Category: Single Operator High Power, Phone Only
When I arrived at the station on Friday afternoon, George was still on the tower getting things ready to hoist the three element yagi that would be fixed west. He had already spent part of the day putting up the lower six element yagi fixed NE, and running new feedlines to all of the yagis. All of the 10M antennas at K5TR are on one tower. By 2300 UTC, everything was hooked up and ready to go. George set up a pair of Ameritron RCS-8V switches and WX0B Stackmatches to let me choose a wide array of antenna combinations. I could choose any of the antennas separately, choose the stack alone, or the stack plus either the southeast or west antenna. Once I got going, nothing in the station failed or gave me trouble. In fact, it got better - overnight George figured out how to set up the second Kenwood TS-850SAT as a receiver (using a two element 40M yagi at 97' for a receive antenna) in such a way that I couldn't hurt it with the transmit radio.
I don't know if I was doing the right things Friday night or not. I didn't have nearly as strong a first hour of the contest as I did last year, and ended up at 0600 about 60 QSOs behind my pace last year. I'm not sure what I would have done differently, though, had I to do it over. With the Eskip Friday night, I made a lot of use of the Kenwood TS-850SAT's "quick memo" feature to quickly tune, hop back to my run frequency, call CQ, get no answer, and then tune some more. From Saturday morning on, it got even better, as I could listen to both my run frequency and my searching frequency at the same time. In total, though, I really didn't make that many "second radio" QSOs - certainly less than fifty for the entire contest. Since I could only transmit on one radio, the process of getting the frequency set up via quick memo and then pouncing at the right time was tricky. I've only ever tried real SO2R once before, and I haven't really mastered it yet.
Saturday was painful. I had a really bad attack of "cedar fever" that gave me a sore throat, post-nasal drip, achy limbs, etc. I did not sleep well Friday night, and the symptoms lasted all day long. I thought I was getting a cold or the flu or something. I definitely had a hoarse voice. George came home around 8:00 PM local time and determined that it might be the cedar (also known as "mountain cedar," our local name for the scrub juniper evergreen trees, which happened to be pollinating during the weekend,) so we closed the windows, turned on the air conditioning to start filtering the air in the shack (outside air temperature was somewhere around 75F or 24C, but inside the shack it had gotten up near 85F or 29C,) and I started noticing an improvement almost right away. I took some Tylenol Severe Allergy pills right before I went to sleep around midnight and I woke up on Sunday feeling like a completely different person. If you've never been to K5TR, he lives in the middle of a cedar scrub forest.
The Eskip both nights was great. Saturday night was awesome. I made at least 300 Eskip QSOs that night, and the band was still open a little bit at 0600 UTC when I quit for lack of stations to work. Stations worked on Eskip were located everywhere fom Minnesota to Ohio to North Carolina to Alabama. Most were in Wisconsin and Michigan. I heard a few loud stations for hours - I remember K4WI and WB9Z in particular.
I worked one ZL station that was loudest on my SE antenna, and both Saturday and Sunday evening I worked a couple of Wisconsin or Michigan stations that were definitely louder on the 60' high yagi pointed northwest than they were on the 30' high yagi pointed northeast. Many times I got to hear cool backscatter echoes. I love that.
I wish I had been feeling better during the weekend, but I think it was a very worthwhile contest, and I'm glad I did it.
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 29 November 2018