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N4A 2010 CALO Wrapup | Cape Lookout Island Activation

NR3X – NC Contesters

Welcome to the NR3X site for its IOTA expeditions as N4A. The rotating(on refresh) heading photos are pulled from expeditions over the past few years. Enjoy, and thanks for the QSO's!

N4A 2010 CALO Wrapup

N4A 2010 Extended Soapbox
2010 N4A Photographs

Updated July 30 2010, de w4kaz

The NC Contesters group, NR3X, again operated from near the Cape Lookout lighthouse over the weekend coinciding with the RSGB IOTA contest. This year’s group of castaways included N4YDU, N3ND, K2AV, and W4KAZ. W0UCE was unable to join the group and was missed.

Going into the weekend the sunspot situation seemed to be improving slightly, and propagation conditions did appear to be better than the pas couple of years. Everyone arrived at the docks within a few minutes of the ETA, and the group soon had N3ND’s vehicle loaded out and ready for the ferry trip across the sound to the South Core banks and Cape Lookout National Seashore.

YouTube clip of N4YDU running on 20m SSB

The first task upon arriving was to begin hoisting antennas. The wx was hot, the normal condition for CALO at the end of July, but there was a steady southwest breeze. The sea breeze and ocean temps of 82F combined with a bit lower than normal humidity made the set up a bit less onerous than it has been on previous trips, but everyone was glad to get into the shade once the outdoor work was completed.

The antenna mast work went along relatively quickly, and more or less according to plan. One minor setback was encountered when the tensile strength of fiberglass mast was proven experimentally to be significantly less than that of aluminum, but the end result was a nice 40 foot mast for the run station antennas suplemented with a slightly shorter 30 foot mast for the mult station.

The run station mast was used to support two perpendicular dipoles/doublets, both fed with independent runs of 450 ohm ladder line. Extensive modeling by K2AV led us to use doublets of 56′ total length, 28′ per side. The models indicated this provided the best trade off of antenna pattern and feedpoint impedance for 40m/20m/15m. On the smaller mult station mast, we used a similar antenna, with the addition of legs that could be connected to lengthen the antenna for use on 80m.

Inside the shack, the station set up was a pair of Elecraft K3’s, courtesy of K2AV and N3ND. The antennas were run into the shack to 4:1 baluns, and tuned via the Elecraft K3 internal tuners. The radio set up was top notch. The K3’s did a remarkable job, despite the close proximity of the antennas.  Everyone was very happy with the high level of performance from the K3.   While not free from interference, we expect that improving the antenna separation or changing antenna polarization would probably mitigate the bulk of the interference. Logging computers were running N1MM, a continued and deepening disappointment for the half of the team. 😮

Friday evening operations again resulted in a big goose egg on 6m and 10m. It has long been an objective to put Cape Lookout on the air on those bands, but we did not catch any openings for either through the entire operation. Moving down to 15m, 20m, and 40m was more productive, and we were able to easily log QSOs there. A cooling breeze out of the southeast also drew a crowd on the porch, the best place we found to enjoy an 807.

On Saturday morning, we began operations in the RSGB IOTA contest. Propagation conditions allowed N4YDU to begin a run on 20m, and the day was spent swapping bands and CQ’ing for QSOs. The mult station was kept busy looking for band openings both for the IOTA contest and for the ever elusive 6m and 10m. IOTA mults were found, but the 6m/10m QSO’s were not to be had again for 2010. European stations began to really pound in late in the afternoon, and K2AV had the best runs of the weekend when he opened 40m CW around local sundown. Rates were good until just after local midnight. The midwatch produced few QSOs, but a handful of interesting mults appeared from the Southern Pacific in the early am of Sunday.

Visiting Cape Lookout in late July is always full of WX surprises. From the time of our arrival through the Sunday departure, the wind blew steadily, and with slowly increasing intensity. This was a blessing, as Saturday afternoon and evening was very comfortable, with low humidity and moderate temperatures. No rain encountered for the duration.

Improved propagation and a pair of complementary antennas made the operation a great success. For the IOTA portion of the operation we broke through the 1000 QSO goal, ending with an contest score of just over 1.4million points – The best we have managed over the low end of the sunspot cycle. The log shows that we worked stations in 72 different DXCC entities. It was a lot of fun for everyone.

One more link to the 2010 N4A photo page.

Additional W4KAZ photos on Flickr

3830 results information and N4YDU soapbox.

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  CW Mults  Ph Qs  Ph Mults
----------------------------------------
   80:   10        9       1       1
   40:  306       45     127      36
   20:  412       46     286      40
   15:   53       20       1       1
   10:    0        0       0       0
----------------------------------------
Total:  781      120     415      78  Total Score = 1,416,096

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