Jack and Ward head to the Olympic Peninsula for 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…