2003 CQ WW CW Contest K5ZD

K5ZD, Single Op All Band, High Power

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

Summary Sheet

              CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 2003

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

      BAND     QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES

      160       22       54     2.45      8      18
       80      289      820     2.84     16      70
       40      726     2100     2.89     30      93
       20      753     2182     2.90     34     109
       15      756     2217     2.93     29     101
       10      628     1847     2.94     29      96
     ---------------------------------------------------

     Totals   3174     9220     2.90    146     487  =>  5,836,160

   (Above is before log checking.)

Station Description

  • Radio 1 – Yeasu FT-1000D + Alpha 76CA
  • Radio 2 – Yeasu FT-1000D + Ameritron AL-1200

Tower 1 – 100′ Rohn 45G

  • 40-2CD @ 110′
  • 205CA @ 100′ / 50′
  • 5-el 15 @70′ / 35′
  • 80m Inv Vee with top at 95′
  • 160m 1/4-wave GP with 4 elevated radials

Tower 2 – 90′ Rohn 25G

  • 6-el 10 @90′ with 4/4 @ 60’/30′
  • 40m 1/2-wave sloper to west
  • 80m wire 4 square hanging from tower with 16 radials per vertical
  • 160m shunt feed tower with 32 radials

Tower 3 – 40′ Rohn 25G

  • TH7DXX at 40′

Comments…

A truly fun weekend!

With a heavy work travel schedule and trying to take two MBA classes, I let my wife talk me into not doing the contest seriously. Operated the first 3 hours and then went to bed. Woke up early, did some DXing on the low bands and then CQed for awhile. Took the dog for a walk and ran some errands. Worked more guys. Then went off to meet a classmate to work on a school project. Came back and had dinner. Now almost 23 hours into the contest and I had already taken 12 hours off.

Decided to see how the bands were. Still good! Decided I would stay up late and see what I had missed by sleeping the first night. Set goal of working 300 countries. Finally made myself quit at 3AM and went to bed. By now, the contest bug is starting to bite. Woke up 3 hours later and decided to crank up the QSO machine and see what I could do to get the QSO totals respectable on all bands. At the 24 hour mark of operating time I had 4Meg. Almost quit then, but still having too much fun.

Still 8 hours of the contest to go. Can’t stop because YCCC president N1XS has exhorted everyone to keep their butt in the chair. Got this crazy idea that maybe I could sneak into the Top Ten box. Kept CQing and doing the SO2R thing. Score kept going up. Ended with an exhilarating run on 7000.6.

Almost wish I had done the whole thing, but probably wouldn’t have had as much fun. Winning CQ WW is hard. You have to keep pushing all the time and make sure you get good frequencies on the hot band. There is no time to rest or relax. By sleeping the first night, I had no pressure and was able to go DXing when I got tired of CQing. It actually helped me be more on the right band than if I had been trying. Not to mention how much more fun (and accurate) it is to operate with enough sleep.

Only ran into a few packet pileups. Most of the time I would just keep tuning. Did work TO4WW on 40. Had no idea where it was other than zone 39. Turns out to be an ALL TIME new one for me! (He was listening up 1-2 KHz and it was exactly the right thing to do. Who says you can’t work split in a contest?)

7S2E was still loud on 40m at 1130Z. Wow. On Sunday morning, 40m was the best I have ever heard over the pole to Japan. 40 was wall to wall all the way up to 7100. My best runs Sat night were on 7085 and 7076.

Managed to work 2 JA stations on 80 Saturday morning.

160 was funny. Heard lots of stuff Friday night but it couldn’t hear me. Saturday managed to work a few Eu, but it wasn’t worth it. Didn’t matter because 80 and 40 were so good.

Overall operating was excellent. No real frequency fights. Less than the usual number of dupes. Most people got my call right. Didn’t seem like I got spotted as KH7D this year.

As always, amazing how many stations made big QSO totals that I never even heard. Was really searching for N5TJ at KP3Z and only worked him on 1 band! He had over 6000 QSOs! Worked VP9I, A45XR, and JY8YB on only one band. ZD8Z on 2 bands. Heard A61AJ on 160, but only worked him on 2 bands. That’s part of what makes this contest great. But also why packet is such an advantage of the multi-ops. It is just too easy for the good stuff to get lost in the noise.

Breakdown below. I assume rates were better than normal on day 2 because I hadn’t worked everyone on day 1.

Continent Statistics

          160M    80M    40M    20M    15M    10M   Total      %

    EU       8    230    601    572    613    536    2560    80.7
    NA      10     39     57     54     43     29     232     7.3
    AF       1      7     14     23     18     11      74     2.3
    AS       0      4     31     69     50     13     167     5.3
    SA       3      8     12     25     28     32     108     3.4
    OC       0      1      9      9      4      7      30     0.9

Rate Sheet

QSO/ZN+DX by hour and band

Hour   160M     80M     40M     20M     15M     10M    Total     Cumm    OffTime

0000Z  --+--   --+--   --+--   71/58   11/6    --+--   82/64     82/64  
0100Z    -       -     85/56   24/12    2/2      -    111/70    193/134 
0200Z   3/6    50/36    4/1    16/14     -       -     73/57    266/191 
0300Z   1/2    50/10   11/7     4/4      -       -     66/23    332/214    10
0400Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0     332/214    60
0500Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0     332/214    60
0600Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0     332/214    60
0700Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0     332/214    60
0800Z  --+--   --+--   --+--   --+--   --+--   --+--    0/0     332/214    60
0900Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0     332/214    60
1000Z   1/1    13/11   14/13     -       -       -     28/25    360/239    22
1100Z   3/5     3/3    10/5    28/5    58/23     -    102/41    462/280 
1200Z    -       -       -      9/5   164/20    4/6   177/31    639/311 
1300Z    -       -       -       -     21/5   127/38  148/43    787/354 
1400Z    -       -       -       -     79/9    51/7   130/16    917/370     5
1500Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0     917/370    60
1600Z  --+--   --+--   --+--   --+--   --+--   --+--    0/0     917/370    60
1700Z    -       -       -     63/9     5/2    32/24  100/35   1017/405     6
1800Z    -       -       -     91/4    39/23    1/2   131/29   1148/434 
1900Z    -       -       -       -       -      6/5     6/5    1154/439    55
2000Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0    1154/439    60
2100Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0    1154/439    60
2200Z    -       -       -       -      1/2     9/8    10/10   1164/449    47
2300Z    -       -     35/8    20/3    13/4     4/0    72/15   1236/464 
0000Z  --+--   --+--   81/18    7/5    --+--   --+--   88/23   1324/487 
0100Z   7/7    33/4    20/0     2/0      -       -     62/11   1386/498 
0200Z    -     35/6    28/4      -       -       -     63/10   1449/508 
0300Z   6/4    43/6     6/0     1/1      -       -     56/11   1505/519 
0400Z    -     17/3    67/4     4/2      -       -     88/9    1593/528 
0500Z    -     22/4    91/3      -       -       -    113/7    1706/535 
0600Z    -     10/2    62/0     2/1      -       -     74/3    1780/538 
0700Z    -      6/1    81/2     3/1      -       -     90/4    1870/542 
0800Z   1/1     5/0     8/0    --+--   --+--   --+--   14/1    1884/543    43
0900Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0    1884/543    60
1000Z    -       -       -       -       -       -      0/0    1884/543    60
1100Z    -      2/0     9/2     2/0      -       -     13/2    1897/545    38
1200Z    -       -       -    101/9    30/8      -    131/17   2028/562 
1300Z    -       -       -       -     16/1   140/9   156/10   2184/572 
1400Z    -       -       -       -     14/2   132/5   146/7    2330/579 
1500Z    -       -       -       -     67/3    78/3   145/6    2475/585 
1600Z  --+--   --+--   --+--   --+--  130/2     8/3   138/5    2613/590 
1700Z    -       -       -     48/0    56/2     8/1   112/3    2725/593 
1800Z    -       -       -    109/2    18/7     1/0   128/9    2853/602 
1900Z    -       -       -     52/3     6/0    15/4    73/7    2926/609    10
2000Z    -       -       -     26/0     8/7     5/4    39/11   2965/620    20
2100Z    -       -     11/0    36/3     4/0     3/2    54/5    3019/625 
2200Z    -       -     35/0    10/1    14/2     4/4    63/7    3082/632 
2300Z    -       -     68/0    24/1      -       -     92/1    3174/633 

Total: 22/26  289/86  726/123 753/143 756/130 628/125

Unique callsigns worked = 2174

The best 60 minute rate was 180/hour from 1203 to 1302
The best 30 minute rate was 192/hour from 1256 to 1325
The best 10 minute rate was 222/hour from 1316 to 1325

The best 1 minute rates were:
 5 QSOs/minute    8 times.
 4 QSOs/minute  100 times.
 3 QSOs/minute  350 times.
 2 QSOs/minute  543 times.
 1 QSOs/minute  598 times.

There were 553 band changes and 260 probable 2nd radio QSOs.

Multi-band QSOs
----------------
1 bands    1591
2 bands     331
3 bands     132
4 bands      81
5 bands      33
6 bands       6

The following stations were worked on 6 bands:

9A1A        HC8N        P40E        PJ2T        VP5X        VE3EJ       

----- S i n g l e   B a n d   Q S O ' s  -----
Band    160     80     40     20     15     10

QSOs     10    129    379    381    391    301

Breakdown by Zone

Mult     160     80     40     20     15     10  Total    Pct
-------------------------------------------------------------
14         5     81    222    271    259    274   1112   34.7
15         3    107    250    219    240    211   1030   32.1
16         0     34    105     59     90     30    318    9.9
20         0     10     31     24     27     20    112    3.5
4          4     13     25     15     11      8     76    2.4
8          4     12     13     16     15     10     70    2.2
17         0      0      9     28     23      2     62    1.9
25         0      2      7     16     15      9     49    1.5
5          2     10     10     15      4      3     44    1.4
33         1      5      9     12     11      5     43    1.3
9          2      5      5      8     10      7     37    1.2
13         0      0      0      9     10     15     34    1.1
11         0      2      6      7      7      7     29    0.9
3          0      2      5      2      6      2     17    0.5
35         0      2      2      6      3      2     15    0.5
7          0      2      1      2      4      3     12    0.4
18         0      0      4      7      0      0     11    0.3
30         0      0      4      4      0      1      9    0.3
38         0      0      2      4      1      2      9    0.3
32         0      0      2      2      2      3      9    0.3
31         0      1      2      2      2      2      9    0.3
10         1      1      1      2      1      2      8    0.2
40         0      0      1      3      2      2      8    0.2
21         0      0      2      1      5      0      8    0.2
6          0      0      2      3      1      2      8    0.2
19         0      0      0      3      2      1      6    0.2
36         0      0      0      2      1      1      4    0.1
28         0      0      0      3      0      0      3    0.1
24         0      0      1      2      0      0      3    0.1
1          0      0      1      0      1      1      3    0.1
2          0      0      1      1      1      0      3    0.1
26         0      0      0      2      0      0      2    0.1
27         0      0      0      1      0      1      2    0.1
37         0      0      1      0      1      0      2    0.1
34         0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.1
29         0      0      1      0      0      0      1    0.0
39         0      0      1      0      0      0      1    0.0
23         0      0      0      1      0      0      1    0.0
12         0      0      0      0      0      1      1    0.0
22         0      0      0      1      0      0      1    0.0
------------------------------------------------------
Total     22    289    726    753    756    628   3174

Breakdown by Country

          160M    80M    40M    20M    15M    10M   Total

    3V              1      2      1      2              6
    4J                                   1              1
    4L                            1                     1
  4U1I                     1                            1
    4X                     1      1      2              4
    5B              2      3      3      2      1      11
    5N                            1                     1
    5U              1      1      1      1      1       5
    5W                                          1       1
    5X                     1             1              2
    6Y       1      2      1      1      1      1       7
    7X              1                                   1
    8P              1      1      1      1      1       5
    9A       1      5      5      6     10      7      34
    9G                            1                     1
    9H                     1                    2       3
    9K                     1                            1
   9M2                            3                     3
    9Y              1      2      1      1      1       6
    A4                                   1              1
    A6                     1             1              2
    CE                                          1       1
   CE9                            1                     1
    CM              2      3      1      1      1       8
    CN                            1      1              2
    CT                     2      5      3      4      14
   CT3              1      3      4      3      2      13
    CU                            1                     1
    CX                            1      4      2       7
    D4              1             1      1      1       4
    DL       1     24     92     94    103     86     400
    DU                            1                     1
    EA              4      8     26     14     15      67
   EA6                     1             2      1       4
   EA8       1      2      4      6      5      3      21
    EI       1             1                    2       4
    EK                                   1              1
    EL                     1      1                     2
    ER              1                           1       2
    ES              1      1      3      3      6      14
    EU              3      6      2      7      4      22
    EX                                   2              2
    EY                            1                     1
     F              8     25     34     27     29     123
    FJ                                   1              1
    FM       1             1                            2
    FY                            1             1       2
     G             13     28     32     36     44     153
    GD                                          1       1
    GI                            1             1       2
    GJ              1             1      1      1       4
    GM       1      4      3      5      6      6      25
  GM/s              1      1      1      1              4
    GU       1      1      2             1      1       6
    GW              3      5      7      3      5      23
    HA              7     19     16     18     21      81
    HB              1      7      9      6      4      27
   HC8       1      1      1      1      1      1       6
    HI              1             1      1      1       4
    HK                            1      1      1       3
    HP                                   1              1
    HS                            2                     2
    HZ                                   1              1
     I              7     18     21     18     19      83
    IS              1      2      1                     4
   IT9                     2      1      2      2       7
    J3                            1      2      1       4
    J8              1      1      1      1              4
    JA              2      7     16     15      9      49
    JT                            1                     1
    JY                     1                            1
     K       1      4     10     10      4      4      33
   KH2                                          1       1
   KH6                     1      2      1      1       5
    KL                     1             1      1       3
   KP2              1      1      1      2              5
   KP4       1                    3      1      1       6
    LA       1      3      5      5      4     11      29
    LU                            5      6     13      24
    LX              1      2      1      2      1       7
    LY              7      9     11      7      6      40
    LZ              4     12     11     11     11      49
    OA                                          1       1
    OE              3      2      7      4      7      23
    OH              4     19     27     20     13      83
   OH0              1      1      1      1      1       5
    OK             20     59     47     60     54     240
    OM             11     16     13     18     12      70
    ON              3      5     11      8     10      37
    OY                            1                     1
    OZ              5      5      6      5     13      34
    P4       1      1      2      2      3      1      10
    PA              3     11     15     18     16      63
   PJ2       1      2      1      2      2      2      10
   PJ7                            1      1              2
    PY              2      5      7      7      7      28
  PY0F                     1                            1
    S5       1     10     17      9     16     11      64
    S9                            1             1       2
    SM              6     18     17     19     23      83
    SP       1     16     42     26     33     27     145
    SU                                   1      1       2
    SV                     2      1      5      4      12
   SV5                     1                            1
   SV9                                          1       1
   T32              1      1             1      1       4
    T7                                          1       1
    T9                     7      3      2      2      14
    TA                     3      1      1              5
    TF                     1      3      2      2       8
    TG              1                    1              2
    TI              1      1      1      1      1       5
    TK              1      1      1             1       4
    TU                            1      1              2
    UA             14     52     44     44     17     171
   UA2              1      1      1      2      1       6
   UA9                     8     33     15      3      59
    UK                            1      1              2
    UN                     5      3      7             15
    UR             16     47     13     39      8     123
    V2              1      1      2             1       5
    V3                                          1       1
    V4              1      1      1      1      1       5
    V5                            1                     1
    VE       5     21     30     23     18      9     106
    VK                     5      4             1      10
   VP5       1      1      1      1      1      1       6
   VP8                            1                     1
 VP8/h                            1                     1
   VP9                     1                            1
    VR                     1      2                     3
    VU                            1                     1
    XE                     2      3      1      2       8
    YL              4      3      5      2      3      17
    YN                            1      1      1       3
    YO              4      8      7      6      3      28
    YU              6     21     19     18     12      76
    YV              1             1      3      1       6
    Z3              1      2             5      2      10
    ZA              1      2      1      1      1       6
   ZD8                            1      1              2
    ZF              1      1      1      1      1       5
    ZL                     2      2      2      2       8
    ZS                     2      2      1      2       7

2003 ARRL Sweepstakes CW AK1W

                   ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW

Call: AK1W
Operator(s): K5ZD
Station: K5ZD

Class: Single Op HP
QTH: WMA
Operating Time (hrs): 24
Radios: SO2R

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
  160:    0
   80:  119
   40:  474
   20:  516
   15:  123
   10:   83
------------
Total: 1315  Sections = 79  Total Score = 207,770

Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club

Comments

Used the new club call just for fun. Wanted to see if there would be less requests for section repeats if I used a call in the proper call area. It was better‚ but still a lot of them. Too many ‘West’ sections (WMA‚ WPA‚ WTX‚ WWA)!

Missed NT – never heard one. Worked two or more of everything else except PR and PAC!

Contest started out even slower than normal. Just kept plugging and ended the first night just a little behind the usual total. Sunday wasn’t great‚ but consistent. Took an hour off when the flare hit. Figured things would improve toward the end of the contest‚ and they did.

Now 27 years in a row with more than 1K QSOs in SS CW. I love this contest!
Especially enjoy working those guys with old checks and the swinging bug fists.
Less of them every year…

Operating note for the day. If you are really weak‚ don’t send leading zeroes on your serial number.

The story in numbers below.

Rates

 Hour      80      40      20      15      10     Total     Cumm    OffTime

D1-2100Z    -       -     54/25   20/15    3/2    77/42     77/42  
D1-2200Z    -       -     54/7    12/5    13/2    79/14    156/56  
D1-2300Z    -       -     52/3    20/3      -     72/6     228/62  
D2-0000Z  --+--    1/0    46/7    28/2    --+--   75/9     303/71  
D2-0100Z    -     60/4    28/0      -       -     88/4     391/75  
D2-0200Z  12/0    54/0    10/0      -       -     76/0     467/75  
D2-0300Z  31/3    32/1      -       -       -     63/4     530/79  
D2-0400Z   8/0    66/0      -       -       -     74/0     604/79  
D2-0500Z  15/0    47/0      -       -       -     62/0     666/79  
D2-0600Z  17/0    34/0      -       -       -     51/0     717/79  
D2-0700Z   6/0    44/0      -       -       -     50/0     767/79  
D2-0800Z   8/0     4/0    --+--   --+--   --+--   12/0     779/79     40
D2-0900Z    -       -       -       -       -      0/0     779/79     60
D2-1000Z    -       -       -       -       -      0/0     779/79     60
D2-1100Z   5/0     9/0      -       -       -     14/0     793/79     48
D2-1200Z   4/0    35/0    15/0      -       -     54/0     847/79  
D2-1300Z    -     12/0    35/0      -       -     47/0     894/79  
D2-1400Z    -     11/0    29/0      -       -     40/0     934/79  
D2-1500Z    -      2/0    37/0     8/0      -     47/0     981/79  
D2-1600Z  --+--    1/0    28/0     3/0     3/0    35/0    1016/79  
D2-1700Z    -       -     12/0      -       -     12/0    1028/79     39
D2-1800Z    -       -      6/0      -     23/0    29/0    1057/79     27
D2-1900Z    -      1/0    21/0     2/0    17/0    41/0    1098/79  
D2-2000Z    -      7/0     7/0     2/0     4/0    20/0    1118/79     31
D2-2100Z    -      4/0      -     13/0    20/0    37/0    1155/79  
D2-2200Z    -       -     35/0     9/0      -     44/0    1199/79  
D2-2300Z    -      6/0    27/0     4/0      -     37/0    1236/79  
D3-0000Z  --+--    9/0     9/0     2/0    --+--   20/0    1256/79  
D3-0100Z   6/0    27/0     3/0      -       -     36/0    1292/79     32
D3-0200Z   7/0     8/0     8/0      -       -     23/0    1315/79     23

Total:   119/3   474/5   516/42  123/25   83/4

2001 CQ WW CW Contest

2001 CQ WW CW Contest

K5ZD, Single Op All Band, High Power

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

This article was published in the November/December 2002 issue of the National Contest Journal.

Summary Sheet

              CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 2001

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

      BAND     QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES

      160       27       67     2.48      9      18
       80      181      472     2.61     15      59
       40      928     2499     2.69     32     106
       20     1074     3005     2.80     37     120
       15      860     2446     2.84     32     104
       10      720     2079     2.89     32     103
     ---------------------------------------------------

     Totals   3790    10568     2.79    154     510  =>  7,048,856

   (Above is after log checking.)

Station Description

Radio 1 – Yeasu FT-1000D + Alpha 76CA

Radio 2 – Icom IC-765 + Ameritron AL-1200

Tower 1 – 100′ Rohn 45G

40-2CD @ 110′

205CA @ 100′ / 50′

5-el 15 @70′ / 35′

80m Inv Vee with top at 95′

160m 1/4-wave GP with 4 elevated radials

Tower 2 – 90′ Rohn 25G

6-el 10 @90′ with 4/4 @ 60’/30′

40m 1/2-wave sloper to west

80m 1/4-wave elevated GP with 4 radials

160m Inv Vee with top at 88′

Tower 3 – 40′ Rohn 25G

TH7DXX at 40′

 

Get Ready…

For me, major contests always begin well before 00Z. Despite winning CQ WW CW in 2000 and setting a new USA record, I knew I had been lucky. I beat K1AR in the log checking process and John made it clear he was ready for a rematch. N2NT, KQ2M, W1KM, and other serious single op competition were all prepared for another run at the record during the peak of the sunspot cycle.

I try to make a major station upgrade each year. When I had the opportunity to purchase two 4-element 10m Cushcraft Yagis and some tower sections from K1SD in March, the target was identified. 10m was an aspect of my station I knew needed improvement.

I erected the tower sections to make a new 30′ tower right at the peak of my hill. A TH7DXX that had been at 90′ was moved to the new tower for primary use as a go-to antenna for the South. The 6-element LTA 10m beam was moved from being fixed on Europe at 20′ to being fully rotary at 90′ where the TH7 had been. The two new 4-element beams were stacked at 30′ and 60′ on the same tower. Now I had a 3 high stack for 10m with some real horsepower at the top.

Another project was to get the 40m beam on its own coax into the shack instead of sharing with 15m. This improved the antenna selection flexibility by allowing 40 and 15 to be used at the same time.

Another station improvement was the addition of a W5XD MK-1100 keyer. This is a wonderful external hardware accessory for WriteLog logging software that does all of the CW keying and audio switching needed for SO2R. Through the use of WriteLog’s excellent two radio support and some keyboard macros, I could do all of the switching without ever having my hands leave the keyboard. A serious effort in SS CW provided all the practice needed to develop my technique. After 20+ years of doing SO2R, this was the most automated system I had ever experienced, and I felt it had definitely improved my SS score.

Get Set…

Over the years I have developed a series of actions that help me prepare for the rigors of a 48-hour single op effort. They include having the station completely set up the weekend before, getting as much sleep as possible during the 6 days leading up to the contest, and trying to relax from the pressures of work.

The station was ready on time but I still had one concern. There was a new source of line noise that had appeared a few weeks before. Rain usually makes it go away, but the month had been particularly dry and no rain was expected before the contest. On Wednesday, the noise was worse than ever with a solid S7 buzz across every band when beaming anywhere from North to West. I called K1AR’s voice mail and left him a recording of the buzzing along with the message that I was out of it if the noise didn’t go away.

The Thanksgiving holiday is both a help and hindrance for contest preparation. My in-laws live about 3 hours away in Woodstock, NY. We drove over to visit them on Wednesday evening. Of course, this meant lots of turkey and football on Thursday, but also a few extra hours of sleep and a late afternoon nap. Friday morning I was able to sleep in a bit more and we drove home Friday afternoon. Since I was asking my wife to return home early so I could do the contest, we stopped at a restaurant and had a large late lunch on Friday. It took forever to get in and out of the mall with all of the shoppers! We finally arrived home about 5PM with the contest just 2 hours away.

I immediately turned on all the equipment and connected the antennas. The bands sounded fair and amazingly the line noise was completely silent. I took this as a good omen and headed off to bed for a short nap of about an hour. Not as much as the 3 hours I would have liked, but that was one of the things lost when we decided to eat out. Took a shower and was sitting at the radio ready to go at 2330Z. Much earlier than normal!

The bands were funny. Not great, but not bad either. Ten was punk, 15 was open a bit, 20 had signals. I decided that 40m was the place to start for the highest rate and found a frequency around 7022. I worked a few people to get warmed up and things were ready.

Go… – Not!

As the clock rolled over, a large Eastern European multi-op station that had been down 1 KHz decided that they wanted to be on the same frequency I was. We engaged in dueling CQs to start the contest – each working just enough guys to stay but neither doing very well. I worked more QSOs on 15m on the second radio than I did calling CQ. After 10 minutes of this, I decided to find another spot and began moving up the band. Another 10 minutes of S&P (search and pounce) go by and still can’t find a hole to call CQ.

This is a moment of panic for a single op. The adrenalin is pumping. You have spent months preparing for the contest and spent the last week totally focused on getting off to a big start. Now things start to slip away.

I switched to 15m to chase multipliers and get my head clear. Then down to 20m for more tuning and calling. Amazingly, I had managed to make 47 QSOs and a bunch of multipliers in the first 30 minutes. 20m had some very loud signals from Europe and Asia so I decided to find a frequency and see if I could get something going. I landed on 14020 and started a nice steady run. The frequency was quiet enough that I could use the second radio on 40m to chase multipliers. It was a pleasant surprise when K4ZW/JT called in with a very good signal on 20m at 0051Z. The second radio shows QSOs logged all the way up to 7070! No wonder I couldn’t find a clear frequency on that band.

I ended the first hour with 109 QSOs and 106 multipliers. I had my rate sheet from 2000 printed out and saw that I was doing OK, even with all the moving around. The next 2 hours continued with CQing on 20m and second radio S&P on 40. At 0245Z I was able to start a run on 40m.

You often hear about sports teams that arrive at a big event saying all the right things, yet just seem to be flat. I now know what this feels like. Despite being fully prepared, I was surprisingly devoid of emotion and passion when the contest began. I assumed that I would get into it once things got started, but instead my attitude was getting worse. I kept going more on habit than desire. This is very disconcerting when you know there is still a long way to go.

At 03Z I decided to jump from 40m to 160m. I had noticed in the weeks before the contest that 160 was opening earlier rather than at European sunrise. The decision was a good one as I worked 5 zones and 10 countries (many from Europe) during the next 15 minutes. Happy with this, I jumped back to CQing on 20m for more rate. When 5H1X (K1XM op) called in at 0340Z, I already had 26 zones and 60 countries on the band! The next 30 minutes was a careful search up 80m working multipliers. I finally found a frequency to call CQ up at 3545, which became my home for the next 45 minutes (70 QSOs)! A few second radio QSOs on 40m helped fill in some more multipliers.

The 05Z hour was a mix between 40 and 80m. I would run on one and listen on the other, then switch. By 06Z, I had 19 zones and 64 countries on 40m. The 06Z hour was mostly running on 7045. At this point I was keeping up with the rate from the previous year, but I knew it was being done through aggressive S&P and band agility. Conditions were clearly not as good as the previous year, and they seemed to be getting worse rather than better.

During the 07Z hour, I noticed that the main tuning knob on the FT1000 was getting harder and harder to turn. It finally just froze up and would not turn at all, even under great force. I kept CQing and working guys with the IC765 while I tried to figure out what was wrong. I managed to find the necessary Allen wrench to get the tuning knob off, but couldn’t see anything. Finally decided that I couldn’t fix it or waste any more time.

I recalled that WriteLog had a feature to tune the radio using the mouse wheel. I read the help file and found how to make it work. This allowed me to tune the frequency of the FT1000 but the tuning rate was too fast. Back to the help file revealed the INI file command to change the tuning rate and I slowed it down to 100Hz steps. It wasn’t great, but at least I could tune stations in and work them.

At this point, my attitude was really at a low point. The rate was slowing down and the radio problems were distracting. I had only made 25 QSOs during the 07Z hour and figured that I had to be falling behind.

I made no QSOs from 0801Z until 0813Z. This was probably a mental health break with a bathroom and food run. 20m was starting to open so I established a slow steady run on 14015 for the rest of the hour. There were a few second radio QSOs on 40m, which pushed the multiplier totals to 24 zones and 82 countries on that band.

The 09Z hour continued the run on 14015 while also tuning the other bands. Worked 8P9Z, P40Q, and ZV8O on 160m. Got FG/N4CD and XQ1ZW on 80m.

At 10Z, the wheels came off. Just 17 search and pounce QSOs in the next 40 minutes. There were some good multipliers, but the bands were broken. I was still bothered by the radio tuning knob problems, the lack of signals on 20m, and a general disappointment in how things were going. With the sun coming up outside, and what should have been one of the highest rate hours, I made the decision to quit the contest.

With my last QSO logged at 1037Z, I lay down on the floor of the radio room and went to sleep.

Restart

Something woke me up about 1125Z. I remember thinking that I had arranged my family’s life to do this contest, so I should get up and keep going. Even if I wasn’t going to win, I could at least enjoy the contest and see what I could wring out of the bands.

I came back on the air at 1129Z and worked a C6A, ZL, and a JA on 40m. Then found YZ1AU on 15m but he was the only signal. Conditions stunk, so I just did a systematic S&P across all bands for the next 40 minutes. After the contest, I would learn that I had given up no QSOs to K1AR during this period. It was pure luck that I went to sleep during the absolute worst period of conditions!

The break and decision to quit had removed the pressure and expectations of being competitive from my mind. I was now free to just enjoy the fun of contesting. There is probably a lesson in this.

The 12Z hour began to see conditions return. I was able to establish a run on 14022 and use the second radio to work some loud stations on 15m. 15 was still not really open and it took several calls to get each station.

At 1310Z I went to 10m and started working loud Caribbean and South American stations. I did two complete S&P passes across the entire width of 10m and managed to also work some Europeans. 15m must not have been too good at the time either since at 1345Z I returned CQing on 14008.

It is kind of hard to imagine just how disturbed conditions were at this point. The band seemed to randomly open to small pockets of the world and then close again just as fast. I spent the entire 14Z hour calling CQ on 20m, but actually working more stations S&P using the second radio on 10 and 15m. It wasn’t until 1530Z that I stopped CQing on 14008 and decided to S&P full time on 10m.

With conditions so poor, and no guarantee they would be better the next day, I was keeping a keen eye on the higher bands and trying to make sure I got as many multipliers as possible. As I tuned around on 10m, I started hearing German stations coming in on the direct path with reasonable signals. I decided to call CQ and was rewarded with a nice run. It was perfect band for SO2R. The 10m frequency was perfectly clear with a steady rate, while leaving plenty of time and concentration available for calling stations on 15m. In the 16Z hour, I had 101 QSOs on 10m and 34 more on 15! The bands were returning to normal!

This burst of rate fully reengaged me into the contest. I really enjoy contesting and find it rather addictive once I get started. I was now thinking like a serious competitor and operating like one.

With the FT1000 tuning knob problem, each CQing band change was a dance. First I would find and establish a frequency using the IC765. Then I would bring the FT1000 to that frequency using computer command. Finally, I would switch radios. It wasn’t a big problem, but required a little bit of extra effort each time.

The 17Z hour was mostly on 10m with the jump to CQing on 15m occurring at 1744Z. I was fresh meat on a hot band and the rate took off. One hour later, at 1855Z, I made the jump to 20m and the roll continued. 19Z had 93 QSOs on 20m with 11 second-radio QSOs on 15 including VQ9X and 5R8HD. 20Z was more of the same with 77 contacts on 20 and 13 more on 15.

At 2138Z I jumped down to 40m to see if I could find any long path multipliers. Worked a very loud JA3YBK and JI2KVW, but that was it. Turned the beam to Europe and set up shop on 7035 at 2153Z. This would begin an amazing run that may have been the deciding point in the contest.

After the first 24 hours I had 1797/122/406 for about 2.7 Million points. My best hope was to get to 6 Million. No new record this year.

I stayed on 7035 calling CQ until 0433Z. During this period I worked over 330 stations on 40m while also working nearly 100 QSOs on the second radio – many of them multipliers. Some of the goodies that called in on 40 during this period include 3B8/LA7MFA, T95O, 4X/OK1EE/P, ZS6DX, ZF2LA, KL7FH, and 5H1X. It was 3V8BB firing up just a few cycles away that ended the run so I worked him for 40m country 98.

The first half of the 05Z hour was spent CQing on 3546 while chasing multipliers on 160m. It was back to 7031 at 0539Z – my new home for the next 4+ hours until 0953Z! Wow, another 260+ QSOs on 40 plus a few more multipliers on the other bands with the second radio. This late 40m opening did not happen the first night so conditions were obviously returning to normal. I was also starting to think that I might be making a competitive score.

I took a short 10-minute break during the 10Z hour. At 1042Z I established a 20-minute run of Europeans on 14032. A little search and pounce across 20m to start the 11Z hour and I was back to CQing on 14009 at 1111Z.

When I finally listened to 15m at 1150Z, I discovered that the band was wide open! I immediately moved to 21004 and the rate exploded with 130 QSOs in the next 60 minutes. I repeated the discovery on 10m at 1245Z. The band was packed with signals. My main thought at this point was to run as fast as possible and try not to fall too far behind K1AR and KQ2M. There have been too many contests where I could keep up during the slow times, but lost due to a few high rate hours on the high bands.

Conditions were great, but up and down. At 1400Z, I moved back to 15m and established a run on 21002. This was a great frequency for the next 3 hours (312 QSOs) and let me do some second radio work on 10m (57 more QSOs). When 5H1X called in on 15m, I moved him to 28213 for a double multiplier. At 17Z it was back to running on 10m. Something I have never done before, this movement back and forth between 10 and 15 may have helped me work more stations than if I had stayed on one band for the entire time.

The rate was slowing down during the 18Z hour and I was making a lot of band changes. The SO2R functionality of WriteLog was being handled completely by my subconscious. It is a good thing the software records the frequency of the QSO, because I was changing bands so much that I sometimes couldn’t remember which band I was on. (Sleep deprivation may have had something to do with that…) By now the FT1000 tuning knob was beginning to turn although not freely, but at least I could do some tuning with it.

The 19Z hour was spent mostly CQing on 15m with second radio action on 10 and 20. At 2030Z I moved the run radio to 14016. Signals from Europe were very loud and the band was crowded. I went looking for a quieter spot and ended all the way up at 14089. The rate was pretty good although there was occasional competition from various digital mode stations. Finally one of them ran me off and I was on the move again. The FT1000 main tuning knob was about 70% free by this time so it was possible to tune down the band. I was looking in vain for an OH0 but found VP9/W6PH and 4U1ITU instead. Ended up CQing on 14036.

Sleep deprivation starts to introduce some interesting thoughts around this time. I recall thinking each station that called was revealing some aspect of their personality in how they called. It made for some very bizarre conversations with myself…

At 2126Z I had one of the more memorable QSOs of the contest. There were several stations calling and one of them had that hollow sound that only comes from being far away. I heard “ER” and asked for a repeat. SP3HC was calling at the same time and he responded as well as the “ER”. It took some maneuvering but I finally had the “ER” station calling in the clear and it was 3W2ER! Cool multiplier (country 116) and a surprisingly good signal. 3W2ER later sent me a recording of his side of the QSO and he was not hearing any of the European callers, just me. So I end up sounding like a lid since it took 3 tries to get his call.

Twenty minutes later HB0/DL1RWB calls in for country 117. I stay on 14036 all the way to the end of the contest (the last 2 hours 45 minutes on that one frequency!). During the same time, 10m opens to Japan as well as I have ever heard it. Gives me lots of easy second radio QSOs to chase. On 20, I am called by JY5HX, and then have back-to-back QSOs a few minutes later with 9V1YC and FR5FD to get to 120 countries (a new personal record for one band in a single op effort).

Final score on the computer shows 3832/158/512 for 7,378,710 points.

After the contest I go up to 3830 to see how the competition has done. I am amazed when K1AR and KQ2M check in with numbers that are below mine. For a contest that I had assumed was lost, there was new hope.

Notes

It really was a tale of two contests. The first 14 hours were really frustrating and well below the excellent conditions we had become used to from the two previous years. Things started to recover and by Sunday at 12Z, we were experiencing the full joy that is CQ WW.

I believe the key component to my success in the contest was aggressive and continuous use of two radios. WriteLog and the W5XD keyer represent the state of the art in SO2R technology available today. By my count, I had 374 second radio QSOs in the first 24 hours and another 261 in the second 24 hours (I define second radio QSO as one that is made away from the band that I am actively CQing on). That is a total of 635 “extra” QSOs. Sure, some of them I would have worked later anyway, but the margin of difference over K1AR is the difference in the number of second radio QSOs we each made. You can see the number of second radio QSOs in the rate sheet below.

The FT1000 tuning knob problem was gone when I tried to use the radio a few days later. I can only assume that a bearing was broken and had jammed when it heated up during use early in the contest. As it cooled down, it returned to a position where it was not jamming the shaft mechanism. The problem has not reoccurred since.

It amazes me every year how big this contest has become. Reading 3830 score reports after the contest always reveals a number of calls with big QSO totals that were never heard all weekend! A look at the breakdown by country shows a lot of holes in the multiplier chasing that could be easily filled. Always room for improvement next year!

WriteLog showed a total operating time of 47:07. No wonder I slept for more than 12 hours after the contest!

Continent Statistics

                160M    80M    40M    20M    15M    10M   Total      %
          EU      11    134    790    871    733    611    3150    82.2
          OC       0      0      8     10      2      7      27     0.7
          SA       4      9     14     33     26     25     111     2.9
          AF       0      2     15     22     17     15      71     1.9
          NA      12     38     96     72     46     38     302     7.9
          AS       0      1     20     74     46     29     170     4.4

Rate Sheet

 Hour     160M     80M     40M     20M     15M     10M    Total     Cumm    radio2

D1-0000Z  -----   -----   50/40   44/40   15/26   -----  109/106   109/106    28
D1-0100Z    -       -     37/12   68/13     -       -    105/25    214/131    37
D1-0200Z    -       -     44/10   60/24     -       -    104/34    318/165    21
D1-0300Z  15/15   17/19    8/4    27/9     4/6      -     71/53    389/218     8
D1-0400Z    -     74/22   16/9      -       -       -     90/31    479/249    16
D1-0500Z    -     30/7    57/7      -       -       -     87/14    566/263    17
D1-0600Z    -     16/6    61/6      -       -       -     77/12    643/275    16
D1-0700Z    -      4/3    19/11    2/1      -       -     25/15    668/290     3
D1-0800Z   1/0    -----    7/7    53/2    -----   -----   61/9     729/299     5
D1-0900Z   3/6     5/4     2/1    50/4      -       -     60/15    789/314    10
D1-1000Z   1/1     4/5     4/2     8/1      -       -     17/9     806/323     3
D1-1100Z    -      2/1     3/2    12/3     3/4      -     20/10    826/333     3
D1-1200Z    -       -       -     46/2    17/14     -     63/16    889/349    17
D1-1300Z    -       -       -     21/1      -     37/37   58/38    947/387     3
D1-1400Z    -       -       -     26/0    25/11   13/9    64/20   1011/407    38
D1-1500Z    -       -       -     18/0     8/3    42/18   68/21   1079/428    16
D1-1600Z  -----   -----   -----   -----   34/6   101/5   135/11   1214/439    34
D1-1700Z    -       -       -       -     51/10   59/6   110/16   1324/455    22
D1-1800Z    -       -       -     10/2    47/5    20/10   77/17   1401/472    20
D1-1900Z    -       -       -     93/6    11/6      -    104/12   1505/484    11
D1-2000Z    -       -       -     77/4    13/8      -     90/12   1595/496    13
D1-2100Z    -       -     10/0    37/2     3/3     4/5    54/10   1649/506     6
D1-2200Z    -       -     51/4      -      3/3    10/8    64/15   1713/521    13
D1-2300Z    -       -     70/1     9/5     5/1      -     84/7    1797/528    14  374
D2-0000Z  -----   -----   36/0    20/7     2/0    -----   58/7    1855/535    22
D2-0100Z    -       -     48/1     2/1      -       -     50/2    1905/537     2
D2-0200Z   3/1      -     52/5    18/7      -       -     73/13   1978/550    21
D2-0300Z    -      4/3    46/3     6/3     1/1      -     57/10   2035/560    11
D2-0400Z   1/1     4/1    33/3     2/1      -       -     40/6    2075/566     3
D2-0500Z   1/1    19/2    18/1     5/1      -       -     43/5    2118/571     6
D2-0600Z    -      1/1    77/3     1/0      -       -     79/4    2197/575     2
D2-0700Z   1/1     2/1    93/0      -       -       -     96/2    2293/577     3
D2-0800Z  -----    1/0    59/0     2/0    -----   -----   62/0    2355/577     3
D2-0900Z   1/1      -     28/4     5/2      -       -     34/7    2389/584     6
D2-1000Z    -      1/1    11/3    16/0      -       -     28/4    2417/588     5
D2-1100Z    -       -      3/0    45/1    16/1      -     64/2    2481/590     3
D2-1200Z    -       -       -       -    114/4    44/9   158/13   2639/603     3
D2-1300Z    -       -       -       -      5/1   141/6   146/7    2785/610     5
D2-1400Z    -       -       -       -    110/5    27/2   137/7    2922/617    23
D2-1500Z    -       -       -       -    116/3    12/1   128/4    3050/621    12
D2-1600Z  -----   -----   -----   -----   96/4    25/4   121/8    3171/629    22
D2-1700Z    -       -       -       -     11/0   108/1   119/1    3290/630    11
D2-1800Z    -       -       -       -     27/4    49/2    76/6    3366/636    20
D2-1900Z    -       -       -     11/5    76/4     7/5    94/14   3460/650    18
D2-2000Z    -       -       -     58/2    32/2      -     90/4    3550/654     9
D2-2100Z    -       -       -     84/4     5/0     1/2    90/6    3640/660     6
D2-2200Z    -       -       -     73/0    18/2     9/2   100/4    3740/664    27
D2-2300Z    -       -       -     74/3     2/0    16/3    92/6    3832/670    18  261
Total:    27/27  184/76  943/1391083/156 870/137 725/135                     635

Breakdown by Country

          160M    80M    40M    20M    15M    10M   Total
   3B8                     1      1      1      1       4
   3D2                     1                            1
    3V                     1      1      1              3
    3W                            1                     1
    4J                                          1       1
    4L                            2                     2
  4U1I                     1      1      1              3
  4U1V                     1      1                     2
    4X                     1      6      1      1       9
    5A                                   1              1
    5B              1      3      2      4      1      11
    5H                     1      1      1      1       4
    5N                            1                     1
    5R                                   1              1
    5X                            1                     1
    6Y              1      1      1      1      1       5
    8P       1      2      1      1      1      2       8
    9A              2     13     14      6     12      47
    9G                                          1       1
    9H              1      2      1      1      1       6
    9K                            1                     1
   9M6                            2                     2
    9V                            1                     1
    A4                     2                            2
    A6                     1      1                     2
    BY                            1                     1
    C6       1      2      2      1      3      1      10
    CE              1      1      1      1      2       6
   CE9                            1      1              2
    CM              1      5      2      1      2      11
    CN              1      2      2      2      1       8
    CT              1      3      6      3      5      18
   CT3                     1      3      1      2       7
    CU                     1      1      2      1       5
    CX                            1      2      1       4
    DL       2     21    125    132    118    109     507
    EA              3     14     33     22     20      92
   EA6                     1      2      2      2       7
   EA8              1      3      4      4      4      16
   EA9                     1      1      1              3
    EI              1      1      2      5      2      11
    EK                                   1              1
    ER                     2      2      1      1       6
    ES              1      2      4      4      2      13
    EU              3      3      6      5      5      22
    EX                            1                

2001 CQ WW CW Contest

K5ZD, Single Op All Band, High Power

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

This article was published in the November/December 2002 issue of the National Contest Journal.

Summary Sheet

              CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 2001

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

      BAND     QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES

      160       27       67     2.48      9      18
       80      181      472     2.61     15      59
       40      928     2499     2.69     32     106
       20     1074     3005     2.80     37     120
       15      860     2446     2.84     32     104
       10      720     2079     2.89     32     103
     ---------------------------------------------------

     Totals   3790    10568     2.79    154     510  =>  7,048,856

   (Above is after log checking.)

Station Description

  • Radio 1 – Yeasu FT-1000D + Alpha 76CA
  • Radio 2 – Icom IC-765 + Ameritron AL-1200

Tower 1 – 100′ Rohn 45G

  • 40-2CD @ 110′
  • 205CA @ 100′ / 50′
  • 5-el 15 @70′ / 35′
  • 80m Inv Vee with top at 95′
  • 160m 1/4-wave GP with 4 elevated radials

Tower 2 – 90′ Rohn 25G

  • 6-el 10 @90′ with 4/4 @ 60’/30′
  • 40m 1/2-wave sloper to west
  • 80m 1/4-wave elevated GP with 4 radials
  • 160m Inv Vee with top at 88′

Tower 3 – 40′ Rohn 25G

  • TH7DXX at 40′

Get Ready…

For me, major contests always begin well before 00Z. Despite winning CQ WW CW in 2000 and setting a new USA record, I knew I had been lucky. I beat K1AR in the log checking process and John made it clear he was ready for a rematch. N2NT, KQ2M, W1KM, and other serious single op competition were all prepared for another run at the record during the peak of the sunspot cycle.

I try to make a major station upgrade each year. When I had the opportunity to purchase two 4-element 10m Cushcraft Yagis and some tower sections from K1SD in March, the target was identified. 10m was an aspect of my station I knew needed improvement.

I erected the tower sections to make a new 30′ tower right at the peak of my hill. A TH7DXX that had been at 90′ was moved to the new tower for primary use as a go-to antenna for the South. The 6-element LTA 10m beam was moved from being fixed on Europe at 20′ to being fully rotary at 90′ where the TH7 had been. The two new 4-element beams were stacked at 30′ and 60′ on the same tower. Now I had a 3 high stack for 10m with some real horsepower at the top.

Another project was to get the 40m beam on its own coax into the shack instead of sharing with 15m. This improved the antenna selection flexibility by allowing 40 and 15 to be used at the same time.

Another station improvement was the addition of a W5XD MK-1100 keyer. This is a wonderful external hardware accessory for WriteLog logging software that does all of the CW keying and audio switching needed for SO2R. Through the use of WriteLog’s excellent two radio support and some keyboard macros, I could do all of the switching without ever having my hands leave the keyboard. A serious effort in SS CW provided all the practice needed to develop my technique. After 20+ years of doing SO2R, this was the most automated system I had ever experienced, and I felt it had definitely improved my SS score.

Get Set…

Over the years I have developed a series of actions that help me prepare for the rigors of a 48-hour single op effort. They include having the station completely set up the weekend before, getting as much sleep as possible during the 6 days leading up to the contest, and trying to relax from the pressures of work.

The station was ready on time but I still had one concern. There was a new source of line noise that had appeared a few weeks before. Rain usually makes it go away, but the month had been particularly dry and no rain was expected before the contest. On Wednesday, the noise was worse than ever with a solid S7 buzz across every band when beaming anywhere from North to West. I called K1AR’s voice mail and left him a recording of the buzzing along with the message that I was out of it if the noise didn’t go away.

The Thanksgiving holiday is both a help and hindrance for contest preparation. My in-laws live about 3 hours away in Woodstock, NY. We drove over to visit them on Wednesday evening. Of course, this meant lots of turkey and football on Thursday, but also a few extra hours of sleep and a late afternoon nap. Friday morning I was able to sleep in a bit more and we drove home Friday afternoon. Since I was asking my wife to return home early so I could do the contest, we stopped at a restaurant and had a large late lunch on Friday. It took forever to get in and out of the mall with all of the shoppers! We finally arrived home about 5PM with the contest just 2 hours away.

I immediately turned on all the equipment and connected the antennas. The bands sounded fair and amazingly the line noise was completely silent. I took this as a good omen and headed off to bed for a short nap of about an hour. Not as much as the 3 hours I would have liked, but that was one of the things lost when we decided to eat out. Took a shower and was sitting at the radio ready to go at 2330Z. Much earlier than normal!

The bands were funny. Not great, but not bad either. Ten was punk, 15 was open a bit, 20 had signals. I decided that 40m was the place to start for the highest rate and found a frequency around 7022. I worked a few people to get warmed up and things were ready.

Go… – Not!

As the clock rolled over, a large Eastern European multi-op station that had been down 1 KHz decided that they wanted to be on the same frequency I was. We engaged in dueling CQs to start the contest – each working just enough guys to stay but neither doing very well. I worked more QSOs on 15m on the second radio than I did calling CQ. After 10 minutes of this, I decided to find another spot and began moving up the band. Another 10 minutes of S&P (search and pounce) go by and still can’t find a hole to call CQ.

This is a moment of panic for a single op. The adrenalin is pumping. You have spent months preparing for the contest and spent the last week totally focused on getting off to a big start. Now things start to slip away.

I switched to 15m to chase multipliers and get my head clear. Then down to 20m for more tuning and calling. Amazingly, I had managed to make 47 QSOs and a bunch of multipliers in the first 30 minutes. 20m had some very loud signals from Europe and Asia so I decided to find a frequency and see if I could get something going. I landed on 14020 and started a nice steady run. The frequency was quiet enough that I could use the second radio on 40m to chase multipliers. It was a pleasant surprise when K4ZW/JT called in with a very good signal on 20m at 0051Z. The second radio shows QSOs logged all the way up to 7070! No wonder I couldn’t find a clear frequency on that band.

I ended the first hour with 109 QSOs and 106 multipliers. I had my rate sheet from 2000 printed out and saw that I was doing OK, even with all the moving around. The next 2 hours continued with CQing on 20m and second radio S&P on 40. At 0245Z I was able to start a run on 40m.

You often hear about sports teams that arrive at a big event saying all the right things, yet just seem to be flat. I now know what this feels like. Despite being fully prepared, I was surprisingly devoid of emotion and passion when the contest began. I assumed that I would get into it once things got started, but instead my attitude was getting worse. I kept going more on habit than desire. This is very disconcerting when you know there is still a long way to go.

At 03Z I decided to jump from 40m to 160m. I had noticed in the weeks before the contest that 160 was opening earlier rather than at European sunrise. The decision was a good one as I worked 5 zones and 10 countries (many from Europe) during the next 15 minutes. Happy with this, I jumped back to CQing on 20m for more rate. When 5H1X (K1XM op) called in at 0340Z, I already had 26 zones and 60 countries on the band! The next 30 minutes was a careful search up 80m working multipliers. I finally found a frequency to call CQ up at 3545, which became my home for the next 45 minutes (70 QSOs)! A few second radio QSOs on 40m helped fill in some more multipliers.

The 05Z hour was a mix between 40 and 80m. I would run on one and listen on the other, then switch. By 06Z, I had 19 zones and 64 countries on 40m. The 06Z hour was mostly running on 7045. At this point I was keeping up with the rate from the previous year, but I knew it was being done through aggressive S&P and band agility. Conditions were clearly not as good as the previous year, and they seemed to be getting worse rather than better.

During the 07Z hour, I noticed that the main tuning knob on the FT1000 was getting harder and harder to turn. It finally just froze up and would not turn at all, even under great force. I kept CQing and working guys with the IC765 while I tried to figure out what was wrong. I managed to find the necessary Allen wrench to get the tuning knob off, but couldn’t see anything. Finally decided that I couldn’t fix it or waste any more time.

I recalled that WriteLog had a feature to tune the radio using the mouse wheel. I read the help file and found how to make it work. This allowed me to tune the frequency of the FT1000 but the tuning rate was too fast. Back to the help file revealed the INI file command to change the tuning rate and I slowed it down to 100Hz steps. It wasn’t great, but at least I could tune stations in and work them.

At this point, my attitude was really at a low point. The rate was slowing down and the radio problems were distracting. I had only made 25 QSOs during the 07Z hour and figured that I had to be falling behind.

I made no QSOs from 0801Z until 0813Z. This was probably a mental health break with a bathroom and food run. 20m was starting to open so I established a slow steady run on 14015 for the rest of the hour. There were a few second radio QSOs on 40m, which pushed the multiplier totals to 24 zones and 82 countries on that band.

The 09Z hour continued the run on 14015 while also tuning the other bands. Worked 8P9Z, P40Q, and ZV8O on 160m. Got FG/N4CD and XQ1ZW on 80m.

At 10Z, the wheels came off. Just 17 search and pounce QSOs in the next 40 minutes. There were some good multipliers, but the bands were broken. I was still bothered by the radio tuning knob problems, the lack of signals on 20m, and a general disappointment in how things were going. With the sun coming up outside, and what should have been one of the highest rate hours, I made the decision to quit the contest.

With my last QSO logged at 1037Z, I lay down on the floor of the radio room and went to sleep.

Restart

Something woke me up about 1125Z. I remember thinking that I had arranged my family’s life to do this contest, so I should get up and keep going. Even if I wasn’t going to win, I could at least enjoy the contest and see what I could wring out of the bands.

I came back on the air at 1129Z and worked a C6A, ZL, and a JA on 40m. Then found YZ1AU on 15m but he was the only signal. Conditions stunk, so I just did a systematic S&P across all bands for the next 40 minutes. After the contest, I would learn that I had given up no QSOs to K1AR during this period. It was pure luck that I went to sleep during the absolute worst period of conditions!

The break and decision to quit had removed the pressure and expectations of being competitive from my mind. I was now free to just enjoy the fun of contesting. There is probably a lesson in this.

The 12Z hour began to see conditions return. I was able to establish a run on 14022 and use the second radio to work some loud stations on 15m. 15 was still not really open and it took several calls to get each station.

At 1310Z I went to 10m and started working loud Caribbean and South American stations. I did two complete S&P passes across the entire width of 10m and managed to also work some Europeans. 15m must not have been too good at the time either since at 1345Z I returned CQing on 14008.

It is kind of hard to imagine just how disturbed conditions were at this point. The band seemed to randomly open to small pockets of the world and then close again just as fast. I spent the entire 14Z hour calling CQ on 20m, but actually working more stations S&P using the second radio on 10 and 15m. It wasn’t until 1530Z that I stopped CQing on 14008 and decided to S&P full time on 10m.

With conditions so poor, and no guarantee they would be better the next day, I was keeping a keen eye on the higher bands and trying to make sure I got as many multipliers as possible. As I tuned around on 10m, I started hearing German stations coming in on the direct path with reasonable signals. I decided to call CQ and was rewarded with a nice run. It was perfect band for SO2R. The 10m frequency was perfectly clear with a steady rate, while leaving plenty of time and concentration available for calling stations on 15m. In the 16Z hour, I had 101 QSOs on 10m and 34 more on 15! The bands were returning to normal!

This burst of rate fully reengaged me into the contest. I really enjoy contesting and find it rather addictive once I get started. I was now thinking like a serious competitor and operating like one.

With the FT1000 tuning knob problem, each CQing band change was a dance. First I would find and establish a frequency using the IC765. Then I would bring the FT1000 to that frequency using computer command. Finally, I would switch radios. It wasn’t a big problem, but required a little bit of extra effort each time.

The 17Z hour was mostly on 10m with the jump to CQing on 15m occurring at 1744Z. I was fresh meat on a hot band and the rate took off. One hour later, at 1855Z, I made the jump to 20m and the roll continued. 19Z had 93 QSOs on 20m with 11 second-radio QSOs on 15 including VQ9X and 5R8HD. 20Z was more of the same with 77 contacts on 20 and 13 more on 15.

At 2138Z I jumped down to 40m to see if I could find any long path multipliers. Worked a very loud JA3YBK and JI2KVW, but that was it. Turned the beam to Europe and set up shop on 7035 at 2153Z. This would begin an amazing run that may have been the deciding point in the contest.

After the first 24 hours I had 1797/122/406 for about 2.7 Million points. My best hope was to get to 6 Million. No new record this year.

I stayed on 7035 calling CQ until 0433Z. During this period I worked over 330 stations on 40m while also working nearly 100 QSOs on the second radio – many of them multipliers. Some of the goodies that called in on 40 during this period include 3B8/LA7MFA, T95O, 4X/OK1EE/P, ZS6DX, ZF2LA, KL7FH, and 5H1X. It was 3V8BB firing up just a few cycles away that ended the run so I worked him for 40m country 98.

The first half of the 05Z hour was spent CQing on 3546 while chasing multipliers on 160m. It was back to 7031 at 0539Z – my new home for the next 4+ hours until 0953Z! Wow, another 260+ QSOs on 40 plus a few more multipliers on the other bands with the second radio. This late 40m opening did not happen the first night so conditions were obviously returning to normal. I was also starting to think that I might be making a competitive score.

I took a short 10-minute break during the 10Z hour. At 1042Z I established a 20-minute run of Europeans on 14032. A little search and pounce across 20m to start the 11Z hour and I was back to CQing on 14009 at 1111Z.

When I finally listened to 15m at 1150Z, I discovered that the band was wide open! I immediately moved to 21004 and the rate exploded with 130 QSOs in the next 60 minutes. I repeated the discovery on 10m at 1245Z. The band was packed with signals. My main thought at this point was to run as fast as possible and try not to fall too far behind K1AR and KQ2M. There have been too many contests where I could keep up during the slow times, but lost due to a few high rate hours on the high bands.

Conditions were great, but up and down. At 1400Z, I moved back to 15m and established a run on 21002. This was a great frequency for the next 3 hours (312 QSOs) and let me do some second radio work on 10m (57 more QSOs). When 5H1X called in on 15m, I moved him to 28213 for a double multiplier. At 17Z it was back to running on 10m. Something I have never done before, this movement back and forth between 10 and 15 may have helped me work more stations than if I had stayed on one band for the entire time.

The rate was slowing down during the 18Z hour and I was making a lot of band changes. The SO2R functionality of WriteLog was being handled completely by my subconscious. It is a good thing the software records the frequency of the QSO, because I was changing bands so much that I sometimes couldn’t remember which band I was on. (Sleep deprivation may have had something to do with that…) By now the FT1000 tuning knob was beginning to turn although not freely, but at least I could do some tuning with it.

The 19Z hour was spent mostly CQing on 15m with second radio action on 10 and 20. At 2030Z I moved the run radio to 14016. Signals from Europe were very loud and the band was crowded. I went looking for a quieter spot and ended all the way up at 14089. The rate was pretty good although there was occasional competition from various digital mode stations. Finally one of them ran me off and I was on the move again. The FT1000 main tuning knob was about 70% free by this time so it was possible to tune down the band. I was looking in vain for an OH0 but found VP9/W6PH and 4U1ITU instead. Ended up CQing on 14036.

Sleep deprivation starts to introduce some interesting thoughts around this time. I recall thinking each station that called was revealing some aspect of their personality in how they called. It made for some very bizarre conversations with myself…

At 2126Z I had one of the more memorable QSOs of the contest. There were several stations calling and one of them had that hollow sound that only comes from being far away. I heard “ER” and asked for a repeat. SP3HC was calling at the same time and he responded as well as the “ER”. It took some maneuvering but I finally had the “ER” station calling in the clear and it was 3W2ER! Cool multiplier (country 116) and a surprisingly good signal. 3W2ER later sent me a recording of his side of the QSO and he was not hearing any of the European callers, just me. So I end up sounding like a lid since it took 3 tries to get his call.

Twenty minutes later HB0/DL1RWB calls in for country 117. I stay on 14036 all the way to the end of the contest (the last 2 hours 45 minutes on that one frequency!). During the same time, 10m opens to Japan as well as I have ever heard it. Gives me lots of easy second radio QSOs to chase. On 20, I am called by JY5HX, and then have back-to-back QSOs a few minutes later with 9V1YC and FR5FD to get to 120 countries (a new personal record for one band in a single op effort).

Final score on the computer shows 3832/158/512 for 7,378,710 points.

After the contest I go up to 3830 to see how the competition has done. I am amazed when K1AR and KQ2M check in with numbers that are below mine. For a contest that I had assumed was lost, there was new hope.

Notes

It really was a tale of two contests. The first 14 hours were really frustrating and well below the excellent conditions we had become used to from the two previous years. Things started to recover and by Sunday at 12Z, we were experiencing the full joy that is CQ WW.

I believe the key component to my success in the contest was aggressive and continuous use of two radios. WriteLog and the W5XD keyer represent the state of the art in SO2R technology available today. By my count, I had 374 second radio QSOs in the first 24 hours and another 261 in the second 24 hours (I define second radio QSO as one that is made away from the band that I am actively CQing on). That is a total of 635 “extra” QSOs. Sure, some of them I would have worked later anyway, but the margin of difference over K1AR is the difference in the number of second radio QSOs we each made. You can see the number of second radio QSOs in the rate sheet below.

The FT1000 tuning knob problem was gone when I tried to use the radio a few days later. I can only assume that a bearing was broken and had jammed when it heated up during use early in the contest. As it cooled down, it returned to a position where it was not jamming the shaft mechanism. The problem has not reoccurred since.

It amazes me every year how big this contest has become. Reading 3830 score reports after the contest always reveals a number of calls with big QSO totals that were never heard all weekend! A look at the breakdown by country shows a lot of holes in the multiplier chasing that could be easily filled. Always room for improvement next year!

WriteLog showed a total operating time of 47:07. No wonder I slept for more than 12 hours after the contest!

Continent Statistics

                160M    80M    40M    20M    15M    10M   Total      %
          EU      11    134    790    871    733    611    3150    82.2
          OC       0      0      8     10      2      7      27     0.7
          SA       4      9     14     33     26     25     111     2.9
          AF       0      2     15     22     17     15      71     1.9
          NA      12     38     96     72     46     38     302     7.9
          AS       0      1     20     74     46     29     170     4.4

Rate Sheet

 Hour     160M     80M     40M     20M     15M     10M    Total     Cumm    radio2
D1-0000Z  -----   -----   50/40   44/40   15/26   -----  109/106   109/106    28
D1-0100Z    -       -     37/12   68/13     -       -    105/25    214/131    37
D1-0200Z    -       -     44/10   60/24     -       -    104/34    318/165    21
D1-0300Z  15/15   17/19    8/4    27/9     4/6      -     71/53    389/218     8
D1-0400Z    -     74/22   16/9      -       -       -     90/31    479/249    16
D1-0500Z    -     30/7    57/7      -       -       -     87/14    566/263    17
D1-0600Z    -     16/6    61/6      -       -       -     77/12    643/275    16
D1-0700Z    -      4/3    19/11    2/1      -       -     25/15    668/290     3
D1-0800Z   1/0    -----    7/7    53/2    -----   -----   61/9     729/299     5
D1-0900Z   3/6     5/4     2/1    50/4      -       -     60/15    789/314    10
D1-1000Z   1/1     4/5     4/2     8/1      -       -     17/9     806/323     3
D1-1100Z    -      2/1     3/2    12/3     3/4      -     20/10    826/333     3
D1-1200Z    -       -       -     46/2    17/14     -     63/16    889/349    17
D1-1300Z    -       -       -     21/1      -     37/37   58/38    947/387     3
D1-1400Z    -       -       -     26/0    25/11   13/9    64/20   1011/407    38
D1-1500Z    -       -       -     18/0     8/3    42/18   68/21   1079/428    16
D1-1600Z  -----   -----   -----   -----   34/6   101/5   135/11   1214/439    34
D1-1700Z    -       -       -       -     51/10   59/6   110/16   1324/455    22
D1-1800Z    -       -       -     10/2    47/5    20/10   77/17   1401/472    20
D1-1900Z    -       -       -     93/6    11/6      -    104/12   1505/484    11
D1-2000Z    -       -       -     77/4    13/8      -     90/12   1595/496    13
D1-2100Z    -       -     10/0    37/2     3/3     4/5    54/10   1649/506     6
D1-2200Z    -       -     51/4      -      3/3    10/8    64/15   1713/521    13
D1-2300Z    -       -     70/1     9/5     5/1      -     84/7    1797/528    14  374
D2-0000Z  -----   -----   36/0    20/7     2/0    -----   58/7    1855/535    22
D2-0100Z    -       -     48/1     2/1      -       -     50/2    1905/537     2
D2-0200Z   3/1      -     52/5    18/7      -       -     73/13   1978/550    21
D2-0300Z    -      4/3    46/3     6/3     1/1      -     57/10   2035/560    11
D2-0400Z   1/1     4/1    33/3     2/1      -       -     40/6    2075/566     3
D2-0500Z   1/1    19/2    18/1     5/1      -       -     43/5    2118/571     6
D2-0600Z    -      1/1    77/3     1/0      -       -     79/4    2197/575     2
D2-0700Z   1/1     2/1    93/0      -       -       -     96/2    2293/577     3
D2-0800Z  -----    1/0    59/0     2/0    -----   -----   62/0    2355/577     3
D2-0900Z   1/1      -     28/4     5/2      -       -     34/7    2389/584     6
D2-1000Z    -      1/1    11/3    16/0      -       -     28/4    2417/588     5
D2-1100Z    -       -      3/0    45/1    16/1      -     64/2    2481/590     3
D2-1200Z    -       -       -       -    114/4    44/9   158/13   2639/603     3
D2-1300Z    -       -       -       -      5/1   141/6   146/7    2785/610     5
D2-1400Z    -       -       -       -    110/5    27/2   137/7    2922/617    23
D2-1500Z    -       -       -       -    116/3    12/1   128/4    3050/621    12
D2-1600Z  -----   -----   -----   -----   96/4    25/4   121/8    3171/629    22
D2-1700Z    -       -       -       -     11/0   108/1   119/1    3290/630    11
D2-1800Z    -       -       -       -     27/4    49/2    76/6    3366/636    20
D2-1900Z    -       -       -     11/5    76/4     7/5    94/14   3460/650    18
D2-2000Z    -       -       -     58/2    32/2      -     90/4    3550/654     9
D2-2100Z    -       -       -     84/4     5/0     1/2    90/6    3640/660     6
D2-2200Z    -       -       -     73/0    18/2     9/2   100/4    3740/664    27
D2-2300Z    -       -       -     74/3     2/0    16/3    92/6    3832/670    18  261
Total:    27/27  184/76  943/139 1083/156 870/137 725/135                     635

Breakdown by Country

          160M    80M    40M    20M    15M    10M   Total
   3B8                     1      1      1      1       4
   3D2                     1                            1
    3V                     1      1      1              3
    3W                            1                     1
    4J                                          1       1
    4L                            2                     2
  4U1I                     1      1      1              3
  4U1V                     1      1                     2
    4X                     1      6      1      1       9
    5A                                   1              1
    5B              1      3      2      4      1      11
    5H                     1      1      1      1       4
    5N                            1                     1
    5R                                   1              1
    5X                            1                     1
    6Y              1      1      1      1      1       5
    8P       1      2      1      1      1      2       8
    9A              2     13     14      6     12      47
    9G                                          1       1
    9H              1      2      1      1      1       6
    9K                            1                     1
   9M6                            2                     2
    9V                            1                     1
    A4                     2                            2
    A6                     1      1                     2
    BY                            1                     1
    C6       1      2      2      1      3      1      10
    CE              1      1      1      1      2       6
   CE9                            1      1              2
    CM              1      5      2      1      2      11
    CN              1      2      2      2      1       8
    CT              1      3      6      3      5      18
   CT3                     1      3      1      2       7
    CU                     1      1      2      1       5
    CX                            1      2      1       4
    DL       2     21    125    132    118    109     507
    EA              3     14     33     22     20      92
   EA6                     1      2      2      2       7
   EA8              1      3      4      4      4      16
   EA9                     1      1      1              3
    EI              1      1      2      5      2      11
    EK                                   1              1
    ER                     2      2      1      1       6
    ES              1      2      4      4      2      13
    EU              3      3      6      5      5      22
    EX                            1                     1
    EZ                                   1              1
     F       1      5     39     41     34     26     146
    FG              1      1      1      1              4
    FM                            1             1       2
    FR                            1             1       2
    FY                            1                     1
     G       2      5     51     48     43     30     179
    GI                     4      2      2      1       9
    GJ                            1      1      1       3
    GM              1      6      5      4      3      19
  GM/s                     1      1             1       3
    GU                     2      2      2      3       9
    GW       1      3      6      4      4      6      24
    HA       1      6     26     25     22     24     104
    HB              1     11     12      9      8      41
   HB0                            1                     1
    HC                            1      1              2
   HC8       1      1      1      1      1      1       6
    HI                     1             3      1       5
    HK              1             1                     2
 HK0/a                     1      1      1      1       4
    HL                            1                     1
    HP                                          2       2
    HS                            1      1              2
    HZ                                          1       1
     I              5     28     34     33     33     133
    IS                     2      2      1      1       6
   IT9                     1      2                     3
    J3              1      1      1      1      1       5
    J8              1      1      1                     3
    JA                     7     18     15     20      60
    JT                            1                     1
    JY                     1      1             1       3
     K       1      5     39     32      7      5      89
   KH2                                          2       2
   KH6                     2             2      3       7
    KL                     1             1      1       3
   KP2              1      1      1      1      2       6
   KP4              1      4      2      3      3      13
    LA              1     13      4      9     10      37
    LU                     1      9      6      8      24
    LX                     2      2      3      3      10
    LY              4     15     19     16     10      64
    LZ              1      8      9      8     13      39
    OA                     1      2      2      1       6
    OE       1      1      8      8      6      8      32
    OH              5     11     35     24     16      91
   OH0                     2             2      2       6
    OK       1     19     83     68     61     58     290
    OM              2     29     22     16     14      83
    ON       1      4      9     11     12      4      41
    OY                                   1      1       2
    OZ              1      9     11      5      6      32
    P4       1      2      1      2      2      2      10
    PA              1      8     11     13      6      39
   PJ2       1      1      2      2             2       8
    PY       1             5      9      8      6      29
  PY0F              1      1      1      1      1       5
    S5       1      9     33     22     20     21     106
    SM              3     17     35     17     11      83
    SP              9     49     46     44     26     174
    SU                     1                            1
    SV                     1      5      3      1      10
   SV5                                   1              1
    T9                     4      4      4      2      14
    TA                                   1              1
    TF                     1      1      2      1       5
    TG                                          1       1
    TI              2      2      2      2      1       9
    TK                     1      1                     2
    UA              2     41     83     55     35     216
   UA2              1      4      3      1      3      12
   UA9                     3     28     16      2      49
    UN                     1      4      3      2      10
    UR              5     49     35     42     18     149
    V2              1      1                    1       3
    V4              1      1      1      1      1       5
    VE       8     14     26     19     14      8      89
    VK                     1      4             1       6
   VP5              1      2      2      2      1       8
   VP9       1      1      1      1                     4
   VQ9                            1      1      1       3
    VU                            4      1              5
    XE                     3      2      2      1       8
    XT                     1      1      1      1       4
    YB                            1                     1
    YL              2     14      9     11     10      46
    YO                    10     10      7     10      37
    YU              4     22     29     24     22     101
    YV              2      1      1      1      1       6
    Z3              1      1      3      1      3       9
   ZC4                     1             2              3
   ZD8                     1      1      1      1       4
   ZD9                            1                     1
    ZF              2      1             1      1       5
   ZK2                     1                            1
    ZL                     3      3             1       7
    ZS                     2      2      1      1       6

2001 ARRL Sweepstakes CW K5ZD

                     ARRL Sweepstakes, CW
                    
Call: K5ZD

Class: SO HP
QTH: WMA
Operating Time (hrs): 24
Radios: SO2R

Summary:
 Band     QSOs
-------------------------------
  160:       
   80:     74
   40:    453
   20:    355
   15:    364
   10:     82
-------------------------------
Total:   1328 x     80  =  212,480

Comments

Great start, but just ran out of new people to talk to. Wish I had noticed that there was going to be a World Series game 7 on Sunday night so I could have saved more off time. The bands were empty once the game started!

We have to thank the QRP guys for saving SS CW. They make the contest go.
When you see how great some of the QRP signals are, maybe we should just eliminate the high power category?!

Overall operating quality was excellent. Most guys seemed to know what PR? or PREC? meant. No real frequency fights and with so many bands open, it was always easy to find a place to CQ.

Surprising to see 40m completely dead by 10AM Sunday. Normally it rocks all day. But 20m sounded like 40 with loud stations from only 200 miles away.

This was my 25th consecutive SS CW with more than 1000 QSOs. Still my favorite contest!

Rates

QSO/Sec by hour and band

 Hour      80      40      20      15      10     Total     Cumm    OffTime

D1-2100Z    -       -       -     86/34   18/6   104/40    104/40  
D1-2200Z    -       -       -     65/9    20/1    85/10    189/50  
D1-2300Z    -       -       -     56/3    19/4    75/7     264/57  
D2-0000Z  --+--   --+--   47/4    22/3     1/1    70/8     334/65  
D2-0100Z    -      3/0    51/2    20/2      -     74/4     408/69  
D2-0200Z    -     50/3    22/1      -       -     72/4     480/73  
D2-0300Z    -     59/2    15/2      -       -     74/4     554/77  
D2-0400Z   7/0    57/1     4/0      -       -     68/1     622/78  
D2-0500Z  14/0    55/0      -       -       -     69/0     691/78  
D2-0600Z  12/0    46/0      -       -       -     58/0     749/78  
D2-0700Z   9/0    48/0      -       -       -     57/0     806/78  
D2-0800Z   7/0    13/0    --+--   --+--   --+--   20/0     826/78     25
D2-0900Z    -       -       -       -       -      0/0     826/78     60
D2-1000Z    -       -       -       -       -      0/0     826/78     60
D2-1100Z    -       -       -       -       -      0/0     826/78     60
D2-1200Z   9/0    22/0     3/0      -       -     34/0     860/78     21
D2-1300Z    -     32/0    20/0      -       -     52/0     912/78  
D2-1400Z    -     13/1    25/0      -       -     38/1     950/79  
D2-1500Z    -     12/0    26/0      -       -     38/0     988/79  
D2-1600Z  --+--   --+--   34/0     7/0    --+--   41/0    1029/79  
D2-1700Z    -       -     11/0    28/1      -     39/1    1068/80  
D2-1800Z    -       -      7/0     9/0      -     16/0    1084/80     39
D2-1900Z    -       -     16/0     4/0    14/0    34/0    1118/80      2
D2-2000Z    -       -     20/0    11/0     4/0    35/0    1153/80  
D2-2100Z    -       -      1/0    14/0     4/0    19/0    1172/80     35
D2-2200Z    -     19/0      -     26/0     2/0    47/0    1219/80  
D2-2300Z    -      6/0    15/0    14/0      -     35/0    1254/80  
D3-0000Z   1/0     3/0    12/0    --+--   --+--   16/0    1270/80     31
D3-0100Z   5/0     9/0     3/0     2/0      -     19/0    1289/80     31
D3-0200Z  10/0     6/0    23/0      -       -     39/0    1328/80  

Total:    74/0   453/7   355/9   364/52   82/12 

1999 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 -- 1999

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

      BAND     QSO   COUNTRIES

      160       44       29     GP      
       80      218       54     Inverted V      
       40      723       70     402CD
       20      815       77     5/5, TH7        
       15     1044       89     5/5, TH7        
       10      825       85     6L, TH7
     ----------------------

     Totals   3669      404  =   4,446,828

The Contest

This year’s ARRL DX story begins at 5AM Wednesday morning when I wake up to catch a flight to California for an important business review with my pseudo board of directors. Many days of preparation go into the meeting and it goes well but is a very intense 5 hours. When it is over, I get a page offering me tickets to the Warriors game, but I pass in recognition of a big weekend ahead. The next morning, I am up again at 5 AM for the cross country trip to K5ZD’s and arrive in Boston at about 4:30 PM. The car rental counter and rush hour traffic are relatively painless and I get to Randy’s station at about 6:30.

After the CQWW SSB debacle, I was determined to be ready for this contest and was pleased that Randy had almost everything working before I even arrived. A couple weeks earlier he picked up my AL-1200 from my old station for use with the second radio and had set up the two radio switching box I built last summer. Randy debugged the radio interface box for the second radio and I replayed the traditional ritual of remembering which LPT bit controls Radio 1/Radio 2 in which version of CT. In relatively short order, everything was working and seemed ready to go and it was time for some desperately needed sleep.

After being in bed for a few minutes, I hear some rustling but figure it is just the dog in the hall. The next thing I know something is hitting me on the head and it turns out to be one of Randy’s cats. I reach for the cat but it runs and hides. A while later, I wake up to a cat standing on me. This time I grabbed the cat, put it in the hall and went back to bed. Minutes later, another cat jumps on me. That cat was also captured, put in the hall, and I returned to bed for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning I was checking the bands for propagation in light of the disturbed conditions that were predicted. The bands indeed were as bad as the numbers would indicate. I started to set up CT (cty file, master file, etc) when I discovered that I could not key the radios. It appeared that CT could not talk to LPT2, and LPT1 was already used for the Radio1/Radio 2 switching. Several calls to Randy led to the conclusion that the port was disabled in DOS and neither of us knew how to turn it back on. Much to Randy’s displeasure, I decided to take apart his W1WEF keying interface and merge the radio control and CW bits and use LPT1 for both functions, which worked fine all weekend. As much as we try to not have to rewire the station to suit our individual tastes, it never works out that way.

It is now around 17Z and I have some personal errands to run as my old house in Massachusetts has just been put up for sale and there are a number of things to resolve. I return around 1830Z to get a nap before the contest. When I wake up, I check my messages at work and things are relatively quiet. I make a mental note that this is the first time I can remember that there were no burning crises keeping me on the phone until minutes before the contest.

As I sit in front of the radios, it seems like everything is ready. My only concern now is myself. I have not operated CW since last ARRL at 8P9JG and the time before that was the 1997 ARRL DX. I felt very rusty when listening on the bands and, particularly, when sending. I had not sent code with a paddle in two years. I did not think running would be a problem (as it wasn’t from 8P) but I figured that S&P’ing on the second radio would be an issue. Nonetheless, I would just make the best of it and hope it came back quickly.

With conditions the way they were, there was little alternative other than to start on 40. When the contest started, 40 meter signals did not sound anywhere near as strong as they had earlier in the day and the response to my initial CQ’s were sporadic but still decent. After 30 minutes, I had 50 Q’s but did not feel very strong. From there the rate dropped and I started combing 20 and 15 for multipliers. The first hour ended with an unimpressive 78 Q’s. The next hour was spent multiplier chasing combined with relatively unproductive CQ’ing on 40 and netted an anemic 68 Q’s.

In the next hour I tried 80 for the first time, and it was miserable. Signals seemed very weak and the noise was deafening, even with the beverage. 160 was not much better as the noise was equally bad on top band. While the Caribbean stations were especially loud, the noise blanketed all but the strongest Europeans. It was clearly going to be a long night on the low bands. My apologies to the stations calling on 80 that I simply could not pull through the noise.

A couple hours into the contest, the second radio started to act strange. At first I thought I had serious interstation interference but the problem persisted even when I was not sending. I knew that Randy had been having problems with the radio but never did it impact a contest. Throughout the night, the radio would work some times but not others and I could not figure out the pattern. I more or less resigned myself to the fact that it would be a one radio weekend. However, around 0730Z Randy stopped by before going to bed and I told him about the radio. He was surprised since the problem usually dissipates after a warm-up period, but he added a critical bit of information, it was only a problem on 20. This explains why it seemed to work intermittently. With that information, if I ran on the second radio on all bands but 20, I could once again use two radios.

In contrast to most of the night, 40 turned productive around 07Z and Europeans were runnable to 09Z. The next 90 minutes were spent chasing multipliers and was capped with a first ever (for me) JA “run” on 40 up to 1030Z. At this point I had a disappointing 588 Q’s, mostly on 40, and it was time to see if the high bands would rebound from the storm.

Twenty was hot from the first CQ and was the start of 9 consecutive 100 hours in which 1200 stations were worked. After a quick 152 Q’s, listening on the second radio, signals were strong on 15 and it was time to jump even though the rate meter was over 170/hr. 15 proved to be even more intense and the subsequent 60 minutes were a Qrate best of 186/hr. 181 Q’s later, 1235Z, 10 started to sound good and I jumped 10 with rate meter once again hovering around 180. I was nervous about this transition since ten did not play well at all in the CQWW SSB and the new 6 element at 25 feet was unproven.

Ten performed reasonably well. It was not the frenzy of 20 and 15 but was consistent and I finished the 11Z and 12Z hours with 173 and 179 Q’s respectively. It was my best single and consecutive hours ever from a stateside QTH. I could not maintain the pace on 10 and the rate slowly dropped, but was still respectable. After 530 Q’s the band seemed to be losing some volume and despite still being runnable, it seemed time to go back to 15 so I QSY’d at 1538Z. Rate was still strong at about 2/minute and at 1635Z I made my first second radio QSO in nearly 6 hours. With more second radio Q’s finding their way into the log I went back to 20 at 1839Z. I remember contests from here where I made 2/3 of all Q’s on twenty, but this time I felt that I was neglecting the band. The rate picked up again but my string of 100+ hours was snapped at 20Z with a 97 hour.

At 2140Z it was off to 40 meters to grab the early 40 meter opening but it was not to be. Two separate trips to 40 were not fruitful as the usually big hours never materialized. At 2311Z I worked a JA on 10 but did not hear much else and could not get a run going. However, when tuning on 15 I heard a pile of JA’s calling W1WEF so I tried to run a few JA’s, while simultaneously hoping for some good multipliers to call in. As it turned out, there was an excellent opening and I ran off 170 stations plus another dozen on the second radio. This was easily my best JA run ever and had the bonus of HL, BA, DU, and KL7 thrown in.

At the half way point I had 2121 Q’s and 321 multipliers for just over 2 million points. The high band totals looked good but I had less than 100 Q’s on 80. Also, the multiplier totals were pretty poor and I was very concerned. As it turned out, I would never get my 40 and 20 meter multipliers to a reasonable level. Randy has a rule of thumb that the final score is two times the 24 hour score plus 10% which would put my estimated final score at 4.4 million.

As the second day began, I knew I had to regain ground on 80 and was hoping for better propagation on 160 as this is a strong band from here and would give me a chance to get some extra multipliers. As it turned out, the noise levels on 80 and 160 were down dramatically but signal levels were still not that good. I spent the next six hours slugging it out mostly on 80 and 160 with moderate success. However, the 07Z and 08Z hours on 40 were even better than the night before. 09Z on the second day is never a pleasant hour and this year it was no different with my only sub-10 hour of the contest. At this time I debated whether to to take one of my usual 15 minute naps but decided to just push on.

The Sunday rotation went as smoothly as the day before and 11Z, 12Z, and 13Z all produced 100+ hours. At 1555Z, it seemed like it was time to return to 15 meters but, upon returning to the band, I just could not get anything going. A similar event occurred in the CQWW SSB where I lost propagation on 15 about this time. I qsy’d back to 10 for another hour before returning to a healthier 15 meters. The remainder of the contest was spent running on 20, looking to add to my lowly multiplier total, and hoping for a good stint on 40 before the contest was over. Unfortunately, 40 never produced for me and I ran out the contest on 20.

When the contest was over I finished with 3669 Q’s, a new record for me, and 404 multipliers, which was sure to be problematic. I also felt great despite being up for the full 48 hours. I think the lack of pre-contest stress made a definite difference and I did not feel mentally or physically tired. While I was hardly 100%, it was, by far the best I have ever felt after one of these events.

When the contest was over, it was time for the 3830 ritual. However, the frequency was busy and the inhabitants were not eager to cede the frequency. This only served to incense a pack of loud, tired contesters and chaos ensued. Randy and I got a huge laugh out of mild mannered K3ZO mixing it up with these guys. Even K1AR was yapping at them. In the end, after spending 48 hours operating with 250 Hz of separation, a clear frequency was not found and the scores were not taken. In fairness to the rag chewers, had they plopped down on my run frequency during the contest, I would have been just aggressive about running them off.

About a half hour after the contest ended, the phone rings and a very tired sounding K1DG is on the other end. He drops the surprising news that he is also SOAB and wants to know my score, having already talked to W4AN and N2NT. It turns out that we are virtually tied with only 1% separating our scores. In a few minutes it was clear that I really hurt myself by not aggressively moving multipliers between bands. Similarly, I suspect Doug wished he did not take three hours sleep. Nonetheless we had a good conversation and I hung up thinking that I sure felt better than he sounded.

When the cone of silence is lifted from K1ZM’s score, I suspect that he will be the winner and I offer my congratulations. It was also great to see many class op’s return to SOAB and dramatically increase the competition.

All in all, despite the rust and mild disappointment in my score, I had a great deal of fun. I would like to thank Randy (K5ZD) for the use of his fine station and his wife Connie and son Andrew for their tolerance and hospitality. Also, thanks to the other fine operators who continually raise the bar on the competition and, especially, all of the stations who took the time to give me a QSO.

73 and I also love this game,

Tom W2SC

Continent Statistics

                     
                     160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America   CW    16   22   20   23   23   22  126     3.4
South America   CW     2    2    5   13   19   20   61     1.7
Europe          CW    25  188  633  732  766  749 3093    84.3
Asia            CW     1    1   50   33  224   22  331     9.0
Africa          CW     0    1    5    5    6    6   23     0.6
Oceania         CW     0    4   10    9    6    6   35     1.0

Rate Breakdown

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

   0    .....    .....    76/29     2/2     .....    .....    78/31   78/31 
   1      .        .      44/5     20/15     4/3       .      68/23  146/54 
   2      .       8/6     66/6       .        .        .      74/12  220/66 
   3     3/3     20/14    26/4       .        .        .      49/21  269/87 
   4      .      23/6      9/6      6/3       .        .      38/15  307/102
   5     7/5     10/2     40/1       .        .        .      57/8   364/110
   6      .      17/5     36/1       .        .        .      53/6   417/116
   7     5/5      5/4     53/4       .        .        .      63/13  480/129
   8     1/0      7/4     52/2     .....    .....    .....    60/6   540/135
   9     2/2       .      24/3      1/1       .        .      27/6   567/141
  10     1/1      4/3     10/0     67/22      .        .      82/26  649/167
  11      .        .        .      91/13    82/27      .     173/40  822/207
  12      .        .        .        .     100/11    79/32   179/43 1001/250
  13      .        .        .        .        .     146/10   146/10 1147/260
  14      .        .        .        .        .     137/6    137/6  1284/266
  15      .        .        .        .      50/3     67/1    117/4  1401/270
  16    .....    .....    .....     1/0    112/3      4/4    117/7  1518/277
  17      .        .        .        .      98/3     10/3    108/6  1626/283
  18      .        .        .      45/2     57/1      4/1    106/4  1732/287
  19      .        .        .     114/4     10/3       .     124/7  1856/294
  20      .        .        .      91/1       .       6/4     97/5  1953/299
  21      .        .      16/0     14/0     16/10     7/1     53/11 2006/310
  22      .        .      26/1       .      15/4      1/1     42/6  2048/316
  23      .        .       2/0      2/2     68/3      1/0     73/5  2121/321
   0    .....    .....    .....     1/0     77/1     .....    78/1  2199/322
   1     3/2     13/2      6/0       .      38/0       .      60/4  2259/326
   2     4/3      8/1     21/0      5/2       .        .      38/6  2297/332
   3     8/5     17/1      1/0       .        .        .      26/6  2323/338
   4     2/0     15/1     18/0       .        .        .      35/1  2358/339
   5     8/3     20/3       .        .        .        .      28/6  2386/345
   6      .      47/1     20/0       .        .        .      67/1  2453/346
   7      .       2/0     72/2       .        .        .      74/2  2527/348
   8    .....     2/1     63/1     .....    .....    .....    65/2  2592/350
   9      .        .       6/3       .        .        .       6/3  2598/353
  10      .        .       1/1     78/2       .        .      79/3  2677/356
  11      .        .        .      28/0     82/0       .     110/0  2787/356
  12      .        .        .        .      85/2     27/3    112/5  2899/361
  13      .        .        .        .        .     101/6    101/6  3000/367
  14      .        .        .       3/1       .      92/1     95/2  3095/369
  15      .        .        .       1/1      4/1     53/3     58/5  3153/374
  16    .....    .....    .....    .....    18/2     60/2     78/4  3231/378
  17      .        .        .        .      70/3     12/1     82/4  3313/382
  18      .        .        .       4/1     42/2      7/1     53/4  3366/386
  19      .        .        .      72/1      9/1       .      81/2  3447/388
  20      .        .        .      60/0      1/1     10/4     71/5  3518/393
  21      .        .        .      49/0      5/4       .      54/4  3572/397
  22      .        .      35/1     14/2      1/1      1/1     51/5  3623/402
  23      .        .        .      46/2       .        .      46/2  3669/404
DAY1    19/16    94/44   480/62   454/65   612/71   462/63    ..... 2121/321
DAY2    25/13   124/10   243/8    361/12   432/18   363/22      .   1548/ 83 
TOT     44/29   218/54   723/70   815/77  1044/89   825/85      .   3669/404

BREAKDOWN in mins/QSO's per hr
DAY1  0.8/25   2.3/41   7.7/62   4.0/115  5.3/115  3.8/122   .....  23.8/89 
DAY2  1.4/18   2.8/44   4.0/61   4.9/74   5.2/83   4.3/84      .    22.6/68 
TOT   2.1/21   5.2/42  11.7/62   8.9/92  10.5/99   8.1/102     .    46.5/79

1998 CQ WW CW Contest ZW5B

ZW5B (opr. K5ZD), Single Op 28 Mhz, High Power

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

Summary Sheet

                   CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 1998

      Call: ZW5B (opr. K5ZD) @PY5EG   Country:  Brazil
      Mode: CW                       Category: Single Operator
      Zone: 11                                 28 Mhz, High Power

      BAND     QSO   QSO PTS  PTS/QSO   ZONES COUNTRIES

       10     3869    11467     2.96     37     148
     ---------------------------------------------------

     Totals   3869    11467     2.96     37     148  =>  2,121,395

Operating Time: 46 hours (20 minutes sleep)

Equipment: FT-1000D + Alpha 77 to 7/7 stack @ 20m/10m

The Trip

After years of business travel in all types of domestic and foreign conditions, I deserved one like this! I had originally planned to visit our parent company in Israel and do the CQ WW CW from there. At the end of October, my boss informed me that our Brazilian distributor was holding a conference Nov 25-27 at a resort hotel on the coast. He felt bad that he was asking me to be gone over Thanksgiving… but I knew I already had my wife’s clearance for the Israel trip!

I immediately thought of CQ WW CW and hit the e-mail to track down a station. Oms, PY5EG, gave an immediate invitation and I accepted it. I really wanted to do single op all band, but Oms had already promised the station to Marcelo, PY1KN. Jim, N5FA, was very helpful in making phone calls and giving me some background info. He recommended that I do 10 meters single band as there was a real chance to claim the world record.

I flew from Boston to Rio de Janeiro on Monday night Nov 23. Plane was almost empty – everyone on board got their own row for sleeping! Most of my flying is East-West so it was a pleasant surprise to get off of a 10 hour flight and not be jet lagged out (Rio is only 3 hours ahead of Boston).

Spent Tuesday afternoon walking around Copacabana beach. Nicest beach I have ever seen and it is right in the middle of a huge city. PY1KN lives in Rio and we met for dinner. It gave us a chance to get better acquainted. Marcelo is an avid CW operator and contester who normally operates low power. 15m is his favorite band so we had no trouble deciding who got what band.

Wednesday I took a bus to the resort hotel where the meeting was. All of the first day was in Portuguese, so I went horse back riding instead. Thursday (Thanksgiving day) I went sailing in the morning. Then sat on the beach and enjoyed a book all afternoon. My two presentations were in the evening and went without a hitch. The dinner buffet even included turkey!

Friday morning I went sailing again. Wind was fairly quiet so it was very peaceful drifting around the bay looking for breeze. I know that I have NEVER been this relaxed and rested before doing a major contest.

It was 3 hours back to the airport in Rio where I met Marcelo at the airport. We flew together on the one hour flight to Curitiba where PY5EG is located. Curitiba has a beautiful new airport and Oms had someone waiting to drive us over to his station which only takes about 20 minutes. We arrived there about 7:30PM local time, with the contest starting at 10PM.

Setting Up

Arriving at PY5EG is quite impressive. You don’t see any antennas on the way. You drive under huge electric transmission lines and wonder how you are ever going to hear anything through the line noise. About a half mile up the drive way you arrive in a clearing with five towers. Each tower supports big big antennas that are perfectly straight. You immediately recognize that this is a well engineered place.

The PY5EG “shack” is a large cabana located next to the swimming pool. It is a 10m by 8m room with the radios in one corner. There is a pool table in the middle of the room (when rates get slow?…) and a fire place in one corner.

There were two FT-1000 radios with amplifiers set up and ready to go. Each had Top Ten band decoders. Either station was wired to get to any of the monobanders outside. Any category would have been easy for us to do.

The computers had Windows 98 installed and a batch file to start CT as a full size DOS window. CT was version 9.10A with an old country file. In the rush to leave home I had forgotten to bring new CTY and Master.DTA files.

We had just under two hours to get ready. Oms was away on business and was expected to arrive soon after the contest started. I listened to 10m and it sounded really strange. Signals were weak and fluttery from the US. I thought it was going to be a long weekend.

N5FA had warned me that I might want to bring a keyer if I had any special requirements. I didn’t want to carry the extra weight and figured I would just wing it. The radio had a Bencher paddle wired up to the internal keyer and a W1WEF keying interface, but you couldn’t use them together. I had brought some cables for getting from the computer to the radio so it didn’t take long to get where the computer could send CW. But now I needed a keyer.

PY5CC showed up to help us get set up and pulled a Morsematic MM-3 out of a closet. The setup was kind of funny so I pressed the overall reset command. Only to discover that the keyer paddles were now wired backward! No manual in sight. I recalled that this keyer had a way to reverse the paddles through the keypad, but couldn’t figure out the command. Contest starts in 45 minutes!

Above my head on a shelf were 7 rotator control boxes. Two were marked for 20 and one for 40. That left Marcelo and I trying to figure out which pair was which for the 10 and 15 stacks. I went outside, looked up at a pair of 8 over 8, and just “assumed” that had to the be the 10m stack. I figured out which box turned them and was ready to go.

With 10 minutes to go, N5FA calls on the phone to see if everything is OK. I tell him about the MM-3 paddle problem and he says, “I have a manual for one of those around here.” Wow, probably the only guy in the world that can help and he calls me! Command was something like *7612. I would have never guessed it. I couldn’t figure out how to program a message into the keyer, but decided I could just use the computer.

Marcelo set up on the second station which was about 10 feet away. He would have to get up to reach the rotator controls. We were facing away from each other so there wasn’t much visual interaction between us as we were operating. It really was two completely independent single band efforts. We probably shared about 10 sentences all weekend.

The Contest

zw5b_k5zdFinally ready to go just as the clock ticked 23:59. That gave me one minute to find a frequency and start CQing. The run was immediate even though signals were very fluttery. The USA East Cost was very weak. Had a few Caribbean stations call in that I never heard again – V47KP and FG5EY. Very quickly the band started to go to JA. 9M2TO called in for another good mult. Near the end of the first hour, RU0LL, DU3NXE, ZM2K, and BV4QW were some nice surprises.

Stateside was gone after the first hour and it was mostly JAs on the band. JA is almost at the antipode from PY5EG and N5FA had warned me that they would come in all night. I took a spin across the band and worked XX9X who had a good signal and XU2A.

Around 02Z, the band went even deeper and I worked 3W5FM, HS0AC, and a weak AT2UR. Worked about 15 BV and BY stations which is more than I even knew existed. They had great signals!

At 03Z I snagged 8Q7DV. A few minutes later A61AJ came in. In between all of this DX were more JAs. It seemed that if I called CQ they could work me. But with all the flutter, if I called them they could not get the call correct. 7W5B is not right! Only 16 QSOs this hour but they were interesting ones. A small JA run erupted in the 04Z hour. I would tune around occasionally and it was wild to hear an almost quiet band with things like XZ1N and A45XR coming in. XZ1N always had a huge pile-up every time I heard him.

During the 05Z hour, it seemed like the band was almost dead. I decided to visit some of the other bands to see what they sound like. YCCC was really pushing to make a big club score and I figured I could build up a few extra points for the club. I went to 40m from 0534-0601Z and worked 51Q/12Z/15C. The band was packed and it was a real battle to dig out calls compared to 10m. Decided that I better save my energy.

Back to 10m where I found CP6UH for a multiplier at 0612Z (that’s 0412 local time!). Not much else around so I listened down on 80m and realized why SOAB is difficult from deep South America. It was noisy and signals were weak. It would have been a real struggle to make much of a low band multiplier.

After a short break, I was back on 10m during the 07Z hour. Found JT1A with a big signal. Started a great run of Europeans about 0730Z. At the time, I thought they were coming in from the Northeast on direct path. Rates were really good in the 08Z and 09Z hours. Local sunrise was about 0750Z.

At 10Z it was like someone threw a switch. I couldn’t get any answers so had to do some S&P. The OH gang was booming in, but not much else. Worked OH0RJ for a good one. I really thought we had experienced a SID event and had no idea what to expect. At this point I felt any chance at a record was slipping away. The 11Z and 12Z hours were in the 50’s. It was obvious that the path from the USA to Europe was great! Tuning around I was lucky to find TA2IJ for a new one.

About 1245Z the band started to recover and I could get a run going into Europe again. 9G1TB and HZ1HZ called in. Plus 4K7Z, TZ6DX, GD4UOL, and 5H3US (my only zone 37) during the 14Z hour.

Things slowed down during the 15Z hour so I took the opportunity to run up the band looking for multipliers. 3V8BB and CN8WW were easy. Back to running Europe during the last half of 15Z and all of 16Z. GM0TTY gave me Shetlands. ZB2EO caught my attention in the pile-up for another good one.

The first USA stations started to come through about 1645Z. I kept the antennas on Europe figuring I would have plenty of time for USA later. 17Z was a mix of Europe and NA. With Europe going out, I took from 1745Z to 1800Z to scan for multipliers. I was rewarded with ZP9X, EA9EA, HI8/DL1HCM, and P40W. The Caribbean guys were weak all day and there were many of them that I called that I just could not break through the big NA pile-ups.

18Z and 19Z are when the real fun began. Having 199 and 192 hours back to back was a thrill. No question that the USA ops are the easiest to run in the world. They send things only once, they are loud, and they are fast. 5N3CPR and VP5M each called in to give me new ones. At 1911Z VE2/N6ZZ helped me out with zone 2. That was a relief. At 1941Z KL1R gave me zone 1.

The 20Z and 21Z hours continued to be big. I had Geoclock running on my laptop and could almost watch the band close as darkness moved across the USA. JJ1DJW became the first JA of the evening at 2133Z. The next hour was a mix of JA and USA signals – all about the same strength.

The 23Z hour was mostly USA West Coast plus JAs. V29QQ gave me a very good multiplier.

Somewhere during the 23Z hour, Oms walked into the shack and noticed that Marcelo was turning the “wrong” rotator. I could have died – we had just worked the first 23+ hours with me turning the 15m rotator and Marcelo turning the 10m rotator. What a low point. I think it was just coincidence, but immediately upon recognizing the problem the JA signals came up and a nice run started!

I felt really bad for Marcelo. Since he had to get up to turn the rotators, he usually pointed them at Europe and NA and left them. Since I was sitting right next to them, I would often turn the high beam in some unusual direction just to see what might be out there. When you are dealing with such big antennas, the wrong direction is like putting the lights out! What was amazing to me is that I had not missed a multiplier that I had heard up to that point.

Side note: I knew my competition during the contest was LU5CW at LT1F. We did not compare any scores until the end of the contest, but I was worried that I had lost at this point. It took all my concentration to keep pushing. I actually tried to use it to my advantage as a motivator. At the end of 24 hours, LT1F was 289 QSOs ahead of me. I am very happy I did not know this!

Day 2

At the half way point I had 2208/35/125. The record required something like 3750 QSOs and I didn’t see any way this could be reached. Since I usually do all band where there are lots of multipliers, it was agony to realize that in a single band effort, each QSO was only worth about 480 points. Nothing to do but keep running and looking for countries.

The 00Z and 01Z hour were mostly JA with a few West Coast and some Pacific. I got YB5QZ at 0148Z. I took 30 minutes out during the 02Z hour to go take a shower. This is midnight local time and I was still surprisingly awake. I figured I would catch a few hours of sleep after the shower.

Back on at 0245Z with big signals from 9M6NA, B7K and BD4EG. Just wild to hear all the loud Asians in the middle of the night. The next two hours were slow, but JAs kept calling so I postponed going to sleep. Worked N5XT at 0446Z so you never know when the band will be open to where. Now that I knew where the antennas were really pointing I could get a better idea of where the openings were actually coming from.

During the 05Z hour the band began to open to the middle of Asia. Mixed in with the JAs were EX8MZ, AT2PTT, and UK8OM. Then it went deeper into European Russia about 0530Z. I finally figured out that this opening was via the long path beaming over the South Pole. The next two hours were good rate and had a very interesting sound to them. The log is almost all zone 16 and 17 with a few JAs mixed in.

At 0900Z it stopped. Instantly the band just went away to Europe. Signals from zone 26 were still booming in, but not much QSO volume there. I took a quick spin up the band and caught 3A/N9NC just before he faded out. Heard VQ9IO but could not figure out what path he was coming in on. He was the same strength in almost every direction! This was the only multiplier I heard and could not work all weekend — and it would have been a double.

About 0915Z I decided there was little I could do except put the CQ repeat function on and wait for the band to recover. Must have dozed off because 20 minutes later I wake up to find Z31RB calling me. NH0E is my only QSO for the next 30 minutes. For those scoring at home, that is a 6 hour during 09Z!

Things finally return about 1030Z and I get a run started to Europe. The 11Z and 12Z hours are great and give me some hope that I can still catch the record. UA2AW and OY1CT give me a lift.

At 13Z things die again. Probably the result of the USA to Europe opening. I tune around and work D44BC and the loud Europeans who are CQing. Decide to do a serious multiplier sweep and start at 28000 and go up. 6V6U, 3DA0CA, TU2MA, and JY9QJ are the reward. Again there are a lot of Caribbean guys that I can’t break through. I know there are 10 easy multipliers that I am missing. Work my last QSO up on 28160.

Probably wasted some good rate time because had no trouble getting a run going at 14Z. Worked Europe the next few hours. SP1NY/MM gave me zone 40. As loud as the OH’s were all day, I was surprised it took so long.

Took another multiplier sweep at 16Z and got 4U1VIC with a nice signal, JX7DFA who was working split, and ZF1A. That took 10 minutes and I was back to running.

The 17Z hour was a mix of Europe and USA. I was prepared to just run out the contest since my math indicated that QSOs were the only hope of getting to the record. With 6 hours to go, I had 3494/36/141. Still needed about 350 QSOs for the record so I was hoping for some good USA runs like the day before.

At 1803Z I just about fell out of the chair when a very loud 5A1A called and gave me a double mult. I quickly switched the antennas to make sure he was coming from the correct direction. He had the right sound. Wow, never expected that. Ten minutes later GJ3YHU hands me another surprise. At 1830Z I decide to search for Caribbean stations again. Work P40E, 8P9Z (beautiful job of digging me out on a tail end), and HK6KKK. I heard TF3DX calling the HK6 in the pile-up. So as soon as I worked KKK, I moved up half a KHz and called the TF3. TF3DX came right back. You have to love it!

Decide I better get back to CQing and am astounded when OX3SA answers my first press of F1. Four new countries in 10 minutes.

The next several hours aren’t fast but they pull me closer to my goal. It is almost all North America stations in the log. At one point, I can actually watch my appearance on packet as it moves around the country. First there was a little burst of W8’s, then some W9’s, then some W3’s, and finally up to W1. Really cool to hear.

Band almost dies about 22Z. Ernesto at LT1F stops by to ask how I am doing. I tell him 2 Meg. He tells me he has 1.9M. Because of the low points for each QSO, I figure this puts me about 200 QSOs ahead of him with 2 hours to go.

Band doesn’t seem to be quite as good to JA as it was on Saturday. First one in the log is JO1VRL at 2218Z. I am getting anxious and bored and get the crazy idea that I would like to get one big rate hour on 20m before the contest is done. I toy with this thought for awhile, and then at 2253Z make the decision to go for it. From 2254Z to 2311Z I work 52Q/8Z/9C on 20m. It wasn’t as much fun as I expected and I started feeling guilty that I might loose the contest while I was playing.

Made 51 QSOs on 10m in the last 45 minutes of the contest, mostly JAs, and realized that I should have never left. Lesson learned!

Finished with 3869/37/148 for 2,121,395 points. Breaks the 1990 world record of 1,890,607 set by CX0CW (op CX8BBH). The high country count was the difference for both the record and beating LT1F.

Notes

  • ZW5B is not the best CW call in the world. Didn’t seem to be much of a problem when I was running but it was funny in pile-ups. You could almost see the other op as he tried to figure out what was calling him. They almost always came back to Z? or ZW? or 7W? Then it would take as many as 10 repeats to get the call correct. I really appreciated the good guys who could copy it correctly on the first try.
  • I don’t think I sent faster than 38 WPM all weekend. I felt that people would really blow the call if I went too fast. I usually sent my call after every QSO. At one point on Saturday into the USA, I finally had the pile-up to the point I felt I could send my call every other time. So after a QSO, I just sent TU. Sure enough, my next QSO is N2MM who asks me for my call!
  • PY5EG is about the same south latitude as Orlando, Florida is north. Why don’t we see these all night openings and long path from W4? Brazil has the fortune to be almost due south of both major radio population centers and at the antipode of the third. When you get great conditions like this, it is a hard place to beat! (see comments below)
  • Neat trivia: The beam heading from PY5EG to Europe is 30 degrees. For the USA/JA it is 330 degrees. Almost like being at home in W1!
  • All night, when the band was really open to zone 24 and 26, I felt like I was operating a CW contest in the middle of the phone bands! SSB, AM, and FM signals were everywhere. Didn’t really cost me any QSOs, but there were a few times I had to move my run frequency a kHz or so to get away from a heterodyne. I suspect we are going to discover new levels of encroachment this sunspot cycle – even greater than we could have imagined.
  • Oms has an awesome station. There was no interference between Marcelo on 15m and me on 10m. There is no local noise. Running JA on Saturday night I was amazed at how weak signals could be easily copied. One of the quietest places I have ever operated from.
  • I was surprised at how awake I was during the contest. Other than the 20 minutes where I crashed, it was really easy to stay awake. I suspect this is due mostly to the relaxed nature of my week leading up to the contest. It also could be due to only using one rig on a very quiet band — didn’t have to waste much brain power digging weak stations out of the LF QRN.
  • Am I hooked? The experience of operating outside the US is a seductive one. I can’t get the thought out of my head that I want to do something like this again!
  • I don’t handle any QSL cards for the operation. Send them direct to Oms.

View a photo tour of PY5EG.

73,

Randy Thompson, K5ZD

Continent Statistics

                    160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America   CW    0    0    0    0    0 1432 1432    36.3
South America   CW    0    0    0    0    0   63   63     1.6
Europe          CW    0    0    0    0    0 1805 1805    45.7
Asia            CW    0    0    0    0    0  574  574    14.5
Africa          CW    0    0    0    0    0   26   26     0.7
Oceania         CW    0    0    0    0    0   46   46     1.2

Rate Sheet

HOUR    160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

  0    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....   115/41   115/41  115/41 
  1      .        .        .        .        .      51/13    51/13  166/54 
  2      .        .        .        .        .      27/10    27/10  193/64 
  3      .        .        .        .        .      16/4     16/4   209/68 
  4      .        .        .        .        .      47/9     47/9   256/77 
  5      .        .        .        .        .       5/1      5/1   261/78 
  6      .        .        .        .        .       1/1      1/1   262/79 
  7      .        .        .        .        .      85/22    85/22  347/101
  8    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....   141/8    141/8   488/109
  9      .        .        .        .        .      93/5     93/5   581/114
 10      .        .        .        .        .      65/7     65/7   646/121
 11      .        .        .        .        .      50/7     50/7   696/128
 12      .        .        .        .        .      58/3     58/3   754/131
 13      .        .        .        .        .     107/2    107/2   861/133
 14      .        .        .        .        .     139/6    139/6  1000/139
 15      .        .        .        .        .      58/3     58/3  1058/142
 16    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....   164/3    164/3  1222/145
 17      .        .        .        .        .     101/5    101/5  1323/150
 18      .        .        .        .        .     199/3    199/3  1522/153
 19      .        .        .        .        .     192/4    192/4  1714/157
 20      .        .        .        .        .     156/1    156/1  1870/158
 21      .        .        .        .        .     166/1    166/1  2036/159
 22      .        .        .        .        .      95/0     95/0  2131/159
 23      .        .        .        .        .      77/1     77/1  2208/160
  0    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    79/0     79/0  2287/160
  1      .        .        .        .        .      37/1     37/1  2324/161
  2      .        .        .        .        .       5/0      5/0  2329/161
  3      .        .        .        .        .      28/0     28/0  2357/161
  4      .        .        .        .        .      25/0     25/0  2382/161
  5      .        .        .        .        .      59/3     59/3  2441/164
  6      .        .        .        .        .      92/0     92/0  2533/164
  7      .        .        .        .        .      90/0     90/0  2623/164
  8    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    92/1     92/1  2715/165
  9      .        .        .        .        .       6/1      6/1  2721/166
 10      .        .        .        .        .      66/0     66/0  2787/166
 11      .        .        .        .        .     172/1    172/1  2959/167
 12      .        .        .        .        .     142/1    142/1  3101/168
 13      .        .        .        .        .      21/4     21/4  3122/172
 14      .        .        .        .        .      73/1     73/1  3195/173
 15      .        .        .        .        .     103/1    103/1  3298/174
 16    .....    .....    .....    .....    .....    78/3     78/3  3376/177
 17      .        .        .        .        .     118/0    118/0  3494/177
 18      .        .        .        .        .      71/7     71/7  3565/184
 19      .        .        .        .        .      56/0     56/0  3621/184
 20      .        .        .        .        .     122/1    122/1  3743/185
 21      .        .        .        .        .      50/0     50/0  3793/185
 22      .        .        .        .        .      25/0     25/0  3818/185
 23      .        .        .        .        .      51/0     51/0  3869/185
DAY1   .....    .....    .....    .....    ..... 2208/160    ..... 2208/160
DAY2     .        .        .        .        .    1661/25      .   1661/25 
TOT      .        .        .        .        .   3869/185      .   3869/185

Top Countries

    K           1303        
   JA            405         
   DL            331         
   UA            191         
    G            122         
   UR            115         
    I            103         
    F            102         
   OK            101         

QRATE Report

1704:    5 per minute (300/hr)
1819:   41 per 10 minutes (246/hr)
1912:  223 per hour

1998 CQ WW SSB Contest (W2SC opr)

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

By Tom Georgens, W2SC
w2sc@arrl.net

Summary Sheet

          CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST -- 1998

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

 BAND      QSOs      ZONES COUNTRIES

 160       59         11      30	GP with raised radials
  80      338         19      77	Inverted Vee
  40      317         24      83	402CD @ 110'
  20     1060         35     116	5/5  100'/50'
  15     1070         32     110	5/5   
  10      264         25      76	TH7 @ 90, TH7 @ 45
---------------------------------------------------

Totals   3108        146     492  =>  5,683,304

The Station

  • Radio 1 – FT-1000 + Alpha 76CA
  • Radio 2 – IC-765 + Drake L-4B

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

  • Stack of TH7DXX at 90’/45′ using WX0B StackMatch
  • 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

Early this year Randy asked if I was interested in defending my CQWW SSB title from his station and it did not take long to say yes, as last year’s CQWW was probably the best contest I had ever operated. The station worked well as usual, I made good decisions, and used the second radio as well as ever. In the end, I finished with a big lead in Q’s and multipliers. This year K1AR would be on and I was looking forward to the challenge. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the weekend proved to be full of poor preparation, operating blunders and I ended up not much of a match for K1AR.

Living in Kansas without a station makes it hard to get a feel for the bands. My only operating this year was ARRL CW as 8P9JG and about an hour in the NAQP. The last DX QSO from the US was at 2359Z in last year’s CQWW. I had been told that 10 meters would be open but had little other insight into what to expect.

This year I needed to be in California for a full day meeting on Tuesday so any possibility of arriving on Wednesday night was eliminated. In addition, Randy had a trade show in Texas and would not be home until Saturday night so it was not appropriate to arrive any earlier than necessary. Randy’s wife Connie was remarkably accommodating and I really appreciate her tolerance of my operating.

I arrived Thursday night and began the setup. I had built a two radio switching box over the summer that I had sent ahead for Randy to setup. When I arrived, Randy had the computer set up and most of the switching was ready. After a minor cable change to get the two radio switching to work with CT, it appeared that everything was ready. I also spent some time learning the new antenna switching scheme. We had added a second TH7 this summer for 10 and Randy bought a WX0B SixPak to allow any antenna to reach either radio. His station had been relatively intuitive and now it was even easier.

I eventually cycled through all of the antenna/radio/amp combinations to check for RF and interstation interference especially now that there were several new combinations. Every combination seemed to work OK except that the secondary antennas on 80 and 160 would trash the audio. Randy called that evening to see if everything was all right and I let him know the issues. I also had a minor computer problem and, having had a bad experience with this in the past, I let that go and focused on the RF issue. Randy had a couple of ideas but we agreed to wait until morning to finish the job.

After several hours of troubleshooting I managed to solve the problem by isolating the grounds and using Randy’s audio transformers. However, once I had everything fixed, the audio on the second radio was trashed on every band. This time is was not RF or switching related and would work great when the compressor was off. I was getting tired by then and I was concerned at the energy I had been expending and decided that I would just go without the compressor on radio 2. I also spent a fair amount of time debating whether to drive to my old house and get my AL1200 to replace the L4B as the second radio amplifier. I eventually decided not to add anything new and just take a nap. In the end, I never used the secondary 80 and 160 antennas but I had major problems all weekend working guys on the second radio.

I had a good nap and was well rested. I had a number of issues at work to resolve so I spent the next couple of hours on the phone. Despite being a great HF location, Randy’s place is not very friendly to cell phones. Around 6PM local time I told the people at work that I had to go and I would be “in-communicado” the rest of the weekend. I smiled at the irony at that statement and resumed my focus on the contest ahead.

Around 23Z Randy gave a final call to see if everything was ready. I told him about my plan to not use the compressor on the second radio to which he replied “that sounds like a bad plan.” He said that the 765 has good but very thin audio with absolutely no punch and I would have a problem in the pileups. He was right. I hung up with Randy and settled in to radio room. I was listening to K1AR warming up on 20 to get some sense for the propagation, which was not good. I eventually gave John a call. He was his intense self and told me that we may be tied for now but it would not be that way for long. I kind of felt like Rocky before a fight when Apollo Creed said “You’re goin’ down.”

0Z finally rolled around and I was CQing on 20 and trying to pick up mults on 15 with the second radio. I ran off a few stations but the rate went zero after 10 minutes. I did not have any luck with the 0Z 15 meter pileups last year and this year was no better. After about a half hour I went to 40 to run and managed to get some calls in the log and worked 20 with the second radio. After an hour I had 60 Q’s on 40 but it was slowing down so I went to 80 earlier than usual. 80 proved to be the money band all night long with a 78 hour at 3Z (plus 8 second radio Q’s on 160 and 20) and over 250 Q’s the first night. 160 was a disappointment. I was hoping for a good European opening since this was the one band where I had a major advantage over K1AR but it was not to be. I cycled back through 40 and waited for the high bands to open. I was reasonably pleased with the first night, with the exception of 160, but I was a little behind last year’s multiplier total.

In the 10Z hour, 20 became runnable and I was working guys but the on-frequency QRM was unbearable. On the second radio I heard ‘AR CQing on 15 and getting answers so I decided to QSY for a better frequency. It took a little while to get going but the rate finally picked up. At the time, I was angry that prematurely left good rate on 20 for lesser rate on 15 but the breakdown shows a 139 hour at 11Z.

I was very concerned about missing the 10 meter opening so I listened intently on the second radio. Twice I convinced myself that the stations were loud enough to be runnable and made the band change to 10. Unfortunately, each time I worked a few stations but could not get anything going and had to go back to 15. Finally, around 14Z the band did open but I could manage no better than a 98 hour. The two TH7’s at 90/45 feet did not seem to be even remotely dominant. Eventually 10 ran out and it was back to 15 for two unremarkable 90 hours. At this point I was pretty disappointed in my poor decision making and inability to get big rate on 10 and 15. To compound things, I was having a very difficult time breaking the 10 meter pileups with the second radio. All things considered my frustration level was very high.

In the 17Z hour I went back to 20, the money band at K5ZD, and the rates went back up to 148, 151, and 128 in consecutive hours. It was this period that QRATE measured a best 60 minute rate of 182.

In the next few hours, I completely botched the JA opening. When running JA on 20 I heard JA’s on 15 on the second radio so I decided to QSY to 15 to capture the opening. When CQing on 15 I heard JA’s on 10, an opening I did not expect, so I tried CQing on 10 for a while. Basically, I was not expecting a JA opening on 15, let alone 10, and I ended up working the bands in reverse. When it was all over I could not help but be concerned about how many multipliers I probably missed.

I finally reached the halfway point with 1990 QSOs but a multiplier total that was far less than last year. The halfway point is always a low morale point for me and requires a full mental effort to maintain my motivation. In assessing my performance, I knew that I had made a number of bad decisions and had a poor multiplier total so I gave up hope of competing with K1AR. I knew I would have to be perfect to compete and I certainly was far from perfect. As it turns out, after looking at K1AR’s breakdown post contest, I was actually ahead of him by 77 Q’s but he had 70 more multipliers. My multiplier fears were well founded.

At 0Z, I had a 54 hour on 40 and settled in for the inevitable slow hours that lie ahead. The next 9 hours consisted of rapid band changes and determination to squeeze out every QSO. 160 was much better the second evening but was never runnable. I picked up some good multipliers but it was clear that I would not get full benefit of my 160 advantage. Around 08Z I took my traditional 10 minute nap and the 09Z hour produced the only sub 10 QSO hour of the contest, but with 6 multipliers.

Determined not to repeat the previous day’s mistakes, it was time for the high bands to open but this day was to be more bizarre than the previous. 20 was very slow to open in the morning, the 10Z hour was generally unproductive and 11Z was not much better, but 12Z finally produced a 139 hour. It was clear that the bands were down from the previous day and 10 meters never was really runnable.

After an 89 hour in 14Z, the bottom started to fall out or 15. The stations seemed to be getting weaker and it was getting more difficult to pull them through the QRM. All the while 10 was swimming in African multipliers which I just could not work with the second radio. With rate failing on 15 I gave up and took the main radio to 10 to pick up 5A, 9J, and FR which I had been trying to work for a half hour. Upon returning to 15, I could not build any rate so I tried 20 but it was too early.

At this point, I totally lost my grip and tuned the bands for a while trying to figure out the propagation. In the 16Z hour, I relinquished my QSO lead which I had held for nearly 40 hours. I went back to 15 and simply CQ’d at slow rate while I sought multipliers on the second radio. During this period, K3LP/J6 actually moved *me* to 10. I simply could not buy a QSO as the rate plummeted. Looking at the post contest results, it does not seem as though anybody else suffered to the same degree. In retrospect, I wonder if fatigue took over or if the propagation simply did not favor any of my available antenna combinations. I wish I had this period on tape for review.

Ultimately, 15 never recovered for me and I QSY’d to 20 at the normal time and some semblance of rate returned. I tried one QSY to 40 later on but it was not productive and I mostly ran out the string on 20.

When it was over, I knew I was desperately short of multipliers particularly on 10. On 3830 I listened to the multi scores trying to figure out how I did but nothing made me feel positive about 10. Randy had food on the stove upstairs and was running down to hear the scores. Finally it was time to report single op scores and with the confusion, K1AR slipped in ahead of me to report his score. As he ran through his breakdown I was doing OK until he got to 20 meter mults and it was downhill from there. He took me by about 100 Q’s and 1 million points. I dumped my score in next and I am sure he sweated a little over my low band scores but he got the last laugh in the end.

Contemplating the results, there was a lot of fault to be found. My preparation was poor. I should have swapped amplifiers, I should have fixed the audio problem before going to bed Thursday, and I should have prepared myself better for the 10 meter openings. Likewise my operating technique was not good, many bad decisions and not enough use of the second radio. It was going to take a super effort to compete with ‘AR and I did not even measure up to last year. No excuses, I did not do what it took to win and the better operator prevailed. Congratulations John!

The next morning I left early for the airport just to be sure. Upon arriving at the counter, I was informed that my flight had been cancelled but I had been rescheduled on an earlier flight and they would still honor my free upgrades. I muttered that I finally caught a break this weekend and it is after the contest is over. The guy behind the counter did not understand but I just shook my head without giving an explanation.

Once again I would like to thank Randy for the use of his fine station and for allowing people the privilege of guest op’ing. I especially wish to thank Randy’s wife Connie for allowing me to hang around the house and operate the radio even though Randy was away. Their collective hospitality takes the stress out guest operating and makes me look forward to the next one.

Tom Georgens, W2SC

Continent Statistics

                       160   80   40   20   15   10   ALL   percent

North America     SSB   28   49   35  103   52   36   303     9.7
South America     SSB    2   10   16   53   24   34   139     4.5
Europe            SSB   23  270  240  795  927  168  2423    77.9
Asia              SSB    0    3    6   59   45    5   118     3.8
Africa            SSB    6    5    9   34   13   18    85     2.7
Oceania           SSB    0    1   11   17   10    3    42     1.4

Rate Sheet

HOUR   160      80       40       20       15       10     HR TOT  CUM TOT  

 0    .....    .....    35/17    21/14     3/3     .....    59/34   59/34 
 1      .        .      44/11    20/15      .        .      64/26  123/60 
 2      .      46/23    22/4      8/5       .        .      76/32  199/92 
 3     1/1     78/17      .       7/3       .        .      86/21  285/113
 4     4/3     53/4       .      13/6       .        .      70/13  355/126
 5    22/10      .        .       2/1       .        .      24/11  379/137
 6     2/2     48/4      1/0      4/2       .        .      55/8   434/145
 7     3/1     10/8     22/8      4/0       .        .      39/17  473/162
 8     1/1      8/6     26/9     .....    .....    .....    35/16  508/178
 9     2/2     12/6     12/9       .        .        .      26/17  534/195
10      .       1/0      1/0     70/18    12/7       .      84/25  618/220
11      .        .        .        .     133/22     6/5    139/27  757/247
12      .        .        .        .      88/7     14/4    102/11  859/258
13      .        .        .        .      54/3     62/18   116/21  975/279
14      .        .        .       5/5      3/0     98/10   106/15 1081/294
15      .        .        .        .      91/5      4/4     95/9  1176/303
16    .....    .....    .....    .....    92/8     11/7    103/15 1279/318
17      .        .        .     121/14    26/1      1/1    148/16 1427/334
18      .        .        .     151/7       .        .     151/7  1578/341
19      .        .        .     119/6      9/9       .     128/15 1706/356
20      .        .        .      80/3      9/8       .      89/11 1795/367
21      .        .        .      66/1      7/4      4/4     77/9  1872/376
22      .        .        .      64/8      4/1      6/3     74/12 1946/388
23      .        .      15/1      5/1     23/2      1/1     44/5  1990/393
 0    .....    .....    54/6      8/0     .....    .....    62/6  2052/399
 1     6/4     11/0     13/2      2/0       .        .      32/6  2084/405
 2     2/1      4/0     18/3      4/2       .        .      28/6  2112/411
 3     2/1      6/2      7/1       .        .        .      15/4  2127/415
 4     2/0     15/1      5/2       .        .        .      22/3  2149/418
 5     9/5     23/2       .        .        .        .      32/7  2181/425
 6     3/2     12/1      3/0      2/0       .        .      20/3  2201/428
 7      .       4/2     21/6       .        .        .      25/8  2226/436
 8    .....     4/2      8/2      1/0     .....    .....    13/4  2239/440
 9      .       3/3      5/3      1/0       .        .       9/6  2248/446
10      .        .       4/2     29/0       .        .      33/2  2281/448
11      .        .        .      13/0     55/7      1/0     69/7  2350/455
12      .        .        .        .     139/5      1/0    140/5  2490/460
13      .        .        .        .      92/2      3/3     95/5  2585/465
14      .        .        .        .      86/1      3/2     89/3  2674/468
15      .        .        .        .      38/1     15/6     53/7  2727/475
16    .....    .....    .....     8/0     14/0      5/2     27/2  2754/477
17      .        .        .       3/0     40/1     14/2     57/3  2811/480
18      .        .        .       2/0     20/4     10/3     32/7  2843/487
19      .        .        .      60/2      6/4       .      66/6  2909/493
20      .        .        .      43/1       .       4/3     47/4  2956/497
21      .        .        .      71/2      4/3      1/0     76/5  3032/502
22      .        .       1/0     22/2     13/4       .      36/6  3068/508
23      .        .        .      31/3      9/2       .      40/5  3108/513
DAY1  35/20   256/68   178/59   760/109  554/80   207/57    ..... 1990/393
DAY2  24/13    82/13   139/27   300/12   516/34    57/21      .   1118/120
TOT   59/33   338/81   317/86  1060/121 1070/114  264/78      .   3108/513

BREAKDOWN in Hours/QSO's per hr

DAY1 1.5/23   3.8/68   3.2/55   7.5/102  5.6/99   2.2/95    .....  23.8/84 
DAY2 1.3/18   2.7/30   3.2/44   5.9/51   6.4/80   1.4/40      .    20.9/53 
TOT  2.8/21   6.5/52   6.4/49  13.3/79  12.1/89   3.6/73      .    44.8/69

 

1998 IARU Radiosport

K5ZD, Single Operator CW Only

By Randy Thompson
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

          IARU HF Championship -- 1998

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

BAND    QSO   QSO-PTS   PTS/Q    ZONES  HQ STNS

 160      31      63     2.03     10      6   1/4-wave GP
  80     141     399     2.83     19     17   Inv vee @ 95', 1/4-wave GP
  40     480    1788     3.72     29     24   40-2CD @ 110'
  20     816    3478     4.26     30     25   Stacked 205CA @ 100'/50'
  15     755    3281     4.35     36     24   Stacked 5-el @ 70'/35'
  10      34      78     2.29      6      5   TH7DXX @ 90'
---------------------------------------------------
Totals  2257    9087     4.02    130    101  => 2,099,097 points

Radio 1 - IC-765 + Alpha 76
Radio 2 - TS-930S + L-4B

The Story

It has been awhile since I did a contest for real (SS CW last year!). Aborted efforts in CQ WW CW and WPX CW plus a multi-op in ARRL CW and a guest op for ARRL Phone left me itching to see if I could still do a competitive effort. With its 24 hour format and funny summer time conditions, IARU looked like it would be fun. I decided to do CW only so that I wouldn’t have to worry about microphone and keyer switching, and it would be much quieter for other members of the household.

I searched my files and the Internet but found little info on what the strategy for this contest should be. W2SC had a big score two years ago with 1900+ QSOs and 165 mults. I figured this would be a worthy goal. I also suspected W4AN and some of the other CW only types would be trying hard as well.

Woke up Saturday morning just like going to work. Took the dog for a walk, ate breakfast, then got the station ready. The contest starts at 8 AM local time so it was just like sitting down at my desk for a day at the office.

Tuned the bands in the hour leading up to the start. It was too late for 40m. Twenty sounded strangely empty. When I heard S59AA at 599+20db on 15m, I knew where to start.

Set up on 21024 and it was off to the races. I got blown off my frequency about 14 minutes into the contest and searched frantically for another. Two minutes later 21001 sounded clear and I was running again. Literally! I have never experienced such rate to start a contest. The first four hours on the run frequency were 169-134-113-123. Almost all European and Asian stations.

I managed to sneak in a few second radio QSOs on 20m just because I didn’t want to miss any multipliers. It was obvious all the activity was on 15m because there was hardly anything on the other bands.

Some of the more interesting callers on 15m in the first two hours included RA9YN in zone 31, a bunch of zone 30 stations, PU1KDR, H20A (who I thought was S20A every time he called me), SV1SV (a surprise HQ mult), VR98BG (wow!), and LU1VZ.

About 14Z I started hearing a few stations on 10m. I spent about 15 minutes calling CQ on 10m while I tuned around with the second radio on 15m. Nothing really interesting called on 10m (bunch of zone 8 stations) but I did manage to snag a zone 7 and zone 6 (the only time I heard anything out west). The mult hunting on 15m was productive as well.

I got back into running on 15m up around 21046 and was rewarded with instant rate again. Plus UA9KJ in zone 21 followed by YB0ECT! Like VR98BG, the YB0 was watery, but easy to copy and just as big of a surprise. I was amazed at the amount of activity from Eastern Europe and Russia. Worked lots of zone 29 stations. PA0LOU called in to give me my only ‘special’ multiplier of the weekend. A second YB called in more than one hour after the first.

About 15Z I recaptured 21001 and kept running. Somewhere about this time the bands started to develop a bad sound. The northern Europeans who had been booming in began to show some hollowness and the auroral buzz came up on the backscatter signals. Even so, the rate continued to be excellent and I kept working the second radio for mults and QSOs on 20m.

The first LU showed up on 10m about 1630Z. I also was amazed when YU0HQ heard me on skew path. I heard CT1BOH work P40HQ, but I never got a shot at working Jose.

At 1700Z I made the jump to 20 meters expecting some big rates as I rework all the activity from 15m. It didn’t happen. The band just didn’t sound that good. The rate felt slow, but that was probably just due to the return to more ‘normal’ levels after the excitement of 15m!

While CQing on 20m I fell out of the chair when I heard JA6ZLI on 15m at 1711Z. He was the only JA I could hear but easy to work. That’s something like 2AM in Japan! I found TF3IRA on 15m about 30 minutes later for another interesting mult. At 1833Z I found EP2MKO at the very bottom of 15m. I would later work him on 20m as well. XE1RGL was another second radio catch on 15m (and my only XE of the weekend).

Meanwhile, I kept running on 14004. Around 19Z I caught 8P0V and W1AW/0 on 10m for two nice multipliers. I revisited CQing on 15m about 1915Z and found a few straggling
Europeans, 7Q7EH, and ES9A. The rate was slow, but the Europeans were quite loud well past 2000Z when I returned to 20m. I made QSO #1000 at 8:10 into the contest.

TU2XZ called in for another interesting African multiplier. When you figure the competition is going to work the same common zones and HQ stations that you do, those rare African and Asian zones are doubly precious! As are those HQ stations that call you, such as SV1SV for a second band. TL5A had a roaring pile-up on 15m but was listening up 1 kHz which made him easy to work. PY7OJ called in on 20m to give me my only zone 13.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about a 24 hour DX contest is the feeling that you can’t let any opening get away. This is really clear when you realize that from W1 we only share one hour of darkness with zone 29 and three hours with zone 27!

I made my first excursion to 40m at 2149Z and worked YU0HQ and W1AW/0. Then I heard TU2XZ calling someone on what sounded like a sked or a pass. I called him and he gave me a moral boosting multiplier. Still daylight outside! I was hoping that was one that W4AN wouldn’t find. I returned to 20m after a few minutes as it was obvious the band wasn’t really ready yet.

I finally made the move to 40m at 2249Z by CQing on 7004. I was getting answers but the rate wasn’t that great. After 15 minutes, I took a walk up the band and captured goodies like TL5A, R3HQ/6, ER7A, RN1AM (19), RZ9SWR, and YW5LB before going back to 20m at 2330Z.

The Europeans were more runnable on 20m, but it was obvious the time was getting rather late over there and activity was beginning to drop. RW0A gave me a thrill and zone 32. I found WL7KY and KL7Y both booming in on 15m about 2350Z. This gave me some hope for a JA opening. I managed to work 3 JAs between 2353 and 2357 and the opening was over. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Back to 20m for more CQing.

Local sunset is around 0030Z. I went to 80m about 0012Z and was surprised to find the band very quiet (i.e. no QRN) and a number of good European signals. I was able to work RW3XW for zone 29 and OH2AQ for zone 18. Plus R3HQ/6 and some of the other big HQ guns. I couldn’t get any answers to CQs, but I could be heard if I was patient and kept calling. My first 30 minutes on the band resulted in 14 multipliers.

At 0042Z I went to 160 just to see if I could hear anything. VE1ZZ gave me zone 9 and I tried calling a number of Europeans. Only DL1IAO (who had a good signal) was able to copy me. After 10 minutes of frustration, I took a scan across 40m and worked a number of QSOs and multipliers. I felt the next 2 hours were critical from a multiplier standpoint and I didn’t want to miss anything. I tried to constantly keep moving. At 0103Z I found a weak, watery, and very lonely TF3IRA calling CQ on 7026. That felt like a good one and kept me pushing.

I finally got a run started up at 7033 kHz. The rate was good but with few multipliers. JY9QJ gave me zone 39. Not wanting to miss anything, I broke off a clear frequency and 100+/hr rate to check 160m again. More fruitless and frustrating calling of European alligators! Then back for a spin across 80m.

At 0203Z I finally cracked the European barrier on 160m by working OL8HQ, PA6HQ, DA0HQ, and YU0HQ (six bands!). The increasing number of HQ stations is definitely tilting the multiplier advantage in favor of the East Coast.

Back to 40m for more CQing. There were some excellent signals on 20m, but I didn’t want to give up the possibility of low band rate and multipliers so stayed put. EM5HQ and ES9A called in to give me two new ones.

I tried 160m again at 0245Z but signals were going down. The peak of the opening was well before Eu sunrise. I scanned across 80m and captured a few more HQ stations. My inverted vee works well enough that I can call stations, but not well enough to allow me to CQ successfully on this band. Even so, one brief run did get EA4URE and LZ98HQ to call in. One more listen to 160m at 0319Z (nothing happening) and it was back to 40m.

I snagged HC8A through a big pile-up, then found KP4Y and IY2ARI for new ones. I finally squeezed in at 7019 about 0330Z and set up shop. The rate was excellent and I marveled at how loud the Europeans were as much as 2.5 hours past their sunrise. It sounded more like November than July! About 0345Z I realized I was missing zone 27 on 80m, so I put the second rig there and started looking. Luckily found G8G within 2 minutes and got him for the mult without missing a beat on the 40m run frequency.

I was still running on 7019 at 0513Z when EA8ASJ called in to give me a new zone. CT1BOH called me there at 0534Z and I noticed that it was right at his sunrise. I asked him to try 160m and we made it! Unfortunately he then went back to 40m and moved my competition W4AN to 160m also…

With 40m all but gone to Europe, I spent the next several hours tuning across all of the bands and chasing multipliers. KH7R and LT1F responded to two of my few CQs on 80m. I moved WB0O from 80 to 160m so I could get zone 7 (really!). R1ANL (where is that guy located?!) called me on 40 for a rare zone. I worked PA6HQ on 40m at 0624Z and he was still well over S9 – wow!

I was amazed to work K6XX on 160m at 0630Z. I moved 8P0V from 20 to 160m for a multiplier – thanks Dennis. Found 20m was mostly gone to Europe, but there were still some QSOs to be found. Turned the beam North and was surprised to find a few loud JAs. Worked JA7DLE for a new mult on 20m at 0646Z. At 0700Z I was able to call CQ on 40m and have a few more Europeans answer. I moved VX4YU from 40m to 160m for a new mult (he was my only zone 3 but got him on 5 bands – thanks OM!).

Last Eu on 40m was ON4ASW at 0719Z. That’s only 4 hours 20 minutes past his sunrise!Got a little bit of a run going on 20m around 0745Z. It kept me from falling asleep and allowed me to keep looking for low band multipliers on the second radio. TF3IRA called me at 0830Z for a new one on 20m.

At 0857Z I lucked out and was able to work JH7XGN on 40m. Not sure he would have gotten the call except that someone called me and he was able to figure it out. The flutter was pretty bad and signal levels were low. KH8/N5OLS had a great signal on 40m and thought about trying to move him to 80m but he seemed kind of busy at the time. At 0903Z was happy to get through to XK7SZ on 160m for a new mult. Then worked EA8ASJ on 15m at 0910Z (first signal I heard on the band). Called CQ on 80m at 0915Z and had ZL1AIZ answer. Not a bad 30 minutes in the multiplier and propagation department!

The bands just didn’t want to open with the sunrise. I had noticed the same on Saturday, but it was even worse this morning. GB5HQ and IY2ARI helped the score. Ran on 14018 from 0936Z to 1036Z. R1ANL called in for another multiplier. Found P40HQ on 40m with the second radio well after my sunrise.

At 1100Z I made the jump to 15m hoping to repeat the magic of the day before. The band was just barely open and it took a lot of CQs to get each QSO. OM8HQ called me (I thought I already had him). I took advantage of the slow rate to also tune 20m on the second rig. Called and worked RT3A and then had OZ7D call me for a final HQ mult.

Final Comments

For those of you still reading…

24 hours is a great length for a DX contest. The strategy decisions and pressure not to miss an opening really keep the excitement level high. Plus it doesn’t hurt so bad the next day.

Propagation was unusually unusual. We expect funny high band openings in the summer when the North pole is always seeing the sun, but who would ever expect the low band conditions we got. It was better than many winter nights!

I logged the contest using WriteLog for Windows by W5XD (http://www.writelog.com). I also used it for WPX CW. WriteLog performed flawlessly for both logging and scoring and it is nice to be able to stay in the Windows 98 environment for logging and access to Geoclock. I did convert the log to CT so I could present the breakdowns in familiar format.

This contest was fun! Any CW contest where you can work 2250+ QSOs in 24 hours is a winner in my book. I was in the chair for all but 5 minutes and never went more than 8 minutes without a QSO.

I tried to concentrate on 5 point QSOs and multipliers with multipliers being more important. The good conditions and growth of HQ stations shows up when you compare W2SC’s 165 mults of two years ago and my 231 this year.

Is this a new record? I think it breaks the USA record. It also breaks the highest world CW only score that I could find in the last 8 years (ZY1RL 2.05M). I expected 8P0V to be ahead of me and didn’t realize that LT1F and C40A were also CW only. Great competition and scoring all around! Thanks for the QSOs and see all of you again next year.

73 — Randy, K5ZD

Continental Breakdown

                    160   80   40   20   15   10  ALL   percent

North America   CW   25   77  173  167  133   23  598    26.4
South America   CW    0    3   11    7    9   10   40     1.8
Europe          CW    6   57  282  609  575    1 1530    67.5
Asia            CW    0    1    5   25   34    0   65     2.9
Africa          CW    0    1    4    5    4    0   14     0.6
Oceania         CW    0    2    5    6    7    0   20     0.9

Ratesheet

HOUR     160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM TOT  

  12    .....    .....    .....    10/5    169/14    .....   179/19  179/19 
  13      .        .        .      11/7    134/9      2/2    147/18  326/37 
  14      .        .        .       6/3    113/10    16/2    135/15  461/52 
  15      .        .        .       5/0    123/6       .     128/6   589/58 
  16      .        .        .      20/6     64/1      6/3     90/10  679/68 
  17      .        .        .      81/3     15/3      3/1     99/7   778/75 
  18      .        .        .     105/3     10/5      4/2    119/10  897/85 
  19      .        .        .      43/5     39/3      3/1     85/9   982/94 
  20    .....    .....    .....   121/4      6/1     .....   127/5  1109/99 
  21      .        .       5/5     94/3      2/1       .     101/9  1210/108
  22      .        .       8/5     70/6      6/3       .      84/14 1294/122
  23      .        .      31/13    32/1      8/2       .      71/16 1365/138
  00     6/4     20/14    21/4     13/0      2/0       .      62/22 1427/160
  01     2/2     23/4     62/4      1/0       .        .      88/10 1515/170
  02     9/4     16/7     49/4      3/0       .        .      77/15 1592/185
  03     2/0     30/3     78/4      7/0       .        .     117/7  1709/192
  04    .....     3/0     98/1      8/1     .....    .....   109/2  1818/194
  05     4/2     23/6     56/3     13/0       .        .      96/11 1914/205
  06     4/2       .      22/3     17/3       .        .      43/8  1957/213
  07     3/1      5/1     27/3     18/0       .        .      53/5  2010/218
  08      .       9/0     14/3     40/1       .        .      63/4  2073/222
  09     1/1     10/1      5/0     38/3      4/1       .      58/6  2131/228
  10      .       2/0      4/1     44/0      6/0       .      56/1  2187/229
  11      .        .        .      16/1     54/1       .      70/2  2257/231

 TOT    31/16   141/36   480/53   816/55   755/60    34/11      .   2257/231

From QRATE:

1236:    5 per minute     (300/hr)
1238:   36 per 10 minutes (216/hr)
1259:  179 per hour

 

1997 ARRL Sweepstakes CW

K5ZD, Single Op, High Power

Randall A. Thompson, K5ZD
k5zd@contesting.com

Summary Sheet

                ARRL SWEEPSTAKES -- 1997

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

      160        0        0        -
       80      183      366        -
       40      881     1762        -
       20      209      418        -
       15       56      112        -
       10        5       10        -
     -----------------------------------

     Totals   1334     2668       79

               Score:  210,772

Equipment Description

Station 1

  • IC-765 and Alpha 76-CA
  • 5-el 15 at 65′
  • 5-el 20 at 100′
  • 2-el 40 at 110′
  • 80m Inv Vee at 90′

Station 2

  • FT-1000 and L-4B
  • TH7DXX at 90′
  • 40m sloper
  • 80m 1/4-wave GP

Commentary

Since W2SC operated the CQ WW Phone contest, I was excited about doing SS CW without being “hung over” from a 44+ hour effort the weekend before. Conditions sounded great with big signals on 15 and 10 meters in the hours before the contest. I was ready!

I started calling CQ on 20. I don’t like to S&P at the beginning since you mostly just work the guys who are going to be on all weekend anyway. Twenty sounded almost deserted and I was not getting many answers. At one point in the first hour I was doing better on the second rig calling stations than the main one calling CQ!

At 2154Z I decided to try 40m. From the Northeast there are always QSOs available on 40! Again the band seemed strangely empty. I started CQing on 7038 while continuing to scan 15m on the second rig. The combined rate was less than spectacular and I was getting frustrated. After 20 minutes I moved up to 7044 to try to find a clearer frequency. Then 7030. I was working stations but it was tough to listen to the western half of the country just running away. When I looked at my rate sheet from the past two years I was already falling way behind.

In retrospect, it was obvious that the good high band conditions were changing the operating preferences of the “masses”! Everyone was seduced into the fun of having 15m (and even some 10m) openings. Once darkness started to kill those bands, everyone finally came down to 40.

At this point I was having the worst start ever in 20 years. I was over 150 QSOs behind the big scorers out west. Thoughts of quitting were seriously considered. N2NT was over 30 QSOs ahead of me and K1AM was 15 ahead (and he was using just one radio!). I kept going only with the goal of continuing my streak of consecutive years over 1000 QSOs (it’s now up to 21!).

About 0040Z I move up to 7058. It was clear and the rate started to improve. This frequency became home base for the next 6 hours. All of my 80m QSOs Saturday evening were made on the second radio. I was a bit surprised to read all the comments about how 80m was the key band for many in the east and how hard 40m frequencies were to find. I think I only had one or two challenges on 7058 all night and they were from W2’s who were within the skip zone.

It was raining all evening but I only had one stretch of about 40 minutes where rain static was a big issue. The S-meter just went to 20 over and stayed there. I didn’t want to give up the frequency and take a break so I listened using my European Beverage. It was quiet, and the Europeans were loud, but it wasn’t the best antenna for hearing Q-power W6’s. The band was also experiencing some very rapid QSB so I was forced to ask for a lot of repeats. Once the rain static cleared, the rate took off. Having 87 and 84 QSOs in the 03 and 04Z hours was amazing and helped improve my attitude.

Things really slowed down about 08Z. I was so worn out from work that I just couldn’t stay awake. I tried operating standing up and while running in place. It was just too tough. It used to be that you had to keep operating until at least 09Z because rates the next day were typically even worse. This is changing with the renewed activity of the PINS program. Now the daytime hours are the most productive. Since I was so tired (and a bit demoralized from being behind) I decided that 3 hours of sleep would be worth more than a few QSOs. I took my first off time at 0820Z and set the alarm for 3 hours later.

I got back on the radio at 1155Z. Last year I had tried to CQ on 40 and use the second rig on 80 all morning. In the process I had listened to W2PV and K1AM run away from me. This year I focused on CQing on 80 and tuning 40. It was definitely better! Having a 62 hour on Sunday morning was a first for me. Usually 50 is a lot!

I kept pounding 40m while tuning the other bands. I was surprised to hear how the West Coast stations had fallen behind. This is partially due to off times but they must also struggle on the low bands. N2NT was still about 30 to 40 QSOs ahead of me.

About 1700Z I started thinking about taking an off time. I was hoping to continue until about 1800Z but another rain storm came through and the static was horrible. I took it as a sign to take a break and get a shower. 50 minutes later the rain stopped for the weekend and I was refreshed and fed. Now it was just a sprint to the finish — except for the nagging
problem of still needing VY1, KL7, and VE2!

As I would tune the FT-1000 across 15m I noticed that any signal over S9 would create two additional phantom signals up and down 22 KHz from the main one. This caused me some frustration as I was tuning above 21050 and wondering why stations weren’t coming back to me (I was calling a phantom!). I never did figure out what was causing this (anyone have any ideas?). It did come in helpful later on.

About 1925Z VX2AWR called in on 40m to give me Quebec. What a relief! A bit later KQ2M stopped by to ask if I had a sweep. I told him that I needed VY1. He said he had worked VY1JA on 21027 several hours earlier. At least now I had a clue of where to look.

A bit later I heard VY1JA on 21027. He was not loud and the pile-up was a bit obnoxious. I kept coming back on the second rig but it was pretty hopeless. The op was sending slowly and seemed to be really struggling to copy. I decided that VY1 was not to be this year.

At 1952Z I was tuning 15m on the FT-1000 when I heard WL7KY give an exchange. He wasn’t loud and I thought it sounded like a phantom. Now I had to find where he really was! I quickly checked down about 22 KHz and there he was. One call and section #78 was in the log. Maybe this multiple receive thing has some value!

I spent some time in the afternoon CQing on 20m. I had pretty much worked 40 out and there were lots of guys out west that I still needed. Rates weren’t great, but 20 is a virtual bottomless pit of stations. Its also an overcrowded mess!

As I was CQing on 40m I took my last few scans of 20 during the 00Z hour. I was amazed and thrilled to find VY1JA booming in with his usual big pile-up. This sounded like a completely different operator. He was sending fast and keeping the pile-up moving. It took only a few calls to get him for the sweep! What a relief. Reading the Internet mail the next
day I now realize just how lucky I was. Still, that’s part of the game that keeps me coming back every year.

After that I just concentrated on making rate. The higher MUFs this year kept the skip relatively short on all bands which really helps on 40m. I usually try to kill some off time in the last 3 hours since rates are so low but now I am reevaluating that strategy. My rate stayed fairly constant right to the end which is a good sign that people are getting
involved in the contest and sticking with it!

The contest finished for me at 0230Z as I ran out of operating time. 1334 and 79 was a lot better than I thought I would do given the poor start. It wasn’t quite up to my previous best of 1362 QSOs, but the extra sections make this a new New England Division record (I hope). I took a break and then came back to listen to the scores on 3830. Fell out of the
chair when N2NT (op was N2NC) announced his score of 1330 and a missing section. Can’t wait to compare rate sheets and find where I caught up with John.

The efforts to put a W1 in the top ten of SS CW must continue. See you all next year!

Randy, K5ZD

Rate Sheet

BREAKDOWN QSO/mults  K5ZD  ARRL SWEEPSTAKES  Single Operator

HOUR      160      80       40       20       15       10    HR TOT  CUM 
TOT

  21    .....    .....     7/4     49/22    22/9     .....    78/35   78/35 
  22      .        .      38/8     13/6     15/3       .      66/17  144/52 
  23      .        .      52/1     14/3       .        .      66/4   210/56 
   0      .        .      54/6      6/3       .        .      60/9   270/65 
   1      .       5/1     63/3      2/0       .        .      70/4   340/69 
   2      .      12/0     66/0       .        .        .      78/0   418/69 
   3      .       4/1     83/0       .        .        .      87/1   505/70 
   4      .      13/1     71/0       .        .        .      84/1   589/71 
   5    .....    11/0     52/2     .....    .....    .....    63/2   652/73 
   6      .      10/1     51/0       .        .        .      61/1   713/74 
   7      .       9/0     29/0       .        .        .      38/0   751/74 
   8      .       8/0      2/0       .        .        .      10/0   761/74 
   9      .        .        .        .        .        .        .    761/74 
  10      .        .        .        .        .        .        .    761/74 
  11      .       6/1      1/0       .        .        .       7/1   768/75 
  12      .      52/0     10/0       .        .        .      62/0   830/75 
  13    .....    24/0     13/0     10/0     .....    .....    47/0   877/75 
  14      .        .      45/0      9/0       .        .      54/0   931/75 
  15      .        .      43/0      5/0      3/1       .      51/1   982/76 
  16      .        .      36/0      8/0      1/0       .      45/0  1027/76 
  17      .        .      10/0       .       3/0       .      13/0  1040/76 
  18      .        .      34/0      4/0       .       1/0     39/0  1079/76 
  19      .        .      30/1       .      10/1      2/0     42/2  1121/78 
  20      .        .       5/0     29/0      2/0      2/0     38/0  1159/78 
  21    .....    .....     9/0     26/0     .....    .....    35/0  1194/78 
  22      .       2/0      7/0      6/0       .        .      15/0  1209/78 
  23      .       6/0      8/0     27/0       .        .      41/0  1250/78 
   0      .       6/0     36/0      1/1       .        .      43/1  1293/79 
   1      .       9/0      8/0       .        .        .      17/0  1310/79 
   2      .       6/0     18/0       .        .        .      24/0  1334/79 

TOT     .....   183/5    881/25   209/35    56/14     5/0     ..... 1334/79

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