P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

Back to P40L-P49Y Contest Page







Callsign Used:





3830 Report

It was a lot of fun operating the WW again and I look forward to the CW and SSB events coming up. That we are at the bottom of the current solar cycle was abundantly clear this weekend. I amplified that fact by choosing to operate with 100 watts! Now, I know what the LP entrants deal with. I can’t imagine operating QRP; my hat is off to those stalwart folks.

Knowing that propagation would be poor and the difficulty I have being physically effective for 48 straight hours, I opted to get a few hours sleep each night. This was a trade-off to make the operating hours more pleasant, not having to fight extreme fatigue and drowsiness. I also considered either a 40 meter single-band or the Classic overlay. But, each of these would be SO1R and that wasn’t too interesting to me, especially on the RTTY mode.

The Low Power decision came earlier in the week when I had consistent high inter-station RFI between 20-10, 40-20 and 80-40. The lower band transmission raised the noise floor on the 2x higher band several S-units to the point of making copy of all but the very strongest signals impossible. Sometimes this noise instantly disappears, but I didn’t want to risk the entire weekend’s operating being relegated to a single radio. This is some kind of non-linearity external to the station so filters and stubs have no effect. It is actual re-radiated RF coming in the antenna port.

Plus, I was curious what a Low Power effort would be like. Unless my operating this weekend was extremely failed, though, I think we need better propagation and 10 meters before the LP record of 2001 can be challenged.

Despite enjoying the operating as always, the score is, by far, my lowest ever in this contest. I only managed to average 79 QSOs/hour compared to typically 130-140. And the high-rate hours were far below what I usually experience. I wonder if this is more related to lower overall activity than band conditions or my 100-watt transmitters.

I was struck with how low the total QSO count is. The final score was lowered significantly more due to far lower mults of all three types. Of course, a lack of 10 meters was a key factor but even on 20 and 40, I thought the mults should have been higher. Though 40 meters seemed to perform well, I still had much less QSOs than I expected.

There were excellent 10-meter openings, albeit short, late afternoon both days that unfortunately very few people participated in. From here, signals were strong all the way from Texas up to Ontario and all points east. We just needed many more stations to be there. Interestingly, 15 meters was almost dead during the 10-meter openings.

Low-band noise was higher on Saturday here than on Sunday. Still, the signal strengths on 40 and 80 were substantial enough for mostly good copy. I was impressed with how well 100 watts did on 40 and 80, though it clearly would have been easier with 1500. At times, there were S9+20 signals on the open band(s) and it occurred on both EU and NA signals. On Sunday there were a few periods of only about a minute each when some local man-made noise was switched on and literally rendered all high bands, 10-20, unusable. We’ve had this for extended periods in the past and I’m glad it was short-lived this time.

There were far few Jas and only on 20 meters for me. On the other hand, the YBs were out in force this weekend, but I had great difficulty getting them to hear me. While they were reasonably strong for me, I’m sure the EUs and other areas they were running had much stronger signals than mine. 1500 watts would have solved that as would have turning an antenna in their direction.

DC was added as a mult in this year’s rules, distinct from MD, but I didn’t encounter one until late Sunday. It was fun to work that new mult for the first time in the contest.

Other than the horrendous interstation RFI, the station played well. The East US Beverage was dead and I haven’t had time to troubleshoot. Late Friday night shortly before I was about to take a break due to low rates, one of the Rttyrite instances in the right-side WriteLog crashed and the right-side PC lost connection with the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Frenzied troubleshooting could not revive the Bluetooth devices so I installed USB devices and operated the rest of the contest.

Thanks to all the stations who moved to my other active band. Rates were so slow that I did a lot of moves that weren’t a new mult, but one more QSO in the log! Despite only 42 QSOs on 10 meters, 15 stations worked me on 5 bands.

And, thanks as always to John W6LD/P40L and Andy AE6Y/P49Y for sharing this fun station.


Ed, P49X (W0YK)


Rigs: Elecraft K3s (2), with P3s (2)
Amps: Alpha 86, Alpha 91B
Logging software: WriteLog 11.33b on three networked PCs, one for each SO2R radio and one master as backup.
Tower 1: 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 
Tower 2: 2 (yes, two!) elements on 10 meter interlaced with 5 elements on 15 meter at 55 feet 
Tower 3: C31XR at 43 feet
RX antennas:  four 400-500 foot beverages using K9AY switching box/preamp