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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


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