Radio W4KAZ

Thanks for stopping by the virtual KazShack. Feel free to comment - I often approve them.



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


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>