P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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I had not operated the ARRL DX Phone contest from Aruba since dismantling my P40A station in 2011. Many months ago my wife and I had planned an Aruba vacation around this time frame and just days before leaving home I learned that the P49Y/P40L station was available. The owners Andy, AE6Y and John, W6LD had just completed a major antenna overhaul in February so the station was in pristine condition and they were so kind to let me use it.

I had little available time for operating while on the island except during the contest. We were quite busy vacationing and enjoying Aruba. We went shopping, walked and swam the lovely beaches, ate at great seafood restaurants and even went scuba diving where we saw a sea turtle swim out of a shipwreck. I added a few new vacation photos including the turtle to http://www.p40a.com. On Friday afternoon we essentially moved into the P49Y/P40L home for the weekend.

The station is well equipped, however I brought along my Elecraft K3S and peripherals because it was familiar. Everything at P49Y/P40L is clearly labeled and organized and earlier in the week I talked with W6LD for an hour on WhatsApp, so I became very familiar with the setup. I started on 20m and had a great first hour total of 253 QSOs. As this band closed for the night and rates diminished I switched to 40 and the 200+ rates resumed. I forgot how much fun this contest was from a big station! Since I was the only active participant from Aruba, I anticipated having the same big pileups when switching to 80m and 160m later in the evening, however that did not occur at all. Low power is just not loud on the low bands and my first QSY attempts produced no contacts. There were times later in the evening when propagation was either a little better or I was spotting a lot and I did manage do pretty well on 80m. 160m was always a struggle and I missed a lot of sections. The station has an incredible beverage system so I could easily hear most of the 80m and 160m callers.

15m was open during most of the daylight hours and it was a great place to be to avoid all of the 20m QRM however, propagation was spotty. In some areas I was very strong and in others, especially to the west, I was barely readable. I missed some normally easy multipliers but I made a lot of QSOs especially to the southeastern part of the U.S. While on 15m I listened to the station’s K3 set on 10m hoping for an opening but I only heard South America stations running the US. I did not make a single 10m QSO all weekend, I do not recall that ever happening to me before in this contest. By the halfway point I had made 3600 QSOs, three years ago from the mountain station in St Croix where I operated as WP2AA, I made a total of 3900 low power QSOs all weekend so I felt that things were going quite well.

I did not sleep at all on the first night nor was I not well rested at the beginning so I took a five hour dinner, nap and shower break which felt great. I was refreshed and hoped that this would allow for higher Sunday daytime rates plus enough energy to move back into our rental house so that we could pack for the Monday flight home. Unfortunately conditions seemed a little worse on Sunday and rates were about half of Saturday's. I typically work all dupes however at times they can became annoying when there are so many. In one 1/2 hour segment, near the end, despite clearly and slowly saying my callsign, 26 operators duped me which forced me to change bands. The contest was very enjoyable and the station worked flawlessly. I would like to thank AE6Y and W6LD for allowing us to invade their home and station for the weekend. I would also like to thank my QSL Manager, WD9DZV for putting my logs on LoTW, Clublog and EQSL plus replying to card requests. Plus a special thanks to everyone for the QSOs.