Well, not quite. There have been serious stormy winds coming from the west. Last Sunday was afwul, it was a minor storm. Lucky me that came a week later or WW CW would have been wasted. The coming days aren’t looking any better. I don’t have the time to play right now (work to do, XYL’s birtday, need to catch up on QSLing etc) but I hope next week the WX will settle and finally bring us winter: cold but dry and as a cherry on top: blue skies? Then I’ll be cruising down 40m and 80m again…
In the CQ WW aftermath:
- My 3830 Top10 days will soon be counted. Maybe, just maybe I’ll squeeze out Top10 Europe in the end?
- My mult totals have killed me, look at this 3830 score: 1000 QSO’s less, yet the same score. Ouch! I just like running and don’t have the station for REAL DX mult hunting?
- Our RRDXA Team claimed about 20M points.
Next weekend is the ARRL 10m contest. I don’t think I’ll be making many contacts in what will be my favourite contest in a few years. SFI sustains above 70 for a few days in a row now but we need a hundred more SFI-points to make 10m swing. Bring on the sunspots, please!
First of all: a BIG
THANK YOU to my XYL who supported me during this weekend by checking how the
score progressed once in a while and feeding me in a timely fashion. That and
coping with my pre-contest stress and a garden full of aluminum and copper
wires. I would never enjoy this hobby without her approval and support. But I
would never stop contesting.
Next: station setup
(see my website).
- N1MMLogger – accept
- A microHAM MK2R+
driving a pair of TS-850 with band decoders and SO2R antenna
- One kW amp for the
running TRX and the 2nd transceiver is operated
- An OptiBeam OB11-3
tribander at 20m high.
- Fritzel triband
vertical for SO2R.
- 40m: 2 slopers with
simple A/B switching, one favoring USA and the
other in between JA and VK facing UA.
- 80m: inverted L vertical, with feedpoint and 2 elevated radials at 4m
- 160m: shorty
inverted V loaded with coils.
My target? Based on
last year: 3000 QSO and I was shooting for 3M points. A bit too optimistic since
10m was dead and 15m was poor at best. You can see the comparison with last year
in the picture below.
- Working my friend
K7GK on 40m long path on my sunset.
- Working VK9AA on 4
- Getting called by
- I run 160 and see
SV9CVY on 80m. I go and work him and he asks to QSY to 160m. I tell him my QRG
and says he’ll CQ there. I tell him I am CQing there, so in one minute I had two
mults… SO2R pays! I was assisted this time but it pays even more when unassisted.
Lowlight: ZS4TX asked to move
from 40m to 80m but his proposed QRG was occupied by two ragchewers so that
didn’t work out. Bummer!
- The contest was
long, I prefer 24h contests. Yet I don’t plea to reduce it or add part time
entries. This is The Big One, no mercy on the battlefield!
- DX propagation on
40m LP at my sunset works but only 2 z3 worked (K7GK and WC6H). Last year I
worked some more.
- The rates were
average, no real peaks like I remember from 2001 when I started contesting. I
guess the sun needs to cooperate and support long openings to
- Operation was quite
courteous. I didn’t get bothered this time.
participation. CW dying? Yeah right!
All for now, need
to clean up the shack and the garden and catch up on postponed
Remember my earlier post about XP acting up the week before CQ WW SSB? That one showed up again TODAY at 1200utc. Hit PANIC button! Right before CQ WW with less than 12 hours to go? This must be an anti-contest bug somewhere in XP. The message is that explorer.exe generates an error. Not Internet Exploder but the Windows (system) explorer.
System recovery didn’t help and Google showed many hits of a gazillion people being bugged by this yet no solution. A link pointed to the MS website but it was of no use. The symptoms they described were there but the causes weren’t and the solution offered didn’t help or was impossible to do.
Now what? Format C: and reinstall? With half of my antenna setup left to do this was hardly an option. One of the links pointed to Media Player so I downgraded by removing Internet Explorer 7 and Media Player 11. To no avail.
Another link told me to run "sfc /scannow" from the command prompt with the XP install CD in the CD reader. That did the trick but it took almost an hour to complete the process. Add to that the full hour lost to get to this point. I now have auto-updates disabled for the duration of the contest. I’ll look into this later on. First concern now is to survive the contest without PC problems. Fingers crossed!
Tower is up, all antennas are up, the 2el 40m sloper system shows gain and F/B and the 80m antenna was a pain to set up in the wind. Ideally this is a two man job but since I was home alone this afternoon…
I decided not to use the auto-tune solid state amp after all. Retuning / QSYing goes too slow and I don’t want to risk damaging another person’s amplifier in the heat of the battle. SWR is flat on all bands so the second rig will put out 100W and not fold back. I’ve done it like this for over a year so it’ll work out this time too.
Less than 4 hours to go. I’ll hit the couch and try to relax or even better: get some sleep.
73 / CU de Franki ON5ZO – OQ5M
In fact countdow started 364 days ago but who’s counting?
Monday 08.00AM: call utility company’s local branch. Explained my problem (ham, flickering, noise, no reception etc). Guy tells me "We’ll try to fix it ASAP". Yeah right, ASAP…
17.30: I come home, no more darkness, no more flickering. In stead a nice bright streetlight! Halleluja! Thank you Mister Utility Company!
Today I set up 50% of the station:
- Raised tower to 15m.
- Put up 160m dipole.
- Attached 2 slopers for 40m with the switching box and control cable.
- Installed the Fritzel vertical GPA-30.
To do when I get home tomorow:
- Raise tower another level.
- Fix the 2 slopers for 40m to their anchoring point.
- Put up 80m vertical.
- Check everything.
I also got hold of a second amp (autotune 500W) for the 2nd radio. I’m
not sure if I’ll use it – very tricky to tune and doesn’t tune my 160m
antenna at all. I need to think that over.
So that’s it for now. Next update will be on Monday. I hope I can be euphoric and happy then. My only worry is the WX. Forecast says windy but not too much so let’s hope they’re right. WX is the only show stopper here unless Murphy trikes?
73 / CU in the contest! Work me, log me, spot me – OQ5M QRZ?
This weekend I played in the LZ DX Contest. I squeezed out 947 QSO, of which about 150 with the second radio (barefoot). Technically all works fine for SO2R now. So except for Murphy, I’m ready for The Big One next weekend.
Because it was a casual effort I started on 15m one hour into the contest. One minuter later I started CQing on 20m. The 15m band was absolutely silent. I don’t mean "only few stations worked" – I mean: NOTHING there. At 1300utc! Go figure. That first hout brought me 120 QSOs. A good rate, but that was it. After that rates dropped to 80-70 – even less.
At night on 40/80m I am still bothered by that noise (see my earlier post) but I start to fear it isn’t (only) that streetlight. I slept for almost 7 hours and then started on 80m, moved up to 40m but things were quiet. 20m opened up early to UA9 and later I gor called by one LOUD JA. One worked out of 950 QSO.
I wanted to make some contacts on 15m, but things were slow. Yet I got called by a VK, a YB and 2 VU’s. I tried 10m and worked 3 stations but no other signs of life. That doesn’t look promising for next week…
The next days it’ll be counting down. Maybe prepare some stuff on Thursday and put everything up on Friday. That will take longer than anticipated, Murphy will rear his ugly head for sure! Then hopefully catch some sleep…