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