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2009 ARRL Sweepstakes CW Debrief

A big scheduling conundrum – LSU v. Alabama game scheduled at the same time as the start of SS CW. Hmmmm.

The allure of a possible shot at another run at the BCS title by LSU had me hedging at the start of the contest. No TV in the shack, nor time to set one up, so my compromise was I would hit the radio if/when the lads fall behind. I expected that to happen sooner rather than later, but the Tigers kept me from seriously attacking the initial contest bedlam for a couple of hours – before losing.

So I walk down into the shack at halftime, towards the end of the first hour. I put on the headphones. The right hand radio just happens to be sitting right on top of VE8EV. (Booming in too) BANG – Two calls, and the first QSO logged is the NT section. ?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!! First time I work them in SS.

Checking the spots next, VE7 and BC section – BANG second QSO logged on first call. WP3R – BANG, third QSO.

Three mults that are usually scarce here, all in about five minutes. Given my normal luck rounding up these guys, I considered pulling the plug right there. 😮 (I didn’t!)

Finished up the contest a bit behind the 2008 effort, but not by a lot. A new RFI problem kept knocking down the ISP connection on 80m, and on one of the 20m antennas.

Spent most of the contest flying low and slow, and the flak from the BigGunZ was intermittent. Spent most of my time running at the expected low-power-low-skill rates. Used the second radio a lot during the S&P sessions.

Two radio S&P gave me rates close to my average run rate, but I never got the 10 minute S&P rate above 50(goal was 60+, with over 45 for 60 minutes). Only S&P’d a short while looking for 6’s and 7’s. Found clear frequencies low in the band a couple of times for a couple of productive but short in duration runs.

Skipped past all of the packet pile-ups if they didn’t hear me after the second call. The two radio S&P rate was too good to waste time on a VO1 packet pileup.

Never heard a peep from WTX or ID. Didn’t look too hard either.

80m conditions were good. Some of the QRP stations sounded like high power big guns. The short skip to the NE and NW was good.




SO2R with Elecraft K2 and Yaesu F-920.


  • 80m: folded dipole @ 50ft
  • 40m: 2 dipoles at right angles, @ 45ft, reflector added to E/W to form 2 el. wire yagi.
  • 20m: E/W dipole @50ft
  • 15m/10m: Nested rectangular loops, top at 60ft

The Good:

  • The 40m reflector. This played very well for a domestic contest. Interaction caused favorable signal levels in the desired directions, and about four S-unit difference in certain directions between the two.
  • Working NT section as the first QSO, only two calls.
  • Short runs on 20m, better than normal
  • Runs on 40m better than last year, worked more 6’s than before.

The Bad:

  • Missed the first two hours
  • No sweep. “ID” section I understand, but “WTX”?

The Ugly:

  • RFI knocking down ISP. Rendered one 20m antenna useless, and also a problem on 80m.

The Final Damage

 Band  QSOs
  160:    0
   80:  272
   40:  195
   20:   98
   15:   20
   10:    0
Total:  585  Sections = 76  Total Score = 88,920

2 comments to 2009 ARRL Sweepstakes CW Debrief

  • Ed

    Certainly understandable that the LSU game would take priority! I thought they were going to pull it off too. After my Vols had them scared a couple of weeks ago, I thought LSU might be the team to take them down. Someday we can talk about the penalty discrepancy that homefield seems to bestow on the Tide.


    • Yeah, penalties and a bum call on the interception with six minutes left. Such is life. Our side benefited from a bum call at GA, so there’s enough crap going around for everybody. I was hoping our guys were coming together for a strong home stretch but they hit a bump in the road. So now the question – Bama or FL? Yuck! But then again, either is better than the media darlings at USC or Ohio.

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