Typical situation after a major contest. ON5ZO did a good job, broke his own record, made his little setup shine and squeezed every drop out of the contest despite his limitations and that of the station. ON5ZO had loads of fun. But ON5ZO only briefly happy. Because then ON5ZO starts reading 3830. ON5ZO asks himself: is that guy running 5kW or what? Is a 6L monobander at 35m high so much better than a tribander only 22m high? Is 1500 km to the east so much better than ON? And how the #$&& did this guy achieve such a score?
ON5ZO does NOT contemplate the option ‘other guy = better op’ 🙂 Seriously: there are far better operators, and I have a dozen calls in mind, but not all the guys making bigger scores are better operators ‘per se’. My weakest point is knowing when to be where, and leave a run to go looking for multipliers. Though I did quite a lot of S&P this time because I couldn’t either find a clear frequency, or my run remained unanswered (because QRG not clear on the opposite side?).
So ON5ZO starts looking at the OptiBeam website. Because moving nearer to the equator is impossible (right now). And a bigger tower is out of the question. And legal limit power is already at hands. But there is no free lunch, heck: I even would gut my ham savings pig right away if there were a solution. Would the OB16-3 (4/4/8) really make a lot of difference compared to my OB11-3 (3/3/5)? Then what with 40m? And it would not be simple to tilt the tower over anymore. The only 4-band yagi that has 40m and that would suit my tower/rotator, has 2/3/3/4 elements. So that doesn’t help me further on the higher bands.
What about a second tower? Not a real one, but could I put my tubular telescopic aluminum push-up mast to work? It’s a pain to get it up, to keep it up – and what to put up there? It won’t hold even a small tribander. This afternoon I was outside measuring things to see what I could handle – maybe I could assemble it with bolts and lift it up with a winch? No more pushing it up tube after tube. But then my elevated radials would be in the way. And why do all this when a) I haven’t had much success with power splitting/combining (WPX SSB) and b) for SO2R my elevated Fritzel vertical does the job.
So once again I’ve come to terms with my limitations. I have a tower, some people haven’t. I have a good full size tribander, some people haven’t. I have a garden in which I can fit some low band antennas that work quite OK for their simplicity. There are people out there who might envy me for that. I have a SO2R setup and know how to use it (although I am by no means an SO2R wizzard). I have an amp and no complaints about RFI. I have a relatively quiet QTH for receiving weak signals. And I have an XYL who’s happy with all this stuff in the garden, ànd with me using it many weekends (and weekdays). And big station = big worries + loads of work to keep it working.
No, ON5ZO is back to being happy with what he has. And if the sun keeps on delivering like in the past weekend, ON5ZO has some big time contesting fun ahead of him.
PS: Found in the mailbox today: certificate for CQ WW SSB 2010, Country Winner ON. With 1850 QSO and 1.6 meg points. 🙂