Radio W4KAZ

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NAQP SSB January 2010 @ NC4KW

Once again N1LN and N1YXU hosted the January NAQP’s at their home, and I was happy to be part of the SSB team. This year’s crew was N1LN, N1YXU, AA4FU, and myself, W4KAZ, operating under the NC4KW call sign.

It was a lot of fun.

Given the poor high band conditions over the NAQP CW weekend, there was a general agreement that the best initial plan might be to start on 20m and 40m, with the intent of keeping an eye on 15m and 10m in case of any possible openings. That proved to be a worthwhile strategy. We once again turned up a big ‘goose egg’ on 10m, not logging a single qso on the band. N1LN was able to improve last year’s 15m qso count with a short run and some S&P on 15m during his first shift and in between 40m runs.

20m was never great, but we brought our 20m qso count up to a more reasonable level, a big improvement over Jan 2009 contest. Conditions on 20m seemed really long right at the start of the contest. The upper antenna at 100 ft seemed to always be the best choice, and there seemed to be a narrow patch of good propagation into the upper midwest. Logged a bunch of Minnesota stations, and picked up a few other odds-n-ends from Minnesota westward. The western gulf coast from Louisianathru Texas were also being heard, but their signals were only half as good as Minnesotans. At the end of the first shift n 20m, there was not a single qso from sections 1, 2, 3 or 4. A somewhat lackluster result on 20m, at least for my own time in the chair on that band.

The other bands were also all improved over the 2009 totals, with better qso counts on each band. The multiplier counts were also better. The 80m mult count was tied with our 2009 efforts, but we improved our mults on 160m, 40m, 20m and 15m.

By coincidence, I wound up taking over the chair for 80m, and later 160m atjust the right time to begin trying to start runs on those bands. The first hours on each of those bands was interesting, with decent rates. For whatever reason, the beverages were showing a high noise level in the north and northeast directions. That made working the high population areas to our northeast more difficult, especially since so many stations calling were down at the noise floor. The 8’s, 9’s, and 0’s made up some of the slack, as they were easier to copy on the west and northwest beverage directions. The noise level began to decrease after local midnight, but rates had slowed by that time.

Some of the operating highlights were opening on 80m and 160m, and seeing the 60 minute rate meter[both stations combined] over 150, working with N1LN to get the 10 minute rate meter over 200, and then trying to keep it there. Later in the contest, 1400 Q’s became the short term goal, but N1LN caught a late burst of Q’s on 80m that put us over 1450 by the end of the contest.

In hindsight the total of 1469 qso’s logged is a new personal milestone. It is the first time I’ve been part of an operation that averaged over 60/hr for the duration of the event. [1469/(2*12)=61.2/hr]


also: The N1LN soapbox on 3830.

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