P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

Back to P40L-P49Y Contest Page







Callsign Used:




STATION - Sincere thanks to John P40L/W6LD and Andy P49Y/AE6Y for providing the opportunity to pilot their station again this week. I really had a super time.

Note: All of the P40L/P49Y towers are on a small 100 x 100 foot lot:

Rohn 45 tower (66’): Single boom 2-element shortened 40m interlaced with 4-element 20m (68’) (JK2040, long-boom version); 80m Inverted-V (65’); 160m Double-L center-fed vertical dipole (65’)

North Rohn 25 tower (56’): Single boom 5-element 15 interlaced with 6-element 10 (58’) (JK1015 configured for dual feed)

South Rohn 25 tower (45.5’): Tri -bander (JK Mid-tri)

Beverages: 4 beverages controlled by K9AY switchbox: West-US (800’), East US (500’), EU (800’)and East-West (AF and OC) (350’)

Rig: Elecraft K3/P3 + Alpha 91B 900 to 1000 watts. Logging software: Win-test 4.40


I'm proud to report the score posted above is the HIGHEST I've EVER accomplished from Aruba. Let me try to put this in some prospective

This year was my 33rd Single Operator All Band entry in CQWW CW from Aruba in the past 36 years. I've only gone elsewhere three times: 1988 - PJ1B M/M, 2000 - A61AJ M/M, and 2003 V47KP M/2. My first operation in 1985 was as P40GD from the home of Jim, P43JD (SK). Then over the following seven years I operated from the home of Gary, P43GR. When Gary left the island in '94 the station was moved to its present location in Santa Cruz. Having survived several life-threatening health events over these many years, I feel blessed and grateful to be here and still be physically able to enjoy this great sport of ours. There are few competitive activities where participants north of age 70 can compete with those half in age and have a realistic expectation of success. I think my ole friend Jim, N6TJ would agree with me on this point and say 'bring em on'.

Over the last three decades here have been some amazing changes in the world of technology which have impacted ham radio and contesting. In particular, the explosion of personal computers, advances in transceiver design, and eventually the widespread availability of internet access. All have them have made off-shore travel with radio equipment and contesting far easier and more enjoyable.

I'm old enough to vividly recall logging every contest QSO by hand and then facing the painful chore of manually duping those P40 logs for submission. Fortunately by the early 90's computer logging was evolving into the newest "best thing", making the lives of contesters (and contest sponsors) easier. Hats off to the early contest logging software pioneers (K1EA in particular and many others too) for creating something most competitors take completely take for granted today. I'm also thankful laptop computers became smaller and affordable at about the same time.

Competition grade transceivers have evolved from seventy pound monsters to much smaller and more powerful seven pound feature rich powerhouses, delivering receiver sensitivity and selectivity only dreamed of back in the day. The chore of hand carrying my old Kenwood TS-930 was gladly replaced with packing an Elecraft K3 in a suitcase, with no one the wiser. I vividly remember the times that along with the TS-930, I also had an Alpha 87A power transformer carried in a bowling ball bag and a not so light or small Toshiba laptop as hand luggage. We've come a long way over the last three decades.

The growth of the internet the last couple decades has radically changed the world and its benefits to contesting are many. We can now literally connect to anyone anywhere with just a few keystrokes or by pressing some digits on a phone keypad. Gaining access to what is at times critical technical information is now a trivial task and almost effortless. The isolation that used to be a large part of the island expedition experience back in the 80's and 90's is forever in the rear view mirror. We've progressed from paper to automated on-line log submission and the computers grade our logs harder than ever. The cluster concept has evolved from a small number of isolated packet radio networks into a global RBN system by virtue of internet resources. Contesters have greatly benefited from this evolution of internet connectivity and technology and remain quick to exploit new developments.

All of these changes the last several decades have made the effort required to travel off to some island contest paradise that much easier and efficient. Its fortunate and timely too since many of us have reached a point in life where travel can be a somewhat more arduous undertaking, especially when lugging copious amounts of gear. Youth unfortunately is not eternal.

The 2022 CQWW CW contest will always be remembered as a special one for me. I felt like I was at the top of my game when the bell rang and immediately enjoyed incredible rates at the start, ripping off 229, 253 and 238 hours back to back to back (see the rate sheet). As 0200Z rolled by and I consciously resisted the strong urge to QSY to 160 meters (one of my important strategy changes this year - I waited till 0400 for my Top Band fix). Caught early 80 meter traffic from EU and the US instead. Five hours in to the contest the average rate was a very healthy 205/hour - by far the best start I've ever experienced in any contest. Remember this is with just one radio, no SO2R, no 2SBIQ.

160 meters turned out to be the expected disappointment. Signals were weak - the anticipated absorption a reality. Worked down the USA pileup - only three EU and one AS stations joined the party that hour. For the remainder of the first night there were better bands to gather points and multipliers.

Another change from my normal was to spend more time on 40 meters near EU sunrise. Not sure if this really helped that much but it didn't hurt. When it came time to consider a short break at 0830, I didn't feel tired at all so decided to power though the remaining deep night and mentally prepare for the sunrise runs, on 20 and then skipping over 15 going right to 10 where the band was wide open to EU.

Another change in strategy called for abandoning the run to spend five to ten minutes each hour grabbing multipliers, particularly the doubles that were shown on the band map. The goal was to work at least one new mult per minute spent in hunting mode. Did this at least 25 times over the course of the weekend and believe it contributed significantly to the final elevated Z and C counts. Year over year, I enjoyed an increase of 75 mults representing nearly a 10% improvement over 2021.

Saturday morning and early afternoon involved switching back and forth between 15 and 10 with a planned emphasis on 10 to capitalize on the robust EU opening - knowing it could fail to materialize again on Sunday (it fortunately did repeat Sunday morning but not nearly as long and strong - you just never know).

Finished out the first day with a few hours of running stateside on 20. At the half way point there were 4000 contacts and roughly 6.6 million points in the log. It seemed the trend would a finish between 14.5 and 15.2 million if conditions held together (and the operator did too).

Seeing lots of mult activity on the 160 band map, I made a sweep there starting at 0030 grabbing 13 much needed multipliers in 22 minutes, mostly EU. Conditions seemed much improved over the first night.

During the 0100 hour abandoned the run again and clicked off another 28 multipliers on 80/40/20/15 including six doubles. Being one radio limited forces the need to periodically go on search and destroy binges like this one for a somewhat extended period of time (34 minutes). Fortunately it was very successful.

Another mini mult binge occurred in the middle of the 0500 hour, adding another 12 mults, eight of which were on 160 in 16 minutes of effort.

By 0800 the run rate had dropped below 200 and I was ready for some sleep. The plan was to take a nap for 1.5 hours. It turned out differently. As a consequence I was a little late to the party Sunday morning. Ten was still productive but definitely didn't produce the expected rate and I keep trying to make that happen without success - I should have been on 15.

During the 1400 hour I embarked on another mini-mult binge adding 22 mults in 30 minutes, with multiple doubles. From this point on to the end of the contest the multiplier available window rarely had more than five or six calls listed for all the bands at any one time. It seems you eventually reach a multiplier plateau of sorts at a certain point. A large number of those still needed were close in Carib countries, the most unfavorable places for real propagation. But slowly over the next five hours many made it into the log - it was most often the result of successfully timing calls when the pileup subsided - it's never easy.

The last six hours I tried hard to max rate ... shooting for 6400 contacts and I got there with a whole five minutes to spare.

The dupe count was substantially lower than normal by a factor of two or three this year. Would love to know how and why this happened. I'm ecstatic!

Breaking pileups is a big part of the Assisted game and I'm still shaking my head in disbelief about how I somehow managed to make QSOs when what I felt there was an impossible wall of calling stations to overcome at the moment. This was particularly true when calling and working Carib stations on 10 and 15 meters as well as many stations in AS and AF. Some signals were of whisper quality. Bravo to the guys with great ears.

Special thanks to the 45 of you who made it into the log on six bands, and another 98 on five. This doesn't happen by accident. VFB!

Congratulations to those operators who are using advanced 2SBIQ and SO2R/SO2V techniques to earn amazing scores (in particular this time EA8RM, N2NT, AA3B, N5DX, CT1ILT, EA3M, RA3CO and others). I remain in awe of what you are doing. The nice thing about contesting and particularly the contests sponsored by CQ Magazine, there are entry class opportunities to fit the competitive abilities of all participants, both young and "older", really something for everyone. ILTHRS.

Hope to return to Aruba for this one again next fall. CQWW CW will always be the BIG ONE for me.

73, John, W2GD/P40W/P44W