P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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Ed, W0YK, and I had a lot of fun doing ARRL DX CW as a multi-single last year, so we decided to try it again to see if we could improve on our results.

Ed had operated the station in the WPX RTTY contest the previous weekend. The original plan had been for me to join him right after he completed the contest, but I unfortunately was delayed due to work conflicts. By the time I arrived around mid-night on Thursday, Ed had the station fully reconfigured for ARRL DX CW and all that remained was to tweak our messages and to develop a band plan and operating schedule. He had logged 500 QSOs during the week on 160 and 10, so we felt confident in our setup, especially since the station had just come off WPX RTTY weekend with 3600 QSOs across 80-10.

We ran the station through its paces overnight on 160 (with a very nice opening to Europe) and periodically throughout the course of the day Friday (with very strong 10 meter openings into both the U.S. and Europe). With an additional 500 practice/test QSOs in the log by the time 0000z rolled around, everything was looking very promising: the station seemed to be working great and band conditions were the best they had been in years.

But, despite all the preparation and testing, annoying problems cropped up from the very beginning and persisted throughout the contest. None of the problems were disasters, but they were just enough to distract and throw us off a bit. They included erratic keying by WriteLog using Winkeyers, an 80 meter antenna that seemed not to work right when we needed it (after working great just hours earlier) and some intermittent issues with one amplifier.

Ed spent much of the first six hours or so methodically troubleshooting while I tried to maintain some semblance of rate. I'd like to say that we eventually got the problems under control, but that would suggest that we were able to clearly identify the causes. Instead, we found fixes that worked for most problems and others eventually just subsided or disappeared on their own accord with the causes remaining a mystery in all cases.

Conditions proved to be excellent throughout the weekend with solar flux peaking at 125. 160 meters was excellent, especially Friday night, and we had good, long openings on 10 meters both days. In the end, we were able to improve on last year results by about five percent. We felt good about our multiplier totals on all bands except 10 meters where despite high QSO totals we think we missed out on four or five multipliers by operating on 15 meters instead of 10 meters during a critical hour or so Sunday afternoon. VE5 was noticeably absent on the low bands.

The day after the contest was spent on various station projects with much of the time spent out in the Cunucu working on the beverages. We greatly enjoyed getting together for a lovely post-contest dinner organized by Andy, P40LE/K2LE, with other hams on the island, including Truus and Martin (P43MRS/VE3MRS and P49MR/VE3MR), Jean-Pierre and Chris (P43A and P43C), Carl (P49V/AI6V), Andy (P40LE/K2LE) and Ed (P49X/W0YK).

Congratulations to the many fine efforts put on by others, especially the TI5A team for a new record in the multi-single category, the P49V team (AI6V and K2LE) for their excellent results in the new lower power multi-single category and PJ4A's and ZF2AM's very impressive SOHP results.

As always, thanks for all the QSOs.

73, John, W6LD/P40L

Rigs: Elecraft K3s (2); Icom 756 Pro II
Amps: Alpha 86, Ten-Tec Titan 425

C31XR at 43 feet
2 elements 10 meter at 55 feet
5 elements 15 meter at 55 feet
4 elements 20 meter at 68 feet
2 elements 40 meter at 76 feet
1 element 80 meter Sigma 80 at 64 feet
160 meter "Double L" vertical at 67 feet
Four 500 foot beverages using K9AY switching box/preamp
Logging software: WriteLog on three networked computers
DSL Internet for Packet/Reverse Beacon