P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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After removing the towers, antennas and all of my belongings in March from the home that I owned, I did not think that I would be returning to Aruba again this year. Andy, AE6Y / P49Y had planned on operating this contest from the station that he and W6LD / P40L own. Andy cancelled his contest plans to spend time with his daughter who was expecting a child and he became a grandfather just days before the contest. Congratulations on your new grandson! Andy asked me if I wanted to operate the station and before he could complete the sentence I said YES! I had operated the CQWW Phone contest 9 times in the last 10 years from Aruba and it is one of my favorites. My wedding anniversary occurred on the day after CQWW Phone and my wife was able to join me making for a perfect vacation. W0YX / P49X had used the station for the CQWW RTTY contest and everything was in great condition except for one broken wire on the 160m antenna. During my last trip, I was unable to bring home my Yaesu FT1000-MP Mark-V and AI6V / P49V was nice enough to store it for me. So, shortly after arriving in Aruba I picked up my transceiver at Carls home and set up the shack. Just prior to the trip I purchased a new laptop and I brought my MicroHAM Digi Keyer to interface the computer with the Yaesu FT1000-MP Mark-V. I had one small problem, for some reason my transceiver was not supplying 12 volts to the Digi Keyer. Fortunately, I was easily able to solder a wire to the unit and use one of the power supplies in the shack. It took me a little while to get used to the laptop keyboard. The 160m antenna was also pretty easy to fix from ground level so I had plenty of time to enjoy my vacation time with the XYL prior to the contest. We enjoyed snorkeling at Baby Beach and the fish all enjoyed feasting on a loaf of bread that we brought them for lunch. Apparently, these fish were not aware of that old saying “Don't bite the hand that feeds you.” We also enjoyed dining out and shopping in town prior to the weekend.

About 15 minutes before the contest began, a gecko ran across the wall of the living room. I tried, unsuccessfully, chasing it out of the house as my wife is not fond of these critters. So much for her relaxing weekend! We finally captured it on Monday and released it outside. For CQWW Phone I decided to try operating SOAB (A), which is a category that I had never tried before. Since CQWW is a strategic contest with so many countries active, I thought that this category would give me the most fun over the 48 hour period. I had only one radio set up and thought that the packet spots would keep me aware of the activity outside my passband. My setup was pretty basic using a manual amp and antenna switch. The contest starts very late in Aruba, at 8:00PM, but signals on 15m were still strong so I knew that conditions were going to be good. 20m was in great shape the pileups seemed never ending late into the first night, however I had to leave the high rates and switch to 40m, 80m and 160m while those bands were still open to Europe. 40m was very crowded and 80m and 160m were noisy so I fought the crowds on 40m as long as I could while working a number of different countries. I later tried 80m, where I could hear P40W running Europe on his 80m beam, but I did not have his success using the shortened dipole. 160m seemed almost dead every time I listened, where was everyone on top band? At the end of the first night I was happy with my progress, except that I had only worked 29 countries on 80m. Obviously my strategy of multipliers finding me was not working, at least on the low bands. I tried to pick up multipliers using the packed spots during slower times or when I needed a little break, but I had a lot of problems keeping the system connected, especially while operating the low bands where I needed it most. So while it was useful for picking up multipliers at times, it was also a tremendous distraction. I tried making some adjustments, but I was never successful at keeping the spots coming. I believe that there were some problems with the DSL line, some RF issues and there was likely a better way for me to set up packet on my computer. On the second night I worked much harder tuning up and down the bands and I was able to greatly improve my 80m multipliers. I then took a three hour nap hoping to have enough energy for the pileups that would start after sunrise. Amazingly the second day seemed just as busy as the first and I ran stations all the way to the end. In fact I made 318 contacts in 60 minutes late on Sunday. This CQWW Phone contest was a blast. Conditions were so good on so many bands that it was difficult for me to figure out how to operate this one. In hindsight, I should have spent more time on 10m. My neighbor down the street, P40W who has 25 years of experience operating from Aruba made over 1000 more contacts on 10m than I did. I did have some rain static and the 10m monobander had only two elements, but certainly more QSOs were possible. I did well on the rest of the bands and came close to the 2003 Assisted record.

Afterwards the XYL and I met with W2GD / P40W and W5AJ / P40P for a nice dinner and conversation. The following day was our anniversary and I had a great time with my wife Leslie. We were married in Aruba 9 years ago, just after a WW contest. This was another great trip and I would like to thank AE6Y and W6LD for the use of their home and station. I would also like to thank everyone for the QSOs. Please QSL via WD9DZV.


John KK9A / P40A