Another CQ WW CW contest is in the log and from the initial reports I’m reading online, conditions were all over the map but got exceptionally better especially on Sunday.
I had planned an all-QRP FlexRadio 1500 assault on the contest and by 9 p.m. Friday I was on the phone to Harry, VA3EC, (who lives 360 meters north of me and is running the identical antenna system) to see if he was experiencing the same awful band conditions. (Signals were weak and watery sounding plus nobody was hearing me in the din.) Harry concurred and after working one guy in the Caribbean at 5 watts I went to bed.Dumb.
Same experience on Saturday with bad conditions so I got busy doing other things like fixing up the station and went to a neighbour’s holiday season open house, had two glasses of wine and came home and went to bed. Dumber.
So Sunday comes along and I’m running 100 watts using a solid-state, all-band amp into an LDG Pro 200 autotuner into the Explorer beam (with 40-meter extensions) and I can’t do anything wrong.
Heard and worked a guy in Egypt just over the noise level (which is exceptionally low in the FlexRadio) who was sending CQ with no one answering him. Finished the contest off by working C5A in Gambia by breaking a huge pileup on the second call. Cool.
If I’d only stayed on Friday night I could have been a contender. It felt like I was running K1AR’s or VE3EJ’s contest stations. I was king of the bands.
BTW the photo to the top right is the operating desk which is tucked away behind a bookcase in our home office. Thus I have a ham shack that is on the ground floor, away from the family room (which is in the basement) and has its own separate entrance for multi-op contests but, best of all, its own washroom. And now, with the exception of the March paddles, Heil headphones and computer mouse and display there’s no evidence of a fully functioning 100-watt, all-band, multi-mode contest station in the room.
That’s not to say I’m finished 🙂
I’ve got some CPU issues with the computer that chokes up the SDR CW so maybe Santa can bring me a more robust quad-core Windows 7 computer 🙂
Decisions. Decisions. Here’s the line up of the equipment that’s been put under the desk:
Top row: 2/440 rig and remote antenna switch (the antennas are terminated at the tower which is 75 feet behind the house and control cable and coax are buried)with the FlexRadio 1500 and the rotor controller sitting on the shelf; next down are the 100-watt amp and the power supply for the Flex and autotuner; bottom shelf holds the LDG Pro 200 tuner and power supply for the VHF/UHF rig.
Once the auto tuner’s memories are loaded, everything below the desktop runs automatically. Now if we could just figure a way to keep the operator in the chair we’d have something 🙂