Ken Harker WM5R
2006 ARRL November Sweepstakes, Phone W5KFT (WM5R, op. )

Band QSOs Sections
Totals 1802 80

Claimed score288,320

Thanks again to Bryan W5KFT for letting me use his station at the Ranch in the big contest. Thanks also to Robert K5PI for all the hours he puts into keeping the station in good working order.

This was a personal best score for me in this contest. It was by far my best Sunday effort ever. I got behind my running QSO totals from 2005 right from the start on Saturday, and spent all day Sunday catching up and then surpassing my score from last year.

I started on 15 meters, which allowed me to have a nice clean run frequency, but the band was long and a little thin, so despite having no QRM at all, I actually made fewer QSOs that first hour than I did on the much more crowded 20 meters during the second hour. My worst mistake all weekend, by far, though, was from about 0040 UTC to 0150 UTC, when I made my first band change, moving the 15 meter radio to 40 meters. I neglected to switch the SixPak setting for that radio, and so for over an hour I was making 40 meter QSOs using the 15 meter antennas! Fortunately, I didn't break anything, the SWR was not so bad that I noticed, apparently (although I have been known to be rather clueless about that sort of thing) and the AL-1500 seemed to tolerate the situation. The rate was disappointing, of course, so after a while in frustration I decided to take a half hour off-time. When I sat down in the chair again to get going, I scanned through everything on the desk and only then realized what I had done. I made sure not to repeat that mistake.

I took four hours off in one block overnight and got back on the air around 1230 UTC. I had a decent run of almost 100 QSOs on 40 meters before moving up to 20 meters for most of the rest of the day. I made a few second radio QSOs on 15 meters, and tried to run there for about ten minutes but decided that 20 meters was the place to be. I should have saved my remaining hour and a half of off-time to take entirely in the last two and a half hours, but instead I took a half hour off when I hit a slow point around lunch time. 20 meters closed around 2330 UTC, before sunset in central Texas! My rate on 40 meters and 80 meters in those last few hours of the contest was never as good as it had been on 20 meters.

My goals for next year are to not make any major operator errors, to get off to a faster start, and to try to make more second radio QSOs.

Again, I worked every section more than once and had at least one station from each section call me. Propagation to the northwest on 20 meters was really excellent. I worked more than the usual number of stations in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territories/Northwest Territories multipliers.

I worked 62 dupes, and it would have been more had I not decided to start turning dupes away. I had one station that wanted to work me a third time, and I told him we'd worked before. He asked if I was sure we were a dupe? I told him we could work again and sent him my exchange. Getting no response, I sent it again. I sent it a third time, and then he tells me that his logging software will not let him enter my call sign as a new QSO!

The weather was excellent all weekend. Because of the drought, however, beautiful Lake Buchanan was no longer right outside the shack windows. Instead of the sunshine dancing off the waves, my view out the window was mostly acres of quicksand and weeds. One fewer distraction, I guess.


Beverages - NE and NW, only used on 80 meters

 80 - Sloping dipoles - NE, NW from 150', SE from 135'

 40 - Cushcraft 40-2CD @ 150', rotatable
      Cushcraft 40-2CD @ 70', fixed NE

 20 - Hy-Gain 204BA @ 157', rotatable
      Hy-Gain 204BA @ 105', fixed NE
      Hy-Gain 204BA @ 53', fixed NE
      Hy-Gain TH7DXX @ 45', fixed NW
      Hy-Gain TH7DXX @ 75', fixed NW

 15 - Hy-Gain 155CA @ 135', rotatable
      Hy-Gain 155CA @ 90', fixed NE
      Hy-Gain 155CA @ 45', fixed NE

Radio 1:  Kenwood TS-850SAT, Ameritron AL-1500
Radio 2:  Kenwood TS-850SAT, Ameritron AL-1200
Headset:  Heil Proset
DVK:      W9XT Contest Card
Software: TR Log 6.78
Other:    WX0B SixPak, WX0B StackMatches, Ameritron RCS-8V switches,
          ICE bandpass filters, Top Ten Devices Band Decoders, Top
          Ten Devices DXDoubler, CDE rotors

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 26 June 2020