Category: Single Operator High Power, Phone Only
This was my second serious single-operator contest effort, and my first ever QSOs in the ARRL 10 Meter Contest. Before now, I've mostly been doing multi-ops and the occasional single-band effort. I have a lot to learn.
George had the station set up and ready to go when I arrived. All we had to do was plug in the cables and turn stuff on about a half hour before the start. He rigged up to the two radios so that the "second" radio would key (switch from receive to transmit) when the "first" radio transmitted, but wouldn't send out a signal. This enabled me to use it as a second receiver, even on my own transmit frequency, without worrying about blowing out the front end. In fact, I ended up using it almost exclusively on my own frequency with the audio mixing box putting the run radio in the right ear and the receive-only radio in the left. The receive- only radio was connected to a (really ugly) WARC band dipole with drooping ends that George had erected out of PVC and wire for some Pactor thing he's doing. There were many, many times when that antenna picked up signals that the transmit antennas were not hearing at all. This especially happened on weak South Americans, as my two transmit antennas were usually pointed NE and NW. It was interesting to hear the fading differences in each ear on signals. I think because the receive-only antenna was at a different height and had some vertical sense to it, that may have also helped. But, of course, most of the time the yagis heard better, and I often listened exclusively on them when running Europe or Japan.
I'd only ever had a half dozen or so 100-hours in contests before this weekend, mostly in the Sweepstakes. This rate thing is still very new to me. I know I don't have the timing down right yet.
On Saturday morning, I think during the 1600 or 1700 hour, I was running stations on 28.337.5 or thereabouts, and discovered that 28.337.0 is the "Ohio Ragchewer's Net" frequency. All these 8's started calling one another on top of me, I told them the frequency was in use, and then they got upset that I was there. ("He thinks that just because it's a contest, he owns the frequency," and a little later, "We've met here every day for twenty years!" I doubt they considered the irony.) They stuck around for half an hour, harassing me and eventually telling me that they would go to 12 meters as soon as I would pause to take a breath and let them pick a frequency to move to. Finally, I called their bluff and paused for like fifteen or twenty seconds, during which there was this profound silence. I then continued to call CQ and they left after another ten minutes of harassment.
Outside of this incident, I was hassled at least a little bit almost every daylight hour during the contest weekend. Mostly carriers, whistles, random barking noises, and the like, but one dim bulb came on frequency near the start and kept shouting "No test! No test!" and "It's against the law!" None of it was really terrible. One of the worst problems I had was way up the band on Sunday, near 28.880 working Europe when someone came up on the band and began to ragchew, and their crappy signal tore up several hundreds of kHz of the spectrum. I never did find them, so after a while, I found a better frequency down low (where I had to deal with Indonesian taxi cab drivers and Spanish speaking CBers on AM, but they were a very low grade annoyance) and my rate picked up again.
The only S&P I did was in the mornings before I started calling CQ to Europe. Both mornings, the first non-CTDXCC signal I heard was in Brazil. Two things surprised me. Stations in the 1200 hour had to be about S3 on the TS-850's meter before they could begin to hear me. I don't know if this is a propagation thing, being on the pre-dawn side of the greyline, if the station and/or I hear unusually well on quiet bands, or if the other stations were all deaf or what. It was very frustrating, because I could hear them all very well. The other thing that surprised me was how soon after hearing Brazil, Puerto Rico, etc. that I began hearing Europe. Europe came through just five or ten minutes after the stations in South America and the Caribbean.
I did not experience any Eskip or other openings after the band closed on Saturday or Sunday night. Sunday night, in particular, the band closed early and hard. The only stations I worked were locals. On Saturday, I worked one W4 on what I think was a meteor ping.
I briefly had the "Last 60" total in TR over 200, but it didn't work out to an even hour of over 200.
Contest Logging was done with TR LOG contest logging software. The following reports and log were created using TR LOG's post-contest processor.
Last Updated 14 April 2016