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IARU 2009 @ N1LN

IARU is a contest that gets better participation outside of the US. Its early summer time frame gives it a different twist for radio propagation, and it is only a 24 hour contest. The time frame means that you may only get one chance to work certain regions, so if you snooze you lose. But unlike a DX contest based on country borders and continents, it also allows for the US stations to work each other. Another thing that makes it enjoyable is the dual mode nature. It is a little bit of everything. Unique.

This is normally a favorite contest to work from the shack, although I seldom press it as hard as I might in others. I was not really looking forward to it this year because of continuing poor propagation, but I brightened up when N1LN and N1YXU decided to host a Multi-Single at their QTH. (and many thanks to N1YXU and N1LN for hosting the event!)

I needed to split my time for last Saturday anyway, so I asked Bruce to put me on the graveyard shift, which he did. He had rounded up quite a few people for staffing the active station. As it turns out, the crew was a good mix of CW and SSB talent. AA4XX and EA5DFV both joined in to the fun. Paul, AA4XX is a local ham who enjoys QRP operation. Our friend Jose’, EA5DFV is contest op for Spain who is vacationing in the area visiting his family. It was really good to get to know both gents better.

Jose’ also pulled the graveyard shift. He and I were up for the duration of the evening. W0UCE covered the first part of the evening for CW, and N1LN got up in the early morning to finish up the contest with us.

My own head was mostly “in a box” for the evening, so I had a great deal of difficulty concentrating. That made for less running and more S&P. Conditions were very noisy, which is a situation I usually struggle with when I am alert. I’m afraid my performance probably was an overall drag on the team.

On the positive side, I gained the benefit of being mentored by an experienced EA op. Jose’s insight into the thought processes he would be using if he had been at his home QTH were very enlightening. We began searching for multipliers as morning approached. This probably was a good choice for the score, as the run rates we were getting were low enough tha even a single mult was worth the 10 to 15 minutes on the other band.

The early am hours(0700z) were fun for me because of the openings to the Pacific area. This is somethig I don’t get much of with the LP/wires set up at home. At N1LN’s I began hearing VK’s on the middle 20m antenna. Later in the morning(1000z) the JA’s were coming in on the top antenna. But there was also some sort opening to the VK’s on the compass heading for the JA’s at that time. When I switched to the lower antenna pointed directly at them NOTHING was heard.

As always, the social aspect of the evening was just fantastic. Bruce and Laurie are wonderful folks. I made sure to put in a reservation for Chef Archie’s(W0UCE) dinner. We made wise cracks at UCE’s expense all evening, but the meal he prepared for the group was one of the best I have had in ages. Chef Archie gets four stars from el Escribano Inexacto.

The N1LN 3830 write-up.

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