Ken Harker WM5R
1998 ARRL International DX Contest, Phone, N5XU M/S

N5XU participated in the ARRL International DX Contest, Phone, conducted during the weekend of 7-8 March 1998. We operated in the Multioperator Single Transmitter (M/S) class, with KM5FA and KA5WSS operating.

I operated most of the contest, but I did go home at nights to sleep, and took a couple hours off Saturday to hunt for food.

The most exciting fifteen seconds of the weekend occured while bicycling to the club station at 6AM Saturday morning. I was approaching a red light at the intersection of Duval Street and San Jacinto, coming down the hill on Duval Street. I downshift as I'm braking, and suddenly the rear wheel of my bicycle nearly explodes. The chain was fairly loose, and while downshifting there was enough slack and bounce in the chain that it caught on the spokes of my rear wheel; no less than eight of the spokes on the starboard side broke, and the wheel (suddenly being very badly out of true) shifted on its mount, jammed against the inside of the fork, and stopped rotating altogether. There was a lot of exciting fishtailing on the wet pavement before I came to a stop. Had it not been raining overnight, and had the pavement been completely dry, I'm sure I would have end-overed. I locked up the bike to a street sign, and had to walk home (which took about 40 minutes or so) to get my car and rescue it. Believe it or not, even taking this incident into consideration, my bicycle was still a far more reliable vehicle than my car. I almost decided to give up on the contest after that, but I guess it was best that I didn't.

The most humorous fifteen seconds of the weekend involved hearing half of the following QSO on 75 meters while looking for stations to call:"

"CQ Contest Six Delta Two X-ray... in Mexico."
"...Willy Billy three billy willy billy, you're five nine kilowatt."
"What was your question?"
"_'Where's Mexico?!?!?!'_"

A big annoyance of the weekend was the packet cluster. After the first hour and a half or so of the contest, I could no longer connect to the K5NA cluster in Manor. I have no idea why. N5XU has a really bad path to the KG5ND cluster in Round Rock: the direct path goes right between two tall buildings on campus that create some funky multipath, and we've only been able to get a connection with KG5ND about 30% of the time, and never during a contest weekend. So, up until when Robert showed up around 12:30 PM local time Sunday, I operated without the cluster. When Robert did show up on Sunday, the first thing he did with the TNC was send a "MON ON" command, which turned on the monitor to print all packet traffic, not just the packets destined for us, and pretty soon the TR LOG bandmap started filling up despite not being connected.... It was like a whole new contest! I should have thought of that.

Hans DJ8UL stopped by Sunday morning for a little bit and Robert KA5WSS operated most of Sunday afternoon. The station was on the air for something like 32 of the 48 hours, give or take.


The score below is claimed.

Band QSOs PointsMults
Total 742  238

Claimed score492,660


Last Updated 26 June 2020