P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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We arrived only three days before the contest with a healthy list of new station features and enhancements we wanted to try this visit. Given the amount of new (to us) features, we decided early on to simplify matters by taking high power out of the equation and planning to do the contest in the low power category.

Going into the contest, we thought there was an outside chance we could beat FY5FE’s excellent 2022 record in the category, but that our odds of doing so were somewhat reduced by not being a unique country mult. So . . . we were quite pleased to have results that appear to exceed the record by about 3 million points.

“Projects” this visit included:

1. Remote contest operation. Ed, W0YK/P49Y, agreed to join the effort remotely operating from his AirBnB vacation in the Pacific NW. We used RRC Elecraft “twins” for the radio connection, SoftEther to get Ed on our local LAN and PstRotator to support computer control of three rotator Green Heron RT-21s. We felt this was very successful with no serious “glitches.” Ed ended up operating the mult station during most of the late night/early morning hours in Aruba, making a bit more sleep for the local operators possible. All-in-all, the mult station was responsible for 380 contacts/mults. P40L/P49Y does not currently have any auto-tune amplifiers, so this was another reason for the decision to go low power.

2. SDR skimmer. We used a Red Pitaya STEMLab 125-14 SDR connected to a homebrew 10-40 meter vertical located about 750’ from closest transmitting antennas (beverages on low bands). The SDR was configured to send spots to both the RBN network and a local aggregator. Despite the 750’ of separation, different polarization of the RX and TX antennas and low TX power, phase noise seemed to be more of a problem than expected (probably warrants further investigation) and our impression is that the SDR may have been desensed on our run bands (based on lower numbers of spots). Also, the skimmer produced more spurious spots than expected (mostly variations of P40L) which we were mostly (but not 100%) able to filter out with Aggregator.

3. In-band S&P. In-band S&P capability for a M-S or M2 operation from the Caribbean has become key to achieving top scores. The P40L/P49Y station has never had true run band S&P capability. On this visit, we tried out an EA4TX interlock box combination with a EA4TX 2x2 antenna switch box, with receive antennas being another 10-20 vertical located 750’ from the TX antennas and beverages on the low bands. Efficient in-band S&P requires good coordination between the run and S&P ops; we discovered we have more work to do there. Generally, the set-up worked well on 40 and 80 but not so well on the high bands where the shared RX antenna seemed much weaker than expected. We ran out of time pre-contest to thoroughly test the box, and during the contest we were too busy to investigate and just dealt with it. Post-contest testing confirmed that the path through the RX antenna port on the 2x2 switch has 20dB of loss even though the DC resistance and SWR analyzer tests of that path look fine. Bottom line: the 2x2 box is defective and needs to be replaced. Even with these challenges, the in-band S&P station accounted for 341 QSOs, mostly the first night on 40 meters.

4. Antenna switching improvement. In the past, we’ve had problems with sharing the multiband antennas (JK Mid-Tri and 2L SteppIR) between the two main operating positions and implementing power sharing with StackMatches. On this visit, we added a second Six-Pak with the multiband antennas on two of the antenna ports so the two StackMatches can access either multiband antenna and power share with the applicable monoband antenna. This new arrangement worked fine, although we experienced intermittencies with the primary six-pak that switches between the monobanders. We suspect poor connections on the lock-out contacts of the six-pak relays due to build up of a “patina” of corrosion since last use. We expect that a good burnishing of the contacts will resolve the intermittency. We’re hoping that the next switching upgrade will be to implement computer-based switching to further enhance remote operation.

5. New logging software. All ops were relatively new to DXLog, so there was a learning curve that needed to be climbed. While it generally worked well for us and we discovered a number of useful features not always available with some of the other contest logging programs. However, we experienced occasional problems with keyboard shortcuts on the run radio that were very frustrating when running high rates. A common denominator seemed to be failure to respond or odd response following use of the Alt key. More investigation is required to ascertain whether this was a glitch with the software or a problem with the keyboard. According to another similar 3830 report, it appears it could be a software problem.

6. Propagation was generally very good from P4 this weekend, better Saturday than Sunday. Most of the time we felt loud 10, 15, 20 and 40 meters despite being low power. As to be expected, the big different for us between low and high power was on the low bands and getting through on some of the tougher mults. Getting through the mults was often much more time consuming lower power and we felt there were quite a few that were missed that we would have gotten had we been high power. As always, thanks for all the Qs. They are always much appreciated.

Congratulations to many fine single ops pushing the limits of the possible by operating 2BSIQ and the teams that continue to put in excellent efforts in the various multi categories.

73, The P40L team (N7MH, WE9V, W6LD, W0YK)

Station (all towers on a 100x100’ lot):

Rohn 45 tower (66’):

•        Single boom 2-element shortened 40m interlaced with 4-element 20m at 68’
(JK2040, long-boom version)
•        80m Inverted-V at 65’
•        160m Double-L center-fed vertical dipole at 65’
•        2L SteppIR at 40’

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

South Rohn 25 tower (45.5’):  

Tribander at 47’ (JK Mid-tri)

Receiving antennas:

•        Beverages:  4 controlled by K9AY switchbox: JA/West-US (800’), East US
(500’), EU (800’) and East-West (AF and OC) (350’)
•        12AVQ vertical 800’ from station
•        Homebrew 10 through 40 meter full-size ¼ wave fan vertical 750’ from


•        1x Elecraft K4D
•        2x Elecraft K3/P3 combinations, one connected to RRC Elecraft twins radio
side box
•        Elecraft K3/0 connected to RRC Elecraft twins control side box


•        Logging:  DXLog.net v2.5.51
•        SoftEther
•        PstRotator

SDR receiver set-up:

•        Red Pitaya STEMLab 125-14 SDR
•        Optiplex 7050 micro i5 computer
•        CW Skimmer
•        Aggregator