P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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I like to post my contest results to 3830 within an hour after the contest ends, so I regret being delinquent with this one.  Due to extreme fatigue (read further!) and various station de-commissioning tasks before catching my flight home, I’m finally getting around to looking at log statistics and writing this post on the plane.

Once again, we owe much of our fun and satisfaction of operating CQWW RTTY and other RTTY contests to the ever increasing, enthusiastic participants, many for the first time.  In addition, the quality of operating continues to improve overall along with the personal bests achieved each year.  Many stations worked P49X on four bands and three made it on five bands: HC8N, K4ADR (FL) and N5SJS (TX).

My highest clock hour rate was 151 compared to 193 in ARRL RTTY Round-Up this year.  Propagation on 15-80 “seemed” ptty good, but my results don’t reflect it.  Admittedly my last reference on P4 propagation was CQWW WPX CW in May when Aruba got its turn in the propagation black hole, even compared to other Caribbean QTHs.  So, I was really pleased with the propagation improvement this weekend.

I chose not warm up starting run frequencies and didn’t work my first 40 meter contact until minute 3 and my first 80 meter contact until minute 9.  That diminished my beginning enthusiasm and contest outlook, but once some rate developed I was pleasantly distracted with working the contest.  Unlike many other reports I found 15 meters to be much better on Saturday than Sunday.  I spent a lot of pre-contest effort on the Beverage system only to find low band conditions that didn’t really favor the Beverages over the transmitting antennas.  Still I used the Beverages exclusively on 40 and 80 because the K9AY SO2R Beverage switch allowed instant direction change between US-West, US-East and Europe (or any combination).  Since the February tower/antenna re-build project, the 20, 40 and 80 antennas are ten feet higher and the 80 horizontal dipole is a huge improvement over the prior inverted-V and inverted-L antennas.

With 15 performing so well to both Europe and North America, I was ”sure” that I could rally some contacts on 10 meters and at least pick up some mults.  I even took a blind flyer on Sunday and CQ’d for an hour hoping to instigate a Packet pileup.  I picked up the Azores, Argentina and Venezuela by tuning around.  But, I never heard ZX2B and missed working Oms, PY5EG, who answered my CQ, for a double-mult.  Today I run into the HC8N team on the plane and learn they had a short run to both Europe and the US, accounting for much of the multiplier difference between us.

I haven’t done much serious SO CQWW in recent years (any mode) and that haunted me this weekend.  I was not physically capable of operating the 47 hours that I did.  At 32 hours in I kept dozing off and decided to take a 45 minute nap.  This was after several short dozing events, one of which resulted in sending Windows on the left computer into some inescapable Accessibility mode where the keyboard was unresponsive after my hand collapsed on it.  A re-boot was needed to restore operation.  Feeling somewhat “refreshed” after my nap, I sat down in the chair ... and couldn’t remember how to operate!  I can’t describe this in words, but for the remainder Sunday I was frustrated with never understanding what I was doing by copying zone and QTH data into another part of the screen.  I was sure there was something else I should be doing, but danged if I could remember what it was.  I was particularly concerned that I didn’t remember how to “work” other stations, only record their zone and state on the screen.  Only those who have experienced the effects of extreme sleep deprivation will appreciate what I went through for those 15 hours!

Clearly I needed to tend to my sleep needs, however slight, long before hallucination set in.  This is just one of many aspects of radio-sport that must be well-executed for overall high performance.  How much did this negatively impact my results is unknown.  But, I certainly didn’t feel like I was doing my best.  This is much less a factor in CQWW WPX or ARRL RTTY Round-Up because breaks need to be taken earlier in the contest for strategic reasons irrespective of sleep needs.  There is an important reason many serious single-ops post 40-44 hours operating time in CQWW.

My next biggest mistake was not operating 20 at night.  I pretty much stuck to 80 and 40 during darkness and as a result I missed a number of 20 meter mults.  The 80 meter number is OK, but it would have been better to trade off some of that time for key hours on 20 meters.  Somehow I missed Montana on every band.

Thanks again to everyone for the contacts and moves.  As always, my appreciation to station owners P40L/W6LD and P49Y/AE6Y.


Ed, P49X (W0YK)