SS CW 97 - K1TO Single Op High Power
Collected & Edited by Randy Thompson, K5ZD
June 20, 2000
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ARRL Sweepstakes CW 1997
K1TO, Single Op, High Power
"Single Operator, High Power, Home Station, 2 radio, 2 amp (1 at a time), 1
computer, more than a tribander" category.
ARRL SWEEPSTAKES -- 1997
Call: K1TO Section: South Florida
Mode: CW Category: Single Op High Power
160 0 0 -
80 64 128 - Inv vee @ 75'
40 610 1220 - HF2V vertical ground mounted
20 713 1426 - 204BAS/204BAS @ 93'/46'hard-wired stack fixed North
15 74 148 - Homebrew 4L @ 53' fixed NE (see comments below!)
10 0 0 -
Totals 1461 2922 79
Vintage radio station: (2) TS-930S, SB-220, AL-1200, 486
- Staying competitive with just a vertical on 40M. WC4E strongly encouraged me to do
something else on 40, but I felt that the main lobe of the vertical was just fine. Just
ran out of time to put up something directional. Actually have the phasing lines cut for
phased verticals on 40, but never got the second one together.
- The 20M stack was unquestionably the next biggest surprise. Had the band not closed down
as early as it did, I'd have been there all night! Was able to hold freqs just fine.
- NJ2L. What a great friend! He solved (remotely) my last-day two-rig switch box problems
and introduced me to the CT feature that allows easy 2 radio operation with one computer.
- My first-ever 100 hour in SS CW. Yeah, I know - routine for many of the SS regulars. But
rare in the Northeast, where I languished for years. And no 100 hours from the winning
Multi-Single effort @ K1ZX last year either. Actually, I started with a 99 hour one year
from CT - all S&P! This year, it was the second hour of the contest on 20.
- Getting the station on the air! The rainy season here in Florida caused the water level
to rise much higher than I expected - within 1.5' of the surface at its peak. This caused
an unexpected delay in digging the holes for the bases and guy anchors. The towers (87' of
45G which supports 15/20/80 and 50' of 25G which stands naked) were not put up until
October 11, 3 weeks before SS CW. My work travel schedule put me in California 7 weeks in
a row, but I managed to stay in FL the last week of Oct. Thanks to some great assistance
from Ron - WD4AHZ, George - AE4MH, Jeff - WC4E and Jim - K4OJ, I managed to get 4 bands
operational in time for SS CW. Other than a few raindrops, the wx is just great for
antenna work this time of year down here.
- Keeping RF completely out of the computer. With the 40M vertical right outside the
shack, I had to log and send CW in the Sept. Sprint completely by hand when the RFI froze
the computer right off the bat. A few Radio Shack toroids later and I was fine this time
- Finding that I was less productive on the second radio primarily because the run rate
was better than I was accustomed to back in CT. I hit a lull Sat eve while on 40. 20 was
essentially dead and 80 was not yet productive from SFL. There were other factors, too
- Realizing that the upside potential of operating SS from SFL is pretty good. All things
considered, my only band with its final configuration is 20M. 10/15/40/80 should be much
better next year!
- Discovering this morning that the 15M beam had turned in the wind of the storm Saturday
night (see later). I was so focused on operating that I never bothered to stand up and
lean forward a foot to peek out the window at this antenna. Had I done so, I'd have been
shocked to find it fixed at 40 degrees, about 55 degrees off. This issue was compounded by
my pre-contest decision to only use the bottom 15M beam and wire it directly to the
hardline. The upper one at 100' has been plagued with a mysterious SWR curve and USA
signals were typically down an S-unit in A/B testing this week. So, I scrapped the idea of
a hard-wired stack and went with the single antenna at 53'.
- Heard Bob, N4BP working guys steadily Sun AM that I could barely hear. Just attributed
it to his more southerly locale and his lower antenna. Also thought it was odd that K4OJ
spent so much time on 15 Sunday when all signals were so weak. Due to other factors, I
took zero off time during daylight hours Sunday, so I never had a chance to discover the
beam's true direction.
- Saturday night, a cold front moved through, accompanied by fierce thunderstorms. The
rain static was S9+50 at times. The NB on the'930 cut it down to more manageable levels,
as did the short beverage, but it still caused me to shut down earlier than planned and
sleep for 5 hours instead.
- My VY1JA strategy. As it probably was for 90% of the others with sweeps, Jay was my only
remaining section (should he sign CK 60 JAY?) as of early Sunday. My second radio exploits
quickly lead to finding Jay on 15 pretty early - at his #111 and already with a pileup.
Little did I know that he was only so weak because my beam was so far off! Abandon all
other searching on radio 2 and concentrate on dropping my call into the pileup whenever
nobody calls on radio 1. But other out-of-control-for-a-sweep-SSers cause Jay to send
"angry as a hornet" and go QRT half an hour later. Among other requests, Jay
asked for QRPers only. One well-known MN station changed his exchange to Q to get the Q.
Many hours later, I again hear Jay. His number is now in the 140s. He is working W1/2/3
with regularity which puzzles me. When NP3G pops right thru much later, I am even more
chagrined. Jay mentions many times "send me a SFL" whenever he works a W4.
Little did he know that I was in there frantically calling for hours! There was no doubt
that sticking in there as long as I did was irrational and flew in the face of the
strategy I preach to so many others - multipliers are just not THAT important. This last
multiplier was equivalent to just 18 QSOs. I was clearly the victim of Multiplier Mania
(Sweep Syndrome? Jayitis? Coffee Cup Clamor?).
I hear Jay ask specifically for, and successfully work, other sections - Maine and Iowa
included. Perhaps he also stood by for SFL, but I did not hear it.
Off the side of the beam, Jay occasionally moves the S-meter. But his signal begins to
drop as local sunset approaches and the Westerners work him with more regularity. I begin
to give up hope and stop calling regularly, listening desperately for a call for "SFL
only". Then it happens...
WD4AHZ, running low power to a low tribander across town, works him!! I'm incredulous
and speculate that local sunset might be enhancing signals. Two calls later, Jay somehow
hears me and YT finally goes into the log - his #233. I heard Jay work over a hundred
stations before I got through!
How many second-radio (and first-radio!) Qs did that cost? Let me emphasize that Jay
handled the pileups deftly and his CW is flawless. Great to listen to!
Later, while CQing on 40, I run across Jay on the low end of 20. Much louder on my
stack pointed the RIGHT way. Hear low-power animal and fellow FCGer Walt, KN4T work him.
Lament the fact that I had frequently considered abandoning the 15M calls in hopes of a
chance on 20
- Inter-station QRM. With the 40M vertical right outside the shack, I was unable to keep
it from inducing a buzzing tone on the 2nd rig. Don't think stubs would've helped here,
but still plan to cut some stubs before the next all-band test (not including SS SSB).
Being convinced that the rx in my 2nd '930 died with 2 hours to go.
Oddly, it would tx just fine. After an hour of head-scratching, I started pressing
buttons. Turns out that the Narrow/Wide switch for the CW filter somehow wasn't connected
properly - the only time I remember this happening after 100,000 presses of that switch!
There went another hour of second-radio hunting.
- No 10M antenna. AHZ (known locally as Mr. 10M) pressed me hard to put up an antenna for
10, based upon recent condx. Having borrowed pieces from my 10M beam parts for other
antennas, and having no hardline to the 10M tower yet, I found myself with no quick and
easy way to get on 10 and opted to do other last-minute things instead.
- Getting a kick out of people calling me by other names. Tom, Jim and Dave are the ones I
SS is fun from FL. I'll be back next year for more! Meanwhile, congrats to the Dakota
Duo (Tod, WD0T at W0SD and Bill, WB0O) for outstanding North Plains scores. And how about
that monster QRP score from my WRTC compatriot Jeff, N5TJ?
Thanks to all for the QSOs! Special thanks to the guys in the rarer sections who seem
to have accomplished the goal of making the sweep easy for so many people. Think I worked
at least 2 of everything except YT! It was fun to hear the pileup on VO1MP on Sunday!
73, Dan, K1TO/4 near Sarasota, FL
Florida Contest Group
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