See previous post: no full time effort. After a turbulent 36 hours the wind finally calmed down and the sun even came out on Sunday. The forecast showed acceptable weather the coming days so I decided to crank up the tower one level. It was still windy enough so I had to fight with all the ropes but after almost ten years, I’ve got it mastered.

I didn’t want to say it too loud but my hopes were set to 1k QSO. Around 1200 utc I started on 20m because I thought it was too early for 15/10. After a slow few contacts I decided to go to fifteen meters anyway. The rate went up but not spectacular. After about 150 contacts I went to ten meters. KABOOM! Rate bomb!


The only two slow hours in between were when I took a break for dinner overlapping the two clock hours. By this time the winds had completely disappeared, not even a gentle breeze. I enjoyed ten minutes outside watching a very nice moonrise. I could actually hear nature in stead of the eerie noises made by the strong winds the previous days (weeks). This scenery was relaxing, the calm of nature, seeing the moon rise and knowing that the 1000 QSO were within reach with the best time for 20 still ahead and a virgin forty meters band.

It was a close race but just before the bell rang I logged my 1400th contact in less than twelve hours. In short: it was fun. Let’s hope for the end of the crappy weather and that the propagation stays with us.

After the contest OT1A asked, given the rates, if it makes a difference cranking up the tower another level, going from an antenna height of 14-15m to 21-22m above the ground. The answer is:

  • NO if you’re only in it for the fun like I was now.
  • YES if you do an all out serious effort.

The biggest difference is on 20m where the antenna of course is too low then for sustained DX runs. At a full wave it’s even so-so. If the antenna is higher, the band stays open longer especially to W6/7 and VE6/7. The difference between 2/3rd or fully up is big on that band on that path. On the other bands just like on 20 you don’t get to work the second or even third layer of weaker small pistols.

But this setup works great even at the lower height, especially given its modest size and visual impact. It works very well when it’s up all the way. Apples and oranges of course, but a modest tower, a small tribander and a rotary dipole with some copper wire for 80/160 provide tons of fun and can achieve pretty good scores. Pretty good, but not good enough to get to WRTC…

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