ARRL DX CW 2005 – K3LR


   I was fortunate enough to be invited to the K3LR multi-multi operation for ARRL DX CW this year and, once again, had a great time!  DX contests are a LOT more fun from back east than out west when the sunspots are low.  They also have a much different character, as we'll get to later.  First, the particulars…

   K3LR is located in West Middlesex, which is just east of the Ohio border and immediately (and I mean IMMEDIATELY) north of I-80 (you can see the semi on this picture…).  It's about an hour's drive north of Pittsburgh through some pretty good-sized hills.  The station has stacked monobanders on 40 – 10 plus a pair of 4-squares on 80 and a wire 4-square on 160. 

We called the pair of 80-meter 4-squares "The Big Lumber."  Inside, each band from 40 – 10 has a pair of stations, including an interlocked amplifier for each.  80 and 160 are set up for a single operator each.  The panorama photos show the arrangement; 160, 15, 10, 20, and 40 around the outside with 80 in the middle.  It rocks!   I shared 20-meters with Pat N9RV.  Unlike out here, we were able to stay on round-the-clock, although things got a mite slow between 0600 and 0900.  Also unlike out west, JA's were fairly few – we didn't get that second layer on 20.  Yeah, boo-hoo, I hear you say.  Of course Europe made up for it!  A little bit after their sunrise, you'll hear a couple of stations trickle through, but about an hour before K3LR sunrise, things start to perk up.  Although the 20-meter rate doesn't get as blistering as on 15 or 10 (when it's open), it's very steady and far deeper than anything you'll hear out here at any time.  There are a LOT of Little Pistols that don't cross the Rockies from Zone 16, 17, and 20.  The antennas on 20 are 5-over-5-over-5 at 170, 110, and 50 feet.  The multiplier station has a 5-element at 100' on a separate tower.  Needless to say, we didn't hang around in any pileups very long.  So much for old news – propagation is better from the East Coast…ho hum.  What's more different is the style of operating.  We'll all been frustrated at the wall-to-wall CQ-ing from the aluminum curtain.  You really have to be more aggressive to hold those frequencies and, by golly, the results justify hanging on to them.  It can be really tough to hang on after the higher bands start closing and the single-ops start "frequency shopping" on 20.  If you hear a "?", you had better respond quickly or you're in a frequency battle with another loud station.  With K3LR-sized lumber, you generally prevail, but it's wasted time.   There is also a different style to running and breaking pileups.  Out here, that weak caller is much more likely to be a new mult, whereas in WPA, they're just weak.  Take the loud guy in one call every time.  Out here, we generally tend to wait until the packet pileups thin out before wading in.  Back there, you had better pounce quick because KC1XX and W3LPL and NQ4I and K3WW and others will be there in a big hurry, too! There's a lot more "mashing" in pileups on the East Coast, too. I think N7TT with W7RM's hardware is about the only guy out here that has a chance to go toe-to-toe with the East Coast big boys. When we tend to slow our CQ's down because of flutter as the band closes, you just keep rolling there because there isn't any flutter to Europe, just on the JA's much later.  It's a very, very different environment.  Pat showed me a lot of good things – not that they'll do me a whole lot of good out here 🙂    So anyway, the final damage was 11.56 M for the team, #3 in the US behind KC1XX and W3LPL. Tim has never won ARRL DX CW, so maybe next time!  The team was N3GJ & W2AU on 10, W2RQ & K9VV on 15, me and N9RV on 20,  Post Contest Mostaciolli KL9A and N2NC on 40, K3UA on 80, and Hizzoner K3LR on 160.  Pat and I managed to best the 20 meter teams at LPL and XX, so that was a feather in our caps – most of the heavy lifting was done by Pat.  

If you've never operated at a multi-op, I strongly suggest that you give it a try, even if it's just you and buddy sharing a barefoot radio.  Especially in these times of poor conditions, you can share the hours and keep the spirits up.  It really is a lot of fun – there are a number of good stations around, too!  Just put a note out on the club reflector and see what turns up!

CQWW from N7BV – 2007

Jack and Ward head to the Olympic Peninsula for CQWW Phone…


CQWW Phone

By Jack Fleming, WAØRJY   

The best DX contest of the year – CQWW Phone – well, maybe the second best DX contest of the year after CQWW CW – well, actually maybe the third best DX contest of the year behind CQWW CW and ARRL DX CW – took place on the weekend of October 27-28. 

I had weaseled an invite to join the multi-op effort at N7BV’s superstation over south of Pt. Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula  – and the thought of running DX stations (even on phone) was met with great anticipation on my part.    Ward, NØAX, was also part of the multi-op effort and he picked me up for a mid-morning ferry ride across Puget Sound on Friday. 

We drove until we reached Fat Smitty’s south of Pt. Townsend and stopped there for an early lunch.  A couple Fat Smitty’s Specials (one for each of us!) fueled us for the rest of the drive to N7BV’s – and pretty much through the rest of the weekend.  The Fat Smitty Burger is something special – working your way from the counter to the sky it’s – bun, mayo, tomatoes, onions, pickles, 5-ounce beef patty, cheese, another bun, another 5-ounce beef patty, more cheese, tomato, bacon, lettuce, pickles, mayo, and finally the top bun.  It measures 6 inches in height and comes with a pile of French fries (or more likely, “Freedom Fries” since Smitty is a former marine and the art and bumper stickers around Smitty’s gives you a clear understanding of the politics of the proprietor…).  Fat Smitty’s is definitely worth the stop if you have a huge hunger or an appreciation of the bizarre…   Eventually we waddled out of the restaurant and when Ward managed to wipe enough grease off his hands to get a good grip on the steering wheel – we headed west.  

We arrived at Chuck’s palatial QTH to find him and Bob (K6MBY) working on getting a 75 meter half square up in the trees.  Ward and I helped pull ropes and wires through the trees and bushes and eventually everything was in place to everyone’s satisfaction.  The tuning box was brought out and the antenna tuned up to the 75 meter phone band.  Next up was the erection of four aluminum poles that were part of a two element 40 meter half square pointed at Europe.  Again we measured and adjusted, pushed and pulled, cussed and whined until we eventually had things up to everyone’s satisfaction.  Another big tuning box was brought out and the antenna tuned up reasonably well.    Finally the crankup tower with the triband quad had to be raised to its 60 foot contest altitude.  Being the QCAO (Quarter Century Appliance Operator) member of the contingent – I got the honor of doing the manual labor – climbing the step ladder and cranking the tower up.  It went up with just a minimum of grumbling and a vow not to go to the gym for a week or two after that exertion…  

Eventually, to everyone’s relief, the contest started.   

We had two operating positions both with their own sets of antennas (Steppir, quad, and various wires) and amplifiers.  The main station started out on 20 meters and the other station started tuning round 15 and then 40.  We were entered in the Multi-2 class – so both radios could go flat out and didn’t need to worry about only working mults or any other limitations.  We didn’t enter this class because we thought we would be especially competitive against the Big Guns™ – but because it would provide the maximum amount of enjoyment for the operators.  Being able to run stations on both rigs has a certain charm for the contester…    As it turned out, there were very few times that we were actually running stations simultaneously at any fantastic rate.  But not due to any problems with the station – there was nary a sunspot and the solar flux was a puny 67.  But we had a fine time just the same.

   Operators included Chuck N7BV, Guy N7ZG, Ward NØAX, Jody KE7LKA, Bob K6MBY, Mat KQ7W, and myself.  Jody is just a teenager – but showed some real skills at the mic and a flair as a contester.  The rest of us showed more skills at sitting around the kitchen telling tales and watching the Husky football game as the Huskies grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory.

   In the end we had 855 QSOs and some interesting DX
in the log.  We also all had visions of future contests with real sunspots and multiple bands open at the same time…


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Field Day 2003 - Looking Towards Mt. Rainier

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