A little late but I finally found some time to write a little (public) report for my first full 24 hour single op contest effort in years. As you read a few weeks ago I had to quit the EU PSK63 QSO party about 7 hrs into the contest due to what now appears to be a faulty flatscreen monitor.
During the holiday season I have been to Istanbul for a few days so I didn’t have any time left before the contest to modify/improve the station so except for a new PC-monitor the setup was essentially the same as for the EU PSK 63 QSO party. So my entry class thus was what I should call ‘handicapped SO2R’.
The first contest tip you get from the really succesful contesters is prepare your station well in advance and TEST EVERYTHING, and of course I followed this rule to the letter: start up the pc about 30 minutes before the contest, download the latest version of N1MM and install 2 instances of MMTTY.
Murphy taught me this was NOT a good way to start. At exactly 1800z I started calling CQ but nobody seemed to come back to my calls, on the second radio no way to make a QSO either… only after about 20 minutes I noticed that, due to a stupid mistake while setting up MMTTY I was listening with mark at 1275Hz and calling with mark at 2150Hz. To those stations who tried to work me (or who got QRM from me), please forgive me!
Once the mark-frequency problem was solved all went very well for the rest of the contest. I started running on 40 while doing S&P on 80 on the second radio. 20m was dead already when the contest started but I could work FG1 and WP3 on 20 around 2105z. I switched the 2 radios back and forth between 40 and 80, with a regular peek at 20m for a few qso’s with South American stations. At about 0700z when the first northern and eastern european stations began to come in pretty loud I switched the running station to 20m.
It’s only around 0800z that I felt the biggest handicap of my station, a tribander with only 1 feedline. I wanted to switch the second radio to 15m but I was running on 20… so I used the 40 inverted V dipole with an SWR of about 5:1 on 15m. Nothing my MFJ manual tuner couldn’t handle but way to many dB’s lost in the cables and tuner to work the VK and ZS stations I heard. (Remember, I’m running barefoot so only about 80W out at the transceiver). Moreover switching to the beam for working this dx makes me turn 4 rotary switches every time (bandpass filters, coax switches, tuner). Needless to say this takes way too much time but is also prone to operator errors especially when you get tired. => Todo List!
Near the end of the 24 hrs of this contest it got very hard for me to find new stations to work. There were almost no american stations to work and 20m closing down left me only 40 and 80m to work the rest of europe. But some gain antennas for 40 and 80 probably would help me work some more dx than I can do now with the 2 inverted V dipoles. => Todo List!
I’m pretty happy with the results though. I had set my (modest) goals to beat the score of the best ON-station of last year. ON4BHQ had a score of 662 QSO x 105 mults in 2010 so I beat that score (claimed!) with about 5000 points.
|Claimed score: 69.482
Operating time: 24 hrs (including the 20 minutes lost at the start)
I also worked some (for me) nice dx:
- P4 (Aruba) on 80 and 40
- called by T6 (YA Afghanistan) on 20
- JA on 20
- VK on 15 (heard on 40m inverted V dipole but worked on the beam)
- ZS on 15
I missed some nice multipliers though… I heard IS0 / PZ and some more states/provinces I didn’t manage to work.
The last 2 contests also made me think (ouch!) and I decided to change my own contest calendar. Instead of mixing phone and digi contests I’ll concentrate on the digi contests. For the ON4KB/p team, don’t panic, I will join you for this SSB-fieldday!