Hy-Gain 105CA @ 60', fixed NE
Hy-Gain 105CA @ 30', fixed NE
I always love to operate contests from the W5KFT Ranch Station. With the recent rains, everything on the ranch was green and lush, and the bluebonnets (our state wildflower) were everywhere. I saw more wildlife than usual from the three kilometer long driveway to the ranch house, including jackrabbits, wild boar, squirrels, four or five different species of birds, and eight to ten deer.
Robert K5PI had been out there this winter and modified the Top Ten boxes to drive the SixPak in addition to the ICE bandpass filters, which was a pleasant surprise - no more remembering to switch antennas during a band change.
Bryan was out at the ranch on Friday and we tried to repair the Beverages. The remote coax switch, preamp, transformer, and other hardware had all been mounted on a tree branch that died and fell over (and is now home to a fire ant colony). The remote coax switch had gotten water in it, and we swapped that out, but it appears that the preamp is also dead. We ran out of time and lacked a spare preamp anyway, so I operated the contest without receive antennas on 40 meters, 80 meters, and 160 meters.
This is the first time I've operated the CQ WPX phone contest as an all-band single-operator. I've not done a lot of single-operator DX contests aside from the IARU HF World Championships in the summer, and of course the conditions are quite different then. A lot of the time, I felt like I was pretty clueless, and was saved mostly by the fact that for most of the contest, there was only one open band to choose from.
My off-time strategy was to take four hours off each night to sleep. There's not so much DX to work from Texas on 40 and 80, and without Beverages I figured I'd have even less to work. I also figured that most of the W/VE multipliers I'd hear on 40 and 80 would likely OAPBOX: have been already worked on other bands. So, I took time off around 0700 UTC both nights. The first night, I just couldn't get up when the alarm went off at 1100 UTC, so I went back for another hour of sleep, and even then I was kind of slow to get moving. I didn't take any off time during the day on Saturday, as the weather forecast predicted storms on Sunday and I wanted to keep off time in case I had to shut down for a time for lightning or a tornado. On Sunday, I had a little under three hours of off time remaining, but I had to wait until the afternoon to take it before the weather radar on the TV assured me that the storms weren't going to get to us before the end of the contest. Unfortunately, Sunday afternoon was by far the best opening to Europe on 20 meters, and I am sure I missed out on multipliers during my off times.
My one run on 15 meters was on the first night of the contest during the 0100 UTC hour, when I worked stations in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. 15 meters never sounded good enough to try another serious run later in the contest, although I did make a few efforts on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, a small herd of cows was jogging by the station and one of them was issuing a series of short, really deep-throated calls that manged to resonate with the building walls and it sounded just like I remember it sounding at my office last year when they were screwing drywall into wall studs on the floor above us. It was only when I caught sight of the cows outside the window that I figured out what the noise was.
I had fun.
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