Radio W4KAZ

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2012 CQ 160m CW – Break Time

Not too shabby.  After 6.0 hours of operation, 270 Q’s in the log.  Not much in the Western US, but have CA and AZ.  Spent the first 30 minutes S&P, then a couple of short runs, another stretch of S&P, and then a nice steady run.  Nothing fabulous, but the Inv-L is playing much better than is has in the past.

Early in the evening, the K9AY was the best on RX.  The QRN has slowly been tapering off, so RX on the Inv-L is better.  The K9AY still has the edge – when it happens to be pointing in the correct direction.

Blew two fuses in the power line to the K2.  Both blew when switching the RX antenna during xmit.  Must be causing a voltage spike.  Solution:  Don’t Do That!

So far the anecdotal evidence indicates I’m being heard better with the changes to the TX antenna.  Gonna save looking at the RBN spots for Sunday.

Back to the salt mine….

NAQP SSB 2012 @N1LN as NC4KW

DAMN that was a GOOD contest.

N1LN hosted the M/2 operation as NC4KW for both CW and SSB.  This years SSB team was N1LN, N4GU, N4YDU, and W4KAZ.

N4YDU led off on the right hand station on 10m.  W4KAZ squatted on 20m a few minutes before contest kick off, and worked a few before the start of the contest.  When the contest started, it was off to the races.  The end of the first hour showed a nice total of around 170 Q’s.  10m was slower than 20m, but N4YDU scrounged a nice group of multipliers before dropping down to 15m.  Rates for the second hour took off, and stayed good for the next eight hours. Just lots of fun.

20m conditions seemed very good, and that’s where I did the bulk of my operating.  The rates on 15m and 40m were also very steady – N4YDU and N4GU made the most of it.  They did a lot of the heavy lifting with band changes and mult hunting on the right hand station.  N1LN and I swapped off shifts on the left station, and spent the first six hours on 20m.  At the start of his second shift, 20m was really drying up.  N1LN dropped down to 80m.  80m was noisy, and the rates were slow at the beginning.  It warmed up towards the end of N1LN’s shift, and the rates soon were very good there.  N4GU and N4YDU had 40m smoking by then, and were keeping the rate meter busy.

Towards the middle of the last shift, N4YDU on 40m and me on 80m, the 60 minute rate got close to 200.  Almost, but not quite there.

Damn – THAT was a GOOD contest!

The 80m results were good, but conditions there were fairly difficult.  There were loud static crashes to the south of our QTH.  It was difficult copy doing RX on the TX antenna.  Using the beverages, stations were calling from all directions, so it was difficult to copy the calls on the first try.  Towards the end of my last shift, it seemed the best compromise for my ears was to use the beverages for RX with the K3’s pre-amp on and the RF gain turned back, and a hand constantly riding the beverage selection knob and sometimes the RF gain.   Static crashes still made copy difficult on stations to the west. The west beverage was needed for copy on stations from TX to IA and all points beyond and between, but it was also getting a lot of the storm static from the south.   VE stations were solid copy as long as the correct beverage was selected – which was seldom the case.

Damn – that was a GOOOOOD contest!

The two shifts I pulled on 20m were very good, and probably the best I have had as an op at N1LN.  Signals were generally solid copy.  QRN was relatively low.  The QRM was manageable, probably because activity was spread out up to 10m.  Rates were very steady.  I did find that the occasional nudge to the antenna direction often produced a new flurry of Q’s to pop in for a visit to our log.  Swinging back and forth from TX to NNW was the plan of action.  The occasional NE station was often loud enough to copy easily off the edges, but pointing either of the antennas directly NE produced little.  20m did not seem to “go short” as it did for me when operating  NAQP CW from home.  It just seemed to die.

The final tally shows a good spread of Q’s across the bands.

The Good
  • great team
  • great station
  • good high band conditions
  • K3 Protective circuit works!(see “the ugly”)
  • N1LN 10 minute repair service – Priceless!
The Bad
  • low band noise was high
  • Hardware issue cut into N4YDU 15m rate
The Ugly
  • The left station K3 folded back to 5w during the second hour in the middle of N4YDU 15m run.  Cooling fans not running, so heat sensor cut amp off.  Loose fan cable.  Repair by N1LN.
The Score 🙂
Call: NC4KW             Class: M/2 LP
Operator(s): N1LN, N4YDU, W4KAZ, N4GU
Station: N1LN           QTH: NC

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:  107    33
   80:  307    47
   40:  528    58
   20:  556    50
   15:  260    41
   10:  129    30
Total: 1887   259  Total Score = 488,733


2012 NAQP CW – January

Did not expect to be able to put the time in for this one, but enough things shifted around at the end of the week that it worked out.  Murphy showed his face in the form of a broken headphone jack on the homebrew SO2R headphone audio jack, which I broke at 1805z as I plugged the headphone cable in.   Not off to a smooth start.  The jack is actually intack, it just became separated from the cover of the home-brew SO2R box.

Better to log Q’s than pull the box from the patch cord rats’ nest, so that fix has to wait. So no S&P2R. 🙁

Conditions here seemed good. 10m and 15m had decent signals, even if I couldn’t get a run going. After about 3:00pm local, 20m started to go short without losing the long, and seemed to be open to everywhere in North America at once. Worked TX, CA, NY, SK and SC almost back to back right before I took a dinner break at 4:45pm local.

No runs on 10m or 15m. 20m run was decent, and the unusual mixed bag of stations from everywhere kept me there when I should have migrated to 40m. Should have started the contest on 20m and migrated to 40m much earlier. 40m was long by the time I got there, so I moved down to 80m after short 40m pass. 80m was pretty good, nice and quiet here in the KazShack, and lots of solid signals. Nice 80m run. 160m was also nice and quiet, with good signals. The K9AY was hearing better down on 160 than the xmit antenna, even with low QRN. Too bad 160m condx were not as good as that for Stew Perry.

The 80m S&P was a blast.  Keeping a 50/hr rate was easy.  Not having the SO2R was a bit of a downer.  With the good conditions on all bands, S&P2R would have really been a lot of fun.  The 40m totals would have been bolstered with the second radio. I think I’d have been able to hit that goal of a 60Q hour of all SS&P if the SO2R box had been on-line.

Didn’t really set any goals other than to have some fun.  DONE!

But still only half as many Q’s as the Top Gunz……and it is certain THAT ain’t because of Murphy.

The Good:

  • Good conditions on all bands – compared to recent years.
  • Lots of Fun
  • 5:00pm Hamburger break…yummy
  • 416 Q’s and only one TEBOW
  • Good to see some interest in fielding PVRC teams

The Bad:

  • SO2R not available.  Fun value not gathered in as well as it might have been otherwise.
  • CW copy needs work.
  • Too lazy to do the work to improve the CW
  • muffed the off times, so erred on the side of staying inside the rules.  9 hours rather than 10

The Ugly:

Oh, probably the language used when I broke that #@%%*&!! headphone jack.  The jack separated from the panel.  The repair might be a case of filling the hole with JB Weld and re-drilling it.  It looks like the plastic panel face is reamed out.

The final “Final”:

Call: W4KAZ
Radios: SO2R
 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:   61    23
   80:  154    43
   40:   61    31
   20:  106    41
   15:   26     9
   10:    8     8
Total:  416   155  Total Score = 64,480

3830 score link

73 es tnx fer q’s and fills de w4kaz


Summer Review – 2011 RSGB IOTA

YACP – Yet Another Catch-up Post.

This year’s IOTA went well, although conditions were difficult.  The WX was clear, but easily the hottest of the IOTA expeditions so far.  Very uncomfortable setting up.  Very uncomfortable sitting in the shade.  Operated from the same Cape Lookout location at the Cape Lookout Federal Park on the South Core Banks.

Radio conditions were also comparably disappointing. The mid afternoon SSB session was miserably slow.  Conditions generally not as good as 2010 IOTA, and not nearly as good as most of 2011.  US activity seemed down, but that may just be perception based on the slow afternoon on SSB.  Abysmal.

Antenna mast raising shenanigans were also quite educational.  Valuable lessons learned there.   The guy stakes were inadequate for the height and new sets of guys will also be required to move the guy anchors  farther away from the mast base.  Nothing that a bit of up-front preparation work cannot conquer, but difficult to overcome in the field.  So the mast height was reduced from the projected.

The new base plates for implementing the falling-derrick method performed exactly as expected.  The mast raising technique is solid.

This year’s crew was W4KAZ, W0UCE, K2AV, and N3ND.  N4YDU was off in luxury accommodations operating from the family vacation just up the coast from the N4A operation.  Always fun, but missed having ‘YDU on board.  Imagine being wooed by the family into basking in air-conditioned splendor with the occasional dip in the hot-tub optional.   😮

Numbers and score down from 2010, but hoping for the best, and waiting official results.

Plans for 2012 are begun.  I expect the direct hit by hurricane Irene last fall will have changed the sand dune structure enough that we will find some new hurdles to overcome.  The beach was rolled back, so the cabins are now somewhat closer to the ocean(natural for a barrier island), so the sand filled in the small clear area  between dunes that we used for the antenna mast.  I will not at all be surprised to find the area filled with sea oats and mostly too difficult to work in come summer 2012.  A new challenge.

CQ WW SSB 2011 @ N1LN

2011 N1LN Team: N1LN, N4YDU, AD4L, WW4M, W4KAZ, W4DTB, KA1ARB

Subtitle:  “How My Perspective On Contesting Changed Again”

Well.  That sure was interesting.

After several years of gutting out the poor propagation conditions for this one, the barn doors were more or less blown off by band conditions this past weekend.  Yes, 10m was great.  15m was great too.  And even 20m showed new facets too.

The past several weeks leading into the contest have had better band conditions than we have had in quite a long while.  With sunspots hitting 200+ briefly and solar flux levels over 120 for several weeks straight, the high bands have been open on a consistent basis daily.  These measures had been drifting down going into the contest, but propagation remained good through the contest.

So.   Propagation remained GOOD throughout the contest.  Even the dread 2:00am to 5:00am showed more life than years past.  On Sunday a few spots posted on 20m during the 3:00am(local) hour showed stateside stations were hearing EU on 20m.  80m/160m was mostly a mind numbing hiss of static, so whats to lose in checking?  Turns out the band was mostly open already.  Very loud signals across the band just after 4:00am local.  Some already had their ears on, and were able to hear my calls even though they were mostly not pointing antennas towards the US.  Instant better rate over the low band hiss.  Very nice.

N4YDU had a great run on 10m Saturday afternoon.  Sunday was my turn.  I expect the 8:00 to 11:00 hours on Sunday to be the best of the contest.  While I ran stations on 10m, N4YDU was keeping 15m hot.  Easily the best rates I’ve ever worked over an extended period.  10m was stacked with signals from the bottom up past 29Mc.  It was a mixed bag of mini pileups and a steady flow of callers, no need for a “cq robot”, and easily the most fun I have ever had operating a contest.

Murphy struck only an off hand shot at the team when KA1ARB had his travel plans snafu’d by the storm system in the northeast causing him to miss a flight on Saturday evening.   Pencil and paper whipped out, and N1LN came up with an interim schedule fix to cover the holes without resorting to Double Super Secret Expresso and too much lost sleep for anyone.  Although N4YDU had a six hour nap window shortened, I figure he had already made up those hours when I found him napping at the knobs at the end of the Saturday graveyard shift.  😮

A second possible Murphy sighting was had by N1LN of Friday afternoon when the top 20m antenna was showing dead air, but that problem automagically disaparated and did not seem to recur during CQWW.

A member of the OCRA club, Derek, W4DTB dropped by and piloted one of the positions for a couple of hours.  Derek posted a nice audio clips of me stumbling through some 20m Q’s on Sunday afternoon, and a clip of N1LN doing much better.

N1LN 3830 write-up.


The Good:

Great time operating over at N1LN’s, and I appreciate the opportunity.  Always fun to clown around with N4YDU.  Got a chance to operate N1LN’s M/2 setup, which wasn’t really a sure thing until AD4L and WW4M carved out enough time to join the team.  10m was great.  15m was great too.  20m was damn good.  Good runs from Japan and Russia in addition to the normal European openings.  Getting called by VK and ZL stations while beaming Europe.  The It-Never-Snows-In-October storm mostly bypassed the local area.  Some of the larger stations that operated in M/2 class in 2010 moved back up into M/M for 2011.

The Bad:

Personally, I was still stumbling at times with some of the exchanges. I need to improve callsign recognition and pulling out single calls.

The Ugly:

KA1ARB was scheduled to fly out of NYC on Saturday, but was stranded by the it-never-snows-in-October storm.  Schedule re-arranging worked fairly well, but KA1ARB missed a couple of good run in addition to the inconvenience of ruined travel plans.  And N4YDU whined so much about missing his 6 hour nap break, I let him use his double tails coin to decide who would get to bolt when KA1ARB arrived unexpected at the end of the contest.  😮

Call: N1LN
Operator(s): N4YDU, W4KAZ, AD4L, WW4M, KA1ARB, W4DTB, N1LN
Station: N1LN
Class: M/2 HP
Operating Time (hrs): 48
Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
  160:   75    12       23
   80:  364    18       69
   40:  508    27       97
   20: 1092    39      126
   15: 1104    36      131
   10: 1593    37      146
Total: 4736   169      592  Total Score = 9,560,443


Summer Review – Field Day 2011

Drove out to the mountains to hook up with N4YDU and N4PY for another great FD.  The Stone Mt. site is just plain awesome.  The set up was heavy on keeping it simple. We used 40m doublets and an 80m Vee operating 1A with a 6m setup.

One of the 40m antennas showed a high noise level again, which I expect is being generated locally.  Probably something in the park restroom is generating the RFI.  We had the same problem when we operated from the site previously.  But thats all a part of FD – working through the problems.

The 56 ft doublets were a lot less impressive on top of a mountain than at the beach for IOTA, which is not really a surprise.  I expect most of their performance in 2010  IOTA was due to ocean side proximity and propagation.  Left to my own devices the first choice for 40m will forevermore be resonant dipoles or loops.

The FD wx was great.  Overnight temps fell into the low 60’s or 50’s, which is a really nice change after afternoon temps in the 90’s.

And as always, operating with N4YDU and N4PY was great.

The only downside was there was no time before or after to get in a couple of days of camping and hiking the park trails.

CQ WPX CW 2011


I had saved Friday afternoon for some nice relaxing antenna maintenance time.  It is time to replace the K9AY wires.  Both loops have suffered a lot of damage from the odd falling branch, and the loops were made from fairly thin 18ga tinned automotive wire, I normally use for other reasons.  Time to put up loops made of heavier gauge wire, because the RX antenna is a keeper.  The 15m/10m loop also needs some work.  It needs to be adjusted for better SWR if kept, but it will more likely be replaced with simple dipoles.  Also need to check out some of the support lines, etc., etc. etc.

The wx did not cooperate with this plan.  A big thunderstorm moved in, and there was a mini monsoon, the likes of which I’ve not seen very often here in NC.  It was more like the spring storms more common on the gulf coast.  “Torrential downpour”.  “Monsoon”.

Anyway, with half of the XYL’s landscape floating away to the accompaniment of claps of thunder, the antenna plan hit the crapper.  The occasional light shower continued through the afternoon, and the wx radar kept me from plugging into the antennas(aka “lightning attractors”) until about 0400Z.  It would probably have been OK to operate sooner, but there was no reason to take the risk.

So, Friday resulted in a whopping 13Q’s of disinterested S&P.

Slept late Saturday(see where this is going?).  Still not much interest.  More half-hearted S&P on a mostly dead 20m band.  A 10 minute 20m run produced zilch.  Had more fun texting N4YDU than operating.  In the early evening, 40m sounded good.  Worked A73A, and hope he finally copied my number. He got the call on the first transmission, but needed fills on the number.  But if they could hear me in Qatar, it must be worth giving running a shot.  A forty minute 40m run produced about 50 Q’s, and some skimmer spot activity.  Operated “assisted, low power” to test out the packet connections.  Figured on a mostly S&P weekend, and figured it would be interesting to watch the band map.  Somewhere in that time the N/S 40m dipole became disfunctional[after nabbing a lot of russians while S&P].  Bailed early again.

Sunday, more Q’s were made running than S&P.  20m was a lot more fun than on Saturday.  15m stunk using the 40m dipole, although it looks like it stunk for bigg gunz too..  The N/S 40m dipole showed intermittent, so I guess that huge branch that fell in February must have given it a good wack on the way down.  Another repair project.  Running stations was pretty easy on both 40m and 20m, so conditions on Sunday were much improved over those on Saturday.

The station was good to go inside the shack.  With the skimmer spots being fed from the Reverse Beacon Net’s server, the band map was well populated.  The filters established were adequate.  The only part missing there were skimmer spots from a truly LOCAL skimmer.  The SO2R arrangement was also good-to-go, although the lid operator was not motivated enough for “S&P2R”.  If band conditions ever really break open again, with activity from 40m though 10m, the two radio capability is going to be more useful.  However SO2R was mostly a learning project – figuring out how to accomplish it was the real goal.  Time to revisit those filter projects again.

The Good:

  • Nice to hear 20m sound better.  Saturday was like sunspot minima.  Sunday-much better.
  • N/S 20m and E/W 20m dipoles produced good results in the expected directions, up to three S-units difference on weaker signals.  Definitely worth having both
  • Ditto 40m.  Before it broke, the N/S 40m dipole was hearing  many fine Russian ops much better than the E/W dipole, that is normally the  first choice.  The N/S works well into the GA/FL/Carribean/SA direction too.
  • Packet set-up will work when it is wanted
  • CW skimmer is every bit the game changer I expected.
  • Pulled the 40m antenna switch box to debug for possible intermittent.  Replaced broken connector on unused position, all seven positions on switch re-checked, switch good to go.

The Bad:

  • CW skimmer is every bit the game changer I expected[depends on mood]
  • didn’t get the repairs done
  • bad attitude.  Just not feeling the force
  • No real game plan going into the contest
The Ugly:
  • Washout on Friday afternoon.
  • Broken antennas:  K9AY, N/S 40m, 15m/10m loop
  • New problem on 40m switch box

The final “Final”:

Call: W4KAZ   Operator(s): W4KAZ   Station: W4KAZ
Class: SO(A)AB LP                  QTH: NC
Operating Time (hrs): 12.5

 Band  QSOs
   80:   10
   40:  132
   20:  208
   15:   15
   10:    1
Total:  366  Prefixes = 260  Total Score = 215,540



This year was spent at N1LN operating under the NC Contesters Club Call NR3X.  The three man team[N4YDU, N1LN, W4KAZ] was a group formed to put N1LN’s station on the air for the contest after failing to find the ops required to run the preferred M/2.  I’m sure glad we didn’t let the opportunity slip by – lots of fun.

Propagation conditions were very good for this contest – the best I have caught in several years.  Improved conditions  and lots of active stations made the bands wall-to-wall donald duck essessbeee chaos.  Very difficult to copy weak stations, but there were lots of LOUD signals too.  Heard many layers of QSOs on the same frequency.

Lots of little fun facts trickled in during the course of the weekend.  Made the mistake of trying to switch from 15m to 20m too early – and lost a high rate run.  Lesson: Next time listen to N4YDU! Made the mistake of giving up too easily on “terrible”  high QRM run frequencies.  Lesson: Don’t move before the rate plummets!  Beast it like N4YDU!

This contest, I made it a point to move the antennas around more often when the rates slowed and was rewarded with small boosts in the rate several times. Still not enough experience to know when to look for openings in directions other than EU, but sliding the beams 20 degrees either side of directly at Central EU usually found a few new ones hiding in the favored directions.

Getting the most out of N1LN’s station is something that is seeping in slowly.  The options in a station designed for M/2 competition are quite a bit more complex than just putting the butt-in-chair.  Also a world of difference between good yagi’s and dipole draped through the trees.

Looking at the raw score[3830 blurb] and the CQ WPX results database, we would have the fifth highest score ever posted for a Multi-One from the USA – based on scores through 2010. Unfortunately…. at least four other stations posted higher scores than our own for WPX SSB 2011, including  what will be a new US record.  So instead of making it into the top 10 all time scores, we might just wind up in the top 20.  There are several score in the ballpark of our 11.7m, so it will depend a lot on how clean our log checks out to see where we land.  There are going to be a LOT of great scores from this year’s contest.

We began the contest with general goals of 3000 to 3500 Q’s and at least 1000 mults.  We thought the improving conditions would help, and thought the mults would be the more difficult goal to reach.  Recent rule changes to Multi-Single for WX allow for 10 “band changes” per clock hour with one transmitted signal on the air rather than a mult radio.  This allows only 5 mults on different bands, assuming the run station remains on a single band for the duration of a clock hour.  That made for a lot of difficulty working mults on the second radio without disrupting the run station and losing a run frequency.  So the final result is a really good showing, and very happy with the mult totals.

A lot of the mults, as well as a lot of widespread DX called into our runs.  At the N1LN station, I tend to get caught off guard by the variety.  While running I logged B7, HS, several ZL and VK stations, all with the antennas pointed in directions not favorable for those directions.  It is really fun operating at N1LN.

Like always, an hour after my last shift my thought run towards “Why did we do this?”.  The next morning, after a solid night’s sleep the question morphs into “It really wasn’t THAT bad, was it?”.  Less than a week later, the question again morphs, becoming “When can we do that again?!?!”.

The Band conditions were a whole new can of worms compared to recent years. It is time to re-make the “rule book” to be dynamic enough to fit the changing conditions.  What worked as band strategies for periods of crappy propagation do not apply to periods of good propagation.  Go where the rate is – but where the heck is that gonna be?

160m – no activity, high storm noise.

80m. There was a moderately high noise level on 80m, but the nice beverages at N1LN’s station compensated.  During the night shift 40m dropped off due to the heavy QRM, and lack of EU calls while trying to listen split.  Better to work 1 pointers than nothing, so down to 80m we go.  80m was crowded, but not nearly the QRM levels of 20m and 15m.  Decent rates running strings of US stations with a nice mix of North and Central Europe stations calling every 4th or 5th Q.  With the beverage pointing at EU, the 6 and 7 land US stations were hard to copy, so the beverage controls got a decent workout switching from W to NE.  That run held up through the whole shift.

40m. Just not any fun operating 40m on SSB.  Split didn’t pan out.  Ugh.

20m was good – if you consider slam packed high QRM condx good.  Even with the QRM, there were bright spots when strings of strong stations would call in. Mostly 20m was neglected in favor of the 15m bonanza.  It sure seemed like rates were low because of the good 15m conditions.

15m was wide open on Sunday. After Saturday, we were thinking we were heavy on 15m, and might need to press 20m harder to keep the rate up, but N4YDU was being called by multiple stations.  Asking for fills was common due to crowded band conditions.  But it was great to hear 15m hopping again.  Probably the best 15m conditions I’ve operated, and certainly the best I’ve seen yet from a top-notch station.

10m – Finally! Friday evening started with a 10m opening to ZL/VK territory, which may have been lost opportunities.  Not much activity on 10 on Saturday.  Sunday afternoon the bubble burst on 10m.  With the antennas pointed south N1LN and YDU were able to run stations for a short period, and we were getting hits from all directions.  One of the better gems was a call from a station in Malta.  YDU indicated it was probably a Caribbean skewed skip opening, but it was sustained for the better part of an hour and accounted for the bulk of the 10m Q’s logged.

The Good: The generosity of N1LN and N1YXU in hosting the operations is deeply appreciated.  Great working with N1LN and N4YDU.

The Bad: Too easy to bail on high QRM run frequencies.  The joke was that was the GOOD run frequency.

The fUgly: Murphy was off visiting others.  Maybe he was happy with having smoked the home QTH microwave on Thursday.  [Blown microwave oven magnetrons smell just like blown power supplies.]

Raw Score [3830 blurb]:

Call: NR3X     ****    Operator(s): N4YDU, W4KAZ, N1LN   ****  Station: N1LN

Class: M/S HP   ****    QTH: NC                             ****  Operating Time (hrs): 48

 Band  QSOs
  160:    1
   80:  334
   40:  695
   20: 1013
   15: 1203
   10:  234
Total: 3480  Prefixes = 1267  Total Score = 11,738,755



“E’ Says E’s not dead yet!”

Some life in 10m.  Not fabulous for the peanut whistle, but a lot better than recent times.

20m was really pretty good compared to recent excursions into the ether.  At least for the short times operated.  It was pretty cool to hop on 20m, call CQ, and have a 150Q 10 minute rate.  The rate didn’t last for more than 15 minutes, but it was great to have a whack at what can happen when conditions improve.  Too bad it doesn’t happen more often.

10m and 15m had signals, but not a lot of mixed success trying to work them.  For a change, 20m was easier.  The 10m/15m antenna situation may change. It looks like there may be room to pull a dual band dipole up in the current home of he 10m/15m loop.  That should play better since the effective height of the antenna will be significantly higher.

Tried a short run on 40m around 2030Z, which would normally be a bit on the early side for the peanut whistle to work EU on 40m.  Yet I had a nice run of EU stations there, and signal strengths were generally good for that early.  Had to ask for a lot of fills, the QSB was troublesome and I had difficulty pulling calls out of the mini-pileups.   A better op would have been nailing them more easily.

The propagation within the US seemed to be pretty good on all bands.  This sort of improvement will be very welcome for WPX and for FD and IOTA if it continues through the summer.

Class: SOAB LP;  QTH: NC;     Operating Time (hrs): 6.5
 Band  QSOs  Mults
   40:   80    30
   20:  125    38
   15:   19    14
   10:    9     9
Total:  233    91  Total Score = 63,609

2010 ARRL 160m

That was fun.  Got a chance to really test drive the 160m inverted-L with the new series capacitance matching installed.  The capacitor switching is not yet wired, but the match is best at about 1845.  The KAT100 tuner for the K2 is easily able to match the antenna across the CW areas.  Without the switching in place, the area above 1900 is not usable, but that’s not a problem for ARRL 160m.

Operating low power into a vertical is a challenge on any band but has always seemed a larger hurdle on 160m.  It seems like the Inverted-L is playing very well – certainly better than before the matching at the antenna feed point was improved.  There were a few stations that struggled to hear the peeps from the KazShack, but the percentage of good QSO’s versus “no cpy pse ltr” definitely seems to have improved.

Operating was limited mostly to early evening.  Not a lot of DX worked, just a couple of Caribbean stations and an F2 that must have really good ears.  The Caribbean stations were booming, so they probably had less trouble copying the 100w. Didn’t hang in the shack until the EU sunrise, but the F2 was early.

Darting in and out of the KazShack Saturday afternoon, low-and-behold, those three or four intrepid operators cq’ing into the teeth of a mostly dead daytime 160m band have pretty darn good signals.  Short distance regional Q’s, but with low noise conditions a few hundred more stations on the air would make the afternoon on 160m interesting.  Very easy copy.

The Good:

  • Got a light dusting of snow Saturday afternoon while helping the XYL with trimming the Christmas tree.  Nice afternoon!
  • Worked most of the S&P contacts on the first call.  A few required hearing the call more than once.  A handful were still deaf to my every attempt.
  • Two really nice runs where the 15 minute rates hit 120/hr.  Must have been spotted.  The first was Friday evening.  The second was around 6:00am local Saturday morning.
  • Gotta love the wintertime.  Conditions very quiet on Saturday evening after about 7:00pm local.  Listened mostly on the xmit antenna Saturday.  Good conditions at other times too.  Used the K9AY rx antenna for some of the tougher Q’s.
  • Great booming signals from the couple of Caribbean stations.
  • E77, HI, were good easy copy but didn’t fight their pileups.  Worked F2.  Probably would have had better luck picking up a few new countries if the butt had stayed in chair.

The Bad:

  • Would like for folks to allow the DX stations the chance to call CQ in the DX window.  It’s not really that difficult to find a run frequency on 160m outside the DX window.    Maybe SantaClawz, the TeethFerry, and the EasterWabbit can hold a bi-partisan beer summit,have a group hug, sing Kumbaya, and a collegial atmosphere of good will and peace on earth will break out.  Even then it probably won’t trickle down to the amateur radio community.
  • Not enough rest going into the weekend – no operating after midnight local.  Only about 9 hours total Butt-In-Chair time.

The Ugly:

  • None!  Murphy was busy elsewhere.

The Outcome:

Station: W4KAZ

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 9

Total:  QSOs = 329  Sections = 51  Countries = 5  Total Score = 37,856