CQP Weekend!

This weekend I might actually forgo watching NFL football and European football and participate in the CQP or California QSO Party. For those new to The 6th Floor, this is a year radio contest sponsored by the Northern California Contest Club (of which I belong to). The object for stations inside California is to work as many stations outside the state as possible as well as work all 58 counties.

Last year I had intentions to work much longer than 3:55, but my parents arrived in town and I never got back on the in air. In that time, operating at K6B (a special 1×1 call sign) I made 196 contacts that included 11 DXCC, 8 CA counties and 35 states/6 provinces. It was my intention this year to pull a 35 county mobile operation, but with planning that started early this year ended about 3 months ago when I lost the driver and interest in putting together the operation. It is still a goal of mine and the route is plotted.

Unfortunately the N3FJP software I used last year spit out a bad Cabrillo form and my log was not accepted. I don’t believe it was even used as a check log. Ah well, guess I learned the hard way. I like Scott’s software too. I might take a second look at it and see if there is a way to convert the log file before I give up on it. Right now I am considering TR4W,w which is what I was using for the CWT mini contests.

No idea what I will shoot for as a goal. My son and wife are leaving for Disneyland on Sunday morning, so I should have much of the afternoon, if I don’t’ commit to playing soccer that morning. If I do, then I can write off the afternoon playing radio. Depending on commitment, I would like to get all 58 counties and work all 50 states and about 500 contacts on both CW and SSB. The CW might be a bit slow, please put up with it. I enjoy the mode and love use it, but not the best at running a frequency. See you this weekend in the CQP!

2011 Watch List #4

Wow, another week and yet more injuries. What is an owner to do? The wire continues to thin out in each passing week, but amazingly there is still talent making headlines each week. While this talent could be a “one week wonder” it won’t be surprising when some owner drops a bigger named player to pick this young, hot stud up.

This weekend we saw Mike Vick, Kenny Britt and Darren McFadden all injured to varying degrees. Unfortunately the most severe was that of Kenny Britt with a tear to the MCL and possibly ACL, which will end his season. Reports are Mike Vick could miss 3-4 weeks with a broken right hand and DMC claims he has no injury, but the groin had tightened up. We also add another member to the “Hammy Hoax” list that of Jeremy Maclin, don’t expect him to face the 49ers next weekend.

Thankfully waiver wires across fantasy leagues are open for business and ready for action, this was another big, but strange weekend in fantasy football. Why is it this year? Oh yeah it was the how negotiations the owners and players participated in that saw abbreviated training camps and a quick free agency period. I believe we are still feeling the fall out and from the looks of it, we could still feel it for a longer period.

Kendall Hunter, RB SFO
Sure the 49ers are 2-1 but Gore has not gotten off to a very impressive start this season. After 3 weeks he has only totaled 184 yards from scrimmage and 1 TD. Sunday tweaked an ankle, but played hurt until the final few series in which Hunter took over the duties. While not all that memorable 9-26-1 TD, Hunter is definitely becoming a stronger insurance policy for Gore now that the first injury has occurred. Gore owners should already have Hunter stashed, but he could be available in some leagues.

Bernard Scott, RB CIN
Cedric Benson will have a hearing on Tuesday and faces a 3-game suspension. This could open the door for Scott on a temporary basis.       While he has had no fantasy value to this point, Scott could face BUF, JAC and IND while Benson is suspended. If you are in dire help for a few weeks, you might add Scott to your team.

Daniel Thomas, RB MIA
Surprisingly Thomas makes the watch list for the first time (not sure why he wasn’t here last week) after a 23-95 yard, 3-27 yard 1 TD through the air performance in a losing cause. The important fact is he is now gets the bulk of the carries on the ground. Bush will still the “change of pace” back, but won’t be the feature back, I believe Thomas has already won the full time job. Thomas has 2 tough games coming up, but versus SDG and NYJ, but he is on his way to establishing himself as one of the top rushing rookie RBs.

Alfonso Smith, RB ARI
Chris Wells was a last minute scratch and did not play against a soft SEA defense. Smith put up a 17-54 yard performance. Not all too impressive, but he showed much more than what veteran Chester Taylor did. Wells had played well for 2 games, but now carrying an injury Smith might take some carries down the road with Stephens-Howling a bit dinged up as well. This might be a situation to watch if Wells begins to struggle.

DeMarco Murray/Tashard Choice, DAL
I have added these backs based on reports that Felix Jones aggravated  his separated shoulder near the end of the MNF game. With a bye in week 5 the possibility is there to give Jones a few weeks off to heal. We will have to wait see what transpires out of Dallas camp and Jimmy Jones mouth.

Victor Cruz, WR NYG
I will consider Cruz a “one week wonder” at this point after turning a 3-110-2 TD performance vs Philly, including a 74 yard TD. He did make the most of his opportunity because of Manningham being out due to a concussion. The way injuries are occurring this season it’s quite possible Cruz could see more playing time, especially with Hixon being lost to the ACL. Keep an eye on Cruz, I believe there might be other better WR to pick up at this point.

Torrey Smith, WR BAL
Who? Smith is another “one week wonder” in my opinion at this point. WR, Lee Evans was inactive for Week 3 vs STL, which gave Smith the start, one in which he capitalized on the soft Rams secondary as his first NFL catch went for a 74 yard TD. Smith would finish the 1st quarter with 3 TDs and the day with 5-152 yards, an amazing day, but leave in the 4th quarter with cramps in his hammy. No doubt he will be targeted on the waiver wire. “Buyer beware” though he might have some value with Evans status in question for Week 4.

Nate Washington, WR TEN
Washington shouldn’t be listed, but I will include him now that Britt is done for the year with a torn MCL/ACL in his knee. Washington will take over as the #1 and with the success Britt saw, Washington has some big shoes to fill. As long as Hasselbeck can stay upright, Washington should benefit. It might also be worthwhile to watch who steps up at the #2 WR spot, it should be Damian Wiliams. Jared Cook will also be asked to fill the void.

Donald Jones, WR BUF
(Thanks to Cody and Buffalo Blizzard for this player.) Jones led the Bills in receiving vs NEP with 5-101 (10 targets). His number have been improving each week and the way Fitzpatrick continues to show a steady increasing in the passing game Jones may continue to see a nice bump in his stats. In defense of his performance, the Bills were down 21-0 and Fitzpatrick had to throw so all WR benefitted from this.

Notables: James Casey, TE HOU

Week 3:
WR: Washington, Nelson, Decker
TE: Chandler, Moore, Davis
RB: Helu, Jones, T, McCluster
Notables: Preston Parker, WR TB, Antonio Brown, WR PIT, Titus Young, WR DET, Brandon LaFell, WR CAR

Week 2:
WR: Cobb, Doucet, Ginn, Decker
TE: Watson, Moore, Davis
RB: Sproles, Reece, Caddy,
Notables: Avant, Nelson, Ford, Hartline

Week 1:
WR: Decker, Brown, Robiskie
RB: Carter, Helu, Karim,
Notables: Hunter, Murray, Ridley, Harrison, Little, Simpson, Briscoe, Alexander

Murphy Strikes CQWW RTTY

It’s really amazing what increased solar conditions can do during a contest!  While I had no real intentions of putting forth a full effort in the CQWW DX RTTY this weekend I had an enjoyable afternoon  for about 2 hours making contact. Things didn’t start out enjoyable, as I had hoped on getting the hex beam up to about 40′ but Murphy struck about 90 minute before the contest.

The Rohn H50 is an improvement over the shorter H30 I had, but still not what I need for my hex beam. After repairing the rotator a few days ago I had hoped the XYL would have been able to slide a few cotter pins through some pre-drilled holes I drilled in the lower 2 sections of the H50. Unfortunately I was not able to get those two lower section extended fully to the point where I drilled the holes and did not drill any intermediate holes. While my XYL did her best to help, this was a job that might require a few other men to help me accomplish the task.

In my frustration and haste I attempted a few different solutions as the start of the contest was drawing near. None of them were working and then Murphy struck. I had the hex beam leaning on the roof and the mast leaning at a forty-five degree angle away from the house. As I tried to extend the lower section of the mast I heard a nasty crack and the hex beam started to fall off the roof. At that moment I looked up and noticed I had cracked off the rotator. The I had just put myself in peril and the start of the contest was in jeopardy.

I quickly drove to Radio Shack because I purchased the warranty for the rotator, unfortunately they don’t handle any warranty items and referred me to an 800 number. In the meantime I was stuck with a functioning (I hope) rotator but no way to mount it to a mast because the threaded screws were bent and in my attempt to remove them, one broke off.

It was back to the “arm strong method” of rotating the antenna this weekend and until I resolve the rotator issue. I rigged a solution (not ideal) to get the antenna up to 30′ or so and make it functional. Tied three guy wires up to prevent it from rotating in the wind and with about minutes to spare I went into the shack to configure my macro keys in Win-Test.

As I mentioned in the introduction, sunspots are a wonderful thing. I started on 10M and until this point I had made a single RTTY contact with W6YX a few years back. This time around I was able to add quite a few QSOs to the log from Chile to Hawaii, Guam, Japan and Australia! I did spend some time running on frequency as well, which yielded some good results.

I moved to 15M with much better results from JA and OC, which is what I was looking for. I didn’t even attempt to turn the hex beam east for the US or EU. I figured I would give that shot for later on Saturday and Sunday when I get home from work. I am sure the “East Coast Wall” will cause all sort of problems for me. Signals were good and strong and ran a few frequencies along with S&P when I put together a nice group of JAs near 21.100 before I turned off the radio after about 2 hours.

I figure by Sunday will string together about 300 contacts. Again, I am not looking at setting any records or killing myself. I don’t have that sort of time to commit right now due to family reasons and work. Contest season is upon on already and I am hoping to put more of a full effort in the CQP next weekend

Ready for Radiosport?

The contest season is warming up, as are those sunspots. Solar conditions have been excellent, unfortunately I have not been spending much time on air due to other activities filling my free time. I was looking at the SSN of 141 and K of 3 yesterday and turned the radio on with some outstanding 10M signals to T32. Unfortunately when I tried to turn my hex beam in that direction I noticed I had some issues.

I leaned a ladder up to the roof and climbed up for a closer look but could not see much. I then decided to pull the antenna down to return the rotator to Radio Shack and get a replacement, since I had purchased the 1-year warranty. After collecting some tools, I needed to use a hacksaw to cut away a small piece of metal that was holding a set screw against the telescoping mast.

After the tension on the released the mast slid down. It was more evident when retracted the upper sections of the mast and was eye level with the rotator. It seemed the weight of the antenna has collaped into the rotator box. I figured it had damaged the gears. I unbolted the hex and disconnected the feed line. After lifting the antenna off I pulled off the rotator box and took it to the work bench for further inspection.

When I opened the access panel on the bottom all 4 bolts dropped out that held the rotator plate in place, which attached to the casing. Maybe I knock it off to being cheap Chinese made crap! But what should I expect for $99? I tightened up the 4 bolts, cleaned the casing and closed up the rotator and made my way back outside to reinstall on the mast.

Since picking up the last a few months ago I have been working on trying to get the mast to 40′ and have not had much luck. I am about 5-10′ short in what is really a two man operation. The two lower sections of the mast will now be fully extended totaling about 18′. The third section will put me close to 27′ It gets a bit dicey approaching 30′ and above because the mast is only about 2″ in diameter and I should be using guy wires up at 40′. Possible? Yes. Desired? Not really and I am trying to keep a clean (but safe) installation for the HOA and my neighbors.

I reattached the mast to the brackets on the back of the garage and installed the rotator box to the top of the mast. I then placed the hex beam antenna in the slot on the rotator so it can be controlled from inside the shack. With any luck the bolts will remain in place. I guess this will be an item I will need to check periodically to make sure they are not coming loose. With any luck I will be able to slide the mast up to 35-40′ a bit later today.

This is all in preparation for the CQ DX WPX RTTY contest coming this weekend. While I would love to take the entire weekend off and participate, especially with solar condition still very good, I won’t be putting in any sort of real effort. With any luck I will combine for about 10-12 hours, opening on Friday afternoon with 2-3 hours and 7-8 hours over the weekend.

The following weekend it’s the NCCC sponsored CQP, which I am hoping to participate in. While I would like to say it will be a full effort, chances are it won’t. Right now I am planning on taking Oct 2-3 off from work, due to the contest. My XYL and son are leaving that Sunday morning for Disneyland, so it would end up being a free day for me.

Right now, it’s been almost a month since I have really put any time into the radio and even less when it has come to any of the contests over the summer. Not really sure why. I have very little time to take off from work for one, I am trying to save that time and use it wisely, which isn’t easy. I am highly involved in fantasy football and spending too much time on FFS as well as dedicating time with my son and at his school. So radio loses out. Not to worry, it will always be there and as conditions continue to improve all I need to do it turn the rig on, I am sure I will be able to find a signal.

2011 Watch List #3

Now that week 2 of the NFL is almost in the book we can look forward to waiver wire activity. Probably the most notable injury of the weekend was the loss of KC Chiefs RB, Jamaal Charles who torn an ACL. He wasn’t the only one add to the list, Tony Romo, Mike Vick, Felix Jones, Miles Austin, Eddie Royal and Jordan Shipley. Unfortunately injuries are part of the game and I don’t believe all of these can really be attributed to a short camp, but just bad luck. Remember Russ Bliss is always talking about needing to be lucky in fantasy football. This could be one of those years.

We are starting to see a trend in the NFL with some regular names that are making the watch list. This is watch list #3 and we welcome back a few players at the TE position. This position is coming on very strong this year and while the elites have been somewhat quiet to start the season a few of the “other” tight ends have been putting up the yards and finding the end zone.

There does seem to be some new names out there that continue to put up some stats. They may not be the household names we are used to, but when injuries hit and you are looking to make a move you must look for the best available.

Many owners have asked a similar question, “What should I do with Peyton Manning?” Personally, I dropped him last week. I needed the slot and figured Eric Decker (WR, DEN) would be more worth in the short term than Manning would be. If he comes back to beat me in the playoffs, so be it, but holding on to him for the next 6 to 8 to 10 weeks isn’t going to do me a bit of good when it comes to providing me with options. If you can’t stick him on an IR, I would drop him.

Thomas Jones, RB/Dexter McCluster, RB/WR KC
Hard to say who will be the “go to guy” in Kansas City now that Jamaal Charles has been lost for the season due to the ACL. McCluster is more dynamic and could see more touches at the RB position. He did carry 8 times on Sunday for -2 yards. Thomas Jones is 33 years old and will probably see a bulk of the work load; he still has the ability, based on what we saw last year to make an impact. At best he would be a #3 RB or flex option. Considering the problems the Chiefs are facing neither of these players are too high on any of my want lists.

Roy Helu, RB WAS
The rookie had his best showing to date with a 10-74 yard performance on the ground and 3-38 yard receiving. He is still the clear cut back up to Hightower who continues to play very well in the starting role. While Helu is not worth starting at this point, he could be worth stashing on your bench for later in the year. I do expect Hightower to slow his role and the Redskins to hit a funk, which means Shanny could unexpectedly make a change at RB. He has done it before.

John Kuhn, RB GBP
With all the talk about Ryan Grant being able to recover from his injury and make a comeback and James Starks being more explosive on the field when carrying the ball, it’s been John Kuhn with 2 TD to lead the rushing attack. Not that a 3-6-2 TD is overly impressive, but we have see it now 2 weeks in a row that McCarthy has turned to his big fullback to pound the ball in from short yardage. So forget the controversy, maybe Kuhn is the short yardage back who will get you 7-9 TDs this season from very short yardage. Unfortunately his very low number of touches could frustrate you as an owner.

Scott Chandler, TE BUF
While Chandler wasn’t as big a part of the offense Sunday vs the Raiders, he did manage 2 catches, one for a TD bringing his season total to 3 TD. He now has 8-87 yards as the Bills are 2-0. Not a household name, but Fitzpatrick has been doing a very good job spreading the ball around, yesterday Chandler only had 2 receptions, but as long as 6 points continue to go up on the board you might keep him in mind at a league that is becoming deep at the TE position this season.

Evan Moore, TE CLE
This is the second watch list for Evan Moore and 2 weeks in a row that McCoy has targeted Evan Moore in the red zone and connected for a TD. Not a big production day for him as the 16-yard strike was his only catch of the day. Still hard to ignore 2 in 2 weeks for Moore and Cleveland as McCoy is looking more comfortable running the West Coast offense.

Fred Davis, TE WAS
Cooley was active for WAS but once again it was Fred Davis who took top honors for the now 2-0 Redskins as he hauled in 6-86-1 TD in Week 2 vs Arizona. He continues to be targeted by Grossman, 7 times total on Sunday and now has 11-191-1 TD on the season. Currently he is the top receiving option in the capital. This is another TE starting off the season having a break out year.

Eric Decker, WR DEN
This is the third and most likely final week that Decker will be seen on the watch list, With injuries to Lloyd (inactive on Sunday), a groin injury to Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas still on the rack, Decker took advantage of the situation and probably should be the #1 waiver claim at the WR position this week. He had 5-113-2 TD. With a rash of injuries, he should be owned in all leagues and started in many formats.

David Nelson, WR BUF
I had Nelson listed as a “notable” after Week 1 and Sunday vs Oakland he ended up leading all Buffalo receivers with 10 catches, 83 yards, which included a clutch TD with :14 seconds in the game to beat the Raiders. On the season Nelson has 14 catches to Steve Johnson’s 12 catches. He could be another option at a very deep WR position to own or watch. With injuries piling up, chances are he should be grabbed off waivers as long as Fitzpatrick continues to play very smart football.

Nate Washington, WR TEN
When we think TEN, we think Chris Johnson, but with the holdout Hasselbeck has been more active in the passing game the first few weeks. That bodes well for guys like Britt and Washington. The big difference between the two players, Britt has 3 TD and Washington has none. Still Washington has 13 receptions and on Sunday was targeted 11 times (7-99 yards). Hasselbeck has been the difference maker bringing the passing game back to TEN with the rushing game suffering.

Other notables: Preston Parker, WR TB, Antonio Brown, WR PIT, Titus Young, WR DET, Brandon LaFell, WR CAR

Watch List #2
RB: Sproles, Reece, Caddy
WR: Cobb, Doucet, Ginn, Decker
TE: Watson, Moore, Davis
Notables: Avant, Nelson, Ford, Hartline

Watch List #1
RB: Carter, Helu, Karim
WR: Decker, Brown, Robiskie
Notables: Hunter, Murray, Ridley, Harrison, Little, Simpson, Briscoe, Alexander