P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

Back to P40L-P49Y Contest Page







Callsign Used:




AE6Y February 2018 Aruba Trip Notes – ARRL DX CW Contest

Andrew L. Faber, AE6Y, P49Y

Tuesday, February 13 - Wednesday, February 14, 2018. A typical overnight AA flight leaving SFO at 2145. Not bad, but economy seats very uncomfortable for sleeping; much better when I took off my red fleece and put it behind my head as a pillow. I whiled away the 5-hour layover at the Admiral’s club at D15 after a long walk from D45 (the club at D30 was closed). The flight to Aruba arrived about 10 minutes late, not bad considering it took off 40 minutes late due to a plane and gate change. Picked up the car, a Hertz Chevrolet Sparky, a small 4-door hatchback with just room in the trunk for my one suitcase (which had the P3 plus stuff for Lissette and Cindy in addition to my clothes).

At the house I verified that the lower leg of the 160 had been left out by Ed, thankfully. Hooked up the internet and phone message machine, setting the correct time. After unpacking, did a little bit of station cabling, and then went off for a 42-minute run at Savaneta. There were lots of people out at the Mangel Halto beach. Very pleasant temp in the low 80s with moderate humidity and a nice breeze. It obviously had rained earlier, judging from puddles.

John Crovelli had set up a dinner with the guys who are staying at Ben’s and will be doing a multi as P40E, at the Urataka Center Pizza place on the road to Arikok. I met him at his house, and drove us there. We had a couple of Balashis while we waited for them to find the place, then a convivial pizza dinner with Ray (K9RS), Steve (AA7V), Bruce (AA5B), and Art (N3DXX). They all had known each other for decades, growing up in Delaware. It rained hard while we were there and as we drove back, then off and on for the rest of the evening.

In the shack, I hooked up the shack K3/P3 in the right position, and mine in the left, and set up the computer running CQPWIN. The Compaq 4-port expander is plugged into the computer, and the Winkeyer into one of the jacks. It’s on Com 7. The 4-port USB to serial adaptor cable is into another jack. On it Com3 and Com4 are for the radios, and Com6 is the R1/R2 switch (these are the jacks labeled 1, 2, 4). It all seemed to work. I entered the 0300Z CWT, but did poorly, feeling quite uncoordinated, then relaxed with a glass of Frangelico, as it continued to rain.

There is new aluminum sheeting over our backyard patio, and new couches and drapes in the cottage, all of which look quite nice.

Thursday, February 15, 2018. Slept very soundly till 8 am. This morning there were blue skies and sunshine, with a dry road out front. After brewing some coffee from old coffee in the freezer, I headed out to Lings for $100 worth of food shopping on an empty stomach. Andy Bodony called (we had worked in CWT and he was hoping to get some time in at P40E). Then off to socialize, first to Cindy’s to give her the phone I had bought for her and some money to give to Cris for the house. Then several hours with Lisandro and Lissette, first chatting in their house (they are both off work still), then for a quick sandwich at the Santa Cruz Subway. We had a very interesting discussion about Lissette’s “uncle” (no relation actually), the Maduro who is running Venezuela and who just cut off all trade relations with Aruba. They feel slightly threatened having this strange place just off their coast. Lisandro said the tankers anchored off shore now are closer to Aruba to make sure they don’t actually anchor within the 6-mile territorial waters of Venezuela. Travel between the countries is now problematic as well, a hardship for the many Arubans with family in Venezuela.   

They were complaining about a solid week of rain along with more high winds than normal. Some of Lisandro’s antennas have been wind-damaged. He proudly showed me his new Orion 10” Newtonian “Astrograph” with a computerized mounting and two Canon SLRs for taking photos.

Back at the shack, I tried out the 91B. It worked well on all bands, though the output was limited to perhaps 900 watts on 10 meters, which is unlikely to be a factor in the contest. It puts out over a kW on the other bands; I didn’t check exactly how much. Ran some guys on 15, mostly east coast and PYs.

Then off for a run at a new running area. Part of the new bridge and road realignment north of us involved turning the old roadway into a linear park, which is now fully constructed. And they also built a paved pathway about 8 feet wide all the way down to our roundabout at Pos Chiquito. So I just started at the roundabout and ran north all the way to the turn-off for the Balashi plant, then back through various unpaved roads. The total run was 41 minutes; it was delightful to start so close to home, and not have any barking dogs or traffic to contend with. Thanks, Aruba! At that turnoff the path switches to the other side of the main road, but there was a lot of traffic, so I didn’t check that out. A drawback is that north of the linear park the pathway is right next to the road (separated by the normal crash barrier), so you are running next to traffic. With the wind, there was no exhaust problem, but it is somewhat unaesthetic late in the day with lots of cars.

Dinner with the boys was at Sole Mare, an excellent Italian restaurant on the road to the hotels (about two blocks on our side of Wacky Wahoo). After dinner, I checked out the 86, which was fine on all bands, then ran some US and EU on 160; the band was in good shape and very quiet. To bed at 11:30 or so.

Friday, February 16, 2018. Woke about 7:30 feeling rather logy but having slept well, and knocked the cobwebs clear with some coffee. At about 10:30 I drove off to Noord and stopped in to see the P40E crew at Ben’s place. Ray had made some interesting antenna innovations. The first was stringing up two beverages, one 250 feet long and one 1000 feet long. There is a dirt road behind the house, and significant cunucu behind that; the feedline goes across the road in a trench that they had dug. These are DXE reversible beverages, and he said they seemed to work well on 160 last night. He also repositioned the 80m inverted vee to be broadside to the US. It’s on the back tower, and they put up a vee director element on the front tower, to try to turn it into a two element vee beam. He says that the swr did change, indicating some effect, but they have no real way to measure it.  

I then drove down to the Balashi roundabout to have a 42-minute run, going north on the path that I had not taken yesterday. As I had suspected, it’s on the inland side of the road and runs along the road but after a mile or so, it turns inland and runs through the cunucu, which is dull, but at least away from the road. The inland part is actually supplied with street lights. After 10 minutes I turned around to go back, since I didn’t want to take too long a run, so I didn’t reach the place where it comes back to the highway. Then on to the Ritz, 3 km south of our roundabout, for a strawberry milk shake. According to the car, the temperature was 86 degrees with sunny and windy wx.

ARRL DX CW Contest Saturday, February 17-Sunday, February 18, 2018 – Contest notes more or less as dictated during the contest. [Normally, I dictate notes as the contest progresses into a hand-held microcassette recorder, and I did that for about half the contest, before I noticed that the tape wasn’t moving! So my sense impressions are mostly lost, but I’ve reconstructed a bit from the log.]

Fortunately, 20 was open at the start of the contest, and I stayed on 14031 for a little over an hour, working about 43 mults, before jumping to 40. After 275 Qs on 7048, I tried out 160 starting at 0232Z. It was in great shape. In fact, the low bands were exceedingly quiet for the whole contest. The West US beverage worked great. The East one seemed about 10dB down, but still was directional. To 80 at 0323Z, then bouncing back and forth among the low bands for a few hours. First move of the contest was WD0T in SD from 40 to 3555. Then VY2ZM from 40 to 80 (not really necessary since both he and VY2TT were active) and VE4GV from 40 to 160 (and he later called in on 80 as well. Never did get VE5 on 160, btw), W3DQ from 80 to 160 (again, maybe not necessary, as it turned out there were quite a few DDC stations on this weekend, though in the past DQ and KE3X were often the only two), VE6BBP and W7YAQ in OR from 80 to 160 (right after this move, two more OR’s called in – go figure), K7TM in ID from 80 to 160. Another unnecessary move: AA1K in DE from 160 to 40.

The first night is the worst time of all mentally. I tend to get really tired and unfocussed, and start asking myself: “Why am I doing this,” and “How am I going to survive; there’s such a long time to go.” I was feeling miserable and took a 15-minute power nap at 0937. Amazingly, sitting in the armchair for a quarter hour really does help. Then as the sun comes up at about 1030Z, my circadian rhythm kicks in and I start to feel more awake. Strangely, the second night is easier, as I’ve noted in past notes. I move VO1BQ from 40 to 80 at 1037Z. 20 seems open, and I go there at 1149Z. I keep hoping 15 will open and it finally does at 1346Z. Then several hours on 15, watching on the second radio for 10 to open. It does open for about an hour and a half. I stay on it from 1623Z to 1741Z, leaving only as the rate slows a bit and it seems as though I’ll never get the western mults. No 6s or 7s, and not NE, SD, or ND of the zeroes. No VEs west of VE3. Second 10m Q is K9NW, who thus becomes my first 6-bander. But it’s great to get any opening on 10m, and 43 mults are in the log.

Back to 21034 at 1745Z and I stay on 15 for close to 3 hours. A few moves to 20, including W7SE in WY, N0GC in ND, N7XCZ in NV (probably not necessary). Then to 20 for three and one half hours. The 21Z hour is my best of the contest, at 220 Qs. I want to stay on 20 as long as possible, but finally abandon it at 0122Z for a trip to 160 then to 80. The 0200Z hour is a nice one with 158 QSOs on 40, all on 7031. I finally pack it in for the night at 0438Z. I don’t feel terrible, but I know that a few hours of sleep will really help. I go to bed fully clothed, setting 3 alarms, including my iPhone.

I actually wake up pretty easily, not feeling nearly as groggy as usual. Some coffee and cereal helps put me back together mentally, and I rejoin the fray at 0737Z. It’s tough to do this, as that is only 3:37 a.m., and it’s still very dark outside, so it’s not as though a new day is breaking yet. For the next two and one half hours, I alternate CQing on 40 and 80, which works well for these slow rate hours, making 60 Qs on 40 and 73 on 80. An excursion to 160 in the 10Z hour yields 43 QSOs but no new mults. I then go back to 40, as it’s broad daylight after about 6:45 a.m., waiting for 15 to reopen, which it finally does just before 1300Z. I’m on 15 for several hours. Two moves to 20: VO1HP and KE0Z (SD). The latter was pretty funny, as I gave him my usual freq of 14111, but when I got there, it turned out there we was some kind of wild pileup on that frequency. I was really kicking myself for not listening first, but I went up about 250Hz and called him, and he came right back. Whew!

I kept the right radio and the 86 on 10, waiting for it to open. Normally, by the way, I used the right radio on 10 and 160, and also at times on 40. Moves from 40 to 80 or from 15 to 20 were generally done on one radio, just by putting the amp in standby and cranking the power up to the full K3 max of 110 watts, which seemed generally sufficient.

Ten did open again, at just about the same time as yesterday, with the first Q at 1636Z. Unfortunately, it was a shorter opening than yesterday: good for 295 Qs, but only two new mults NE, and AZ. We never got the real western opening that I was hoping for. Back to 15 at 1812ZZ, then to 20 for a few good hours, and a last hour split between 20 and 40 closed out the contest. In the 22Z hour VO2AC called in for the only LB of the whole contest. I moved him to 40 for a new mult, but another move to 80 failed. Not sure if I messed up, or the signal just wasn’t there (he was a low power station according to his 3830 post). As detailed in the soapbox, below, toward the end I got pretty unfocussed and tired, and had to walk around a bit to restore some semblance of concentration.

Soapbox, as sent to 3830 reflector:

Well, this wasn't 2012, my last full-bore entry in this contest from P49Y, when my contact total was about 600 Qs higher. However, 10 was wide open then, and it was easy just to roll up 59 mults on 4 bands without much special effort. Before the contest, W2GD and I were worried about whether 15, let alone 10, would be useful this weekend. Maybe contest RF caused more ionization, as 15 was great both days, and 10 opened up for about an hour and half each mid-day. The first day, I got 43 mults on 10, but there seemed to be a north-south wall blocking sixes and sevens and some of the zeros. The second day I hoped there might be some greater coverage, but that didn't seem to happen, though post-contest discussion with P40E and P40W suggest there were some more possibilities (and I did pick up AZ and NE on Sunday). Perhaps to compensate, the low bands were very quiet here; in fact most of the time I just used our 40m yagi for receiving instead of the usually-required beverages.

Mults certainly are funny. Some years some are hard, and some years the same ones seem to be everywhere. In the latter category this year were DC, DE and ME and RI. I did virtually no tuning around, other than looking for a clear frequency to run on. Never heard YT, NT, or NU, and only worked VO2 near the very end when VO2AC called on 20 and obligingly moved to 40. Thanks to him and a number of other guys for moves, and I apologize to several who were willing but where something intervened to prevent the contact, either propagation or a QLF moment by me (e.g., being confused about which radio I was on at the time or was using for the move, which occasionally happened).

Congrats to some superlative scores and contact totals. I find I usually need all my limited powers of concentration to run one pileup, let alone two. There are times in this contest when it seems effortless and things just roll along, but there are more when it seems to take real work. In that vein, I need to apologize to some guys on 20 in the penultimate hour of the contest when I was getting tired and losing focus. In particular, a WB8 with a complicated callsign called in and I just couldn't hear it properly or type the letters in the right order, and when I tried to send it by hand, I messed that up also. I can just imagine the exasperated look on his face, thinking "who is this bozo?" Anyway, I immediately got up, walked around, and got myself refocused for the rest of the contest (the log shows only a two-minute gap till the next contact, but those two minutes improved my concentration from nil to a normal-for-that-time of maybe 80%). Others must lose concentration also (or maybe it's just bad packet spotting), as I had 173 dupes! Since I sent my call after every QSO most of the time, or at worst every 3 Qs, I don't know what else I can do, though maybe I just need to move in frequency as soon as dupes start to emerge. But even that won't prevent dupes due to an earlier mis-spot. For example, I think a lot of later dupes were generated by an early bad spot on 10, for P40Y. Obviously, there are quite a few contesters who simply work off the spot and never verify the callsign by actually listening (or consider the likelihood that both P40Y and P49Y are active in the same contest, which has never happened).

As always, one of the nicest things about visiting the island is socializing with old and new friends, on this trip including Lisandro (P43L) and xyl Lissette, JP (P43A) and Cris (P43C), the ubiquitous John (W2GD, P40W) and Andy (K2LE, P40LE),along with visitors Ray (K9RS), Steve (AA7V), Art (N3DXX), and Bruce (AA5B).

Thanks as always to Cris and JP for performing needed house maintenance and upgrades. Since my last visit in Oct. 2017, these include new living room couches and drapes, repaired roof, new patio aluminum roof and furniture and a new faucet in the bathroom. Thanks also to Ed (W0YK) and co-owner John (W6LD) for all of their ceaseless radio repairs and upgrades. Everything worked fine on this trip, with no lingering problems to be fixed. It was delightful not even to have to venture out in the cunucu behind the house to put down or take up the bottom leg of our 160m vertical dipole, as Ed had used it last weekend for RTTY, and John will use it in two weeks for phone.

73, Andy, AE6Y, P49Y

Monday, February 19, 2018. I woke up from the sleep of the dead at 7:30 and some coffee helped. Checked some 3830 write-ups then drove over to John’s, who drove us to Linda’s Pancake Restaurant (on the same road to the hotels as Sole Mare but the other side of the street and a bit inland). Met the boys (including Andy Bodony) for a nice breakfast, similar to what they serve at the Dutch Pankake House at the Seaport Center. I was glad we met at 9 as we got the last big table, and there were people waiting outside in the sun later. It was a beautiful morning, with the temperature about 25 deg. C. Returning home, I set up the laptop with a monitor in the dining room, just to get out of the radio room! BTW, I had brought down a wireless mouse and keyboard, both of which worked fine (including in the contest) and save some shack clutter.

I sent off a write-up to 3830, then went off for a mid-day run. It was sunny and quite windy and I even got rained on lightly and briefly at one point. I took my airport path run; it’s absolutely delightful for runners that the running/bike path is being built all the way from our roundabout up to Oranjestad, a distance of about 9 km, and it even looks like they are going to extend it further south, though it’s not obvious the land is available. Anyway, here’s what it does now: (1) from our roundabout it proceeds on the ocean side of the highway to the Balashi roundabout (my Thursday run); (2) then it crosses the highway and proceeds on the inland side (my Friday run). I found out today that it comes back to the road a little south of the first roundabout south of the airport; (3) There is about a km missing around the airport, then (4) it picks up again (today’s run) along the airport runways opposite the Do-It Center, and continues to the Renaissance Hotel in O’Stad. So I’ve taken 4 different routes on this trip – quite a change from a few years ago when I would only run at Savaneta!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018. I had tried running on our street before going to the airport on an earlier trip, but abandoned the idea rapidly as it seemed too dangerous to run on a street without sidewalks early in the morning. This time, however, I just drove to the roundabout and ran on the path to the north end of the linear park, for a very nice wake-up 28-minute run. Then to the airport. Ray and Bruce were on the plane also, and we all hung out at the Admiral’s club and chatted while awaiting our next flights. Finally arrived home at about 10:30 p.m.


Here are the 2018 breakdowns for the three Aruban contest stations. Included for comparison are P49Y and P40W scores from 2007 (eleven years ago under similar conditions), when I won LP and John won HP. Also included is my best ever single op score, from 2012, when conditions were much better on the high bands.


P49Y 2018 HP

P40W 2018 LPA

P40E 2018 MS

P49Y 2007 LP

P40W 2007 HP

P49Y 2012 HP