January 16th, 2008 by k8gu Leave a reply »

I entered the North American QSO Party CW Contest somewhat seriously for only the second time last Saturday.  I’m pretty happy with the results, especially considering that this score is 50% higher than my claimed score the last time.  I ended up with only 9.5 hours due to the 160 antenna situation.

Band QSOs Mults
160: 33 20
80: 279 47
40: 261 51
20: 66 29
15: 17 5
10: 1 1
Total: 657 153 Total Score = 100,521

Ten and fifteen meters stunk…no big surprise here for this part of the solar cycle.  Although, I would liked to have done better on fifteen.  I took my off times (an hour each time) during the second and sixth hours of the contest.  I don’t know if I would do it that way again;  I had a really good run on 40 during the day.  I tried to work the second radio then; but, I haven’t mastered that, yet.  The first hour had the worst (< 60) rate.  I did much better after that.  My totals on 40 and 80 are within striking distance of the big guys like W9RE.  But, I just don’t have the firepower on the high bands nor the ears on 160 to do well there.  Of course, there’s still the whole skill problem, too…

Topband was a disappointment…I was hoping for about 40 multipliers and 100 QSOs.  I hauled an MFJ tuner up on the roof late in the contest to load-up the 80-meter dipole and feeder against a single elevated radial on 160 since I still don’t have that automated.  That could be a tonight project.  The noise on 160 on the vertical was 10-15 dB over S9.  Those 33 contacts were fought hard by me.  I need some RX antennas.  I talked to K9AN yesterday.  He suggested a K9AY loop.  I’m thinking about active verticals with a variable phasing combiner…less footprint.  We talked about pre-amps.  He wants to measure the NF of whatever I come up with out of J310’s from my junk box.

I requested a new LoTW certificate this morning since mine expired in January 2006.  Hehe…oops.  They protect your QSO integrity like Fort Knox!  In fact, they probably have a better idea of who you are than most credit bureaus.  I need to go through my logs tonight and clean everything up to get ready.  It sure beats QSLing, though…  I’m sure I’ll make a bunch of people happy in a few weeks.

Also came up with a great SDR idea yesterday that could be my new secret weapon.  It should be pretty easy to do, too.  No more on that until I get one working…