2011 CQP

Contest: California QSO Party
Date: October 1-2, 2010
Mode: SSB/CW
Period: Starts 1600 UTC Saturday, ends 2200 UTC Sunday

20 / 214 / 38 / 5
15 / 113 / 33 / 7
10 / 62 / 20 /0
TOTAL: 389 QSO / 51 Mults
SCORE: 41,973 (TIME ON: 8 H 25 Mn)

Soapbox: After participating last year and having my log submitted as a comma delineated I was excited with anticipation at the start of the California QSO Party this year. My original plans were grandiose in scale, but in the end it was nothing more than me in the shack with my hex beam at 20′. Unfortunately Mr. Murphy decided to pay me a visit on Saturday afternoon that left me a dumbfounded and lacking a solution.

Solar conditions were calming down after a week of flares and CMEs had the A index in double digits. By the start of the contest on Saturday it had come down to a reasonable level, as the SSN was 89. Conditions seemed to be good as the contest started. I had set my goals at a “reasonable” level and took into consideration my family responsibilities and weekend duties, even though I had taken the weekend off. I had hoped to make the most of the low bands. Wasn’t I in for a surprise.

As with some contests I enter, being a “lil pistol” I have to pick and choose my spots. I figured I would give 10M a shot before moving to 20M, which is arguably my best band. No surprise I start the contest with N6O, just a few miles down the road, but 10M wasn’t all the fruitful and I quickly vacated and moved to 15M, where I picked up my first multiplier in TX and 6Y6U as my first DX. And again, there was N6O.

Guess I wasn’t surprised when I moved to 20M and N6O gives me my 3 contact with them inside my first 6 contacts. I would go on to work them on CW as well, 10-20M. I would pick things up about about 1712z when I started running on 15M and keep a modest rate for about 45 minutes. This first run would bump me over 100 QSO at 1754. Again not great when compared to other stations, but then I am comparing my score to last year, so this was an improvement over what I achieved last year running as K6B.

Just after 1809z I decided to give 10M a second shot and it paid off for about 10 minutes, putting together a short run, adding some new multipliers for my score. It was also my intention to use 10M to potentially work all 58 CA counties and each time I moved to 10M I was picking up a new country here and there. Unfortunately it would not be enough in the end.

I would end up working my best 10 minutes of the contest running on 20M between 1859z and 1909z and would log 25 QSOs. I had hoped to work more CW and attempted to call and answer CQ on each band “at the half hour” as based on the CQP rules. It really wasn’t as lucrative as I thought it would be. There were also two rally times, 0300z and 0700z on 40/80M, somehow I missed both of them during the contest. It also helps if you are actually on the air come 0300z. I wasn’t.

After my 20M run it was back to 15M and that is when Murphy struck. I was about 12 minutes into a run when after a QSO with VE2SHF 15M on my Yaesu FT-1000MP seemed to die. The station that had called me, asked for a repeat, but his signal got very weak and soon all I heard was static on 15M. I figured it might be RF, so I bypassed the amp and turned the RF power on the rig up to 100 w. No luck. I tried changing antennas from the hex beam to the vertical. No help. The rig was keying, but no power was being transmitted with and without the amp in line. After about 12 minutes of fiddling with it, I said “screw it!” and moved back to 20M at 2035z.

It would be a steady dose of contacts, but 15M is where the action was. About every hour I would move to 10M and swing through the CW and SSB portion of the band and then go back to 20M. I was frustrated at this point with no 15M and was trying to make the best of the situation. I would close out Saturday strong on 20M with my final contact at 1351z. This left me with 377 QSOs after about 8 hours of work.

With my wife and son leaving for Disneyland I played “Dad” for the rest of the night and saw no action on 40/80M. It might have been a blessing in disguise, because I got up very early the next morning to try 40/80M and I had no luck. Even N6O about 3 miles down the road could not hear me on the SteppIR BigIR.

Most of the morning up until about 1530z was a waste of time for me. The radio was on, the contest was going, but I wasn’t with it. I was still frustrated with the loss of 15M on the rig and 20M wasn’t happening. 10M was noise and conditions were worse than the previous day. All I could make were 3 more QSOs 2 on 20M CW and 1 on 10M CW and I called it a contest. At 1551z I was done.

Comparing this to the 2010 CQP results I saw a 49% increase in QSOs, but I worked more QSOs in 3:48 as K6B last year, than I did this year as W6ONV. The only number down from last year was the number of DX stations worked, 11 compared to 3 this year, CA counties, US states and Canadian provinces were all up over 2010. All in all it was a successful contest. Maybe next year I will look at putting in an every bigger effort. Who knows I might even get the mobile plans kicked into high gear. See you in 2012!

2011 Indiana QSO Party

Contest: Indiana QSO Party
Date: May 7-8, 2010
Mode: Mixed
Period: Starts 1600 UTC Saturday, ends 0400 UTC Sunday

15 / 1 / 0
20 / 4 / 5
TOTAL: 5 PH / 5 CW QSO / 7 Mults
SCORE: 112 (TIME ON: 4 H 44 Mn)

SOAPBOX: Together with the 7QP and the NEQP, this made up a great contest weekend. Unfortunately for me it also seemed that the majority of my activity in the INQP happened within the first 90 minutes because after 1830z I only had 3 QSOs.

While I don’t remember the solar conditions, I am guessing that 15M and 20M both went long, which which gave me better conditions to the East Coast, but very little within the skip zone. Either way, I did increase my total QSO count by a single QSO over 2010, while the multipliers remained the unchanged. I did note some stations I worked last year I did not hear this year in the 4+ hours I was spinning the dial on 15/20M.

All in this is a nice contest to work in conjunction with the other weekend. Many Q’s to be had, unfortunately it was not as good as I had anticipated. I will return in 2012 to participate again.

2011 7QP

Contest: 7th Area QSO Party
Date: May 7-8, 2011
Mode: Mixed
Period: Starts 1300 UTC Saturday, ends 0700 UTC Sunday

40 / 10 / 43 / 1
20 / 38 / 65 / 1
15 / 3 / 25 / 0
TOTAL: 51 PH / 134 CW / 2 DIG QSO / 77 Mults
SCORE: 39270 (TIME ON: 11 H 12 Mn)

SOAPBOX: First off, thanks to the organizers and participants of the 7QP. This is only the third year I have participated and like the previous two years, it was a blast! While I did not make my minimum goal of working 12 hours I still improved upon last year’s score. My only issue I have with this contest is that Win-Test 4.5.1 does not support the 7QP, so I loaded up the Texas QSO Party and used it for all three QSO parties (InQP and NEQP) during this weekend. All scoring then is manually computed, I have not made the decision to switch to N1MM.

I was able to start the contest at 1300z and went right to 40M. I was not expecting much but was able to put up my best hour of operating with a 37 rate to start the contest. Things were looking up early and I was very pleased with the activity until about 1430z when I decided to move to 20M. After about 90 minutes I put together 57 QSOs on 40M. I had hoped this was a sign of things to come. Unfortunately on the back end of the contest, I had already made the decision I would not operate into the night, so I would miss 40M/80M when the sun went down.

The next 2 hours were spent on 20M and even though I was able to add another 20 QSOs to my overall activity, it was nowhere near what 40M was earlier. Still, I was able to keep contacts filling the log at a steady rate. In fact all activity in the 7QP was done S&P, I did not attempt to run on any frequency on any mode.

Just after 1600z I decided to check 15M CW and was able to log a few quick contacts, but I spun through the CW and SSB recommended frequencies and activity was just not there, so it was back to 20M. I picked 15M back up about an hour later on CW, where I was able to add another 5 QSOs in quick succession.

Starting at 1800z I would tune through 20M CW and 20M SSB, followed by 15M CW and 15M SSB, alternating between the two bands for the remainder of the contest. Occasionally I would check 10M, but never did hear anyone call on either CW or SSB.

All in all it was another great time in the 7QP. Must say thanks to the guys at NK7U, who I ended up working 6 times. I did notice more activity out of Utah this year than last. The same can be said for Wyoming. I believe I logged 4 WY stations. Unfortunately Nevada was non-existent, with the exception of W7RN, my lone NV contact on 20M SSB. As for Montana I followed K7RE and K7BG, both operating mobile. Still the activity for MT was better than I expected.

Compared to 2010 I saw a 68% in my total score. I increased my CW activity from 53 to 134 QSOs (60% increase), but saw only 5 more phone QSOs this year (51 vs 46). Mults were also up 35% from 2010 with 77 this year (50 in 2010). Of course these numbers would have been even higher IF the decision was made to work into the night, but family responsibilities and my job prevented me from going after sundown. Still, I am very pleased with the operation during 7QP. Thanks to all who heard my “chirpy” CW, see you in 2012!