Radio W4KAZ

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2008 NAQP CW – August

This turned out a bit better than I expected, despite the pop-up T-storms in the area all afternoon.

I’m always a bit leery of the August NAQP’s. My first radio in the shack after re-licensing in 2000 wound up being zapped by a nearby lightning strike in the midst of NAQP in 2001. It turns out one of my neighbors had more three houses over had a lot more damage. We think it hit the utility pole in front of his house. It seemed to come into everyones house via the CATV lines. My CATV boxes were shot, and the CATV lines cross the shack where the antennas come in. But the radio was toasted via the connection to the computer. The radio’s CPU was shot.

Come to think, NAQP has been an expensive contest. I lost a power supply in January NAQP. Hmmm…

So the T-storms always give me cause to pause. The WX at 1800z wasn’t looking good, but I decided to give it a whirl. I checked 10m first, and there were signals. Hot Dawg! After three quick Q’s, There’s a loud static crash on the radio followed by a distant rumble of thunder. Plug Pulled PDQ.

THAT didn’t last long.

After a few hours but-not-in-chair, around 2030z a check of the local WX radar seemed to show the KazShack QTH would be in a hole between the scattered storms, so I hopped back on. After a short bit of S&P, I got in a short run on 20m of about 70 minutes duration, then broke off again for dinner with the family.

After dinner, I hit the waves again about 2250Z, and operated until about 0400z. I did only enough S&P to find a decent run frequency. My goal was to practice running on CW. I met that goal easily enough. I was only able to run at about 22wpm, because I was just not copying well enough to try to get up to higher speeds. Despite the relatively low CW speed, at one point the 10 minute rate was over 125/hr several times, and I had a 90 minute rate up to 70/hr at the peak. That’s easily the highest rate I have ever run on CW, even in contests with a simpler exchange. Great news.

After the slow start, I sort of fell into the groove. I really started to feel comfortable running CW, and that was really cool. When there is more confidence in the accuracy of my copy, it will be a major milestone even if the comfortable CW speed is below 25wpm. Pushing the CW speed up to 30wpm is the next target beyond 100% copy.

There is of course still tremendous room for improvement. I’m sure my score will be demolished in log checking. My error rate will be terrible. The new goal is clean copy. Aim for less than 1% errors(be happy under 3%)

The Good:

  • Great CW rates on 15m and 20m. Decent high band conditions for late summer.
  • Best sustained CW rates I’ve been able to manage.
  • K2 is a great contest radio. Excelsat S&P in a crowd. Learning the features.
  • The interference between the ft-920 and the K2 are not so bad. Tested with the 20m stub in place on the K2 and the 40m bandpass filter on the FT-920. Rudimentary SO2R might be possible on a budget.

The Bad:

  • I’m expecting the log checking to decimate my score because of a high error rate. GET IT RIGHT
  • Copy skills need a lot of work, as I needed a lot of fills due to not copying the exchange the first time. GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.
  • Practice is also needed in pulling call signs from pile-ups. THAT’s a new experience. GET AT LEAST ONE PARTIAL FROM EVERY PILE-UP.

The Ugly:

  • Horrid noise levels on 40m and 80m. I never even checked 160m. Pulled the Plug at midnight local. Ick. I sure hope its better for SSB.
  • Thought the T-storm had snuck up on me at the start. CHECK THE WX RADAR.
Class: Single Op LP, .......Operating Time (hrs): 6.5
Band  QSOs  Mults
 160:    0     0
  80:    9     7
  40:   49    26
  20:  149    41
  15:   77    26
  10:   17     9
Total:  301   109  Total Score = 32,809

2 comments to 2008 NAQP CW – August

  • Scot, KA3DRR

    Happy to work you on two bands and a great signal into the central coast of California. Everyone turned in improved numbers on 10 and 15 Meters. What a surprise that 10 Meters remained open for most of the afternoon. Fifteen was exceptional as well. Nice work!

    Contest on.

    Scot, KA3DRR

  • My 10m results were not so good, but still better than the 2007 10m contest. But that was a low hurdle to cross. 🙂

    I had bette luck working CA than I have had for some time, and it was nice to catch a few 15m Q’s too. Glad I made it into yer log.

    I’ll be guest op’ing as “NC4KW” for NAQP SSB, a Multi-2 being hosted by N1LN. Look for us on all bands.

    Tnx es 73 de w4kaz

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