[OhQP-mail] It's over for another year
swmorton50 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 28 08:25:24 CDT 2017
Well, OHQP is over for another year. My log has been submitted. This year was interesting to say the least. The weather cooperated (sort of) and the power stayed on the whole contest except for a couple of minor “blips”. The equipment worked well, although my WinKey acted up a couple of times from stray RF. I think I need to put a couple of RF beads on the keyer cable. The Winkey would take off and keep sending my call sign and wouldn’t shut down. I finally got smart and figured out how to “unlatch” it without turning off the radio.
>From here in Costa Rica, operating in the OHQP requires a whole different strategy than when I was in Ohio. First and foremost is dealing with propagation. Being an analytical kind of guy, I spent quite a bit of time studying the results from 2016 to put together a game plan for this year. I stuck with the game plan and think it only needs a little tweaking next year. Once again, I had to run barefoot since my amp is still in Customs after 17 months.
For the first 6 hours of the contest we typically only have propagation into Ohio on 20 meters CW with a few short openings on 10 and 15 meter CW. Signals are generally weak and SSB operation on these bands just doesn’t cut it…
I started out the contest with a bang racking up twice as many qso’s in the first hour (10) compared to last year (5). Then, propagation on 20 meters took a nose dive and for the next five hours I only added 18 more qso’s. After six hours, I was beginning to think that I would not be able to come close to my 2016 score. 15 meters only netted 1 qso this year, and 10 meters was a total wasteland with 0 qso’s.
At 2200Z, propagation on 20 meters then started to improve a bit, and 40 meters began to open. This year, I put up a dipole at 50 feet for 40 meters and I was extremely pleased that it out performed my vertical by a wide margin. Obviously, my signal on 40 was much better than last year since I was able to work more stations including several on SSB. On 40 meters, I could hear Ohio stations much better as well.
As always, 80 meters was a bust from here. Being much closer to the Equator than Ohio, the ham bands react much differently, and we just don’t have good propagation into Ohio on 80 meters. Add to that the noise level using a vertical on 80 meters makes the band virtually unusable. 80 meters netted a total of 3 qso’s. Next year, I may try to put up a dipole for 80 meters to attempt to pick up a few more qso’s.
When it was all said and done, my qso total was a whopping 3 qso’s higher than 2016, but my score was more than a 1000 points higher because of all the additional mults than I picked up using SSB on 40 meters. The only problems with 40 meters are the RTTY guys and those stinkers out in Kansas parking on “OUR” calling frequency. From here, 40 meters was wall to wall RTTY starting at 7.140 mhz. Also, the RTTY guys have a really bad habit of firing up on a frequency even if it’s in use. And, they are usually very loud.
I didn’t make my goal of 10,000 points, but considering the general band conditions, I was happy with the results. I finished with about 6600 points and 78 qso’s. Hopefully my log is fairly clean and the log checker doesn’t “ding me” too much. I only had one qso that I wasn’t sure of the county and that was with K8MR early on when propagation was really stinky.
Due to the general conditions on 20 meters, mobiles were difficult to hear. On 40 meters, the mobiles were louder once the band opened. I only managed to work K8CR once and completely missed K8RYU. One the plus side, K8O got into the log 4 times and once again K8MR came through with a big 10 qso’s. K8O was usually loud, but I missed him in lot’s of counties. Surprisingly, K8MR was quite strong once I had propagation. Not sure what Jim uses for an antenna on the mobile, but my guess is that he has a stacked array for 20 and 40 with about 1500 watts. I’ll bet it’s difficult driving down the highway with all of that aluminum hanging above the car.
Thanks again to everyone, especially the organizers, for a fun QSO Party. Only 51+ weeks to go until the next Party!
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
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