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SS CW 95 - K1ZX SO High Power

from Collected & Edited by Randy Thompson, K5ZD on July 23, 2000
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ARRL Sweepstakes CW 1995

K1ZX, Single Op, High Power

Jim White, K1ZX

The Contest

Again, everyone at once repeat after me:

"There is no meters like 40 meters"

After a crappy first three hours (67/69/76), the lure of two pizza challenges from fellow club members WC4E and AC1O set in and I was a ham possessed.

Using last years 14th place finish as a guideline I essentially recycled that same strategy over (deleting the start on ten meters part) and found it to be, well GREAT!

Twenty five years ago was my first CW SS, as a Novice, and ever since then I have been looking for my score in the writeups in QST, there were a few years when college "experimenting" caused me to miss SS, but I won't ever miss it again.

The credo of preparing your station well before SS Saturday morning paid off this year. Shoot, I was able to take a 45 minute nap before the contest - a luxury I usually don't have. The only antenna that needed work on Saturday morning was the 80 meter inverted vee, we fussed with that for a couple of hours - probably fixing the problem several times, before realizing the Autek RF1 had broken, the lead from the center conductor of its SO239 over to the circuit board had broken and was intermittent - you figure the odds on that! My computer monitor crapped out on Wednesday night before SS, luckily that was not during the contest, and the repair guy was coerced into giving me a loaner until Monday morning.

I used K8CC's NA software on two computers, networked, this was great in that the second keyboard allowed me to fill in the exchange information at my convenience when I lined up a potential new one. The software ran flawlessly, which as a computer ignorant QCAO I appreciated!

Step one - watch check partial as I type in the call...ok he's new, then step two, fill in the precedence ('BP - I use "pwr?" when I need repeats, Bob - great score!) the check and the section...I would play a game by leaving the cursor on the end of the number, I would crank in the next serial number of the monitored station and if timing didn't work out right with my run rig, I would backspace and increment the Q number. What this meant is that as soon as I called the guy on radio two and he came back I could start my CQ on the main rig, I never really had to concentrate on the exchange since it was already filled in. When he stopped sending I would hit escape on the main rigs keyboard (if I was sending) and insert on the second. Two radios with two computers is really neat, when you do it you really realize how much time you usually waste listening to yourself calling CQ, or sending an SS exchange! Why not spend that time more productively on a second rig?

The slow start on 15 had me frustrated and by 00 zulu I couldn't wait for rate any longer so it was down to Sweepstakes' band of all bands, 40 meters. I averaged 85/hr over the next five hours on 40 with highs of 95 and 94 per hour. Things were looking up, by 1330 on Sunday I had caught up to my goal sheet (I had set a final goal of making 100 more QSOs than last year). With all of Sunday ahead of me the second radio, and my head, had their work laid out.

The new 20 meter beam had just been put up on CQWW SSB weekend, and it was now time to exercise it. Station #1 ran CQing on 20, and the second station was either on 15 meters or 40, with its low/daytime dipole. I was tuning fifteen, but missed the KP2, I am sure he was puny weak here, but I am surprised I missed the giant pileup he must have had on him. Oh well no mug.

The Station

Left Ear                                  Right Ear

Omni VI/Titan/ICE 419 Bandpass Filter     TS430s/Alpha 374/No Filter
                                          (need a second ICE 419)  
10 Meters-4 Elements @ 140 Ft             10 \ 
15 Meters-4 Elements @ 100 Ft             15 KT34A @ 67 Feet
20 Meters-4 Elements @ 95 Ft              20 / (Also the 4 Element)
40 Meters-2 Elements @ 135 Ft             40 Dipole @ 40 Ft
160 Meters-Inverted Vee @130 Ft           80 Inverted Vee @ 85 Ft   

No QSOs were made on 160 or 10, I did listen to W6UQF on Ten CQing his heart out, if I hadn't already worked him I would have called him, he was begging!

The second position had my ole Alpha with the broadband tuning setting option, it was perfect for jumping bands - only had about 900 watts out but that was plenty for S&P! When I was trying to run on fifteen in my left ear I would switch the monobander over the right rig.

The weekend went great, with no equipment failures whatsoever... here's the band by band:

80      52
40     857   (58% tnmlfm)
20     431
15     141  

After talking with Jeff, WC4E who operated from K4VUD's QTH I found we both had had trouble with making 15 produce. I knew ten was a writeoff but didn't think 15 would be so disappointing. If I knew then what I know now, I would have plunked down the main radio on 20 at the start and in the evening moved it to 40...using 15 on the second radio as S&P only.

Congratulations to Tree (I wanna know your first three hours!) and Bill (glad you enjoyed Gatorland). My parents have, as always, been extremely supportive of my contest efforts from our station and I am glad to be able to add this wallpaper to their shack's wall. Maintaining a contest station with two towers is almost a full time job it seems, I know my Dad should get some sort of a degree in Connectors101, lord knows he's put enough of 'em on the multitude of coax runs. Our club, the Florida Contest Group, turned out in force this past weekend, I don't want to hear anyone in Mad River country griping they didn't work either North or South Florida, there's five 1000 Q efforts!

Special thanks to all on the reflector who have helped us to build the station that I had the pleasure of piloting this past weekend, many antenna ideas were garnered from the contest reflector...where was 'KKN this past weekend?

Again I say - "How can you not love contesting?"

Jim zx

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