P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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Great fun, although Saturday and Sunday couldn’t have been more different. Saturday was surprisingly good, especially for this portion of the solar cycle. Sunday was classic Sweepstakes “Sunday doldrums”.

One of my all-time highest hourly rates was the first clock hour of this contest. That’s never happened before because it usually takes a bit of operating to find my rhythm. It was nice to hit it immediately. There wasn’t as much incoming rate as in the peak years, so that limited the service rate and it rolled off faster too. I’ve done this contest 16 years in a row now, so I watched my hourly results vs. the past 15 years and an average of those years.

Throughout Saturday I stayed above the average but behind my best years. When I took my main mid-contest break after 13.5 hours, I was slightly ahead of the 15-year average. It’s interesting that a third of the total QSOs were made in the first 5 hours and two thirds are made by the half-way mark. That’s just the reality of our limited participation number.

Sunday was a rude awakening. I only had 20m to work with, without a much of a second band, for an excruciatingly long time. 40 was open to NA but there were few stations on and even fewer that I hadn’t already worked. I wondered if 15 would ever open. I kept checking and trying to stir up action, but no dice. Finally, at 10:21am local time I got my first answer to a 15m CQ: TG9ANF. A while later, the States started trickling in, then a bit of EU. But even when the band opened it wasn’t as good as Saturday. I’m not sure how much was due to conditions vs. activity level. The rate sheet below tells the dismal story. In fact there was a period where it seemed we were headed for an radio blackout with signals all but disappearing in strength.

I also tried 10m but could never get a Q. Not a big loss for this contest unless the band is wide open where additional QSOs are available from the fixed participant number. Otherwise, 15/20 are sufficient for the SO2R operator during the day. Around 3pm local, I couldn’t take it any longer and grabbed a 30-minute break just to get away from the slow agony. Coming back, somewhat refreshed, I ditched 15 for 40 but there really wasn’t much improvement in rate. There was a short burst of rate in the late afternoon, but Sunday was definitely not as fun as Saturday.

Last year I addressed the Sunday Doldrums in RU by switching (unplanned) to FT8 and felt it increased the rate and total QSO count plus a few mults. It was a fun experiment and I’m glad I did it once. I resisted that urge this year because it moves the entry into the Unlimited (Assisted) category without the benefit of using Packet for RTTY. And, I prefer to push myself to find mults and wanted to operate that way. Also, I’m on the fence about a multi-mode digital contest. I suppose it is analogous to the ARRL 10-Meter Contest with CW and SSB but that contest provides single mode entries so there’s not the incentive to optimize mode strategy. OTOH, maybe that’s a nice format to have for a few contests where the operator has to use mode choices judiciously.

This is the first contest using the all new towers and antennas at the cottage here. We took the old stuff down in late October/early November and got a lot of the new replacements up. The week before RU, I did some more tasks and we’ll be back in February to get it all wrapped up. Well, it’s never “wrapped up” because there’s always maintenance and improvements, but the bulk of the rebuild should soon be complete. So far everything has worked fine, but it’s never as straightforward as the plan.

Thanks to all for the QSOs, including the multi-banders (136 on all four bands). Thanks to John W6LD/P40L and Andy AE6Y/P49Y for sharing their cottage station. Look forward to doing this again with you all next month for WPX RTTY.

Rohn 45 tower (66’): Single boom 2-element shortened 40m interlaced with 4-element 20m (67’)

80m Inverted-V (65’); 160m Double-L (65’)

North Rohn 25 tower (50’): Single boom 5-element 15 interlaced with 6-element 10 (52’)

South Rohn 25 tower (43’): Tri-bander

Beverages: 4 controlled by K9AY switchbox: JA/West-US, East US, EU and East-West (AF and OC)

K3S/P3/K-pod x 2

Alpha amps: 86 and 91B

WriteLog 12.46D, TinyFSK keyer, networked ThinkPads (one per radio plus a main spare)


Ed - P49X (W0YK)