North American QSO Party, CW — August 2011

Almost did­n’t make this one!

Thanks to all for the Qs. I real­ly enjoy this format…my hat off to NCJ for putting on a great con­test series.

North American QSO Party, CW - August

Call: WF7T
Operator(s): WF7T
Station: WF7T

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): ~8
Radios: SO2R

 Band  QSOs  Mults
 160:    8     8
  80:   95    33
  40:  194    45
  20:   77    36
  15:   29    20
  10:   11     7
Total:  414   147  Total Score = 60,858

Club: Tennessee Contest Group

Team: TCG #4

I had the whole place torn apart due to a minor light­ning event and gen­er­al dis­con­tent with my whole arrange­ment. Lost the on-board Eth­er­net con­nec­tion on my main com­put­er moth­er­board, along with my net­work hard­ware and my media serv­er. I did not notice any issues with my radio equip­ment since I keep it phys­i­cal­ly dis­con­nect­ed when not in use.

I decid­ed last minute on Sat­ur­day morn­ing to con­nect every­thing back up. Not a prob­lem: com­put­er off-net but oth­er­wise con­trol­ling every­thing. Sta­tion was back up a half hour before the con­test start. My anten­nas did not seem to work. While this is nev­er real­ly a sur­prise here since I am noto­ri­ous for shab­by and ques­tion­able anten­na con­struc­tion, I did an eye-roll once or twice dread­ing the anten­na debugging.

To abbre­vi­ate my long saga: I found the cur­rent balun for my dou­blet was blown and an auto-tuner at the base of my invert­ed L would not pow­er. So, my trusty G5RV was put back up and I decid­ed to use my 40 bi-square as my sec­ond anten­na. I sat down at the radio two hours after the start­ing bell sweaty and slight­ly annoyed.

Played between 15 and 20M for the first cou­ple hours. Nice to work a very brief open­ing on 10M around 2200z but it fiz­zled pret­ty quick­ly. Decid­ed to get to 40M ear­ly as it is typ­i­cal­ly my best band (espe­cial­ly with the G5RV). I did­n’t have any oth­er anten­na options for the sec­ond radio so my pro­duc­tiv­i­ty was pret­ty low. Was want­i­ng to sweep 10 & 15 and stay more active on 20M but just did­n’t have the setup.

All the bands were pret­ty short with mar­gin­al sig­nals, and it was­n’t until the
last hour or two of the con­test that 80 & 40 stretched out to the West. 40M got qui­et around 0200z and stayed qui­et until an hour before the con­test end. With the region­al storm activ­i­ty 80M was bru­tal – said in my best Nathan Explo­sion voice – and 160M was near impos­si­ble. I had a bad anten­na on Top­band: I loaded up the G5RV and hoped for anything.

In ret­ro­spect, my rate was 10 Qs per hour bet­ter than my typ­i­cal average.

So, that’s my report. Look­ing for­ward to SSB in a cou­ple weeks…see you then!

IC-7600, FT-857D@100W
G5RV@35′, 40M Bi-square point­ed NE/​SW

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