provided a lot of fun for us out-of-staters.

Was a beautiful weekend. The fam was over on Sunday, and I managed to spend time with everyone, do a little fall work, and still operate many hours on Sunday. I was feeling good. I had some problems with the new G4ZLP Digimaster PRO+ interface and N1MM today. Not sure what the cause was. It shouldn’t have been an RF-in-the-shack problem, but it may have been. Randomly, and thankfully not too often, I’d go to throw out a CQ via N1MM or respond with an exchange — and it would lock up with the radio keyed and I’d have to turn off the Digimaster PRO+. Of course, at that point N1MM would just shit itself, hanging on the CW IF exe. While troubleshooting I had noticed that the CW IF exe uses 50% CPU any time I’m transmitting CW, which doesn’t seem like something that should be happening on a P4 3.2 HT. I don’t know if it was because the keying interface was hooked up via a USB-to-Serial converter [the G4ZLP serial port] or if it was for some other reason. At any rate, I had to shutdown/reboot the machine about five times. Oh well, gave me a chance to relieve myself and refill the coffee mug.

I heard very few AZ stations during my time working the PaQP, which was surprising since the AzQP was happening this weekend as well. Of course, I bet I would have heard activity on 20m had I tuned there. There were too many contests this weekend, and I had to pick the ones i wanted to operate in. PaQP was priority, and I also made some Qs in the Makrothen RTTY contest. That was fun, but it was just to pass the time while waiting for the PaQP to start.

The PaQP was not a letdown by any means. I had an absolute blast. But, there were a few things that got me.

1. I had recently participated in the California QSO Party and was definitely spoiled by all of the 20m activity. Well, when you live one state away from the QSO Party you’re working, you’re only hope is ground wave for the most part. PA is pretty big, and I suppose at some point there could have been some propogation over to EPA, but I didn’t bother to look and don’t think it happens from EOH.

2. Quite a few of the PA ops didn’t identify very frequently, leaving everyone guessing. Aside from myself, I heard quite a few other ops who were waiting to contact a PA station and who had to ask for the call. You shouldn’t have to ask for a call. If you’re CQing, then ID.

3. Regardless of whether you submit your logs electronically or not, the rules state that you must send a Summary Sheet in via postal mail if you want your log to be counted. In the same breath the rules state that a $3.00 donation would be appreciated to offset the cost. Well, I don’t have a printer. [i know what you’re probably thinking… but back off]

Hell, I had a lot of fun and would have been glad to donate $5 if they made an option available via Paypal. I think it’s baloney that you have to turn in a summary sheet via email, and the whole process smells really bad – requiring a summary sheet via postal mail is to get money from you. I’ll send in my log though, and I’ll send the $3. I’ll be interested to see if my logs make it into the list or if they disappear because I pissed and moaned about the perceived extortion :)

My Results

Pennsylvania QSO Party

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH
Operating Time (hrs): 12.5

Band CW Qs Ph Qs RTTY Qs PSK31 Qs
160: 0 1 0 0
80: 53 40 0 0
40: 87 97 1 0
20: 0 0 1 0
15: 0 0 0 0
10: 0 0 0 0
6: 0 0 0 0
2: 0 0 0 0
Total: 140 138 2 0 Mults = 59 Total Score = 26,098

Written by Mike

October 11th, 2010 at 12:14 am