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WPX CW WQ8RP(N8XX) SOAB QRP

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  • Hank Greeb
    CQWW WPX Contest, CW Call: WQ8RP Operator(s): N8XX Station: KD8HNF Class: SOAB QRP QTH: MI Operating Time (hrs): 22.5 Summary: Band QSOs ... 160: 0 80:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 26 7:16 PM
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      CQWW WPX Contest, CW

      Call: WQ8RP
      Operator(s): N8XX
      Station: KD8HNF

      Class: SOAB QRP
      QTH: MI
      Operating Time (hrs): 22.5

      Summary:
      Band QSOs
      ------------
      160: 0
      80: 0
      40: 97
      20: 214
      15: 88
      10: 16
      ------------
      Total: 415 Prefixes = 266 Total Score = 203,756

      Club: Mad River Radio Club

      Comments:

      A learning experience, combined with lousy conditions, especially on 20,
      15, 10 meters. Bob, KD8HNF had set up a remote operation on one of the
      higher hills in Ionia County (if you count anything in that county as
      "high") He has a spider beam and a G5RV antenna, and the place is
      generally quite quiet for RFI.

      To improve the station, Bob bought a couple of "dedicated computer
      controlled boxes" one which plugs into the control head, and the
      other into the rig at the remote site. This effort didn't come to
      fruition until a day before the contest, so we both decided that
      physical QSY to the remote site was the best, since learning how the
      station under remote control works plus trying to compete in a could be
      disastrous.

      In retrospect, it wouldn't have mattered much, because bands were very
      noisy, even on 20, 15, and 10 meters and propagation was "interesting"
      to say the very least. At first I thought something noisy was at the
      site, but in a few contacts with locals, they were having the same
      problem. And, the gods which control the ionosphere, (maybe the
      Egyptian Sun God Aten?) weren't smiling on us, and these bands were
      "rotten, miserable, to almost tolerable" in phases. All of them were
      noisy on Saturday! The maximum length of a "run" after calling CQ for
      as long as 10 minutes might be 3 or 4 Q's. After the fact, it appears
      that very few of my signals made it above the noise level at the
      skimmers on the Reverse Beacon Network, because 2 dB above the noise
      level was typical, and 10 dB or higher was very seldom when looking at
      the history after the fact.

      One other complication was that I saw a nice Compaq computer at the
      site, It has 2.6 GHz Pentium and 1 gig memory, more computing power than
      my Dell Laptop, and was right at the operating position. So, we loaded
      N1MM on it, hooked the TS-480-SAT to it and tested it. Initial testing
      was satisfactory, so it was "all go." Yup, "all go" until about 2 hours
      into the contest when it slooowwwweeeddd down to a crawl. Sending CW was
      very marginal, commands between the rig and the computer and vice versa
      took seconds. Rebooting the computer was the only thing which resolved
      the slowness. After a couple of these events, I looked a the Windows
      Task Manager and noted that much of the time 100% of the CPU capacity
      was being used. At that point I decided to take a break, brought out my
      trusty laptop, connected it to the TS-480 and never looked back.

      So, even with a hex beam, which should have provided something like 6
      dBd on 20/15/10, and a G5RV, similar to my inverted V at home, this year
      was less productive than last year. After the first evening, I decided
      that there was no way I was going to beat any records, So, plan "B";
      went into effect. I used the motto my pappy told me, when I wasn't even
      knee high to a grasshopper, who always said, "Do the best you can with
      whatever you got."

      High points was working Europe on 40 meters with a cloud warmer G5RV
      antenna, working several fellow club members who were various places in
      the Caribbean and having quite a few ops who know me asked "QRP? Hank"
      The final high point was when I worked a fellow QRP op Dale, WC7S out in
      Wyoming on 20 meters who was in a midst of what appeared to be a great
      run on the low end of the band. The camaraderie of these events makes up
      for the sometimes monotony of an hour of 10 contacts during lull in
      propagation.

      Thanks to the organizers of CQ WPX. Thanks to all the folks who took
      time to pull my signal out of the noisy bands. (Of course, for most, if
      not all these contacts it gave a new multiplier, at least during the
      first contact on the first band!) Thanks to KD8HNF for the use of his
      remote site. And thanks to the Michigan QRP Club for the use of WQ8RP,
      the club call! Folks tell me that a "unique prefix" adds 10 dB to a
      signal, and, during this event, I needed every dB possible!
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