He doesn’t care because he’s an idiot

After the troubles with the 80/160 antenna last week, I decided to try the MFJ-998 with a 80m dipole that was made for the UBA SSB contest (link). On 80m of course the tuner could handle the impedance from the antenna and the power of the amplifier. It was cut for 3535 so no extreme impedances to be matched. On 160… you guessed it: no match. I don’t know how but in the end the tuner found a match and could accept 1kW on 160m.

Last weekend I found myself with enough time to play around in the UBA Winter Low Band contest. Hey, I could use that dipole on 80 ànd 160 after all! But know what? It refused to find a match on 160 once more. I tried and tried and again wasted a couple of hours. In stead of 160-80-40 CW only I decided to go 80m mix (CW + SSB) in the very last minute. It’s also in this very last minute that ON4BHQ and myself discovered that there was a bug in N1MMLOgger. Soon after that local messages appeared on the cluster from people who discovered the same bug. We quickly opened the UBA Sprint contest and with some workaround we could go.

I took a very laid back approach after all these setbacks. These small and local UBA contests do not attract a huge crowd although anyone can work anyone. Unlike both UBA DX contests that do draw a crowd. I started in SSB because I figured that was the place to be. Then I worked Lee G0MTN who gave me #23. I commented that it was a big number early on and he replied the majority was logged in CW. I swiftly moved to CW and made one (1) CW QSO after 5 almost minutes of CQ’ing. So I decided to take a break.

After the break I resumed in SSB. Francis ON6LY called me. He is the contest manager for this particular contest. I asked him if we didn’t change and test the N1MM code last summer to incorporate the rule changes for this year. I thought we did. Surely he confirmed that we spent some time pruning the code and testing the changes. It worked somewhere in summer but it didn’t now. I don’t know what went wrong. Did I forget to send the changes to N1MM? Did he forget to incorporate them? Did any other code change after that point? It doesn’t really matter. Absolutely no one planning on participating has tested the latest release in advance. We’re all guilty as charged! Now I need to re-install the old VB6 on my Vista machine. And I’ve come to like Visual Studio 2008 with .Net so much…

I had a modest run in CW which increased the QSO total. The first leg of the contest ended and ON4WIX called me. Glenn is a K3 lover too. He has a very low S/N, he didn’t wait as long as I did. We had a nice QSO about the K3, the KRX3, other rigs, receiving antennas etc etc. After that I joined local boys ON4BHQ, ON4ALY and ON6FC for a short 80m chat. That’s what makes our hobby so much fun. You meet friends and make more friends. I called it a day and watched some TV with the XYL before going to sleep.

I woke up to start the second leg of the contest. I was not in a hurry, after all not much going about. With a vertical antenna I would have hoped for some DX at my sunrise but not with this low dipole. I know a vertical works better for DX because I used a dipole between 2003 and 2006 and a new world opened up on 3.5 MHz in summer 2006 when the vertical was built. KE0UI called me but I had a hard time copying him and his exchange. It would have been easy on the vertical. Damn MFJ! Now every QSO is worth 3 points and one W was enough for the multiplier. Then W6OAR started spotting stations on 80m. He’s a genuine W6 so I knew the odds were slim for a QSO and a spot. If only that  @#{!{|@#{|@  MFJ would work with my vertical! At that point I seriously regretted having taken down the old vertical. It hurt when W6OAR spotted ON5WL. He’s a regular and I must childishly admit that me contesting ego got a big hit then. What’s that? ON5ZO can’t work W6 on 80? And others can? Moehahahaa (*devilish laughter*)!!! I was so glad he finally called me. He was rather loud, no problem copying him whatsoever. And then he spotted me on the cluster. That made my day. It’s one of my weaknesses. I am so darn vain when it comes to this. I told ON4BHQ that contesters suffer the "I want to have the biggest and longest" syndrome. I can’t help it but at least I know and admit.

I switched back to CW and found a balance between phone and CW contacts. It slowed down and I moved back to SSB. Then it began. "Is this frequency in use? QRL on this frequency?" Nothing heard. So I launch my CQ. Soon after some guy steps up and asks for a QSY because blahblahblah. I’m not in the mood for a discussion so I move. "Is this frequency in use? QRL on this frequency?" Nothing heard. So I launch my CQ. Soon after some Dutch guy steps up and asks if it’s possible to QSY because there is the weekly net of guys using AM mode etc etc. I’m not in the mood for a discussion so I announce my QSY and the guy is so polite as to tell me he appreciates my move. That felt good: polite hams with common sense and of course a lot of goodwill from my side.

"Is this frequency in use? QRL on this frequency?" Nothing heard. So I launch my CQ. I run for about 20 minutes with modest rate and no problems. some G guy steps up and asks for a QSY. Or rather he DEMANDS that I immediately move because I am bothering their QSO blahblahblah. What a rude ham. Still not in the mood for a discussion I tell him that I asked two times wether the frequency was in use and that no one replied and that I had been active there for over 20 minutes. Then his friends join him and they’re bashing me. Still not in the mood for a discussion (in contrast with my attitude) but not willing to let these pigs sit on my head, I firmly tell them that "I asked if the frequency was occupied, that I had been there without problems for 20 minutes, that no frequency in the ham bands could be monopolized and that I wasn’t about to move so QRZ UBA contest de OQ5M". They threw some insults at me and the smartest guy told his friends that "he doesn’t care because he’s an idiot". None of the pack did ID with a callsign but that guy surely has some psychological insights in yours truly. They continued to jam me but they were so weak that I didn’t care indeed.

To change the Cabrillo logs with the wrong Spring format to Winter Contest format, I quickly wrote a tool in VB.Net on Sunday night. For about 250 QSO or so, editing it in NotePad would have worked fine but I liked the challenge to make this tool. I’d rather think and program a solution than do mindless ASCII editing. One hour later both mine and ON4BHQ’s log were mangled through the mill. I offered my service to fellow ON hams but there seems to be no demand for this service. All the better of course.

Other than that, I was the ARRL 10m contest which once more was a complete non-event. Some very weak local EU (DL, PA, OK) and one W4 in Florida. I had to call a dozen times but we did work in the end. Result: 36 QSO. I can’t wait for 28 MHz to explode again like in 2001 but will it ever happen?

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