I have toyed with the idea of not participating in the July 17th NAQP RTTY Contest because of all the other responsibilities I have during the summer. Radio is usually not included in many of those. This is the “off season” for many in radiosport, but I have decided to get the day off from work and put in my 10 hours in hopes of bettering my score from the February version of this contest. If you recall that was the contest that spurred me to write, Contesting: Send Your Log In!. I mention this because somehow I forgot to send my results in to the NCJ. If I would have, I would of had a top 10 finish in 6-land and would have bumped my NCCC #2 Team up in the standings. How this happened, I still don’t know.
In hopes of having a good showing for NAQP I need to get on the roof and drag down the 5-band hex beam. I believe I am having issues with the antenna that have not been addressed. Given the current solar conditions, there might be absolutely nothing wrong with it, since I was able to make a good number of Field Day contacts last weekend. At any rate, I am looking to upgrade my DXE Hexx Beam.
Thanks to Al and Rod at DXE, I am going to add a HEXX 5-Band Stainless/Teflon® Rigid Balanced Feeder and feedline current choke as recommended by DXE. I have been cheating and using the vertical feedline current choke.
After placing my order with Rod I spoke to him at some length regarding the new, rigid feeder. Thankfully I have SWR measurements for the hex, but made mention I might need to shorten the wires on the hex near the low ends. We will see if that is indeed needed once I get the new feeder in place. But will that happen prior to NAQP? I doubt it. At any rate I will get on the roof or pull the antenna down and install the new feed line current choke and clean up the wires. It’s looking like a shabby antenna again as the spreaders are either collapsing on themselves or the clamps holding the wires are loosening. Nearly all 5 bands are sagging, which has been an issue since I first built my hex.
As for the contest, I started looking at my February 2010 results that had me log 342 QSOs, 137 mults for a final score of 46,854 points. I had a goal of 350 QSOs, which I fell just short of but exceeding my goal on mults and final score. This will be the first time I have put a full effort in the July edition of this contest. The way solar activity has been damn near nil, I hope it takes a turn for the better and quickly.
One change I plan on making this year is the scheduling of my 2-hours off time. Last year I worked 10 straight and took the final two hours off. I think that was a mistake as I missed out on 40/80M. This year, based on my February results I am going to take 00-02z off since those were the two worst hours I had. If all goes well I could lock up a number of personal achievements: 80M WAS (8 states needed), 40M WAS (5 states needed), RTTY WAS (1 state needed), 80M RTTY WAS (9 states needed), 40M RTTY WAS (9 states needed), 20M RTTY (3 states needed) and if 15M is open then I could add to the 24 confirmed states I already have.
Delaware. Nevada. West Virginia. Maine. Rhode Island. All these states seem to share a common theme because I need them for all the aforementioned awards. What frustrates me more is I have worked many of these states at the start of 2009 (ARRL Triple Play Award), but the amateur on the other end either hasn’t uploaded to LOTW or doesn’t use LOTW. Yeah, I know send a QSL card. I could and I probably should, but LOTW is so convenient and in my experience RTTY operators are the more faithful in uploading their contest logs to LOTW.
So in the coming week I will set my goals for the NAQP. I am looking forward to a quick 10 hour contest and hopefully adding some new wallpaper to my shack.