Radio W4KAZ

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


Well, SS CW went a bit beyond my expectations. I had a modest goal of simply improving the score over that of 2007. Instead, I had my best ever QSO total for any contest from W4KAZ, logging 608 QSO’s, 78 mults, for a raw score of 94000+. Pretty good for a CW contest from the KazShack.

O’course, I did it by “cheating”.

What I mean is that I cheated myself by setting up and using packet spots, and entering the contest as class “U”. Although I operated unlimited, I did not use an amplifier. I couldn’t bring myself to cheat THAT much. So the score is nice, but it will need to be be footnoted.

There is no class in Sweeps for low power assisted, but that’s okay. I also expect my log to be torn up by the log checking process, but I was going for quantity instead of quality. Since my copy is not ever even close to 100%, I’ll lose quite a bit in the end. I can live with that too.

Using the spots helped in a number of subtle ways. I did use them to find most of the 5-land mults. I did that by combing the bandmap for the 5-landers while I looked for run frequencies. I also worked AK and AB that way. Using the bandmap of spots also showed the gaps between stations, Some of these gaps were occupied by stations that had not been spotted. Many times there was a clear run frequency, so I would stop and give running a whirl. I made it a point to spot all of the class A stations I ran across. The others I spotted if they were not already on my bandmap.

None of the runs I had on 20m lasted longer than a few minutes, and none were more productive than S&P. The dipole just can’t compete on 20m, at least not to hold a frequency in the crowd.

40m was more productive, but nothing great. I was able to manage a couple of decent rate runs, but nothing terribly productive.

On 80m my folded dipole and 100w just rocked. I guess most folks with a tribander at 40 or 50 feet have their 80m antennas hung off their towers too. My dipole is 60 or 70 feet up in a 100+ foot tall poplar tree, and is as far away from any nearby buildings as is possible in my yard. I think that difference explains it. I was able to set up an run almost at will on 80m, so I pressed that advantage.

On Saturday, I started out by S&P’ing as much of 6-land as was possible, and also picked up SK, AB, BC, and AK, all within the first hours of the contest. Signals seemed to be getting long on 20m, so I jumped over 40m to look for an early run frequency on 80m. That first 80m run went for almost four hours straight, and I had a two hour rate pushing 50/hr for most of it. It was the most productive period of the contest. After the run started dying off, I alternated between S&P on 40m and 80m and short runs on 80m.

On a side note, some dimwit tried to horn in on my 80m frequency a couple of times after I had been spotted. I didn’t see any reason to leave a frequency I had been using for almost three hours….but they finally DID see a reason to move. Sweeet. Chasing off the amplifier guys!

Sunday I opened up on 40m, and milked it for what I could during the daylight hours. A hastily set up N/S dipole on 40m gave a bit of extra coverage during the daylight hours, but was less useful overnight. I missed the 15m opening to 6-land because of a switching problem on 15. 20m was S&P, and was a mixed bag.

So I’m pretty happy overall. Things will be better if the high bands open up again. Until then, 80m is the place to be.

The SO2R box would have been handy during the slow runs.

edit 11/7/2008, 4:00pm:

The Good: Conditions on 80m were very quiet here in central NC. The K2 works very well on 80m. The extra 40m dipole payed off in QSO’s during the daylight hours. Best ever CW Qso total, best ever Qso total, best ever sweepstakes score.

The Bad: The SO2R project and band pass filters remain incomplete. End fed 40m vertical not ever better than dipole.

The UGly: None!

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