Feb 24, 2010

Doing it right....

ARRL DX CW Contest 20-21 feb 2010

Last weekend I participated at our club station PI4TUE.

This is the University of Technology Eindhoven's contest call.

Call: PI4TUE

Class: M/S HP

Operators: ON9CC, PC5A, PE2HD, PA5MW

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
-------------------
160: 83 29
80: 261 42
40: 866 55
20: 999 59
15: 933 58
10:
-------------------
Total: 3142 243 Total Score = 2,290,518


Club affiliation: Bavarian Contest Club

Antennas: 160m sloper@220ft (RX: 5ft vertical@200ft), 80m full size horizontal
loop@220ft, 40m 1/4 GP @200ft, 20-10m 3el SteppIR
Rig: Ten-Tec ORION
Power: 400w from Acom 1000

Wow! This was big fun. Some of us love this contest even more than CQWW.
Finally we made some substantial progress compared to our past entries; at 1000 QSO's extra this year we have moved from the back end to the middle(ish). Watch out for us next year !


What went very well?

Preparation

This time I'm well prepared by taking a few days off before and after the contest. Being well rested and refraining from doing the *last minute job* I am fully motivated.

Looking fresh during the final hours...... :)))

Antennas
The new 3el SteppIR is a big improvement over the 15yrs old 3el compromise trapped(read: noisy) yagi. Next the 80m dipole at 220ft was replaced by a full size 80m horizontal loop at 200ft along the roof perimeter of the building (thanks to PA3DSC, PA0IB, PE2HD and PA3FGA).
But there is room for improvement for the RX antennas on 40-160m.


The HF2V mainly used for 40m

80m horizontal loop along the top perimeter. SteppIR 3el yagi. 160m sloper at the right end-corner

Rig
The ORION's user ergonomics offered its merits to all operators. Especially the setup for audio (main=both ears, sub RX =right only) and the volume knobs (toggle for audio on/off) was much appreciated for operating RUN/S&P between main and sub receiver with help of N1MM contesting software; Single Band SO2R in one box so to speak.

The station has no true SO2R capabilities. Another challenge for the future.

Second operator position....... not really.

Being focused
All operators were sharp from start till end. We strained for the best (band) strategy and our senior contest op successfully taught us additional tricks on the fly.

Operator Aurelio, PC5A looking sharp during sunday afternoon

Food, coffee, sleep, etc.
There was plenty of it all and the couches in the 'lounge' were comfortable for a quick nap.


What went not so well?

Pin 1 issues
We use some 5 pc's, various audio routing, external equipment and zillion connections for different set-ups in the shack. During the contest our headphones showed all kinds of strange varying noises, rattles and hum. The room houses another 30-40 pcs, several HF/VHF/UHF transceivers and other equipment. Definitely a challenge for the future.

Lockup/crashes
Very likely related to the above; WinKey locked up the N1MM program.

The ORION needed 4 power cycles (3 for no RX and 1 for no TX).

But
All in all a very memorable contest.
Thanks to Martin PA3DSC and Steef PA0IB for maintaining a great club station.

See you in the phone contest.
73 Mark, PA5MW

1 comment:

DaMorseMan said...

microKeyer stuff is very RF immune (contains WinKeyer) ... Never had RF feedback issues with it.

Also check the various other USB peripherals. I had issues with RF feedback via the USB mouse.

Spent limited time in the ARRL CW with my K3 + 400W. Very enjoyable, no K3 lock-ups :-))

-- Enno, PF5X