1997 ARRL DX CW Contest (W2SC opr)

K5ZD (W2SC opr.), Single Op All Band, High Power

By Tom Georgens, W2SC

Summary Sheet

                    
           ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST -- 1997

  Call: K5ZD (W2SC op)            Country:  United States
  Mode: CW                       Category: Single Operator

      BAND     QSO   COUNTRIES

      160      102     46
       80      460     65
       40      834     87
       20     1432     92
       15      145     58
       10        2      2
     ------------------------

     Totals   2975    350  =   3,123,750

The Contest

When Randy, K5ZD, announced that he would not be operating the ARRL DX contests I immediately informed him that I would be glad to put his station on the air if he was offering. He said that SSB was a sure thing and he would let me know about CW. Ultimately, both weekends were available and I was not about to let the opportunity pass.

I flew out from my current QTH in Kansas on Thursday night to set up my FT1000D as the primary radio and his 765 as the second radio. I also wanted to use my own two radio switching arrangement as I tried his split headphone solution in last year’s ARRL SSB and could never use it effectively. I am impressed by those (K5ZD, N4VJ, et. al.) who can use this scheme. It did not take long to get the stuff working and the station was more or less set. Randy had two suggestions however.

First, he wanted to use the computer to run the FT1000D. I did not have the RS-232 interface for the FT1000D and did not think it was necessary for CW (On SSB it is invaluable for 40/80 splits). Nonetheless, he had a KIY box and it worked flawlessly. He also has a problem with his computer where the CT screen would mysteriously change colors at random times. He suggested using my laptop at the computer to drive his keyboard and monitor. Once again he had it running in short order. Despite the warnings about Windows 95 and CT, everything looked fine.

On Friday, the plan was to do some errands in the morning, have lunch with a friend, and sleep in the afternoon. When I returned to Randy’s house for the nap, I found that my key did not work and I was locked outside in the freezing rain. I got pretty soaked as I repeatedly circled his house trying to find a lock where the key would operate. No amount of swearing would make it work. Not knowing what to do, I decided to drive to my house in a neighboring town that I have rented and asked the tenants if I could crash there for a
few hours. Everything worked out and we all had a good laugh when I got back to Randy’s.

Everything seemed all set to start the contest when the computer hung as I tried to program the CW messages. I restarted the computer and the same thing happened. At this point it was minutes before the start and I was starting to get concerned. After trying several things, I finally decided to go back to Randy’s computer not withstanding the funny
monitor colors. It had now passed 0000Z and I was not ready. When Randy’s computer would not send either, I started to panic. Just then, Randy came home from work and he got things working. I had not made a Q yet and I was already mentally spent.

My first Q was at 0015 but I did manage 85 Q’s in the first hour. Forty essentially quit at 0130 and I was off to 80. The 02Z hour produced 89 Q’s on 80 and I was starting to feel pretty good again. Things played well all night on 80 and 160 but the 40 meter European sunrise opening was nearly non-existent.

Twenty opened at about 11Z and I managed to run off 1237 stations in the next 12 hours. Around 13Z I started to listen to the multis attempting to run on 15. The rate on 20 was huge and but I did not want to miss the 15 meter opening. I lost last years ARRL SSB partly by passing on a mediocre 15 meters to run on 20 and not getting another chance at the multipliers  when the band did not open at all on Sunday. I finally jumped to 15 but could not get much going. I had good but not great rate. I eventually went back to twenty and returned to 15 later. As it turned out, there was to be no real 15 meters on the following day.

In the mean time they kept calling on twenty. The continuous action all day and the ease at which I could get and hold a frequency were incredible. One time when Randy stopped by to check the score, I simply told him that his 20 meter signal was obscene. 20 wilted at around 1930 and it was off to 40 where I had only had about 200 Q’s the first night. I worked around 400 Q’s on 40 in the next five hours. I had 1850/272 at the split and things felt good.

I managed to keep things going on 80 and 160 including running about 30  stations on 160 in the 5Z hour. The dreaded 8,9,and 10Z hours produced a total of 12 Q’s and 8 mults. In this period I took a refreshing 15 minute nap.

Twenty returned at 11Z and things started hopping again. It shut down a little earlier on Sunday I went to 40 shortly after 19Z (2PM local). I knew that W1KM was going to be tough to beat so I promised myself not to let down and push full bore to the end. The last few hours finished with 63, 59, 44, and 48 Q’s.

I left Randy’s not knowing W1KM’s score and my anticipation rose until mid week when I learned the disappointing news that I had been beaten by about 70K points.

While I had a 60 Q edge, I was 16 mults behind. It was clear that I had not pushed the second radio hard enough. All it would have taken was 8 more countries. I actually got to compare notes with Greg on the Thursday before the SSB ‘test (a subject of another story). After a contesters ritual of exchanging excuses (he had a computer crash during a 20 meter run, I lost 15 minutes at the beginning, he could only do 700 watts on 80, I did not have a gain antenna on 80, etc) we compared notes. On the first day, he went to 15 early, got good rate, and worked many Q’s and mults that I never got. At the midpoint I had a slight lead but he had a big hour on 160 at 01Z and worked 30 mults. I never had the lead
again.

It is always fascinating to compare notes. Although 48 hours is a long time, every decision is vital and all it takes is a couple mistakes or missed openings to spell the difference. It is clear that one must make every minute useful  and repeatedly reassess whether you are doing the most productive (Score maximizing) thing possible.

In the end, there are no excuses, skill and experience prevailed, and that  is the way it should be. Congratulations to W1KM on a fine effort.

Continent Statistics

                     
                 160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America   CW   14   17   18   20   16    0   85     2.9
South America   CW    3    6   15   13   18    2   57     1.9
Europe          CW   82  428  764 1345  102    0 2721    91.5
Asia            CW    0    1   16   37    1    0   55     1.8
Africa          CW    2    5   13   14    8    0   42     1.4
Oceania         CW    1    3    8    3    0    0   15     0.5

Rate Breakdown

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT 

   0    .....    .....    85/21    .....    .....    .....    85/21   85/21
   1      .      36/19    40/10     8/6       .        .      84/35  169/56
   2      .      89/12     1/1       .        .        .      90/13  259/69
   3    19/15    25/2      6/5       .        .        .      50/22  309/91
   4     9/6     26/2     10/6       .        .        .      45/14  354/105
   5     6/5     33/2      3/2       .        .        .      42/9   396/114
   6     3/2     45/5      1/0       .        .        .      49/7   445/121
   7     1/0      9/6     34/6       .        .        .      44/12  489/133
   8    .....     3/3     12/5     .....    .....    .....    15/8   504/141
   9      .       2/1      8/5       .        .        .      10/6   514/147
  10      .       2/0      4/0     24/16      .        .      30/16  544/163
  11      .        .       1/1    132/22      .        .     133/23  677/186
  12      .        .        .     143/7       .        .     143/7   820/193
  13      .        .        .     113/2       .        .     113/2   933/195
  14      .        .        .      38/1     60/22      .      98/23 1031/218
  15      .        .        .      61/2     32/4       .      93/6  1124/224
  16    .....    .....    .....    89/3     11/3     .....   100/6  1224/230
  17      .        .        .      86/2      8/8       .      94/10 1318/240
  18      .        .        .      78/1      5/4      1/1     84/6  1402/246
  19      .        .        .      63/2      5/2       .      68/4  1470/250
  20      .        .      65/9     26/1      4/2       .      95/12 1565/262
  21      .        .     125/0       .        .        .     125/0  1690/262
  22      .        .      86/4      5/4       .        .      91/8  1781/270
  23      .        .      66/0      3/2       .        .      69/2  1850/272
   0    .....    .....    54/3      3/1     .....    .....    57/4  1907/276
   1    10/4     31/3     11/1       .        .        .      52/8  1959/284
   2     3/1     30/2       .        .        .        .      33/3  1992/287
   3     8/3      7/0       .        .        .        .      15/3  2007/290
   4     4/1     33/1      1/0       .        .        .      38/2  2045/292
   5    30/5       .       3/2       .        .        .      33/7  2078/299
   6     4/1     46/1       .        .        .        .      50/2  2128/301
   7     1/0     23/1      1/1       .        .        .      25/2  2153/303
   8    .....     2/2      1/0     .....    .....    .....     3/2  2156/305
   9     2/2       .       2/0       .        .        .       4/2  2160/307
  10     2/1      1/1      2/2       .        .        .       5/4  2165/311
  11      .        .        .      75/1       .        .      75/1  2240/312
  12      .        .        .     110/2       .        .     110/2  2350/314
  13      .        .        .      81/2      1/1       .      82/3  2432/317
  14      .        .        .      72/1       .        .      72/1  2504/318
  15      .        .        .      65/1      2/1       .      67/2  2571/320
  16    .....    .....    .....    55/2      3/3      1/1     59/6  2630/326
  17      .        .        .      56/2      2/1       .      58/3  2688/329
  18      .        .        .      22/1      7/3       .      29/4  2717/333
  19      .        .      30/1     11/0      3/3       .      44/4  2761/337
  20      .        .      60/1      1/1      2/1       .      63/3  2824/340
  21      .        .      55/0      4/4       .        .      59/4  2883/344
  22      .        .      42/1      2/1       .        .      44/2  2927/346
  23      .      17/2     25/0      6/2       .        .      48/4  2975/350
DAY1    38/28   270/52   547/75   869/71   125/45     1/1     ..... 1850/272
DAY2    64/18   190/13   287/12   563/21    20/13     1/1       .   1125/78
TOT    102/46   460/65   834/87  1432/92   145/58     2/2       .   2975/350

1996 CQ WW CW Contest

K5ZD, Single Op All Band, High Power

By Randy Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

              CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 1996

  Call: K5ZD                     Country:  United States
  Mode: CW                       Category: Single Operator
                                           High Power

      BAND     QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES

      160      174      488     2.80     16      57
       80      343      961     2.80     22      81
       40      744     2170     2.92     33     112
       20     1138     3358     2.95     34     109
       15      725     2141     2.95     27      95
       10       25       59     2.36     12      16
     ---------------------------------------------------

     Totals   3149     9177     2.91    144     470  =>  5,634,678

Station Description

  • Radio 1 – Icom IC-765 + Alpha 76CA (connected to either tower 1 or 2)
  • Radio 2 – Kenwood TS-930S + Drake L-4B (connected only to tower 2)

Tower 1 – 100′ Rohn 45G

  • 40-2CD @ 110′
  • 205CA @ 100′ / 50′
  • 5-el 15 @70′ on rotary sidemount
  • 6-el 10 @75′ fixed south
  • 80m Inv Vee with top at 95′
  • 160m 1/4-wave GP with 4 elevated radials

Tower 2 – 90′ Rohn 25G

  • TH7DXX at 90′
  • 40m 1/2-wave sloper to west
  • 80m 1/4-wave elevated GP with 4 radials
  • 160m Inv Vee with top at 88′

The Story

I have a routine that I try to follow in preparing for a major single op effort in a DX contest. It includes getting plenty of rest during the week leading up to the contest, taking a 3 hour nap just before the contest, and having the station tuned and ready well in advance. I didn’t get to do any of these this time!

My company shipped our very first production product on Friday afternoon. Not without lots of last minute details and corrections of course. I arrived home in a rush at 2315Z and flipped on the equipment. A quick change of clothes, grabbed a sandwich, and I was in the shack writing down the amp tuning settings at 2345Z. Got the clock and computer set with just minutes to spare.

Started the contest on 40m because that is always the place to start. Almost couldn’t find a frequency and ended up at 7042. It was a strange beginning. The band was open, but not really. The big Eu stations were very loud, but it must have been so noisy and crowded that the little guys just couldn’t get through. I was tuning an almost dead 20m band on the second radio and caught some garden variety stuff. It was so slow calling CQ that I actually did some S&P for the last 20 minutes of the hour [thus violating the single op rule that says if you are not calling CQ during a rate period you are losing!].

40 was so bad I headed for 160 at 0100Z. First station I heard was OH1NOR with a good signal (he would be much louder later). Spent 10 minutes and worked a few other Eu before heading to 80m.

I was really feeling tired at this point and wondered how I would ever get through the full weekend. Experience told me that I would get over this feeling as I got more into the contest… I did, but not until sunrise!

80 CW is not my best band. My antenna, which seems to do fine on Phone, just doesn’t cut it on CW. I would get a little run going and then some European would sit down next to me and it was over. Very frustrating and resulted in lots of S&P work on 80. My first spin up the band went all the way up to 3578!

Back to 160 during the 02Z hour. Got a small run going on 1841 from 0220 to 0234Z. Nothing rare, but it got my confidence back. Went to 40 when I found ZD8DEZ while tuning on the second radio. Couldn’t find a frequency to call CQ on, so just tuned up the band for some high speed S&P. Worked multipliers all the way up to 7061!

At 03Z it was back to 80m for more tuning. Actually got a very small run at 3560 but then lost the frequency. Again I chased stations all the way up to 3579. If you haven’t been tuning up this high, there are lots of second level Europeans up here who like to call CQ.

I pushed 160 pretty hard during the 04Z hour. The band was filled with Eu signals but they were not hearing me as well as I was hearing them. No doubt due to the high QRM levels. Best catch was 4X4NJ at 0412Z. Had to wait for Riki to work a few Europeans first, but he eventually heard me. Never heard him again all weekend. Then I found RU6LWZ for another double mult.

At 0445Z it was back to 80m. I needed some QSOs so tried to call CQ as much as possible. Got 3506 for a few minutes and had WH6R call in (this is good since I usually miss KH6 on this band for some reason). Finally found a home at 3529 which was good for 30 QSOs or so. UA9FGR in zone 17 called in at 0507 and he was loud (well over S9)! That surprise was followed by LU4FD which was a nice double.

I spent the rest of the evening bouncing between 80 and 160. Anything for a QSO! The second rig was on 40m (using a sloper to the west) chasing Caribbean stations. I could tell the MUF was below 7 MHz so I invested my time on the LF bands.

Since I had not operated the contest last year (KM3T used my station) I didn’t really know what to expect. I had downloaded the K1AR multi-single and W1KM single op rate sheets from the contesting on-line web site. These gave me something to chase and I was falling behind on QSOs, but doing very well for multipliers. It seemed that everywhere I went I found more and more mults. Even still, it is amazing to see the scores on the 3830 reflector and realize how much stuff I missed!

Conditions to northern Eu were very good on 80 and 160. I have never worked so many OZ, LA, OH and SM stations!

At 0830, I finally found a good frequency to call CQ on 40m (7007). In the midst of the Europeans I was called by a weak and very fluttery VS6BG. A few minutes later I found JA1YXP with a very good signal.

The 09Z hour was very slow, but filled with lots of multipliers. Even at 10Z, the Eu big guns were still coming through on 40m. RZ9UA/0 in zone 18 was extremely loud (as he was all weekend!). At 1024Z I heard what sounded like a JA calling CQ on 80m. I dropped my call in just for grins and was amazed to have him come back with the complete call immediately. I had to ask JK1OPL for his call 3 times so he was hearing lots better than I was. That is the earliest and easiest I have worked JA on 80. That gave me a needed shot of adrenaline.

At 1040Z the Europeans started to come through on 20. I called a few of them but most were beaming east and couldn’t hear me. I was surprised to catch VK9NS on 80m at 1055Z. To celebrate, I stood up for the first time and made a 10 minute potty and food break. I came back to find N5OLS/KH8 and TX8FU on 40m for new ones.

At 1115Z I got to 20m to start the morning’s business. I got one of my favorite spots, 14026, and the rate was immediate. I worked 272 QSOs in just 94 minutes! All during the run, the receiver sounded intermittent. It was annoying, but the signals were loud enough that I could still copy even when it cut out. I finally decided something had failed in the 20m stack as I had not noticed the problem before.

At 1254Z I moved up 7 MHz exactly from 14026 to 21026. The rate was stayed in the incredible range with 273 contacts in 118 minutes. The receiver was still cutting out and it was driving me crazy. I took a few minutes to try and solve the problem by wiggling coaxes and removing the watt meter from the line but it quickly returned.

Just as happened in the phone contest, the rate went from high to low in just a short period. It seems that I have a 15m band opening only antenna. The rate slowed so much that I went back to 20m at 1520Z to get something going. It was almost impossible to find a frequency to CQ on. The fluttery backscatter signals were all very wide making it even more difficult to squeeze in. I finally found a crack at 14037 and stayed there from 1526 until 1803Z. I caught a few multipliers on 15m using the second rig.

During this run I had continued to try to figure out the receive problem. I finally realized that the amp relay had to be the problem. At one point during the night, while listening on the Beverage, I had transmitted into an open relay position. This probably burned the relay contacts. It took only minutes to pop the cover of the Alpha 76 and buff the contacts with some sand paper. Problem solved! That’s the first in-contest equipment failure here in a long time (knock on wood).

At 1809Z I decided I had better check 10m. First signal heard was W6NL for a zone 3 multiplier. K1KI was next and that was it. No other signals on the band!

Since I had spent so much time on 20m, I knew I really needed to hit 15 before it closed. It was almost too late for Europe, but there was still plenty of multipliers ranging from EA6IB to ZD8DEZ to AH8N to HC8N to D44BC.

At 1910Z I went back to 10m and caught P40W, a very weak 3E1DX, and some LUs. That was it for 10m on Saturday.

I got 14003 and started a small run. Looking at the previous year’s rate sheets, it looked like 40m was where I should be so I moved on down. At 1924Z I captured 7013. This was home for the next 2 hours and 140 QSOs. Best call in was TF50IRA for a nice double! The second radio was active on 20 catching goodies like 9U5DX and 3C5A. OX3SA called in a bit later to complete the zone 40 ‘run’.

At 2215Z, I realized that 20m was open to JA. Since the rate on 40 was going down, I decided to give it a try. This is the one place my K5 call is a disadvantage — the JAs are so busy chasing the W1/W2/W3 guys that they seem to ignore a less rare K5! After a nice run of 20 JAs it was over. The band was still open, but no one was calling.

I went to 15 for a quick multiplier scan. I was beaming west after just working VK2AYD when I heard JA5DQH on scatter. He was right at the noise level but I dropped my call in just in case. I didn’t think he had come back to me until I heard “Hi Randy”! I just about fell out of the chair. I worked ZM2K for my third double mult and then back to 20m to finish out the hour chasing multipliers.

The 23Z hour was all on 40 in a mix of S&P plus CQing. The only spot I could get in was 7039. Even there, it was tough to hold a spot. I have never seen 40m so crowded. It was impossible to get a frequency below 7020.

At 2336Z my wife informed me that dinner was ready if I wanted it. It sounded better than beating my head against a wall so I took my second real break of the contest. Just 13 minutes later I am back in the chair.

At the 24 hour mark, I had 1821/118/373 for about 2.58M. My ‘formula’ for determining my final score goal is to double this and add 10%. That would be around 5.6 Million which seemed rather incredible at the time. Most interesting to me was that I had 99 countries on 40m and only 81 on 20m.

My goal for the second night was to chase multipliers. During the 00Z hour I found TK5EP and T9DX on 160m, then ES6DO, VP5EA, and YO4WP on 80m. I was searching for 5V7A since I knew they had to be somewhere on the band. I finally found them on 3557 of all places, and the pile-up was big enough that they were listening up 1 kHz! The op was really good since he got me on the first call (isn’t that how you define someone as being a good op?)!

At 01Z I realized that 20m was open to JA again. Not runnable, but I spent some time chasing the ones that were calling CQ. The opening was rather narrow as I didn’t hear anything other than JA and some zone 19 UA0s.

When I returned to 40m I found ZS8IR working at a slow but steady pace. Amazingly, that is an all time new country for me! A few minutes later I am trying to establish a CQ frequency on 7034 when I hear 7Q7EH come on and call CQ. Another good catch in the log. Then I find YL3IZ/MM in zone 34 for a nice one. I finally end up with a small run on 7061.

At 0224Z its back to 160m. I am relying on 160m to get the extra multipliers I will need to make up for W1KM’s big 80m totals. I find CT8T, UU5J, OI0MEP, LZ9A, and LA8SDA for new ones. At this point I am up to 53 countries on 160 but I have heard lots of stuff that I didn’t work. Things like GD4UOL and 7Z5OO.

During the 03Z hour I end up with a slow run up at 3572 of all places! No multipliers up there but some much needed QSOs.

At 0417Z I start CQing on 1838. I finally break through the European QRM and get something going. The next 26 minutes has 21 QSOs including TF50IRA for a great double mult. When that runs out, I tune around and find GW, HB9, D44, and CT3.

About this point my head is dropping toward the keyboard every 5 minutes or so. I try operating standing up, while jogging in place, you name it. The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that W1KM won’t sleep — so I can’t either! I have also promised my 6 year old son that I won’t do any more contests this season so I decide that I had better do this one right.

About 0546 I get a good run going on 7006. Best call is from UA9KM who gives me the zone 17 multiplier. UN9LW calls in at 0604Z for a new country. At 0648Z CX9AU gives me a real unexpected surprise multiplier. This run of 92 contacts from 0546 to 0709Z keeps my attitude up and gives me a welcome break from the constant tuning. Although, in some ways it is much more difficult to run stations when you are tired than to tune around. I hate it when I fall asleep in the middle of a QSO and can’t remember what I am supposed to do next (do I push F1 or F3 or ‘+’???)!

This run probably decided the contest. Comparing with W1KM after the contest, Greg slept during this period and gave away these QSOs and multipliers! That’s why you can never doubt your goal or give up your motivation…

The next 90 minutes are just slow. On a quiet 20m band, KC4AAA in Antarctica gives me zone 39 which is a new one. ES5Q and GU3HFN are new ones on 40m. I unsuccessfully waste about 10 minutes in the V47KP and YV5JDP pileups on 160m. As well as my antenna works to Europe, it works inversely bad to the south!

I want to work zone 3 on 160m. I hear several of them but can’t get their attention. Find W6BA calling CQ but he can’t hear me. I then decide to call CQ W6 and hope for the best. Five minutes later W6DAO responds and gives me zone 3.

At 0836 I am feeling pretty good but decide that I should go to sleep so I will be fresh for the high bands. It appears that 40m is not going to do anything so the prospects for more QSOs are not too good. I have more multipliers on 40-160 than I expected so there is little more to be gained. I sleep from 0845 to 1020Z. I wake up without the normal sleep disorientation, have a bite to eat and get back on the radio.

I quickly scan the LF bands and am on 20m by 1100Z. It is all S&P (I catch 3V8BB, ED9EA, and C31LJ) until 1133Z when I get 14043 and start running. It’s a good spot worth 163 QSOs in 87 minutes. I break off the run when HC8N starts up about .5 kHz above me. I work him for a multiplier and then head to 15m.

The first open spot is 21010 which is just above W1KM. I spend the next 3 hours here and work 362 contacts. Mults that call in include GI3OQR, ZS8IR (double), GM0DJI/Shetlands, EK4JJ, VP5EA, HB0MX, ER1OA, and others.

Conditions sound so good that I keep an ear on 10m. At 1505Z J39A pops through followed immediately by 9Y4H. PY0FF is weak but comes right back. At 1525Z I find 3DA0NX working Europeans and USA. I get through on the first call which was a surprise and allowed me to keep the rate going on 15m. The next station I heard was G4BUO. I swung the beam and he kept getting louder. By the time our QSO was over, he was already getting weaker. Direct path Europe on 10m but only for a VERY short period! At 1841Z some sporadic E began and I worked K8AZ for zone 4. I also heard a VE3 but couldn’t get through the pile-up. At 1552Z I had RK9JWZ call in on 15m for a double mult. At 1600Z TI1C showed up with a big signal on 10m. Minutes later I found 5V7A for another double mult. I don’t think the op at 5V7A could believe it as it took several overs to confirm everything.

At this point the rate is slowing on 15m and I have to turn my full attention back to it. I make the jump to 20m to keep the rate up. Once again it is incredibly difficult to find a clear frequency. I have to tune the entire band twice. Then I find a wide open spot at 14031. Some real loud European must have just left because it was a very clear frequency. I spend the next 2-1/2 hours here for another 170 QSOs.

The second radio is busy on 10m and 15m. I know I am way behind on 15m multipliers so I push hard looking for new ones. I am chasing easy stuff like J6DX and J87GU on 15m and 8P9Z on 10m. Around 1840Z I take a quick spin across 15m while searching 20m for mults. I find 6W1AE on 20m. Then, while calling someone 20m I am called by A71CW! This is the only time I hear Chris all weekend. Was amazed to find afterwards how active he was in the contest. The CQ WW is so big that it is impossible for a single op to find and work even the most active multipliers.

I stay on the frequency where I worked A71CW and return to CQing. The band sounds like the sunspot maximum with strong European signals still coming in. I find JW5NM on the second radio with a huge signal on 15m. Then OD5NJ calls in on 20m. A few minutes later ZM2K calls in on 20m LP for a double multiplier. Then OH0JJS gives me another one.

I try to get something going on 40m around 1930Z. It doesn’t seem to be as good as the previous day so I give up after about 20 minutes. I go back to CQing on 14001 to work the last of the Europeans. They just keep coming!

I break off the run to chase FO5PI on 15m. Then I find JW5NM on 20m for another double, followed by J8, KP2 and HP4 for new countries. I go to 40m at 20Z and break a wild pile-up to 7X2RO who is as close to 7.000 as you can get. A few minutes later I get through to J45T (a pretty amazing feat in itself). I wedge in just above N6BV on 7019 and try to get a run going. I am getting answers but some kind of QRM makes copy difficult. 9K2/YO9HP gives me a smile.

At 2200Z I realize the JAs on 20m are the best I have heard all weekend. I can’t get them to call me, but they all come back on the first call. I search every kHz looking for rare stuff. I find W4NXE/DU3 underneath HC8N (sorry Trey). Then I work BV/JJ1TBB under VE7CA. Both are welcome double mults.

The rate is too slow and the band seems to be fading. I go back to 40m at 2245Z. I start CQing at 7061 (the only frequency I can find) and get a few answers. I finally give up and start searching down the band. At 2315Z I stumble across 7035 which sounds half clear. I call CQ and have the pleasure of a run that just keeps going faster and faster right up to the end of the contest. OD5NJ and T77WI give the score a final boost.

I get excited as I get close to my personal record of 5.57M set from K3TUP. I actually dig out the CQ Magazine records to see that the USA record of KM9P is out of reach at 5.8M. Never expected to be this close or might have given up the 2 hours of sleep! Maybe next year…

What a great contest. The competition from W1KM really kept me going and provides an extra satisfaction in winning.

Misc Notes:
I learn new things each contest. Looking back, I can say that it took me 5 years to really know how to correctly operate a DX contest. The value of experience and station maturity can not be overstated.

It actually seems to be getting easier to stay awake for the whole contest than I remember in the past. Do I need less sleep as I get older? Or am I just getting better at making sure I am more rested before the contest. I used to get so excited I could hardly sleep the night before a major contest. Now I can lay down and take a nap Friday afternoon without hardly trying!

CW is lots better than phone! It’s still hard to get a frequency, but the tempers aren’t quite as sharp and the pile-ups seem to be better behaved. I didn’t hear anyone going by call areas for example and the packet pile-ups weren’t quite as noticeable.
Yes, I really promised my son that I wouldn’t do any more contests this season (that includes next Spring). Station available!

73,

Randy Thompson, K5ZD

Continent Statistics

                    160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America   CW   26   51   56   51   32   10  226     7.2
South America   CW    2    8   16   26   28   12   92     2.9
Europe          CW  141  273  627  961  646    1 2649    83.9
Asia            CW    1    3   19   79    6    0  108     3.4
Africa          CW    3    6   18   20    9    2   58     1.8
Oceania         CW    2    3   10    5    5    0   25     0.8

Rate Sheet

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....     2/2     77/29     3/3     .....    .....    82/34   82/34 
   1     8/8     57/27     4/4      5/2       .        .      74/41  156/75 
   2    25/12     9/4     33/22      .        .        .      67/38  223/113
   3    12/3     44/9      1/0      1/0       .        .      58/12  281/125
   4    36/8     20/4      3/3       .        .        .      59/15  340/140
   5    18/1     39/4      3/3       .        .        .      60/8   400/148
   6     1/1     38/7     27/9       .        .        .      66/17  466/165
   7     9/6      6/3     15/3       .        .        .      30/12  496/177
   8    .....    16/8     21/6     .....    .....    .....    37/14  533/191
   9     5/5      6/4      4/3       .        .        .      15/12  548/203
  10     2/2      4/3      9/1      7/7       .        .      22/13  570/216
  11      .        .       3/2    119/22      .        .     122/24  692/240
  12      .        .        .     155/10    19/11      .     174/21  866/261
  13      .        .        .        .     158/22      .     158/22 1024/283
  14      .        .        .       6/3    102/7       .     108/10 1132/293
  15      .        .        .      62/3     19/1       .      81/4  1213/297
  16    .....    .....    .....   114/7      5/2     .....   119/9  1332/306
  17      .        .        .     115/5      6/6       .     121/11 1453/317
  18      .        .        .      14/5     31/22     2/2     47/29 1500/346
  19      .        .      51/2     12/1      3/2      6/3     72/8  1572/354
  20      .        .      88/3      7/5       .        .      95/8  1667/362
  21      .        .      72/7      4/4       .        .      76/11 1743/373
  22      .        .      11/0     29/6      3/3       .      43/9  1786/382
  23      .        .      35/3       .        .        .      35/3  1821/385
   0     6/2     30/4     .....    .....    .....    .....    36/6  1857/391
   1      .        .       6/2     28/1       .        .      34/3  1891/394
   2    15/5      1/0     18/2       .        .        .      34/7  1925/401
   3      .      41/0       .        .        .        .      41/0  1966/401
   4    28/4      7/0       .       2/1       .        .      37/5  2003/406
   5     4/2     16/5     23/1      1/0       .        .      44/8  2047/414
   6      .        .      61/2       .        .        .      61/2  2108/416
   7      .       5/0     16/2      3/1       .        .      24/3  2132/419
   8     4/1      1/0     10/1     .....    .....    .....    15/2  2147/421
   9      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   2147/421
  10     1/0      1/0      1/0      1/1       .        .       4/1  2151/422
  11      .        .       2/1     70/5      2/1       .      74/7  2225/429
  12      .        .        .     108/0      2/2       .     110/2  2335/431
  13      .        .        .       3/2    128/4       .     131/6  2466/437
  14      .        .        .       2/0    130/6       .     132/6  2598/443
  15      .        .        .        .      87/2      7/7     94/9  2692/452
  16    .....    .....    .....    76/3      6/0      4/3     86/6  2778/458
  17      .        .        .      53/0      5/0      5/3     63/3  2841/461
  18      .        .        .      35/4     11/3       .      46/7  2887/468
  19      .        .      14/1     31/3      6/3      1/0     52/7  2939/475
  20      .        .        .      46/4      2/1       .      48/5  2987/480
  21      .        .      46/3      3/1       .        .      49/4  3036/484
  22      .        .      17/0     21/3       .        .      38/3  3074/487
  23      .        .      73/2      2/0       .        .      75/2  3149/489
DAY1   116/46   241/75  457/100   653/83   346/76     8/5     ..... 1821/385
DAY2    58/14   102/9    287/17   485/29   379/22    17/13      .   1328/104
TOT    174/60   343/84  744/117 1138/112   725/98    25/18      .   3149/489

Hours/Rate

DAY1   2.7/43   3.9/62   7.2/64   5.8/112  3.4/102  0.1/55    .....  23.1/79 
DAY2   2.2/26   2.7/38   5.3/54   7.4/66   3.5/108  0.3/65      .    21.4/62 
TOT    4.9/35   6.6/52  12.5/60  13.2/86   6.9/105  0.4/62      .    44.5/71

1996 CQ WW SSB Contest

K5ZD

K5ZD, Single Operator, All Band, High Power

By Randall A. Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

          CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 1996

Call: K5ZD                     Country:  United States
Mode: SSB                      Category: Single Operator
                                         High Power

 BAND    QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES

 160      46       97     2.11     11      29    1/4-wave GP, Inv vee @ 90'
  80     237      647     2.73     16      74    Inv vee @ 95', 1-/4-wave GP
  40     312      893     2.86     27      86    40-2CD @ 110'
  20     994     2908     2.93     34     125    Stacked 205CA @ 100'/50'
  15     728     2146     2.95     27     110    5-el 15 @ 70'
  10      74      210     2.84      9      27    TH7DXX @ 90'
-------------------------------------------------

Totals  2391     6901     2.89    124     451  =>  3,968,075

The Station

  • Radio 1 – Icom IC-765 + Alpha 76CA (connected to either tower 1 or 2)
  • Radio 2 – Kenwood TS-930S + Drake L-4B (connected to only tower 2)

Tower 1 – 100′ Rohn 45G

  • 40-2CD @ 110′
  • 205CA @ 100′ / 50′
  • 5-el 15 @70′ on rotary sidemount
  • 6-el 10 @75′ fixed south
  • 80m Inv Vee with top at 95′
  • 160m 1/4-wave GP with 4 elevated radials

Tower 2 – 90′ Rohn 25G

  • TH7DXX at 90′
  • 40m 1/2-wave sloper to west
  • 80m 1/4-wave elevated GP with 4 radials
  • 160m Inv Vee with top at 88′

The Story

Sometimes it is far better to be lucky than good…

I had a number of very good reasons to operate this contest:

  1. It is one of my favorite contests, has fantastic world wide activity, and signals the
    beginning of the fall contest season.
  2. I had done a lot of work on the station over the summer with this contest in mind. I raised my 70′ tower to 90′. Added an Inv vee for 160 to help with the Caribbean (it didn’t). I worked on the audio switching inside the station to simplify going between radios. Rebuilt my TH7DXX to like new condition. Got some bandpass filters for the second station.
  3. My nemesis, K1AR, had a business commitment that would prevent him from operating the contest. Wow! After 3 years of finishing second to John, here was my chance to win.
  4. I had done a lot of work rebuilding K1IU (now K1AM) this summer and had all of his antennas working. I even put him together with W2SC who was looking for a station to single op from. Now we were finally going to find out which station was
    “better”.

I had some pretty good reasons not to operate this contest:

  1. I am involved in a start-up software company that is demanding virtually every waking moment of my time. It is exciting, but leaves me exhausted at the end of each day.
  2. My former employer threatens me with a lawsuit. Needless to say, this consumes a lot of mental energy!
  3. My 6 year old son Andrew had several competing activities for the weekend including cub scouts and his final soccer game of the year (I am assistant coach).
  4. It is the bottom of the sunspot cycle and this would be one of the better years to skip!

Those of you who are used to reading my annual contest stories know that I always seem
to find a way around these distractions. But this year, the reasons not to operate were
winning.

Tuesday night before the contest, I turn on the radio and the bands sound broken. Even a C6A station on 160 seems to have auroral flutter! The next morning before work, I listen across the bands and there is not a signal moving the S-meter at 12Z. This is about as bad as conditions can get.

They improve a little bit on Thursday, but it still doesn’t sound very good. Given the external pressures in my life, I decide that I will prepare to do the contest, but will probably not do the whole thing. I want to save myself for SS CW and WW CW.

I get home about 5PM Friday night and take a nap until 7:00. The contest starts at 8PM. I sit down, mark all the amp settings, and listen to how poor things sound. I start on 20m S&P for the first 5 minutes. Work CY0XX who is 40db over 9 plus some Caribbean. Go to 40m and it sounds OK. I settle in with the main radio on 40 and the second station on 20 beaming south.

I am able to CQ transmitting on 7189 and listening on 7088. Get a short run of about 10 Europeans. It is murder listening through all the QRM. Best catch is RA4AG for a sometimes difficult double mult. 40m kind of dies to Europe around 0130Z and then things really slow down.

When I get to 75m, ON4UN is only about S4. We work and I know it is going to be a long night if John is that weak.

Usually when conditions are poor, I can always count on spending some time on 160m picking up new multipliers. This year, 160 was very marginal. Except for IG9/IV3TAN. What a signal he had, both nights, all the time. It was amazing to hear him CQing S7 to S9, and yet not another European signal on the band. My only Europeans on 160 the first night were YU1ZZ and CU2AF. Called 9A800OS many times without success.

This left 75m as the only place to hang out. I settled in around 3820 calling CQ and listening down around 3648. The rate was slow but steady. I would CQ for 10 or 15 minutes, then go to another band for S&P. Kept the second rig on 20 all night picking up each new LU station as they showed up. Had a good run of Europeans on 75m from 0330Z to 0530Z. Managed to work some good multipliers that called me — UA2FJ, RA4CC, ES7RE, LY1DQ, OH3RB, HB0/DL6FDB, IT9THD, SL3ZV, UT4UZ, and GU3HFN. This is why calling CQ is so important on the low bands. Had an even better run on 75m during the 06Z hour. The next morning on 15m, OH1EH tells me that only a few US stations were coming through – me, KC1XX, W1FJ. Wow. Those guys have lots better antennas than my inverted vee!

Meant to go to bed at 07Z but kept finding just one more QSO. Then decided that 08Z would be bedtime but kept finding more QSOs. Worked JF1IST and JA1YXP on 40m. Finally at 0845Z, it slowed to the point that I decided to get some sleep. This is the point that I “quit” the contest as I would normally never sleep during the first night.

Got back on at 1030Z (90 minutes of sleep). Surprised to find 20m open so I did a couple of quick sweeps across the band. It must not have been runnable because I went to 40m at 11Z and caught some good multipliers — UA0JQ was the best.

Back to 20m at 1110Z and sat down on 14157. Stayed here for an hour of 113 QSOs. Started checking 15m with the second radio about 12Z. Worked some Caribbean stations and then noticed that the Europeans appeared to be coming in direct path. Tried to run on 15m for 15 minutes but not very good rate. Went back and amazingly recaptured 14156! Ran there for another 30+ minutes.

Finally 15m warmed up enough to do something. At 1252Z I settled on 21238 and had 100+ rate for an hour and then did more S&P. I don’t know if I was not loud or if there was low activity, but I just wasn’t able to command a frequency.

Some time later, it was really depressing when I chatted with K1DG at KC1XX and he was 200 QSOs ahead of me for the morning and said N6BV had a 200+ hour. Wow… We were talking up on 21392 which was the first clear spot I had been able to find. It was good to me as 9H1DE and W4WET/TF7 were two new mults that called in.

About 1440Z I was starting to lose interest in the contest. Its amazing how the drive to continue goes away once you think you are out of it. I stopped for a moment to talk with W2SC at K1IU. I told him I was going to quit and wanted to know his line score so I could see how I was doing. I don’t think Tom really wanted to trade numbers and asked if I was sure I was quitting. He told me he was at 438K. I made a surprised comment and told him I was looking at 800K+ on my screen. I think this mentally destroyed Tom for the next few hours (sorry OM). It also made me give some thought to continuing…

I scanned 15m one more time and then went to 20m at 1450Z. Wedged my way in on 14196 and had a pretty good run of Europeans. The rate meter was well over 100 when my wife came in to ask me about something at 1509Z. I had 900 QSOs exactly.

I left the radio and helped her with a project. Then I had some breakfast and fell asleep on the couch. After another 90 minute sleep break, it was time to get my son ready for the soccer game. While he was getting dressed, I sneaked into the shack and did a little high speed S&P. From 1757Z to 1820Z (23 minutes) I worked 55 stations and 13 multipliers. Most of them were on a virgin 10m band. If I had a dollar for every LU that commented on my signal during this period I could afford to buy some more antennas!

I took Andrew to the soccer game (another loss). The weather outside was fantastic. A perfect sunny, crisp fall New England day.

Got back on the air around 2005Z and tuned across 10 and 15m chasing QSOs. Finally got to 20m and started to run on 14176 about 2039Z. Had a good hour or more and then discovered JAs were coming in. Kept moving the beam between Eu and JA.

About this time I got into a rather juvenile frequency fight with K7RI. I had heard him come on the frequency so I knew I was there first. But he was working JA and I was beaming Europe so we coexisted for awhile. Once I started trying to work JA, he moved down exactly on top of me and we traded senseless CQing for awhile. Then we yelled at each other and finally I “won”. This is the kind of stupid thing I would never waste time doing if I was serious. As it turned out, I felt rather silly and embarrassed when it was over.

I got to 40m about 2300Z. The band was rocking and rolling with 40 over S9 signals from
one end to the other. It was obvious that I was a little late. I started CQing on 7182 QSX
7057. Had a nice string of 65 QSOs. Best multiplier was 9K/YO9HP for a double! It definitely seems that split frequency on 40m phone is getting more productive each year.
Less broadcast station QRM or better radios?

At 2330Z it was dinner time. Had a wonderful spaghetti dinner with my wife and son. This must be how “normal” people ENJOY contests. There is a lot less pressure when you can just walk away at any time.

I came back at 0015Z and started CQing on 7193 QSX 7093. I ran another 36 stations with the best being OX3SA for a very rare double mult. Things slowed down around 0100Z and it became a game of search and pounce. 160m and 75m conditions were better the second night but the activity was not (or I had already worked most of the loud stations). Kept checking 160 but not much was happening. Worked M6T, EA8AK, CT3FN and ZD8Z among others.

I compared scores with KM9P about 05Z or so. We had exactly the same QSO total but he
was over 50 multipliers ahead. I figured it was up to him or N6BV to win.

I made only 4 contacts between 0500Z and 0534Z and decided that I had enough. Went to sleep and set the alarm for 1045Z. Didn’t actually hear it and don’t wake up until after 11Z. Getting 5 hours of sleep on Saturday night in a DX contest really gave me a new view of Sunday!

I woke up with the goal of seeing if I could make the top ten and get in the band breakdown box. Comparing to previous year’s rate sheets I could see that I was in good shape on the LF bands, but needed lots of QSOs and mults on 15 and 20. I dug out the results in CQ Magazine for the past two years to see if I could guess what it would take to make the top ten. It looked like 2.5M would be enough.

Took me 15 minutes to find a frequency on 20m and started to run about 1127Z. It was OK, but the band had a funny sound to it. Almost like it does at the top of the cycle when the MUF has risen way above the band. Signals were hollow sounding and some of the deep Asians were pretty loud.

Turned on the second rig and checked 15m. The band was already wide open with excellent European signals. First signal I heard was S01M at 1143Z for a new multiplier. Immediately switched the main radio to 15m and started searching for a frequency to call CQ. Took 5 minutes to land on 21287.

Thus began the best hour of rate I have ever had in a DX contest from the USA. I worked
310 QSOs in the next 106 minutes. QRATE calculated the best hour at 203! Interestingly, it was the ‘perfect’ kind of high rate — usually only one or two stations calling at a time
with very few repeats. Opening the morning with this kind of rate really got me going.

Strangely, the next 2 hours were not very good. It was almost like the band took a dive
or the arrival angle passed out of the hot spot of my antenna. I even went back to 20m to
CQ for awhile it was so bad. Started running again on 21248 about 1430Z. Best call was
from VU2PAI for a double mult. The “low” rate gave me a chance to chase Africans on 10m. This really started to help the multiplier total. Called stations almost all of the 15Z hour.

Finally settled into 14198 around 16Z and started the run that would eventually decide
the contest. Four solid hours in a row (1602Z until 2002Z) on the same frequency produced plenty of QSOs AND mults. Plus it gave me a base of operations I could do the second radio stuff from. Some of the interesting things that CALLED ME included: HS0ZAA, VU2PAI, HS1BV, UK8IW, some JAs and UA9s, UN0G, VU2HDA, HL1CW, VU2MTT, EA6JN, 4S7RF, A45ZN, 4S7OF, some 4X4s, ZC4EE, T88T, 8Q7BT, 4WET/TF7, OD5NJ, CT3HG, GD4PTV, GM0ILB/Shetlands, 9J2BO, and UK0A.

I keep talking about this second radio stuff. What’s it really worth? Well, during the same 4 hour period when I was running on 20 and had 367 QSOs plus all those great multipliers call in, here are some of the mults I worked on 10m and 15m using the second rig: HC0E, 3DA0DX, V51GB, 8R1K, V59T, AH8A, 9J2SZ, 5C8MC, D44BS, VP9ID, 9L1MA, KP2BH, and ZD7SAS. This is all without ever transmitting on two bands at the same time! It is amazing how easy it can be to find pileups and opportunities to call stations even with rates over 1/minute on the CQing frequency. All made possible by our friend the DVP!

I went back and counted up my second radio QSOs for the contest. I had only 128 of them. 25 were new zones. An amazing 63 were for new country multipliers! As you can see, I don’t waste much effort on working contacts on the second rig but I do make a big effort to chase multipliers.

My wife came home from the store at 2002Z so I had to take a break to unload groceries from the car and eat lunch. Back on about 2040Z until the end of the contest. Did some more S&P for awhile chasing multipliers then back to CQing on 20. Got 14172 about 2123Z and had some more good rate and mults. Called by 3A2HB and then the shock of the weekend — SU1ER! Too bad I didn’t have all those other zones you need for WAZ.

Got down to 40m about 2230Z and it was even better than the night before. The band was packed! When searching for a listening frequency I was surprised to hear the big USA multi-multi stations listening on frequencies like 7012, 7014, and 7020. I had always tried to stay above 7040 if possible (and certainly above 7030 at the lowest). I listened down and they were getting plenty of answers.

Worked OD5NJ while looking for a spot. I found a transmit frequency just off of K3LR at 7182 and started listening on 7014. It sure is easier to run stations when they are in the clear rather than under some loud Italian or Slovenian! Called by JY9QJ and EW4MM for few multipliers. Had to give up on 7014 when V59T started calling CQ there! Decided to listen up at 7075 to capture some of the guys who were obeying the band plan and was rewarded with GI4VKS and LX1NO for new ones.

Things really slowed down in the last half hour. Even tried CQing for VEs on 75m with no luck. Finally decided to try 160 at the end. Heard 9A800OS the loudest he had been all
weekend and managed to get his attention for a new multiplier at 2357. Two kHz down was TK1A for another new one at 2359Z. Great way to end up!

Went to 3830 to listen to the scores. Heard K3ZO check in with 3.0M and was a bit surprised to be ahead of him. As the multi-single scores came in, I started to get excited. Then N6BV was below me. When KM9P checked in with 3.6M I was really thrilled because it meant I may have gotten lucky! Is there anyone with a bigger score hiding out there? Guess it will have to wait for the high claimed scores to come out.

According to CT, I operated 34.1 hours. This is just about right as a I had set the off
threshold to 20 minutes. I was pretty serious when I was on the air, so all I really gave up were the sleep periods and short breaks. The 4 hours off on Saturday afternoon may have been worth as much as 200-400K on the final score. On the other hand, if I had not taken
the breaks I may have made more mistakes and even finished worse!

In an ironic twist, I can say that if K1AR was going to be on, I probably would have skipped the contest completely. They had a major power failure at K1EA’s station for a number of hours on Sunday, so there is no guarantee that John would have overcome that. But if he had been on, I wouldn’t have been there, so… If you want to win, you have to operate the best you can as much as you can. There are no sure things!

Some general comments…

Bad conditions in the days leading up to and during the contest really seemed to have hurt activity. Especially on the second day. It was obvious from the big pile-ups that the serious multi-ops were on, but not the casual entries.

The packet pile-ups were as instantaneous as ever. Very frustrating to get there first and then not make a QSO as a pile of packet assisted ops show up. The packet piles weren’t as deep as past years so it was easy to come back in 10 minutes or so and make a QSO.

My pet peeve regarding packet is what it has done to split frequency on 80 and especially 40m. I listened to ZD8Z on 40m for 8 minutes (all while vainly searching for his listening frequency) without him announcing it. Just as I found it, he gave it out. When we worked, I told him about it and he replied that with the packet pileup he didn’t need to give it. That’s great for Jim, but a pain in the butt for those of us doing it the old fashioned way! I don’t mind waiting a bit but 8 minutes seems a little long.

I did not hear a single station going by call areas all weekend. Overall, the operating
that I observed was excellent. Not many lids on either side of the pileups.

It was also amazing after the contest to read the reports by various DX stations that made thousands of QSOs, yet I had never heard them all weekend! This contest is just getting too big.

See you in WW CW!

Randy Thompson, K5ZD

Continent Statistics

                  160   80   40   20   15   10   ALL   percent

North America      33   57   33   62   32   10   227     9.5
South America       4   21   30   63   66   57   241    10.1
Europe              5  152  223  740  592    0  1712    71.6
Asia                0    0    6  102   15    0   123     5.1
Africa              4    8   13   11   20    7    63     2.6
Oceania             0    0    7   16    3    0    26     1.1

Hourly Rate Breakdown

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....     2/2     45/26    17/14    .....    .....    64/42   64/42 
   1     2/1     14/12    20/13    14/5       .        .      50/31  114/73 
   2     5/4      8/1      8/3     14/5       .        .      35/13  149/86 
   3      .      29/19     9/5      4/2       .        .      42/26  191/112
   4     7/6     35/10     3/2      5/2       .        .      50/20  241/132
   5     4/3     34/7      5/2      3/1       .        .      46/13  287/145
   6     3/2     57/7       .       1/1       .        .      61/10  348/155
   7     5/4     15/8     14/5       .        .        .      34/17  382/172
   8     1/1      1/1     15/7      1/1     .....    .....    18/10  400/182
   9      .        .        .        .        .        .        .    400/182
  10      .       1/0       .      29/14      .        .      30/14  430/196
  11      .        .       6/4    105/21     6/6       .     117/31  547/227
  12      .        .        .      72/5     41/22      .     113/27  660/254
  13      .        .        .       6/2    127/17      .     133/19  793/273
  14      .        .        .      26/3     55/10      .      81/13  874/286
  15      .        .        .      26/1       .        .      26/1   900/287
  16    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....  900/287
  17      .        .        .       6/1       .        .       6/1   906/288
  18      .        .        .      12/1       .      37/11    49/12  955/300
  19      .        .        .        .        .        .        .    955/300
  20      .        .        .      34/7     43/15     9/0     86/22 1041/322
  21      .        .        .      62/3      5/3       .      67/6  1108/328
  22      .        .       1/1     45/7      1/0       .      47/8  1155/336
  23      .        .      60/7       .        .        .      60/7  1215/343
   0    .....    .....    39/3     .....    .....    .....    39/3  1254/346
   1     1/0      5/3      1/1       .        .        .       7/4  1261/350
   2     5/3     11/2      6/1       .        .        .      22/6  1283/356
   3     3/2      8/2     10/1       .        .        .      21/5  1304/361
   4     6/1     13/3      2/0       .        .        .      21/4  1325/365
   5     2/2      2/0       .        .        .        .       4/2  1329/367
   6      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   1329/367
   7      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   1329/367
   8    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    ..... 1329/367
   9      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   1329/367
  10      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   1329/367
  11      .       1/0      2/1     33/1     52/3       .      88/5  1417/372
  12      .        .        .        .     203/7       .     203/7  1620/379
  13      .        .        .      14/0     77/6      1/1     92/7  1712/386
  14      .        .        .      25/3     44/3      3/3     72/9  1784/395
  15      .        .        .        .      29/5     12/11    41/16 1825/411
  16    .....    .....    .....    78/6     .....     5/1     83/7  1908/418
  17      .        .        .      91/6      8/5      2/0    101/11 2009/429
  18      .        .        .      89/3      9/6       .      98/9  2107/438
  19      .        .        .     109/5      2/0      5/0    116/5  2223/443
  20      .        .        .       4/1     20/1       .      24/2  2247/445
  21      .        .        .      55/6      4/1       .      59/7  2306/452
  22      .        .      24/2     11/1      2/2       .      37/5  2343/457
  23     2/2      1/0     42/4      3/1       .        .      48/7  2391/464
DAY1    27/21   196/67   186/75   482/96   278/73    46/11    ..... 1215/343
DAY2    19/10    41/10   126/13   512/33   450/39    28/16      .   1176/121
TOT     46/31   237/77   312/88  994/129  728/112    74/27      .   2391/464

BREAKDOWN in Hours/QSO's per hr

DAY1  1.3/21   3.6/55   3.6/52   5.7/84   2.8/101  0.4/121   .....  17.3/70 
DAY2  1.4/13   1.5/28   3.2/39   6.2/83   3.9/114  0.6/46      .    16.9/70 
TOT   2.7/17   5.0/47   6.8/46  11.9/84   6.7/109  1.0/74      .    34.1/70

 

1996 ARRL DX Phone Contest (W2SC opr)

K5ZD (opr. W2SC), Single Op All Band, High Power

By Tom Georgens, W2SC
w2sc@arrl.net

Summary Sheet

            ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST -- 1996

 Call: K5ZD(W2SC opr.)          Country:  United States
 Mode: SSB                      Category: Single Operator

      BAND     QSO    COUNTRIES

      160       62      38	1/4 Wave GP
       80      321      73	Inverted Vee @ 90'
       40      303      68	402CD @ 110'
       20     1641     118	5/5 @ 100'/50'
       15       86      42	TH7DXX @ 70'
       10       11       7	TH7DXX @ 70'
     ---------------------

     Totals   2424     346  =   2,516,112

Equipment Description:

  • IC-765 + Alpha 76, TS-930 + L-4B
  • 160m 1/4-wave GP, 80m Inverted vee @90′, 40m 40-2CD @110′
  • 20m 205CA @100′, 205CA @50′
  • 15m 5-ele @75′
  • 10m 6-ele @67′ fixed South
  • TH7DXX @70′

The Contest

Just before the ARRL CW, Randy K5ZD asked if I wanted to do a multi-op at his place for SSB. I had already decided not to do SSB from home that weekend but I said that I would let him know in a week or so.

On the weekend before the SSB contest, Randy put out a message offering his station so I figured I better give him a call. He indicated that he was not that eager to operate and I could do a single op if I wanted. But I wasn’t so sure and since I had a mid-week, cross country business trip planned I left it up in the air. At the time, my preference was for a multi since I was not familiar with his station and he mentioned that there were a few problems with microphone switching for two radios. When I operate from home, I have to have complete stability and I make no station changes after Wednesday night. I was concerned about being tired and unfamiliar with the setup and embarrassing myself with a poor score. To further complicate matters, Randy said “Oh by the way, K1AR is also doing single op.”

I eventually cancelled my business trip and decided on Thursday that “no guts no glory” prevailed and I would try single op. On Friday, I knew the word was out when KC1XX sent me a packet message asking me to send Randy up to his place to operate. I suggested that he take K1AR instead. He replied that K1AR will go up there after 36 hours if he had me beat by then. I was little peeved but Matt later owned up to making up that comment up by himself.

Randy said to meet him at his place at 23Z and he would give me the tour of the station. We discussed single versus multi for a while and, at 2330Z, we finalized the decision that I would do single op. I got the short tour and I was ready to go at 00Z.

I got off to a slow start as I got the feel of the station. I was CQing on 40 and taking mults on the second radio on 20. Whenever, I went to 20 I was blowing away the frequency settings on the run radio. It took a few hours to figure out what I had to hit to switch radios. Then, on my first QSY to 160, I was getting no output. It turns out I left the radio in split and was transmitting on 80. On the other hand, entering the frequency from the CT keyboard for the 40 and 80 splits was a dream. I need to do that at home.

Eventually things (and I) calmed down and stuff started to happen. 80 started to play and I made sure I worked hard at 160, Randy’s best band. 40 meters even had a EU sunrise opening which did not occur on the CW weekend. After 10 hours I was at 448/172, and I was relatively pleased, especially after a number of ops stopped by that night to say how poor conditions were.

The dead time between sunrises was not too bad. The last EU worked on 40 was 0954Z and the first on 20 was 1028Z. Twenty opened slowly but eventually broke for good rate. Little did I know then but I was going to be around 14.164 for most of the next 10 hours.

After a couple of high rate hours on 20 I started listening on the second radio for an opening on 15. Randy splits the headphones between the two radios, one in each ear. I do not do that at home and I could never really use two radios effectively when I had any kind of rate on the run radio. I have deep respect for anyone who can operate with a different radio in each ear.

I primarily used the second radio to listen to KC1XX CQ on 15 to see if the band was open. He eventually started to get sporadic answers but not enough for me to QSY. Later, around 1530Z, I heard K1AR on 15. At this point I figured that I needed to give the band a try. I CQ’d for about 15 minutes, worked a handful of guys at the noise floor, and decided that it was not worth giving up the 100+/hour rate on 20 for this. I went back to my old frequency on 20 and continued to run. I occasionally checked 15 after that. At one point I heard K1AR again, he called CQ about 5 times without an answer, and I decided to just run 20 until it died. It turns out that the 15 meter decision was a fatal mistake the magnitude of which I would not realize until later.

Twenty was absolutely incredible with Q’s and mults rolling in all afternoon. After 20 closed, I searched for mults for awhile and went to 40 and 80. Had some success on 40 just before 00Z. Finished the first day at 1573/286 with 1078 Q’s on 20.

Around 01Z, K1AR stopped by asking to compare scores. I do not like to compare scores since it tends to demoralize me, but I figured I had to give him a score. In addition, Randy’s computer had a problem where the colors in CT would arbitrarily change and I spent most of the contest with the colors being pink and gray. As such, it was very hard to read the score box. In fact I could not pick out the numbers without putting my face right up to the screen. When we exchanged, I was stunned to find that I was 50 QSOs ahead but he had around 40 more mults. The difference was 15 meters where he had 50 mults and I had 6. He was up by about 150K but I was quite happy to even be in the ballpark. I never expected to be that close, let alone ahead on q’s. Things were not so bad and my feeling was that if 15 had the same opening on Sunday, I could pick up the mults when the 20 rate was lower and this could be a game.

I pressed very hard that night on 40, 80, and 160 and I slowly picked up some ground. John told me he was going to sleep but I decided to stay up. I eventually took a 10 minute nap when things got very slow. 160 was a disappointment the second night. Randy has a big signal on this band and I was hoping to pick up some multipliers by CQing but it was to no avail. By 10Z, my QSO lead on AR was 120, his multiplier lead was around 25, and the point differential was down to 70K.

Twenty was even slower to open on the second day. I suspected that this would be a bad omen for 15 despite the fact that the same thing happened on CW and 15 was better the second day. After a few hours of running John and I were still 70K apart. Unfortunately, 15 never opened to Europe and there was no way for me to catch up on the multipliers. I compounded the problem by leaving a runnable 20 to chase South Americans and look for unusual mults. Not being able to effectively use the second radio really hurt at this point. When I was on 15, AR had a 140 hour on 20 and it was never close again.

As of 18Z on Sunday my 10 meter total was 0/0 but I heard one of the LU’s say that they were going to 10 so I checked there periodically for the rest of the contest for the sporadic openings.

Eventually ran out of gas in the last 2 hours and AR pulled away even further.

In the end, I never really recovered from the 15 meter blunder on the first day and attempts to make up ground proved counterproductive. However, when the contest was over I was not the least bit disappointed. I told Randy that it was like being handed the keys to an Indy car on race day. My goal was to keep from smashing into the wall and not
necessarily to beat Rick Mears. As time goes on though, it is starting to gnaw at me.

Of course I would like to congratulate K1AR and thank Randy for the use of his station. He has done a great job building the place. I have operated from only a few other places but, in each case, I never really felt louder than I do from home. I expected the same to be the case this weekend but it was not true. I felt very loud on all bands (perhaps it was the fact that every 10th station said I was the “loudest on the band”) and the difference from my home station was very tangible. Randy’s internal setup is very simple and intuitive and, most importantly, it worked. The two radio setup proved to be a handicap for me but a better operator could use it to great effectiveness. Interstation interference was also near zero.

Randy was also the perfect host. He delivered orange juice and Wheat Thins (combined with 4 bottles of warm soda it was my entire sustenance) and stayed away from making suggestions or anything else that could be construed as assistance.

Another thing about his station is that you can look straight ahead out a window into his backyard. It is very good for the eyes and eliminates the “closed in” nature of contesting. It was particularly interesting to watch the weather since we had rain, snow, sun, clouds, thunder, and lightning. In fact the snow static was so bad that nothing could be heard at times.

About 6:15AM Sunday morning, Randy came down to say that it was lightning outside. I said that was ridiculous in March. As he was looking out the window, lightning lit up the sky, the radios browned out, and a tremendous clap of thunder came 2 seconds later. Fortunately, that was the only occurrence but it sure woke me up for a while.

Overall, conditions were poor but I had a great time and I learned a great deal. Thanks again to Randy for actually giving me an opportunity to compete for the top spot.

73 and thanks for the contacts,

Tom W2SC

Continent Statistics

                 160   80   40   20   15   10   ALL   percent

North America     16   27   20   32   29    3   127     5.2
South America      4   20   20   54   47    8   153     6.3
Europe            42  265  249 1454    8    0  2018    83.2
Asia               0    3    2   75    0    0    80     3.3
Africa             0    5    2   21    3    0    31     1.3
Oceania            0    2   10    5    0    0    17     0.7

Rate Sheet

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....    .....    33/19    19/15    .....    .....    52/34   52/34 
   1      .        .      31/9     14/5       .        .      45/14   97/48 
   2      .      28/21     5/2     14/7       .        .      47/30  144/78 
   3     6/6     35/9       .       2/1       .        .      43/16  187/94 
   4    17/13    26/7       .        .        .        .      43/20  230/114
   5    13/8     28/3       .        .        .        .      41/11  271/125
   6    10/3     18/3      7/5       .        .        .      35/11  306/136
   7     4/3     18/9     28/6       .        .        .      50/18  356/154
   8    .....     3/3     55/7     .....    .....    .....    58/10  414/164
   9      .       4/3     30/5       .        .        .      34/8   448/172
  10      .       4/2      5/4     47/20      .        .      56/26  504/198
  11      .        .        .     148/22      .        .     148/22  652/220
  12      .        .        .     121/5       .        .     121/5   773/225
  13      .        .        .     111/4       .        .     111/4   884/229
  14      .        .        .      94/3       .        .      94/3   978/232
  15      .        .        .      77/4      8/6       .      85/10 1063/242
  16    .....    .....    .....   102/2     .....    .....   102/2  1165/244
  17      .        .        .      78/2      7/7       .      85/9  1250/253
  18      .        .        .      79/5      6/5       .      85/10 1335/263
  19      .        .        .      67/2      8/5       .      75/7  1410/270
  20      .        .        .      45/2     15/5       .      60/7  1470/277
  21      .        .       3/0     29/4       .        .      32/4  1502/281
  22      .        .      10/0     25/1       .        .      35/1  1537/282
  23     1/0      3/2     26/1      6/1       .        .      36/4  1573/286
   0    .....    28/2     .....     2/0     .....    .....    30/2  1603/288
   1     1/0     10/0      5/1       .        .        .      16/1  1619/289
   2     3/2     16/2       .        .        .        .      19/4  1638/293
   3      .      17/1      4/1       .        .        .      21/2  1659/295
   4      .       4/1      5/2       .        .        .       9/3  1668/298
   5     3/1     29/0      2/1       .        .        .      34/2  1702/300
   6      .      31/0       .        .        .        .      31/0  1733/300
   7      .      12/3     15/2       .        .        .      27/5  1760/305
   8    .....     2/0     14/0     .....    .....    .....    16/0  1776/305
   9      .       3/1      2/1       .        .        .       5/2  1781/307
  10      .       1/0      2/1     10/1       .        .      13/2  1794/309
  11      .        .        .      68/0       .        .      68/0  1862/309
  12      .        .        .      83/2       .        .      83/2  1945/311
  13      .        .        .      80/3       .        .      80/3  2025/314
  14      .        .        .      50/1       .        .      50/1  2075/315
  15      .        .        .      74/1      2/2       .      76/3  2151/318
  16    .....    .....    .....    19/0     16/8     .....    35/8  2186/326
  17      .        .        .      37/0     12/1       .      49/1  2235/327
  18      .        .        .      65/2       .       5/4     70/6  2305/333
  19      .        .        .      26/0       .       3/2     29/2  2334/335
  20      .        .        .      25/2      8/1      3/1     36/4  2370/339
  21      .        .        .      20/0      2/0       .      22/0  2392/339
  22      .        .      15/1      1/0      2/2       .      18/3  2410/342
  23     4/2      1/1      6/0      3/1       .        .      14/4  2424/346
DAY1    51/33   167/62   233/58 1078/105    44/28    .....    ..... 1573/286
DAY2    11/5    154/11    70/10   563/13    42/14    11/7       .    851/60 
TOT     62/38   321/73   303/68 1641/118    86/42    11/7       .   2424/346

DAY1  1.9/28   3.6/47   5.3/44  12.2/88   0.8/52    .....    .....  23.9/66 
DAY2  0.4/30   4.9/32   2.8/25   9.9/57   1.6/27   0.3/35      .    19.8/43 
TOT   2.2/28   8.4/38   8.1/37  22.1/74   2.4/36   0.3/35      .    43.7/56

1996 ARRL DX CW Contest

K5ZD, Multi-operator Single Transmitter

By Randall A. Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

                    
           ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST -- 1996

   Call: K5ZD                      Country: United States
   Mode: CW                       Category: Multi-Single
                                 Operators: K5ZD, WX3N

   BAND     QSO    QSO PTS PTS/Q COUNTRIES

   160      154      462   3.0       54    1/4-wave GP
    80      413     1239   3.0       77    Inv vee @90'
    40      842     2523   3.0       87    40-2CD @110'
    20     1442     4326   3.0      100    5-el/5-el @100'/50'
    15      148      444   3.0       69    5-el @70'
    10        6       18   3.0        3    TH7DXX @ 70'
  --------------------------------------
  Totals   3005     9012   3.0      390  =   3,514,680

The Contest

This was a practice run for the WX3N/K5ZD WRTC team. As Dave and I had never operated together before, we thought it might be good to get some time in before arriving in SF.

Dave was to arrive at the Providence airport at 4:45PM on Friday with the contest scheduled to start at 7PM. Plenty of time… except when there is a major snow storm that afternoon. Luckily, Dave was on one of the few flights which was allowed to land. We shook hands at the airport at 6PM. Now all we had to do was drive home (normally 40 mins in good wx) and get ready for the contest.

It was a true Le Mans start. We got to my place at 6:53. We couldn’t get up the driveway due to the snow, so we jumped out and walked up the hill. It was 6:57 when we entered the station and started turning equipment on. I got the computer booted and ready just as the clock turned over 0000Z. No introduction to the station — I just sat Dave on 40m and told him to work people while I got everything else figured out.

Never could get CT networking to run on my Windows 95 computer, so we settled for just one computer. This in turn made the second radio less useful, so we just used it as a spotting receiver. We ended up almost exactly following the rules for the WRTC so we feel we may have learned a few useful lessons.

The ARRL multi-single category’s 10-minute rule really robs both station and operator of any chance to utilize agility or skill. Both of us are experienced two-radio single ops, yet the 10-min rule meant we could only CQ and watch the packet screen. At the bottom of the cycle where only one band is open, this doesn’t make for much strategy. I.e., press F1.

Friday night was OK on the low bands. The MUF went below 40, but that is not so bad in New England where 80m, and even 160, are capable of producing QSOs all night.

Twenty opened as the sun was beginning to lighten the sky. We had excellent rate and it was obvious that much of the rest of the country had decided to take the weekend off. Despite the crowded band, there wasn’t the normal competition for frequencies. It seemed the faster Dave turned the keyer speed up, the higher the rate. 750 QSOs in 6 hours.

We pretty much skipped 15m on Saturday since 20 was so good. Decided to gamble on equal or better condx on Sunday when the rate would be lower. Turned out the be the right choice as 15m was better Sunday and the 20m rates were indeed lower.

10m was really bad. Interesting to hear VP5JP both days on what sounded like ground wave (probably weak sporadic E). Worked an LU and OA4SS for our other 2 countries. Heard TI1C for awhile on Sunday, but he faded out before the 10-minute limit would allow us to QSY.

In addition to the strength of the Eu signals on 80 and 160m, the real eye opener for Dave was when we went to 40m Sat afternoon. He got there about 1930z (2:30 PM local) and claimed 7002. It just seems amazing to be running Eu on 40m and yet the sun is still high in the afternoon sky.

As usual, at 0000z, the bands died and it became a grind of finding new QSOs on the LF bands. 160m was definitely better the second night. Dave found 23 new countries between 00z and 06z.

It is obvious that packet now dominates the DX contests. We marvelled at how fast the hordes would descend on a packet announcement. We were also amazed at the amount of stuff we found that had not been spotted. People put out DLs and G3s, while there is an FR5 only a kHz away! After awhile, we just waited until 10 mins after a spot was put out before even going to check it out.

The contest ended with the usual multiplier chasing excitement. We switched to 20m at 2350z to work S92SS for a new one. This stuck us on a near dead 20m band with little to do except search for new QSOs. A spot showed up at 2358z for PY0TI. I spun the dial, heard K1AR calling (they know how to use Alt-F4), dumped my call in and got him. It’s rare to beat K1AR in a pile-up, and even more satisfying when it is in the last minute of the
contest for a new multiplier! High fives all around.

We had been comparing notes with KC1XX during the weekend. Their big hardware was too much to overcome. Sunday morning, Matt’s 4 high 20m stack kind of walked away from us. But the real margin was on 80m where XX has a delta loop at 180′ compared to our inverted vee at 90′. Yet another DX contest where 80m costs me! Even so, it was fun to actually have real competition and know that it was going to be close.

Even with the frustration of the 10-min rule, I really enjoyed this effort. I am very busy with work and it was nice to be able to work, sleep, see my family, and still get to operate about as much as I wanted. Anyone want to do the phone contest?

Randy, K5ZD

Continent Statistics

                     
                 160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America     17   24   26   28   26    1  122     4.0
South America      4   10   16   15   22    5   72     2.4
Europe           129  374  758 1361   83    0 2705    88.7
Asia               3    5   17   46    2    0   73     2.4
Africa             1    5   14   16   10    0   46     1.5
Oceania            1    3   20    2    5    0   31     1.0

Rate Breakdown

BREAKDOWN QSO/mults

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....    .....    84/26    .....    .....    .....    84/26   84/26 
   1      .      82/28     3/0       .        .        .      85/28  169/54 
   2    10/4     21/5     39/8       .        .        .      70/17  239/71 
   3     9/7     12/4     43/8       .        .        .      64/19  303/90 
   4    13/6     43/2       .        .        .        .      56/8   359/98 
   5      .      72/7       .        .        .        .      72/7   431/105
   6    20/9     13/2     12/4       .        .        .      45/15  476/120
   7     4/1      9/3     31/2       .        .        .      44/6   520/126
   8    .....     7/5     40/5      3/2     .....    .....    50/12  570/138
   9     3/3      4/1     19/8      4/2       .        .      30/14  600/152
  10      .        .      10/2     19/9       .        .      29/11  629/163
  11      .        .        .     108/22      .        .     108/22  737/185
  12      .        .        .     132/12      .        .     132/12  869/197
  13      .        .        .     140/7       .        .     140/7  1009/204
  14      .        .        .     131/3       .        .     131/3  1140/207
  15      .        .        .     131/2       .        .     131/2  1271/209
  16    .....    .....    .....   115/4     .....    .....   115/4  1386/213
  17      .        .        .      54/2     28/22      .      82/24 1468/237
  18      .        .        .      35/2      5/3      2/2     42/7  1510/244
  19      .        .      37/2     31/3       .        .      68/5  1578/249
  20      .        .     101/8       .        .        .     101/8  1679/257
  21      .        .     120/0       .        .        .     120/0  1799/257
  22      .        .      53/1     20/8       .        .      73/9  1872/266
  23      .       7/0     46/2      7/4       .        .      60/6  1932/272
   0     1/1     53/3     .....    .....    .....    .....    54/4  1986/276
   1    21/6      5/2      3/2       .        .        .      29/10 2015/286
   2     7/4      6/0      1/0      3/2       .        .      17/6  2032/292
   3    15/4     13/2       .        .        .        .      28/6  2060/298
   4     8/4     12/2      4/2       .        .        .      24/8  2084/306
   5    28/2      2/1      7/3       .        .        .      37/6  2121/312
   6     3/2     34/1       .        .        .        .      37/3  2158/315
   7      .       6/2      6/1       .        .        .      12/3  2170/318
   8    .....     3/3     16/1     .....    .....    .....    19/4  2189/322
   9      .       4/1      6/1       .        .        .      10/2  2199/324
  10      .       5/3      6/0       .        .        .      11/3  2210/327
  11      .        .       2/0     66/0       .        .      68/0  2278/327
  12      .        .        .      82/1       .        .      82/1  2360/328
  13      .        .        .      94/0       .        .      94/0  2454/328
  14      .        .        .      33/1     16/13      .      49/14 2503/342
  15      .        .        .      14/0     45/15      .      59/15 2562/357
  16    .....    .....    .....    40/1     23/2     .....    63/3  2625/360
  17      .        .        .      67/0      4/0       .      71/0  2696/360
  18      .        .        .      57/2      4/4       .      61/6  2757/366
  19      .        .        .      21/3     10/4       .      31/7  2788/373
  20      .        .      13/1     14/3      8/2      4/1     39/7  2827/380
  21      .        .      67/0       .       5/4       .      72/4  2899/384
  22      .        .      47/0     15/3       .        .      62/3  2961/387
  23    12/1       .      26/0      6/2       .        .      44/3  3005/390
DAY1    59/30   270/57   638/76   930/82    33/25     2/2     ..... 1932/272
DAY2    95/24   143/20   204/11   512/18   115/44     4/1       .   1073/118
TOT    154/54   413/77   842/87 1442/100   148/69     6/3       .   3005/390

Hours/Rate by band

DAY1  1.8/33   4.1/66   8.0/80   8.9/105  0.7/45   0.2/11    .....  23.7/82 
DAY2  3.3/29   3.7/38   4.4/46   7.2/71   3.2/36   0.2/22      .    22.0/49 
TOT   5.1/30   7.8/53  12.4/68  16.1/90   3.9/38   0.4/16      .    45.7/66

1995 ARRL Sweepstakes CW

K5ZD, Single Op, High Power

Randall A. Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

                ARRL SWEEPSTAKES -- 1995

  Call: K5ZD                     Section: Western Mass  
  Mode: CW                       Category: Single Operator High Power

      BAND     QSO    QSO PTS   SECTIONS

      160        0        0        -
       80      274      548        -
       40      827     1654        -
       20      242      484        -
       15       19       38        -
       10        0        0        -
     -----------------------------------
     Totals   1362     2724       77

               Score:  209,748

Commentary

SS CW is my favorite contest! Although I recall it being much more fun from NTX than from WMA!

Contest started very slowly. Was CQing on 40 and tuning on 20. 15 was near dead. Went to 80 early just because 40 didn’t seem to be producing too well. When I finally went to 40, quickly realized I may have been on the wrong band! Was just going through the motions until 40 opened. My back was constantly reminding me that I had just done 44+ hours of DX contesting only six days earlier (another sign I am getting old, never used to notice this!).

Great condx on 40 Sat night. Good signals from coast to coast. Skip zone was ONLY about 200 miles. This made for some good rates that got me mentally back in the contest.

Did 2 radio stuff the whole weekend. But unlike past years, didn’t find as many QSOs on the 2nd rig. Many times I would tune for up to 10 mins without finding a new station to work. Meanwhile, the CQing radio would continue a steady 40/hr rate.

Operated non-stop to 0940z. Decided I would go until the rate dropped. Could have stayed on, but 12:40 hours is a long stint in the chair without getting up. Back on at 12Z for a much better than expected hour.

I have about decided that the rates on Sunday just keep going down. So my strategy was to operate as long as rate stayed above 40/hr. Second off time was at 1800z. So I operated 18:40 of the first 21:00 hours! This left me the luxury of being able to kill lots of off time all afternoon and evening. It becomes a game of hoping that the competition doesn’t catch up.

Found the KP2 on 15m Sunday morning while tuning with the 2nd rig. Got him on the first call. Didn’t think anything of it until I heard all the horror stories later about the pile-up. Was worried about VE5 until got 3 of them Sun afternoon. Worked about 6 ME stations on 40 Sunday.

The last section was NWT. Found VY1JA at 14001 (tnx to tip from KR0Y) but it was a mess and he was very weak. Didn’t expect to make a sweep anyway so decided to concentrate on QSOs. A little later I was CQing on 14051 and very happy to have VE8NC call in. My first sweep in 3 years!

This is a challenging contest from W1. First you get to listen to the W5 and west guys run way ahead. Then they seem to disappear on Sunday morning so you almost catch up (and visions of Top Ten dance in your head). But then Sunday afternoon the bands go long and its over. Gotta find a way to squeeze another 50 QSOs out of the first 6 hours in order to have a chance.

Congrats to KZ2S at N2NT for top Northeast score. And to K1TO for pushing me all the way. New Division Record makes it worthwhile.

Here’s the numbers…

Rate Sheet

HOUR      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  2nd Radio

  21    .....    55/23    23/17    .....    .....    78/40   78/40     13
  22      .       6/3     70/14     1/0       .      77/17  155/57      7
  23    33/1     18/2     27/2       .        .      78/5   233/62     18
   0    67/3       .      13/3       .        .      80/6   313/68     13
   1    16/0     58/1       .        .        .      74/1   387/69      3
   2     7/0     77/1       .        .        .      84/1   471/70      7
   3     3/0     79/0       .        .        .      82/0   553/70      3
   4     8/0     60/0       .        .        .      68/0   621/70      8
   5    16/0     36/0     .....    .....    .....    52/0   673/70     16
   6    37/0     13/0       .        .        .      50/0   723/70     11
   7    36/0      8/0       .        .        .      44/0   767/70      8
   8     8/0     33/1       .        .        .      41/1   808/71      8
   9     3/0     27/0       .        .        .      30/0   838/71      3
  10      .        .        .        .        .        .    838/71      .
  11      .       1/0       .        .        .       1/0   839/71      .
  12     5/0     51/0       .        .        .      56/0   895/71      5
  13     1/0     47/1      2/0     .....    .....    50/1   945/72      3
  14      .      48/2      2/0       .        .      50/2   995/74      2
  15      .      50/0      4/0       .        .      54/0  1049/74      4
  16      .      43/0      1/0      4/1       .      48/1  1097/75      5
  17      .      34/0      7/0      6/0       .      47/0  1144/75     13
  18      .       6/0      9/0       .        .      15/0  1159/75      6
  19      .        .      23/0      5/1       .      28/1  1187/76      5
  20      .        .      19/0      1/0       .      20/0  1207/76      1
  21    .....    27/0      8/0      2/0     .....    37/0  1244/76     10
  22      .      16/0      5/0       .        .      21/0  1265/76      5
  23      .       9/0     28/1       .        .      37/1  1302/77      8
   0     3/0       .       1/0       .        .       4/0  1306/77      1
   1    16/0      1/0       .        .        .      17/0  1323/77      1
   2    15/0     24/0       .        .        .      39/0  1362/77     14

TOT    274/4    827/34   242/37    19/2     .....    ..... 1362/77    201

&nbsp

1995 CQ WW SSB Contest

K5ZD, Single Op All Band, High Power

By Randall A. Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

          CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 1995

Call: K5ZD                     Country:  United States
Mode: SSB                      Category: Single Operator
                                         High Power

BAND    QSO  QSO PTS  PTS/QSO  ZONES COUNTRIES  ANTENNA

160      71     178    2.51     12      38      1/4-wave GP
 80     334     935    2.80     16      71      Inv Vee @95'
 40     203     567    2.79     21      79      40-2CD @110'
 20    1471    4341    2.95     36     125      5-el/5-el 100'/50'
 15    1177    3471    2.95     28     110      5-ele @60'
 10      96     268    2.79     10      25      6-ele @70', TH7 @70'
--------------------------------------------------
Total  3352    9760    2.91    123     448  =>  5,572,960

Hours of operation: 44.0

The Contest

As usual, this contest begins well before the contest. Under intense pressure from my wife, I am considering skipping (or at least minimizing) my effort in the contest. Then K1AR informs me he is going to do a multi-single. After finishing second to him two years in a row, this is indeed a good thing to hear. I tell my wife that I have to operate for this rare chance to win. Doesn’t matter — I am still in trouble.

On Thursday, K1AR informs me that he is going to be single op after all. By now, I have my contest mind set in place. No way I can not do the contest. Escaping to assisted class has no appeal. I guess I will try one more time to beat him.

Put my son to bed at 2350Z, and get on the air. K1AR is on 14150 working JAs. I am searching vainly for a frequency. He works over 100 the first hour while I have only 54. We remain about this same number of QSOs apart for the next 36 hours!

40m was great. MUF to Europe stayed above 7 MHz all night, but there were less stations listening up than usual. Called lots of CQs and got very few answers. Did get called by 3V8BB for one bright spot.

All Friday night everyone was complaining about static. Really not a problem for me. The Beverage helped a lot and I never really felt like I was having trouble hearing. Worked 200+ QSOs on 75 the first night which is pretty good compared to my normal total.

160 was OK but the Europeans were having a lot of trouble hearing too. Managed to work 5 of them right at their sunrise.

Saturday morning saw 20m have a teaser opening around 10z. Some of the EU were loud but could not hear at all. I concentrated on the LF bands knowing I could get all of them later. Finally, at 1044Z I found a frequency and got a run going. Worked 193 QSOs in the next 84 minutes — WOW!

Switched to 15m and heard K1AR already running near the bottom of the band. Took the first clear spot at 21.237 and called CQ. The next hours were as good as it gets without going to the Caribbean. Worked 749 stations in the next 5 hours — all on the same frequency. It was incredible to see the 100 QSO rate meter just keep going up and up. This was certainly the best run I have ever had in a DX contest.

Just to make things interesting, in the midst of all this rate I notice that the sky is getting darker. Almost turns to black. Is that thunder? My wife comes in to inform me that she has been hearing thunder for awhile and it is getting closer. We don’t have thunderstorms in New England in October! When the front finally hit, the wind and rain were incredible to watch. But with the rate meter so high, I couldn’t stand to stop. Three of the highest and most memorable runs I have ever had have been during thunderstorms. Why is that? The storm was over in less than an hour and there was no damage. Surprisingly, there was no rain static during the entire storm. And it even cleared up my line noise.

After a quick scan of 15m, then 10 for a few QSOs, it was back to 20 for three good hours. I kept checking 10m all day on the second radio and never heard a signal until after 17Z. Was amazed to hear that KM3T worked Europe.

After the Europeans began to fade, the JAs came booming in. They don’t seem to respond to K5 calls as well as K1’s, but it beat trying to scratch out QSOs on 40 and 75. Just over 2000 QSOs at the 24 hour mark with a score of 2.6 Meg. Set my goal at 5.5M (considerably better than last year’s 3.3 Million).

The low bands were better the second night. But the rate was pretty slow. Finally decided to focus most of my effort on 160 since that is where the easiest multipliers were likely to be found. Worked 24 countries on 160 Saturday night. Most of them either very low (below 1820) or very high (above 1855). That is the only place they seemed to be able to hear. Got a few answers to CQs, but it was more productive to just keep tuning and catch guys as they came out of the noise.

Slept from 0755z to 0950z. Was surprisingly awake but took a nap so I could survive the high band runs the next morning. This is the first DX contest in a long time that I actually got plenty of sleep in the week before. It made a HUGE difference.

Sunday morning started as a repeat of Saturday. Big hour on 20 then made the jump to 15. Amazed to hear K1AR on the band edge (you multi-multi guys are not supposed to allow a single op to do this!). I went up a few kHz and started calling CQ. Conditions were not as good as yesterday. Yet every time I listened to John he was running as fast as he could go. In a three hour period, he worked 250 more stations than I did (and I wasn’t doing that bad!). The contest was over! Slightly demoralized, I made beating KM3T my new goal.

Since I couldn’t get anything going on 15m, I tried 20m. Was very surprised to find 14.150 empty (where was KM1H?!). I called CQ and had two good hours. The band edge is definitely a magical place. There was little QRM, lots of stations calling, and some interesting multipliers that called in. No wonder people fight so hard for this spot. Just as the frequency cratered on me (FG5BG started up just below), KM3T showed up and finished me off. Dave is just far enough away that he is not too loud here and I guess he just ignored me until he won the frequency.

Decided to scan the bands and found 15m packed with loud Caribbean. Checked 10m and it had some loud signals (PJ9B was 30 over). There is nothing more fun than S&P on a virgin band. Worked 69 QSOs in 54 minutes — all from zone 7,8,9,10,11,12,13. Even got a few answers to my CQs. The 16 new countries helped the score a bit too!

The rest of the contest was just CQing on 20 with the main radio while tuning with the second radio. Tried 40, 80 and 160 during the last hour but nothing too exciting.

If you asked me two weeks ago for a score prediction, I would have been happy with 3 Meg. Never expected what we got. Although the longer the solar forecasts called for quiet conditions, the better 15 got. With the big rates on 15 and 20, this was a fantastic contest. Even if I did have to finish 2nd to K1AR for the third year in a row! I think I will get a guest op to go after him for next year…

Misc Notes

– I did not hear a single station working by call areas all weekend.

– Did not hear or get stuck in a single packet pile-up. If I heard one I just kept going.

– Enough said about last two letters!

– When you boot up a CT log with 5.5M, a message appears at the bottom of the screen saying “Do you want to operate at K1EA?” Yes, I think I would.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Randy Thompson, K5ZD

Continent Statistics

                 160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America     31   63   36   68   56   16  270     8.1
South America      2   11   24   56   60   78  231     6.9
Europe            35  253  129 1132 1002    0 2551    76.1
Asia               0    0    1  169   25    0  195     5.8
Africa             3    7    9   26   26    2   73     2.2
Oceania            0    0    4   21    9    0   34     1.0

Hourly Rate Breakdown

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....    .....    32/20    16/7      6/4     .....    54/31   54/31 
   1     4/4     14/7     30/7      4/2       .        .      52/20  106/51 
   2      .      16/13    12/4     22/7       .        .      50/24  156/75 
   3     2/1     57/17      .       2/2       .        .      61/20  217/95 
   4    10/7     28/3     13/6      7/5       .        .      58/21  275/116
   5     4/2     37/5      7/2      9/4       .        .      57/13  332/129
   6      .      46/8       .       1/0       .        .      47/8   379/137
   7     1/1      8/3      7/5      7/3       .        .      23/12  402/149
   8    .....     2/2     20/13     4/2     .....    .....    26/17  428/166
   9      .      10/3     11/5      1/0       .        .      22/8   450/174
  10     1/1       .       1/1     41/21      .        .      43/23  493/197
  11      .        .        .     153/23     3/3       .     156/26  649/223
  12      .        .        .      23/1    132/34      .     155/35  804/258
  13      .        .        .        .     158/8       .     158/8   962/266
  14      .        .        .       1/1    165/15      .     166/16 1128/282
  15      .        .        .       1/0    145/5       .     146/5  1274/287
  16    .....    .....    .....     5/0    124/2     .....   129/2  1403/289
  17      .        .        .      58/3     37/5     10/8    105/16 1508/305
  18      .        .        .     130/3      2/1       .     132/4  1640/309
  19      .        .        .     117/4     10/7       .     127/11 1767/320
  20      .        .        .      90/5      8/2       .      98/7  1865/327
  21      .        .        .      17/1     36/12     9/0     62/13 1927/340
  22      .        .        .      35/3     14/1       .      49/4  1976/344
  23      .        .      14/3     32/4      1/0       .      47/7  2023/351
   0    .....     1/0     12/2      2/0     .....    .....    15/2  2038/353
   1     2/2      9/0      5/1       .        .        .      16/3  2054/356
   2    14/9       .       7/2       .        .        .      21/11 2075/367
   3     8/5     12/4       .        .        .        .      20/9  2095/376
   4     4/2     31/4       .       3/0       .        .      38/6  2133/382
   5    13/2     33/1       .        .        .        .      46/3  2179/385
   6     2/1     16/2      2/1       .        .        .      20/4  2199/389
   7     4/3      3/1      7/3      3/1       .        .      17/8  2216/397
   8    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    ..... 2216/397
   9      .       1/0      1/0       .        .        .       2/0  2218/397
  10     1/0      3/1      3/3     14/3       .        .      21/7  2239/404
  11      .        .        .     128/3       .        .     128/3  2367/407
  12      .        .        .      54/1     44/1       .      98/2  2465/409
  13      .        .        .        .      91/2       .      91/2  2556/411
  14      .        .        .       1/0    129/0       .     130/0  2686/411
  15      .        .        .      57/2     24/1       .      81/3  2767/414
  16    .....    .....    .....   120/6     .....    .....   120/6  2887/420
  17      .        .        .     138/3       .        .     138/3  3025/423
  18      .        .        .       6/0     27/8     40/6     73/14 3098/437
  19      .        .        .      33/1      1/0     34/10    68/11 3166/448
  20      .        .        .      62/1     12/1      2/1     76/3  3242/451
  21      .        .        .      23/2      5/0      1/1     29/3  3271/454
  22      .        .       2/0     46/4      3/0       .      51/4  3322/458
  23     1/0      7/0     17/4      5/1       .        .      30/5  3352/463
DAY1    22/16   218/61   147/66  776/101   841/99    19/8     ..... 2023/351
DAY2    49/24   116/13    56/16   695/28   336/13    77/18      .   1329/112
TOT     71/40   334/74   203/82 1471/129 1177/112    96/26      .   3352/463

Breakdown in Hours/QSOs per Hour:

DAY1  0.6/35   3.9/55   3.7/40   8.2/95   6.6/128  0.4/48    .....  23.4/86 
DAY2  2.5/20   3.1/38   2.4/23   7.4/94   3.9/86   1.1/73      .    20.3/65 
TOT   3.1/23   7.0/48   6.1/33  15.6/94  10.5/112  1.4/66      .    43.8/77

 

1995 ARRL DX CW Contest

K5ZD, Single Op All Band, High Power

By Randy Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

       ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST -- 1995

      Call: K5ZD                     Country:  United States
      Mode: CW                       Category: Single Operator, High Power

      BAND     QSO    QSO PTS PTS/Q COUNTRIES

      160       70      210   3.0       35
       80      230      690   3.0       64
       40      816     2448   3.0       83
       20      986     2958   3.0       92
       15      942     2826   3.0       81
       10       43      129   3.0       23
     --------------------------------------

     Totals   3087     9261   3.0      378  =   3,500,658

Equipment Description

  • IC-765 + Alpha 76CA, TS-930S + Drake L-4B
  • 160: elevated 1/4-wave GP with 4 radials
  • 80: Inverted Vee at 95′
  • 40: 40-2CD at 110′
  • 20: Stacked 205-CA at 100’/50′
  • 15: 5el at 70′
  • 10: 6el at 75′ fixed South
  • TH7DXX at 70′

Commentary

Finally! A DX contest that happened when conditions were at their best.

Rates were great. It was kind of fun to be ahead of last year’s rate sheet right from the start. Had my usual problems on 80, but they were quickly forgotten at sunrise when 20 came to life.

15m actually opened at 12Z both days, but stayed on 20 while waiting for activity to build. The first morning on 15, I switched to 21021 and was able to stay there for about 430 QSOs. The frequency was so clear, I felt like IQ4A (big and loud)!

Moved with the MUF through the bands. Having only one band open at a time really packs the activity and is the main reason for the big rates. Lot of multi-band QSOs in the log.

Great JA opening on Saturday evening on 20. Signals were loud but not much quantity. Some good mults too!

Saturday evening after 01Z was frustrating. Could not get anything going so just had to tune around. Kept falling asleep between QSOs! Managed to stay awake until 09Z when I slept for 90 minutes.

Sunday conditions were almost the same as Saturday. Actually had some Europeans on 10m scatter (worked 7 Eu countries). Cost me about 20 minutes of 80-100/hour rate though.

Almost no multipliers to go with all the QSOs on Sunday. Finally at the end, managed to find enough to make the multiplier total respectable. Was great to find 9 new ones in the last hour. Best was being called by ST2AA with 30 seconds left in the contest. Thought someone was pulling my leg, but we had a little QSO after the contest. Turns out he is an American and mentioned that he had forgotten about the contest. He was on 30 meters all weekend!!!

Congratulations to KQ2M at KM1H. A quick comparison showed that I was ahead of him after 24 hours, but he beat me by almost 200 QSOs on Sunday! Will need to do some head scratching on how that happened.

Have now finished 2nd in four major DX contests in a row (behind K1AR in 94 ARRL Phone and 94 CQ WW Phone, then behind KM1H in 94 CQ WW CW and 95 ARRL CW). I don’t think even KC1F had a streak this frustrating!

WANTED: Antenna ideas for 80 meters. Need something that will improve my signal to Europe. Plenty of room, but lots of trees. Limited tower height to work with and antenna suggestion must not degrade my magic 160 vertical! Money is becoming less of an object with each loss!

The Numbers

                              Continent Statistics
                 160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America     13   21   20   17   23   11  105     3.4
South America      3    7   10   17   18   23   78     2.5
Europe            52  194  756  831  863    6 2702    87.2
Asia               1    1   16  109   24    0  151     4.9
Africa             1    5   10   11   10    3   40     1.3
Oceania            0    2    9    6    6    0   23     0.7

You just have to love those Europeans. Worked over 200 Russian/Ukraine stations.

Rate Sheet

BREAKDOWN QSO/mults  K5ZD  ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST  Single Operator

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....    .....   120/27     9/4     .....    .....   129/31  129/31 
   1      .      17/12    58/5      7/6       .        .      82/23  211/54 
   2      .      65/14      .       6/4       .        .      71/18  282/72 
   3    12/9     10/0     26/4      3/1       .        .      51/14  333/86 
   4     2/2     34/7     17/3      1/1       .        .      54/13  387/99 
   5    11/6     15/4       .       3/3       .        .      29/13  416/112
   6     8/5     13/2      1/0       .        .        .      22/7   438/119
   7      .       3/2     62/7       .        .        .      65/9   503/128
   8    .....     7/6     69/7     .....    .....    .....    76/13  579/141
   9      .       2/1     51/4       .        .        .      53/5   632/146
  10     1/1      2/1      7/3     19/12      .        .      29/17  661/163
  11      .        .        .     141/18     2/2       .     143/20  804/183
  12      .        .        .     100/9     46/21      .     146/30  950/213
  13      .        .        .       3/0    121/14      .     124/14 1074/227
  14      .        .        .       7/0    116/7       .     123/7  1197/234
  15      .        .        .       6/2     86/6      6/4     98/12 1295/246
  16    .....    .....    .....    .....    84/1      6/3     90/4  1385/250
  17      .        .        .      85/4     12/0      2/2     99/6  1484/256
  18      .        .        .     103/6      4/4       .     107/10 1591/266
  19      .        .        .      75/2      7/4       .      82/6  1673/272
  20      .        .        .      72/3      1/1      7/2     80/6  1753/278
  21      .        .      45/3     17/6      4/3       .      66/12 1819/290
  22      .        .      60/3      1/0      9/5       .      70/8  1889/298
  23      .        .      55/2     17/2      4/0       .      76/4  1965/302
   0    .....     2/1     .....    57/1     .....    .....    59/2  2024/304
   1     6/3     17/1      6/0     11/2       .        .      40/6  2064/310
   2     8/1      3/1     18/2       .        .        .      29/4  2093/314
   3     4/0      6/3      2/0       .        .        .      12/3  2105/317
   4     8/4     11/1       .        .        .        .      19/5  2124/322
   5     1/1      4/0     28/1       .        .        .      33/2  2157/324
   6     9/3      4/1     20/1       .        .        .      33/5  2190/329
   7      .      10/3     28/2       .        .        .      38/5  2228/334
   8    .....     1/1     31/0     .....    .....    .....    32/1  2260/335
   9      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   2260/335
  10      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   2260/335
  11      .       1/0      4/4     37/0       .        .      42/4  2302/339
  12      .        .        .      42/1     55/0       .      97/1  2399/340
  13      .        .        .       1/0    102/1       .     103/1  2502/341
  14      .        .        .        .      55/2      7/7     62/9  2564/350
  15      .        .        .       1/1     75/0      3/3     79/4  2643/354
  16    .....    .....    .....     5/0     58/1      2/1     65/2  2708/356
  17      .        .        .       1/0     60/0      2/0     63/0  2771/356
  18      .        .        .      38/0     15/4      2/0     55/4  2826/360
  19      .        .        .      63/2      3/1       .      66/3  2892/363
  20      .        .        .      42/0      5/2      1/1     48/3  2940/366
  21      .        .      36/1      8/0      5/2      5/0     54/3  2994/369
  22      .        .      41/0      1/0     13/0       .      55/0  3049/369
  23      .       3/3     31/4      4/2       .        .      38/9  3087/378
DAY1    34/23   168/49   571/68   675/83   496/68    21/11    ..... 1965/302
DAY2    36/12    62/15   245/15   311/9    446/13    22/12      .   1122/76 
TOT     70/35   230/64   816/83   986/92   942/81    43/23      .   3087/378

DAY1  1.3/27   3.1/54   7.6/75   6.5/103  4.7/106  0.2/95    .....  23.5/84 
DAY2  1.7/21   2.2/29   5.3/46   5.1/61   6.1/73   0.6/37      .    21.0/54 
TOT   3.0/23   5.3/43  13.0/63  11.6/85  10.8/87   0.8/53      .    44.5/69

1994 CQ WW CW Contest

K5ZD, Single Operator, All Band, High Power

By Randall A. Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

           CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 1994

 Call: K5ZD                  Country:  United States
 Mode: CW                    Category: Single Operator, High Power

   BAND     QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES
   160       97      264     2.72     13      43
    80      265      758     2.86     18      64
    40      631     1836     2.91     31     105
    20      835     2452     2.94     34     108
    15      614     1807     2.94     23      77
    10       49      127     2.59     14      35
  ---------------------------------------------------
  Totals   2491     7244     2.91    133     432  =>  4,092,860

Operating Time: 45 hours

Equipment Description

Radios:

  • IC-765 + Alpha 76CA
  • TS-930 + Drake L-4B

Antennas:

  • 160m elevated GP
  • 80m Inverted Vee with top at 95′
  • 40m Cushcraft 40-2CD
  • 20m Stacked Hygain 205-CA at 100’/50′
  • 15m LTA 5-ele 15 on 32′ boom at 70′
  • 10m LTA 6-ele 10 on 30′ boom at 78′ fixed South
  • TH7DXX at 70′

Notes on the Contest

This contest began for me 363 days ago. The first real test of my new station had resulted in a #3 finish in the ’93 WW CW only 30K behind K1KI and K1ZM. Lots of antenna work over the summer and this was going to be an all out effort to win. KQ2M told me during Phone SS that they were going to get the 40m beam up at KM1H. Add in N2NT, W1KM, N6BV, N2LT, KM9P and the usual stealth entry of K1ZM and I knew the competition was going to be tough.

0000Z

Despite all the anticipation, I start the contest absolutely flat. No adrenaline, no enthusiasm, nothing. Maybe it is my heavy duty work schedule, or the 9 extra people in our house the past 2 days, or just the burn out from this being my 3rd serious contest effort in 5 weekends (I vote for that one). I decide to grind it out and hope that I will warm up to the contest and find some source of motivation.

Bands are just as expected the first night. I take my pounding on 80m and have fun busting pile-ups on 160. 20m is open all night to JA although I only work a few since I am concentrating on the low bands.

Keep checking 20 during the 08, 09 and 10Z hours. Good scatter sounds like the top of the cycle. Bands are going to be great! I work two EA stations on 15m at 1030Z (that’s 5:30AM local time) and they are loud! Yes, the bands are going to be hot.

1100Z

Hmmm…I am hunt and pouncing on 20 but only the big guns are coming through. I am having no luck calling CQ. Sunrise is 1140Z and with the sun comes the devastating solar storm. Normally the 12Z hour is a big one here. I managed to find 15 QSOs spread across 80 to 20m. It is so bad I spend time calling a JA on 80, some LP on 40. Yuck!

During 13Z I spend time trying to find QSOs on 20 and 15m. It is a struggle.

Conditions are nearly identical to the WW Phone contest. It too suffered from a solar upset Saturday at sunrise. With a strong sense of deja vu, I go to 20m, start pressing F1, and wait for the bands to return. From my experience on Phone, I “know” that 15m will open tomorrow. So I concentrate on milking 20 for all it has. I use the second radio to tune 10 and 15 for easy Caribbean/SA mults.

1900Z

The computer screen starts to blur. I am having trouble seeing the point of the screen where I am trying to type. Unfortunately, I know exactly what this means — ocular migraine headache in 15 minutes. Look for Ibuprofen but we are out. Oh this is going to hurt. My concentration suffers badly, but I have lived through these during contests before.

Twenty is almost gone to Europe and 40 is a mess of unanswered CQs. I try several times to find a spot with no luck. I hear KM1H down around 7009 almost all weekend and I figure that his bigger antenna is carving out an advantage. My head still hurts and my enthusiasm is wilting!

I stick it out until late in the 01Z hour. This is awful. All bands closed to Europe! I have been in the chair for all but 5 minutes of the first 25 hours. It is time for a shower and some food.

0300Z

I continue to grind but the bands are bad. I keep thinking that I should go to sleep! My headache is receding but it still hurts. I keep questioning why I am doing this. I would give anything to know how the other single ops are doing. I want to quit, but there is always the chance I am close.

By 04Z, I can’t stand it any more. I decide to sleep for 45 minutes and get back up for EU sunrise. This was almost a mistake. I wake up fine but the “sleep drunkenness” is murder. It takes all of my experience and knowledge of what is happening to keep moving. My stomach is turning over and I am dizzy. 15 minutes later and I am awake but not after many thoughts of quitting. Why do we do this?

0600Z

I am rewarded by a recovery of conditions. One of my occasional exploratory CQs on 160 is rewarded with an answer from DJ6RX. I get 34 answers in 30 minutes including 5 new mults. I even get to 80m and get some answers there (my 80m scores are more a testament to my S&P ability than my signal strength).

I stay awake into the 0900Z hour running Europeans on 40. I need more sleep and decide to catch another hour from 0940Z to 1040Z. This results in another bout with sleep drunkenness. Note: Always take sleep breaks in 90 minute periods — it does make a difference.

1200Z

During the 11Z hour, 20m was kind of weird. Some signals but couldn’t get much going. I was checking 15 on the second rig and was hearing SA/AF and even some Europe on scatter. I only had 51 QSOs on 15 (33 mults) so I decided to see what I could work on scatter.

No problem working stations so I decide to CQ. No luck. I give up and tune down the band just in time to hear local W2SC get an answer. Hey, if he can get answers I should. I go back to 21011 and call CQ again. It works. Some on scatter and some booming on direct path. The frequency goes wild!

Europeans are calling in by the dozen. OT4T starts CQing up 2 kHz and he is 40 over! I see the rate meter climb like crazy. You know it is good when the last 100 meter is going up!

I try to move G4BUO to 10m on a lark. It is tough with the rate to even have time to call him on the second rig. We never work, but I notice there are lots of signals on 10 including EU on scatter. I hear/work an IS0 on direct path. With rates over 130/hour on the main rig, my rate drops each time I try the second rig. I am sure I gave away QSOs but I didn’t want to miss anything. I had 505 QSOs in less than 5 hours (that sure helps the score)!

1700Z

Time to go to 20m. I am focused on keeping the rate up. 20m is not very good and I end up alternating between CQing and S&P for mults. The 19, 20 and 21Z hours are pretty slow. About 2230Z, I decide that 40m is my best hope to make it to 4 Million.

I try CQing down low. I try around 7020. It is a battle and I am losing. Finally, I S&P up high in the band. I find another frequency and it is magic. Steady slow rate of one QSO per minute. The score builds and I am overjoyed to pass 4 Meg with 50 minutes to go. Amazingly the rate continues. YK0A calls in (the first time I heard them all weekend). They are puny weak. WJ2O/KP2 fires up down 1 and I go get him for another mult.

0000Z

Finally, the contest is over. I feel better, but I am certain that I am out of the running. It was so bad I was sure KQ2M or someone else must have done better.

I just about fall out of the chair when KQ2M reads his breakdown. It is CLOSE! We are only 12K points apart. We have the same zone and country multiplier. Boy, am I glad I didn’t sleep a minute more! Now it is up to the log checkers. I would normally be confident, but with that migraine for 8 hours, my concentration may not have been good enough. Congratulations to Bob either way it goes. I am sure he fought many of the same mental battles that I did.

Here are the numbers.

Continental Breakdown

                 160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America     21   35   53   49   27   16  201     8.1
South America      4   12   22   22   26   23  109     4.4
Europe            70  213  508  670  537    7 2005    80.5
Asia               0    1   22   70    2    0   95     3.8
Africa             1    3   18   18   17    2   59     2.4
Oceania            1    1    8    6    5    1   22     0.9

Rate Sheet

HOUR     160      80       40       20       15       10     HR TOT  CUM TOT

   0    .....    .....    92/32     9/4     .....    .....   101/36  101/36 
   1      .        .      66/14    11/6       .        .      77/20  178/56 
   2     7/7     16/15    19/6     18/3       .        .      60/31  238/87 
   3     9/8      4/3     24/5      7/6       .        .      44/22  282/109
   4     8/6     35/9      6/1      2/0       .        .      51/16  333/125
   5     9/4     30/5       .       4/3       .        .      43/12  376/137
   6    10/5     39/5       .        .        .        .      49/10  425/147
   7      .      61/4       .       1/1       .        .      62/5   487/152
   8     2/1      4/2     37/8      3/3     .....    .....    46/14  533/166
   9      .       6/3     41/6      3/3       .        .      50/12  583/178
  10     1/0      1/1     10/7     18/10     2/1       .      32/19  615/197
  11     2/1      1/0      1/1     22/8       .        .      26/10  641/207
  12      .       1/0      4/1     10/5       .        .      15/6   656/213
  13      .        .        .      31/3     15/13      .      46/16  702/229
  14      .        .        .      75/5      5/5       .      80/10  782/239
  15      .        .        .     123/5      1/1       .     124/6   906/245
  16    .....    .....    .....   117/7      1/0     .....   118/7  1024/252
  17      .        .        .      95/7      1/1      1/1     97/9  1121/261
  18      .        .        .      74/10     8/3      1/0     83/13 1204/274
  19      .        .        .      47/0      3/2      4/3     54/5  1258/279
  20      .        .       5/1       .      12/7     16/12    33/20 1291/299
  21      .        .      13/0      8/3      2/0      5/3     28/6  1319/305
  22      .        .      37/2      3/2      1/0       .      41/4  1360/309
  23      .        .      25/2     23/2       .        .      48/4  1408/313
   0    .....     1/1     32/4     .....    .....    .....    33/5  1441/318
   1     1/0     10/4      5/0       .        .        .      16/4  1457/322
   2     2/2      1/0      1/0       .        .        .       4/2  1461/324
   3      .       8/3      8/4      1/1       .        .      17/8  1478/332
   4      .        .       3/1      1/0       .        .       4/1  1482/333
   5     6/4       .        .        .        .        .       6/4  1488/337
   6    37/7       .        .        .        .        .      37/7  1525/344
   7     2/1     37/3       .       1/1       .        .      40/5  1565/349
   8    .....     3/2     57/1      1/1     .....    .....    61/4  1626/353
   9     1/0      4/3     11/0       .        .        .      16/3  1642/356
  10      .       1/0       .        .        .        .       1/0  1643/356
  11      .        .       8/6     11/1       .        .      19/7  1662/363
  12      .        .        .       8/2     69/20      .      77/22 1739/385
  13      .        .        .        .     139/6      1/1    140/7  1879/392
  14      .        .        .        .     130/3      4/4    134/7  2013/399
  15      .        .        .        .      95/2     11/9    106/11 2119/410
  16    .....    .....    .....    .....    69/5      1/1     70/6  2189/416
  17      .        .        .      21/1     37/3       .      58/4  2247/420
  18      .        .        .      52/1      6/1      2/0     60/2  2307/422
  19      .        .        .      11/3      7/4      3/2     21/9  2328/431
  20      .        .       7/1      8/2     11/2       .      26/5  2354/436
  21      .       2/2      5/1     10/3       .        .      17/6  2371/442
  22      .        .      49/2      4/0       .        .      53/2  2424/444
  23      .        .      65/3      2/0       .        .      67/3  2491/447
DAY1    48/32   198/47   380/86   704/96    51/33    27/19    ..... 1408/313
DAY2    49/14    67/18   251/23   131/16   563/46    22/17      .   1083/134
TOT     97/46   265/65  631/109  835/112   614/79    49/36      .   2491/447

BREAKDOWN in mins/QSO's per hr  
K5ZD  CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST  Single Operator

HOUR    160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT   CUM TOT 
DAY1  1.7/29   4.0/50   7.0/54   9.4/75   1.2/42   0.8/34    .....  24.0/59 
DAY2  1.4/34   2.4/27   5.5/46   3.2/41   6.0/94   0.7/34      .    19.1/57 
TOT   3.1/31   6.4/41  12.5/51  12.5/67   7.2/85   1.4/34      .    43.2/58

1994 CQ WW SSB Contest

K5ZD, Single Op All Band, High Power

By Randall A. Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

                CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 1994

  Call: K5ZD                     Country:  United States
  Mode: SSB                      Category: Single Operator
                                           High Power

      BAND     QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES

      160       39       94     2.41     13      25
       80      249      654     2.63     21      71
       40      205      572     2.79     21      70
       20     1083     3160     2.92     33     132
       15      359     1017     2.83     24     102
       10      109      289     2.65     15      44
     ---------------------------------------------------
     Totals   2044     5786     2.83    127     444  =>  3,303,806

Equipment Description

IC-765 + Alpha 76, TS-930 + L-4B
160m 1/4-wave GP, 80m Inverted vee @90', 40m 40-2CD @110'
20m 205CA @100', 205CA @50'
15m 5-ele @75'
10m 6-ele @67' fixed South
TH7DXX @70'

Reflections on the WW Phone

Contest – 2 weeks

Started with an empty room and assembled a station. All new antennas and feedlines. No
idea what works and what doesn’t.

Contest – 1 week

Went to LAX for trade show.

Contest – 36 hours

Woke up Thursday morning. Can’t hear out of my right ear. Monday after contest it is
diagnosed as a blockage due to wax build-up. Did the contest with 1-1/2 ears!

Contest – 24 hours

Sit on balconey at Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA and watch sun go down. Wonder how I will ever get home and get things to work. Much less get motivated to do a serious effort.

Contest – 8 hours

Arrive home from red eye flight. Go to bed.

Contest – 4 hours

Wake up and see if station will work. One bad coax to replace. Some computer and DVP problems to solve. One trip up tower to try to fix 20 meter stack (doesn’t work).

Contest

Contest begins with about the conditions I expect. Not too motivated but operate because I want to see what works. My wife is not happy that I came home and went straight into a contest. My plan is to quit if ANYTHING breaks!

This is kind of fun. I like the late night band hopping and multiplier chasing…

Sunrise Saturday

Hey! Where are the Europeans! K1AR stops by to chat and we compare numbers. I would never do this, but I don’t really plan to be competitive, so I do. He is 80 QSOs up (wow!) and 40 mults up (double wow!).

Condx are terrible. No Europeans on 15m the first day! All the signals on 20 have lots of flutter. Keep grinding away with two hopes: 20m will be better in the afternoon, and the bands will be better tomorrow. Decide my goal will be to chase after K1AR and try to catch him on QSOs and let the mults take care of themselves.

Good run on 20 in the afternoon. Next time John and I compare I have caught up enough to have some hope. The competitive fire and motivation crank up. He caught some Europe on 15 while I was running on 20, but I bet the farm that 15 will open tomorrow.

Keep pounding the low bands all night. Am surprisingly awake, but decide I will sleep to be fresh on Sunday when the rates will be higher. Make myself go to sleep at 0800z for 3 hours.

Sunrise Sunday

Bands sound better (not great). No flutter on 20 and 15 opens slowly. Work G0KPW on 15 and he tells me their 10m frequency. Put the second radio there just to see if I can hear him. I can – and they are very loud on scatter! It’s an easy QSO so I spend some time chasing mults on 10. Work DJ4PT, S51AY. Can’t get an Italian. Decide I have wasted enough time and go to 15 to run.

Have an hour over a 100. K1AR immediatly checks in to tell me he just had a 170 hour. How does he do it? Is it the 4-stack at K1EA or does he just talk real fast? I am undaunted!

Rest of the contest is a CQ exercise. I didn’t use the second radio much on Saturday but start to work harder on Sunday. It pays off in lots of mults.

Last 2 hours are no good for Europe. Spend my time chasing South Americans on 10/15 (amazing how many of them there are). Work some VEs on 75. Catch 6 new countries in last 10 minutes on 40. Makes for a good ending.

Comments

Activity was definitely down. Bad conditions make it hard for the small stations to stay on.

160 was great the first night and terrible the second.

This contest was kind of fun. Much like my early efforts from Texas. Lots of hunt & pounce with occasional runs. Just the way I like it. More fun than the 12 hours of straight CQing normally required from W1.

Didn’t seem to be as many lids as normal (or maybe I just missed them). Only ran into a few pile-ups that I walked away from because there were too many lids. I did find some mults just when they came on, but never got through because the packet guys came on so
fast. It is crucial to get through early because once the first packet guy gets a QSO, the level of competition (some of it very obnoxious multi-ops) goes up.

I publicly admit it. K1AR is pretty good at this stuff. I was operating head down the whole weekend. This is so easy for John that he beats me AND tunes around the band having ragchews with everyone. Oh well… maybe next year when I get the 20m stack working!

Continent Statistics

                 160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America     19   91   41   85   56   32  324    15.9
South America      4   25   26   60   59   69  243    11.9
Europe            13  124  123  840  217    5 1322    64.7
Asia               0    1    0   63    2    0   66     3.2
Africa             3    4    9   30   19    1   66     3.2
Oceania            0    4    6    5    6    2   23     1.1

Rate Sheet

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....    .....    .....    66/28    .....    .....    66/28   66/28 
   1      .        .      49/19     9/4       .        .      58/23  124/51 
   2      .      27/18    31/10     2/2       .        .      60/30  184/81 
   3      .      58/21      .       3/1       .        .      61/22  245/103
   4     8/8     24/8     10/5       .        .        .      42/21  287/124
   5    12/8     10/4     10/6       .        .        .      32/18  319/142
   6     6/4     36/4       .        .        .        .      42/8   361/150
   7      .      11/4     10/3      2/2       .        .      23/9   384/159
   8     4/3     10/3      1/1      2/2     .....    .....    17/9   401/168
   9      .       3/1     12/6      1/0       .        .      16/7   417/175
  10      .       6/3      9/4      4/3       .        .      19/10  436/185
  11      .       2/1      2/2     20/10    20/14      .      44/27  480/212
  12      .        .        .      42/15     2/2       .      44/17  524/229
  13      .        .        .      23/3     11/6       .      34/9   558/238
  14      .        .        .      29/8      7/2       .      36/10  594/248
  15      .        .        .      23/2       .        .      23/2   617/250
  16    .....    .....    .....    83/4     .....     6/6     89/10  706/260
  17      .        .        .     119/7       .        .     119/7   825/267
  18      .        .        .     114/8      3/2       .     117/10  942/277
  19      .        .        .      73/6      7/4      9/8     89/18 1031/295
  20      .        .        .      39/2     13/5      9/3     61/10 1092/305
  21      .        .        .      15/1      6/1       .      21/2  1113/307
  22      .        .       8/2     22/6       .        .      30/8  1143/315
  23      .      11/1      4/2      5/3       .        .      20/6  1163/321
   0    .....    .....    .....    30/1     .....    .....    30/1  1193/322
   1      .        .      19/2      3/1       .        .      22/3  1215/325
   2     1/1     12/0      2/0       .        .        .      15/1  1230/326
   3     1/0      3/2      2/2     11/1       .        .      17/5  1247/331
   4     1/0     12/2      2/0       .        .        .      15/2  1262/333
   5     3/2       .      12/2      1/0       .        .      16/4  1278/337
   6     2/1      7/1      4/0       .        .        .      13/2  1291/339
   7      .        .       2/0       .        .        .       2/0  1293/339
   8    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    ..... 1293/339
   9      .        .        .        .        .        .        .   1293/339
  10     1/0      2/1      1/0      4/4       .        .       8/5  1301/344
  11      .        .        .      24/0       .        .      24/0  1325/344
  12      .        .        .      48/0     15/10      .      63/10 1388/354
  13      .        .        .        .      30/15    16/10    46/25 1434/379
  14      .        .        .        .      28/11    19/8     47/19 1481/398
  15      .        .        .        .     105/14      .     105/14 1586/412
  16    .....    .....    .....    .....    72/6      9/2     81/8  1667/420
  17      .        .        .      81/1      3/2      4/1     88/4  1755/424
  18      .        .        .      77/5      4/2       .      81/7  1836/431
  19      .        .        .      56/1      3/2     16/7     75/10 1911/441
  20      .        .        .      34/1      8/2      4/0     46/3  1957/444
  21      .        .        .      16/3      7/2       .      23/5  1980/449
  22      .        .        .        .      15/2     17/1     32/3  2012/452
  23      .      15/0     15/7      2/1       .        .      32/8  2044/460
DAY1    30/23   198/68   146/60  696/117    69/36    24/17    ..... 1163/321
DAY2     9/4     51/6     59/13   387/19   290/68    85/29      .    881/139
TOT     39/27   249/74   205/73 1083/136  359/104   109/46      .   2044/460

BREAKDOWN by Operating Time/Rate per Band

DAY1  1.1/27   4.7/43   3.3/44  10.6/66   1.4/48   0.3/70    .....  21.5/54 
DAY2  0.5/17   2.0/25   2.4/25   7.7/50   4.1/70   1.9/45      .    18.6/47 
TOT   1.7/23   6.7/37   5.7/36  18.3/59   5.6/64   2.2/49      .    40.1/51

 

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