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