P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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Really enjoyed the weekend, my 14th consecutive year as a P4. More activity and better conditions would be great, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. I was discouraged at the outset with a very slow start. Typically, the first 4 hours are 200+ QSOs/hour, but this year all I could get was less than 125/hour. Saturday morning was the highest rate period as seen in the rate table below. 40 was OK, not great, but neither 20 nor 80 produced much at all at the contest start. I used my hourly stats from 2017 as the reference during the contest, since that was almost tied with my all-time best result and it was near the solar minimum. Unfortunately, conditions and activity this weekend made it futile to keep up. The 2017 reference was both motivating and depressing!

There were spurts of rate, but nothing consistent. The bands were variable, changing often from ear-crushing signal levels to near black-out. Some QSOs were printed with virtually no audio in the headphones. 10 meters was unproductive, as it has been since 2016 from here. A few SA QSOs could be squeezed out, but there is no reason to do that. 15 meters was good but not as strong as 2017 (644 vs. 1069 QSOs). It didn’t open up for any kind or rate until about noon local time and petered out by late afternoon. And, 20-80 meters were down a bit from 2017 for a net all-band decrease of about 600 QSOs. OTOH, the bands were all pretty quiet and pleasant to operate on.

It was challenging to make good use of SO2R (or, 2BSIQ in modern lingo) because there were often times when 2 strong bands weren’t available. The 30-hour Single-Op scoring limit could have been even shorter this year. The upside of lower rate is that it was easier to improve my SO4V skills using the two sub-receivers, working split, to work mults and new stations on each of the two bands where I was running. Juggling 4 streams, interleaved, max’d me out at times. It will either keep me young or provoke heart failure.

As always, my strategy was to milk the low bands as much as possible and use the remaining time for the high bands. Twice the QSO point value is a compelling incentive. And, there are still plenty of hours for high bands where the prefix multiplier count can be built. Despite my comments above about lower rate, the low band rate sustained later in the early morning than prior years which was a plus.

The station performed flawlessly, other than our long-standing re-radiated RFI causing 40 to QRM 20 and 20 to QRM 10. To a lesser degree, 80 re-radiates into 40 too. This is the third major contest with the entirely new tower/antenna replacement (mostly) done last November, and it all works beautifully.

Several QSO partners moved from our QSO on one band to the other band in literally seconds. Whether QSYs were this speedy or not, the multi-band QSOs are really appreciated. Thanks to all my QSP partners for getting in the log. I hope you all had as much fun as I did. Thanks as always to station owners Andy P49Y/AE6Y and John P40L/W6LD. They arrived at the end of the contest for another week to wrap up the rebuild project.

Rohn 45 tower (66’): Single boom 2-element shortened 40m interlaced with 
4-element 20m (JK 2040); 80m Inverted-V (65’); 160m Double-L center-fed vertical

North Rohn 25 tower (55’): Single boom 5-element 15 interlaced with 6-element 10 (JK 1015)

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 12.48B, TinyFSK keyers, networked X-220 ThinkPads (one per radio plus a
 main spare)

73, Ed - P49X (W0YK)