[OhQP-mail] The N8OT 2011 Ohio QSO Party Saga

Paul Hurm - GMail Acct paulhurm at gmail.com
Sat Sep 17 15:17:50 EDT 2011

I was unable to operate in the 2010 OQP due to a family function on my wife’
s side. She promised me then that she would not interfere with my operation
in 2011. She was true to her word but other issues arose that made operation
appear doubtful.

Due to unemployment, I had to sell my HF equipment earlier this year. I
mentioned this on the OQP mailing list and elsewhere and had offers of lent
equipment. Unfortunately those offers fell through so, for a time, I was
assuming 2011 would be a bust as well. Things worked out though!

In past years I have fired up my old Heathkit SB-301 to use as a second,
monitor receiver. The last time I had tried the matching SB-401 transmitter
it was quite dead and was producing no output.

I tested the 301 and noticed a serious AC hum on the audio output, bad
enough that it would kill my ears after 12 hours of operation. I dug up the
manual. I also dug through the junk box to try to find something that I
could use to replace the power supply capacitors but had no luck. I decided
to poke around and took the chassis out of the case. As I was wiggling the
power supply cap the hum disappeared! I assume there was corrosion between
the mounting hardware and the chassis. The receiver has been hum free since
so "poking around" appears to be a useful troubleshooting technique!

I still had no transmitter though so I started looking at the SB-401 again.
I dug out the manual and all the cables and hooked the 301 and 401 together
as required. If you are familiar with the 401, it can be used as a
stand-alone transmitter if the accessory crystal deck is installed. Without
the crystals, it can be used as a companion to the 301 receiver. The
transmitter shares signals through three cables that allow the 401 to rely
on the crystals in the 301 instead of needing the accessory crystal pack.
Well, DUH, the last time I had tested the 401 several years ago I had
mistakenly "remembered" that I had the crystals in it which I didn’t. When I
cabled the rigs properly, the 401 came to life with fully rated power

Hey, I’m on the air!!! I was able to get my N0XAS board to key CW through my
software so I had that aid covered. There was no interface to my logging
software so setting mode and band changes had to be done manually. I could
not get my Z-100 auto tuner to function with this setup so I put the MFJ
manual tuner back to use. I spent an hour or so the morning of the contest
making up a tuning chart for my 3 dipoles. I was glad I had not been forced
to sell all of my accessories as well!

In any event, after several days of last minute scrambling I ended up with a
working station again and was able to produce a score in the low 70Ks. This
is below my typical effort but I was satisfied under the circumstances and
especially happy that I was able to operate at all!

BTW, I had several people who read my messages on the OQP list email me
indicating that they noticed my license was about to expire. I was on top of
that issue but this "looking out" for one another is one of the nice things
that hams do for each other and I thank those who reminded me.

73 to all.

Paul, N8OT

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