Class: SO Unlimited HP
Operating Time (hrs):
Band QSOs Mults
80: 15 8
40: 110 32
20: 688 59
15: 264 49
Total: 1077 148 Total Score = 478,188
It became a part time activity due to a couple of reasons. Originally wanted to enter in SOAB to test the brand new setup and practice dueling CQ, but the low band antennas are far to be ready for an ARRL DX. Thus, decided to go for 20m only.
Started Saturday on 40m and kept checking if 20m is open during the dark, but it was not..those days are gone.. this privilege is for the Scandinavian stations for the coming years. So, started late morning on 20m like everybody else and closed the day with 490 QSOs and 56 mults around 22:00UTC quite disappointed, anticipating the second day QSO count total would be below 1,000. Tought it is better to go back the original idea of testing the EA4TX interlock and practicing alternate CQing on 20/15. It was found to be fun, and gave a good learning experience after the Morse Runner simulator.
Class: SOAB(A) HP
Operating Time (hrs): 45
Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 181 9 53
80: 304 14 59
40: 1007 36 117
20: 843 34 105
15: 618 36 122
10: 315 28 101
Total: 3268 157 557 Total Score = 4,905,180
First serious SOAB(A)HP effort. Managed to get a three hours sleep only before the contest. Planned more, but rather spent time on chasing the RF-daemon in the shack.. not much other choices since the monitor randomly switched on and off while transmitting on 160m, either the USB hub for the station control shut down time to time for a mysterious reason. It was a good decision finally to tackle all the issues even if needed to stop for a three hours sleep during Sunday morning. The station was running flawlessly and it was a great pleasure to operate it. Required much different strategy than for the previous years' single band entries and living the category made it clear there is a long way ahead to learn.
Low band aerials have been improved by the contest and on by adding, (actually doubling the number of radials), but due to space limitations they are in fairly close proximity and got detuned by each other. I was putting up the inverted L first for 160m. On the same night I was able to work three JA stations within 15 minutes with no separate rx antenna. With additional radials I was able to increase efficiency (bandwith), but no DXing anymore since I erected an 18m vertical for 80 around 20m away. I really had difficulties to hear W3LPL during the contest on 160. I was trying to trick the thing by short cutting the 80m radiator to ground while using the inverted L, but no help. The one for 80m has been working quite well, but still need a good rx antenna. That's challenging, because of the space again. I gave a try to an EWE, it's been put up for the winter to see if it makes a difference.
The 40m 2el is a great improvement for the station for both DX-ing and contesting. Running 40m was the greatest thrill during the entire contest. There are learnings around it though. The two main antenna masts are 20m apart, they were carrying in the past a 4L20m monobander and a KT36XA tribander. They have always been erected to the same height with no disturbing interference to each other. That was the case when the 4L got replaced by another KT36 as well. But when the 2nd KT36XA got replaced by the 2L40 (and a UB 20-6) a strange interference popped out. The mast with the 40m antenna needs to be erected a few meters higher to avoid them coupling.
This contest was a great debut for a series of other equipment in a common setup. I own the BPFs and the triplexer for a few years now and have already been used for other SO2R entries, but with low power only. This was the first time though I pumped them with the two amplifiers. Being honest, I was a bit worried keying down on 20m while listening on 15m with the same antenna. The KT36 is a great tribander and is quite close in performance to monobanders of same boomlength. With the BPFs & triplexer the same antenna can be used as 3 individual monobanders for a real SO2R operation. Aditional antenna (possibly another tribander) is required only for multidirectional beaming or multiplier hunting.
Besides the learnings with the low band antennas the biggest takeaways are still around operating technique. I was spending several days with analyzing past year logs of top competitors and was trying to match up their operating schedule with each other and the propagation prediction to prepare mine. I believe I was disciplined to follow the schedule, but the result is behind my expectations. I need to acquire substantial experience in this particular category by practicing more to grow the score. I was having hard time to collect this number of multipliers while kept having the feeling I lose valuable time from running.
Maybe it's time to learn how to manage alternate CQing on two radios like those guys do.
Gabor - ha7gn
Without extensive expectations I have chosen 15m single band entry for this year. Knowing that the band will be open for much shorter than on 20m I set a goal of 1k QSO only and achieving a 15m WAS. I used (almost) the same setup as for the WW CW; inband SO2R and one of the KT36XA's.
As the upgraded 2nd KT36 had been damaged during retraction after the WW event I decided to do the repair in the mornings before the band would open.
The weather was lovely during the entire weekend from Friday till late Sunday promising perfect time for tower works in February. I assembled the mobile scaffolding; and once I was close enough to inspect the defects I recognized that the boom had cracked at the mast bracket. Plenty of the elements also needed repair and finally made the decision to dismantle it completely. Being prepared for this I have transported the 2 el 40m antenna with me to the hill for in case.. I made a good use of the time during the weekend and put up the new antenna. I also found some time to try the recently built K3 qrp trcvr and its remote head K3/0... this is awesome!!! Once it is further tested I put a report on the remote page.
The contest itself was somewhat different compared to previous years experiences on 20m. Spending 35+ hours on 20m producing 1,2-1,3k qsos at very slow rates while the same can be done during 18 hours on 15m...just the band needs to be open to Europe.
The rates were below 60qso/hour between 11 to 14 utc giving the chance to look around on the second radio; which was probably for the sake of illusion only that I kept the rates high.. since all multipliers answered to my CQ.. The next 4 hours were going between 100-130 qso/hour keeping me busy. The rates started to slow down again after 19utc, so I began to seek for non-worked stations on the second radio. The first day ended with 718 contacts in the log with 56 multipliers at around 22:30utc much later than the band closing been expected. Actually, the signals were going down for approximately an hour between 19:15-20:15utc and opened up for another hour and a half. The figure below is taken from the RBN spot analysis tool; showing my signal strength at K3MM on the first day.
The second day shown similar propagation conditions and closed even somewhat later than Saturday. The qso rates were slowing down relative to the first day as it normally happens. Sunday was producing less than 400 qso and 3 more multipliers. The final figures became: 1,105 contacts, 59 multipliers giving a total score of 195,5k points. As seen some of the claimed scores on 3830 and r5ga.com this result will not upset the guys at the top spots this year..
This coming weekend is planned to participate again on 15m in the SSB round and some 40m antenna trials besides hunting E3A!!!