CQWW 160m CW
My favourite contest.
These last few years I have hardly had time to participate seriously from anywhere.
There's never been any time to prepare myself correctly (make that: I never took the opportunity..etc). Haven't built any decent station after my move to this new QTH. Not even the smallest 160m TX antenna. Not even a low dipole.
I do argue with others about which rig to buy or how to optimize for best performance on 160m, but have not made a single 160 QSO from this city lot yet. Go figure.
Last year there was this great QST article on the 160m No excuses homebrew vertical from John Miller, K6MM. I tried to build my version of a backyard vertical, but the neighbours strongly opposed to its physical exposure. And so it ended.
Even worse preparation for 2010
Now work goes before hobby and you better plan things ahead. Taking some days off is a good start. Arriving home at 01:15 AM after ploughing 150km through heavy snowfall, an earlier delayed flight, on a thursday morning and then try to catch-up the 'normal work' on the two left days of the week, is not a good start.
On saturday morning I awake early and monitor the progress of our club station PI4TUE in the CQWW 160m CW contest. They have a great TX antenna, using full size slopers from some 70mtrs(220ft) AGL. But they totally lack any RX antenna. Local environmental noise is such high that all past field experiments failed. It is frustrating to hear them miss all dx I can easily hear on my backyard small 160m RX reference vertical
I arrive at PI4TUE in the afternoon and take my shift from 15:00 till 18:00 UTC. After that I'm completely exhausted, cannot even stay to support the others and head home for a 12 hour sleep.
Sunday isn't any better so I go out for a 3 hour walk to catch some energy again.
Dink, N7WA offers a great service via the 3830 list and it's great fun to read the sopabox comments.
I'm flabbergasted by some of the low power/long wire entries; one European OM making 512 QSO's, 8 states and 52 countries using 5W and a 42mtr longwire ....
Waiting & debating for the new & better station set-up can be an endless frustration.
Next time I will throw out some wire in a nearby tree, connect a tuner and use 100W, just for the weekend. And operate from my own shack, just having fun.
And have my own decent cappuccino