2011 Sweepstakes Goals – SSB

Two weeks ago I participated in the CW portion of the ARRL Sweepstakes, which resulted in a mixed bag. I increased my score over last year, but found some glaring problems with my station that prevented me from achieving my goals. This weekend it’s the SSB potion of the contest, one in which I usually struggle given my antenna situation. Last year it was rain noise that caused problem. Unfortunately rain is also forecast for this weekend beginning Friday with a possible lull on Saturday, only to return on Sunday.

My problem with 15M still seems to exist on my FT-1000MP, it comes and goes. I will consider myself lucky 2 weeks ago the band worked on the radio. This past week I have not had use of 15M. Due to family and other commitments I have not had time to pull down the SteppIR BigIR and look into the reason why I was not getting a CW signal out, which was the main reason behind not meeting my goal 2 weeks ago. If that is any indication, I probably won’t have use of 40/80M this weekend, which is going to be very tough.

Looking back at last year I operated as a precedence ‘U’ in the contest. This year I might bypass running assisted and operate as an ‘A’ (low power), as I did in the CW portion or ‘B’ (high power) in order to get a signal out to be heard. Last year’s goal was to make up the balance of the 1000 total QSOs I was hoping to achieve and get a clean sweep.” Neither happened, partly due to the rain noise and the fact I missed the first hour of the contest.

I am still hoping for 1000 total QSOs between the two contests. After scoring 411 in the CW contest that leaves me with 589 remaining. That might be difficult if 40/80M isn’t working and 15M, due to the radio does play nice. I would much rather have 15M over 40/80M, but that is completely out of my control. I will pull down the SteppIR today and give it a quick look to see if there is anything I can  spot.

Last year I scored 94 contacts on the low bands, which is what I would like to see this year. Most of those 40M contacts were due to the NCCC Rally we heard during the contest that netted me more than 50 contacts in about a 30 minute period.

This year the hex beam is higher. I might extend the mast 10′ to nearly 50′ for this contest, but that still won’t resolve the other issues I have to contend with. Regardless of what happens I will have a have fun and try to keep my “BIC” as long as possible to maximize my score. With any luck 10M will possibly pick up the slack for 40/80M for me. The key band still is 15M, I need to make sure I have that band working or else it will be nothing more than a low power effort on my part working only the daylight hours.

The McDougall Plan

Maybe you caught the post at the end of October titled, ‘Live to Eat‘ where I mentioned the movie Forks Over Knives, Food Matters and Food, Inc. Some eye opening information contained in these three films that got me looking at the food I eat, what goes into it and why there is questionable regulation from the FDA. Much to my chagrin I too have been “eating to live” off the “standard American diet” or SAD. After looking at my diet, yes indeed it is sad, but that doesn’t even begin to describe just how bad it has been for 41 years.

Upon further research I ran across a book authored by Dr. John McDougall titled The McDougall Program. This book I found after reading up on his clinic he runs out of Napa in Northern California. While I don’t have the money to spend 2 weeks at his clinic, the $20 book provides a “Step-by-step guide for changing your diet and solving your health problems.” This has been the first step in changing my diet.

It’s been the last week of October that I had any turkey, chicken, pork or beef. I won’t give up fish as many varieties contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, something the body does not produce. Plus it will allow me to share a wider varieties of meals with my wife, who hasn’t bought into the idea of a plant-base diet, but it’s of little concern to me right now. So far the book has presented a nice case study that I can relate with, as I have a number of health concerns I want to improve on or eliminate.

While I said purchasing the book was the first step, now that I am reading and digesting the information contained, I have slowly started to change how and what I eat. As mentioned I have given up meat with the exception of fish. I am working giving up on oils and butters to cook with, find alternatives when it comes to sauteing vegetables or adding to a recipe. I am also slowly giving up dairy products. Right now cheese is still a minor part of my diet, but it’s being used in moderation. Finally, sugar. Anything that is processed, it’s amazing to see just how many “healthy” products seem to have some sort of corn sugar derivative included.

Along the lines of Dr. McDougall’s plan, I have now made starch the main staple of my diet that includes, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes and beans. To the surprise of my wife the last two recipes I have made she has absolutely enjoyed eating, which included a Lentil Stew the other night with brown rice or a baked potato. All of these recipes can easily include chicken or turkey if she so desires.

I have seen some results already since modifying my eat habits. My weight has dropped from 213 to around 206 since October 30. That averages out to about 2.3 pounds a week, which is considered healthy. While weight loss wasn’t the top reason for making a change, it’s nice to know I am also working on getting back to a weight I feel better at (190 lbs).