This one should be filed under “it’s complicated” but I kept the title for archiving pruposes.
Furthermore it’s been almost a week since the contest so things are a bit blurry. Most of that because of what happened after the contest.
Of course it’s not the contest that’s complicated. After all these years I’ve mastered the tricks of the trade. Call CQ, log what you hear – IF you hear anything at all and repeat. After some time, repeat sequence X times on another band. That’s pretty much it. When this gets boring, add another TRX to the mix. And that’s when it gets complicated, especially when you go QRO.
By now the contest itself has become a blur. I remember a few key items:
- The contest was made up of two halves: a slow Saturday and a hot Sunday.
- Saturday night fever: strong signals on 80, monster signals at my sunrise on Top Band. N7JW called in so loud my reflex was “naah it’s a /1” but he gave me UT! Now in my mind I placed Utah much more north-west than it actually is, which would have been more DX but still: I never got beyond Texas on Top Band. And this Utah dude was L.O.U.D.
- I never thought I could top last year’s score the way the contest progressed. It wasn’t until ten meters opened up big time and the rate jumped through the roof that the score got boosted. A repeat on 15 made things even better.
- I worked many friends-never-met in this one, like AE5X on 80, CW QRP guru K3WWP, W1EBI my mail-pal and a shocker: K7GK (whom I actually have met) on 10m from CA. I would never have guessed to work West Coast on 28 MHz the way the band behaved on Saturday. And at first on Sunday. But sometimes we’re in for a treat!
- Of course there were the ususal suspects around, like N4YDU, K3OO who reminds me I was once young, N2IC who even threw in a ‘loud’ for me (forgot what band though – might have been any band HI).
- More than eight clock hours of +100 rate! Lots of 90ies too.
- I had some observations about casual operators seemingly translating their RTTY macros to CW but Gerry GI4RTN@G6PZ summed it up pretty nice in his 3830 report:
Operating is changing. Lots of people are using macros and computers in big CW contests now, are operating them like an RTTY contest, and clearly don’t copy Morse well. Thatâ??s cool, but if you’re doing that then please set your macros to be short contest style not “G6PZ DE NZ1XYZ NZ1XYZ UR 599 599 (in long numbers) NY NY 73 ES TU K”. And set them for 30 wpm, not 12.
All in all I’m very happy with the result. As always, might have taken naps on the wrong moment or should have been on band X and not on band Y etc. But I would never have guessed the outcome at my sunrise on Sunday. Things weren’t looking great but the afternoon made it all good.
So where does it get complicated? One rig is fine (2001-2005), even when you add QRO (2006). Then you add another rig for SO2R, barefoot (2007). You provide a single set of band pass filters on the barefoot rig since you’ll be using this the least and is likely to be troubled by the other rig’s QRO. You add a 10/15/20 vertical as an addition to the yagi for SO2R purposes. All is fine, as long as you stay away from harmonics which makes sense.
Then you add a modest amp for radio #2. Not a powerhouse, a modest five hundred watts. Then the brown stuff hits the fan. There are specific combinations that make the K3 show ‘HI RFI’. This means the RX picks up excessive amounts of power. So the front end is at the frying point. I have this when I’m running on 80 and send 150W or more on the second rig. And when sending on 20 using the yagi and listen on 40. Which makes sense since yagi and dipole are only two meters apart. And it’s always when listening on the rig without filters.
I have done SO2R for years with the other rig barefoot at 100W and this proves my theory that you can get away with everything at 100W but skeletons fall out of the closet when using QRO. The K3 warns me of strong RF pickup from about 150W on, so there you go. I noticed the problem in the UBA SSB contest a few weeks ago but I used the second radio much more last weekend so the problem occurred more often. And it’s not a case of harmonics since TX40-RX80 and TX20-RX40 are exactly the opposite. And it’s always the rig without BPF that is troubled, not the other way round with even more TX power.
After the problem popped up in the UBA contest I decided to add a set of band pass filters to the other rig as well. More on that later. But awaiting these I have to find a solution (and found it easily in the form of a stub). But in the mean time there was a lot of drop out to be fixed. I had to repair-but-in-the-end-replace a vital kitchen appliance (kitchen hood) that went south during the contest (luckily the XYL doesn’t know about RFI HI) and two days ago a virus decided to mess up stomach and bowels, taking me out…
Stay tuned for writing about 9U4U@160, band pass filters, stubs and of course the UBA DX CW contest.