EUHFC 2010 – Introducing: ON5ZO’s law

Since everyone gets their own law (Ohm, Newton, Murphy…) it’s time for ON5ZO’s law.

“When you start working on a project, and it goes wrong from the start, you keep messing things up until the end.”

This applies to EUHFC yesterday. I like this contest and did rather well (to my standards) in 2007 with 1200+ QSO and 380k points. After that I messed up in 2008 and even quit half way in 2009. So this year it was time to put myself on the map again with the 2007 result as the benchmark. One thing I learned for EUHFC was that verticals on 40/80/160 don’t work too wel. So I decided to get the 160m dipole back from the ON5ZO warehouse (XYL calls it ‘garage’) and make a 40/80m dipole. The latter was done two weeks ago (postings below).

Like every contest it was Field Day here so now ON5ZO’s law kicked in. I knew from the past that in my small garden, similar polarized antennas interact. Two working antennas blend to zero working antennas. The 160m legs were too close to the other antenna. Darn! The 40/80m antenna was unaffected but in stead of a nice resonance dip on 160 I got several “resonantish” points. I needed to pull one leg away and move it to the other side of the garden.

ON5ZO’s law strike #2. There is nothing on the other side of the house to fix the rope to. I have trees and or old 6m high TV antenna tower in the other 3 corners but not where the other leg was now pointing. And here the 160m dipole’s leg would almost touch the 3x400V power cables + CATV coax crossing the street. TVI anyone? I wound the rope around a heavy brick (10kg) and that was that. Resonance was way off in this new low position so I had to adjust the length.

ON5ZO’s law strike #3. It’s a coil loaded dipole so the resonance dip is very narrow (high Q). The dipole is low and interacts with everything it almost touches. So it took some trials to get the resonance right around 1835 kHz. It was 11.30 utc and I had 30 minutes left to get ready for the contest. The antennas were ready so here ended the jinx of ON5ZO’s law. A quick 900W test did not reveal any TVI either. At least not on my TV.

I can be short about the contest. My 2007 benchmark shows 250 QSO in the first two hours on 10+15m. NOT this year. I managed a good hour on 15m and tried 10m. It didn’t work at first but later on I filled a bag of multipliers there and with QSO #100 on 28 MHz I quit. Average rate was +100/hr over the elapsed period so 1200 QSO was within reach.

I could only be stopped by WX. Oh yes, just like in WPX CW and IARU. Guess what? After a few weeks of no T-storm threats, the weather forecast mentioned the possibility of lightning. Is it a contest weekend or what? Around 17.30 there was a serious shower and the sky turned black but I did not hear thunder QRM on the radio, I did not see lightning flashes and the online lightning map was blank. So I kept going. And going…

But is was not meant to be: in the last two hours the rate dropped (70+40 QSO), and I had already worked most I could hear in S&P. So I stuck to 160m where I had the least QSO / mults so each QSO there might be a multiplier. I did quick S&P jumps in the last half hour to get #100 QSO on 160m but it didn’t work.

I had a good time. My butt stuck to the chair for 12 hours straight. I used chewing gum to battle thirst because it doesn’t fill the bladder like water does. There were no frequency fights nor rude behaviour. It seems I did not too bad in CW only HP judging from what’s on 3830 right now. With my silly little station…

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