It’s been quite a while since I’ve last posted, and many things have changed in the lives of the Stockton family. Our move back to Arkansas has been great and our kids are really excited to be back. My wife and I have settled back into our jobs that we held before moving to the Cayman Islands and we are even back in the same house (it still hasn’t sold, arrghh). Enough family details though, this site after all is titled ZF2DX so, you guessed it, it’s about ham radio. But more specifically contesting. I was really worried that moving back to boring old Arkansas and being another hum drum W5 would make contesting a dull venture. Not so! Both summer NAQP contests were quite enjoyable and I placed first in the SSB contest and second in the CW contest. The CQWW SSB contest was also really fun and I came oh so close to setting the W5 record with what looks to be a second place overall finish for the United States. That second place finish along with all the other fourth, fifths, or also rans are always lingering in the back of my head. Are those guys on the east coast really that much better than me?
Luckily I would have the chance to get my question answered. That opportunity came when Scott, WU2X, invited me to come and operate at the N2QV station located in the Liberty area of New York. The station sports an impressive array of fire power:
160: Elevated T vertical
80: Four Square
40: 4/4 JK Grande Antennas on 48′ booms at 175’/110′
20/15/10: 4 high stack of 2x Array Tribanders on 36′ booms with the top antenna at 150′.
A huge amount of work was poured into the N2QV station in the months leading up to the CQWW CW contest. This included the new 40 meter stack of JK Grande antennas and a small building placed extremely close to the 4 high stack of tribanders in order to minimize coax loss. Also N2QV and WU2X put up a T vertical for 160 hanging from a couple of tall trees with 8 elevated radials underneath the antenna.
The two radio setup would be something very unique and was the main concern I had going into the contest. A single Expert Amps 2K-FA would be use to provide 1.5 KW to both rigs. It would also handle all of the band switching and provide an SO2R solution in the form of what the Expert Amp company refers to an SO2R port. This port is used as a receive antenna port so that the inactive radio would always be listening on whatever receive antenna was selected. For me that meant a triband vertical designed by WU2X for the high bands and a couple of beverages for the low bands. I would be relying on these receive antennas to find all of my multipliers on the second radio. The setup worked like a champ and I never had any issues with the amp throughout the contest. This meant we were able to use all antennas at the station on both radios without the use of a six pack or band pass filters!
I arrived at the station about 1:00 A.M. Wednesday morning. Scott, WU2X, picked me up at the train station and gave me a ride to the N2QV station. Wednesday was spent familiarizing myself with the station and Scott and I put up an unterminated beverage for the low bands oriented SE/NW. Thursday was spent putting the finishing touches on the beverage antenna and giving all the equipment a good workout. Walking around in the woods by myself was very peaceful but also a little creepy. The terrain reminded me of the Blair Witch Project and my imagination did the rest. Obviously this was a silly thought to have but a legit concern were the local bears. Fortunately the closest I came was nearly stepping into a heaping pile of bear dung and also a portrait one of the local inhabitants left for us. I did manage to give myself a nasty cut on Thursday and since I was out in the middle of the woods, I didn’t have any band aids handy. The cut was very deep and on my right index finger. I could just picture it, the perfect excuse I couldn’t type during the contest and that’s why I got my ass handed to me. Anyway, I found a leaf and some black tape and voila a makeshift
All antennas and equipment were working great before the contest started, except for 160 meters. Unfortuantely, Europeans just CQed in my face when I called them in the days leading up to the contest. I was also getting beat out by zone 4 guys. Hey don’t those midwest guys know that they are supposed to wait in line until all the East Coasters get their turn? I hoped that top band would improve during the contest as the SFI kept going down which meant bye bye 10 and hello 160. Thanksgiving day, 10 meters sounded great with loud EU signals coming in. I was really hoping that 10 would be a factor as having a four high stack of 7 element antennas would just be a death ray wherever that array was pointed.
The day of the contest arrived quickly. Scott and I spent the morning hunting for some pesky line noise that was effecting the NE beverage. We managed to narrow down the offending power pole to three different ones. Fortunately, the noise did not effect me too much during the contest. I relaxed before the contest by watching the Arkansas/Missouri football game and was able to sleep for about 45 minutes. I woke up feeling refreshed but also a little nervous. The station was ready, I was ready, there could be no excuses. I knew the ops in Maine would likely have an advantage in terms of proximity to Europe, but I hoped that the excellence station engineering and high gain across 80-10 would be enough to equalize the distance differences. I told N2QV, WU2X, and K5GO that my goal was 5,000 Qs and 5 band DXCC. I didn’t really think the later was possible, although it could have been if 10 meters was just a little better.
0000z: Found a spot on 40 meters and started running. No way was I going to S&P the first hour with 4/4 from the East coast! The second radio stayed on 20 for the entire hour working mostly Caribbean with some Oceania, JA, and Africa. Found ZD8W on 20 meters.
0100z: Continued running on 40 with the second radio on 20 meters then 80 meters. Found C92ZO, DP1POL, ZT6T, and ZP9MCE on 20. I wasn’t being heard well on 80 so the second radio went back to 20 after a few Qs on 80 meters.
0200z: Moved to 3546.88 at 0240z and put the second radio on 40 meters. ZF2ET (K5GO) calls in on 80 meters and he is moved to 160 meters. The hour is finished off by finding 4L8A on 40 meters.
0300z: Continue to run on 3546.88. 4o3A calls in followed by UN3M both on 80 meters! Interesting mults found on 40 include: TF3CW , EA9UG, and ZT6T.
0400- 0700z: Continue to run on 80 meters, but I don’t want to spend to much time there. TC0A calls on 80 for a nice mult The second radio bounces between 40 and 160 and I finally work OZ1IKY on 160 meters along with other EU stations. I’m feeling weak on 160 and I know that the boys in Maine will not be weak on that band. I grow tired of being high in the band on 80 and go looking for a really good frequency. I land on 3502.51 and a nice rate ensues with VP2VVV (Thanks Fred) along with TK5MH calling in. Towards the end of the 0600 hour the second radio finds ZD8W and CX4AT both within one kHz of each other on 40 meters. Two double mults quickly go into the log.
0700Z: QSY to 40 meters and begin a run on 7010.93. EU seems to have closed on 160 and the second radio picks off P40L, PJ4Q and V26K. But wait, Africans show up on 160 with CR3OO and EA8/LZ2HM going into the log for mults on top band. The rate is high now on 40 and I’m not able to get in the second radio work that is needed. I neglect 80 meters during this hour and probably miss some available EU mults. I do not want to be a one radio operator even when the rate meter starts to soar. 171 Qs go into the log during the 0700z hour.
0800Z: Continue a strong run on 40 meters with the second radio combing 160 and 80 meters for Caribbean, African, and Western Europe. MI0BPB calls in on 40 at the end of the hour and he is moved to 80 for a mult.
0900Z: Continue to run EU on 40 with JHORNN calling in for my first zone 25 on 40 meters. I didn’t expect to run JA but I was about to be in for a pleasant surprise. ZF2ET calls on 40 for a new one (thanks dad!). The rate on 40 is starting to slow and I’m able to do more tuning on 80 meters: LP1H, XE1AY, and OA4SS all go into the log on 80 for double mults. The 4 square works great! At 0934, GD3TNS calls in on 40 but I can’t get him to move to 80 meters (drat). A few minutes later the second radio finds KH7M on 160, a big surprise as I didn’t think I would work that far west on top band. Where is VK and ZL on 80?? They aren’t to be found, but TF3SG for zone 40 is found on 80 for a double mult at 0953.
1000Z: Continue to run EU on 40 (does EU ever quit?) but start to wonder about that JA that called in and I turn the big stack North splitting the difference between EU and JA. Within a couple of minutes at 1003z BG2AUE calls on 40 for a double mult, big surprise followed by some zone 18 and 25 stations and then 9m6XRO calls in at 1006. That antenna turn really paid off. The log continues to fill but now it consists of EU, JA, Asia, and Russia. This is fun! At 1015z YE1K calls in with a great signal. I wonder what else is out there that isn’t calling me on 40 and leave my run frequency to go hunting for some good Asia mults. I should have put the second radio on 80 but I didn’t feel that the beverages would be able to find those juicy Asian mults on 40 meters. After a few minutes of S&Ping up the band I find PJ2T for a new one (not so exciting) but a turn of the dial reveals BX4AG in Taiwain (there we go). I keep making my way up the band and find YW4D at 7045 for a new country and then three minutes later find 5W0IF for a double mult. All in all a really fun hour and while I sacrificed some rate, it was worth it to find some good mults that likely would not have called me.
1100Z: Return to running JA on 7020.29 EU seems to be long gone now and the second radio confirms this with a full band of EU on 20 meters. It’s overwhelming to think about combing through the entire 20 meter band on the second radio for mults, but this is a 48 hour contest so there is plenty of time. I continue to run JA on 40 with the occasional zone 14 station thrown in for good measure. DS5VTG calls on 40 at 11:36 for a new one. The extent of the Asia run is unexpected and the mults are really starting to pileup. I linger on 40 hoping that a VU or HS will call in all the while knowing that I should be on 20 meters. I am playing DXer and while it is fun, it isn’t the best strategy. At 11:52 I decide it is time to test 20 and I soon find out that I should have been there sooner. Even in the nose bleed section at 14080.89 a pileup promptly ensues and the rate meter jumps.
1200Z: Continue to run high in the band on 20 meters. I know that this time last year the East Coast big guns were running 200+ an hour on 15. But 15 is just now opening and I’m only working southern Europe and those guys that are technically Africa but are really in their own little continent (read EA8 and CT3). Interesting stuff on 15 found on the second radio includes: ZF2ET (thanks again Dad), in the same minute TF2CW for a double mult and TK0C. UN9GD calls at 12:33 and four minutes later JW7QIA calls in for a nice double mult on 20 meters. This type of run just simply isn’t possible from Arkansas on 20 meters. At 12:45 VU2JOS calls in (I probably should have tried to move him to 40 but I’m guessing it was to late?). I move to 15 meters at 12:49 high in the band. I really don’t want to be up here, going into the contest my plan was to be in the first 10kHz when CQing, but the band is packed. The hour ends with 171 Qs going into the log. Not bad, but it really should be in the 200+ range. Still lots of room for improvement on my CW skills.
1300-1500Z: The rate meter is going up and my second radio Qs go to almost nil. About half way through the hour I make up my mind to go low in the band and find 21008.56 open. Continue to run EU on 15 and final turn the second radio to 10 meters, fearing that I’m missing an opening. It doesn’t sound very good. I’m having interference from 15 meters on the RX vertical. The band sounds dead but in between CQs I find K3WU and G3V at 14:13 (exciting((not really)). For the next 15 minutes I just run on 15 meters. Finally at 14:28 I find 9a1P on 10 meters and a few minutes later ED8X goes into the log. It’s clear that 10 meters is not open, big bummer. Still worried that perhaps the band is open and the interference along with the low gain of the vertical is masking the opening I decide to try a few CQs on 10 meters at 14:49. The rate is about two a minute but it doesn’t last long, the CQ is good for several run of the mill EU countries along with some interesting stuff like CN2AA and TK0C. I abandon the run at 15:16 and decide to sweep the band before retreating back to 15 meters. The following mults are worked: P40C, 5J1E, 5R8SV (double mult), CR5U, VE3YAA, TO8M, D4C, L33M, IO9A, PZ5W, F8DGY, CR3L, OA85O, YW4D, PJ2T, ZB2CW, 6V7A, EF6T, VE2IM, 4O3A, KP3W, CO8DM, KP2M, 9Y4/WJ2O, ZT6T, V47T, ZF2ET, VP2VVV, 9J2HN, C92ZO, 3V8SS, FY/F5HRY, HI3/ND3F, and VP5CW. Definately played DXer with that S&P event taking up about an hour. It was fun and fruitful but ideally that would have done while running EU on 15 meters. However, I didn’t feel like my receive capabilities would allow me to pick up all these mults on 10 meters.
1600-1800Z: I finish the DX smorgasboard on 10 meters at 16:13 and return to 15 meters on 21027.18. It takes me four minutes to find a frequency, but as soon as my first CQ is complete I already have EU callers. 15 feels as if it is closed to all of the deep Asia mults, but I do have XE2JS call for a double mult followed a few minutes later by 4Z4AK. I use the second radio to continue to go through 10 meters again finding C6AKQ for a new one. At 1705z, 3B8HB calls me on 15 meters for a double mult, but he will not QSY to 20 meters. I continue to milk 15 meters and at 17:12 EI6JK calls for a new one immediately followed by SV9COL. Most of 15 is now western and southern Europe. The zone 16 stations are practically all gone so it’s time to move to 20 meters. I do a test CQ on 14091 and quickly work 3 stations in a minute, but I need to find a better frequency. I continue to run on 15 until I settle into 14011.81. TC0A and Z60A call in for nice mults. 20 sounds great and the rate is so high that the second radio is turned off, something that I know is a losing strategy.
1800-2000z: I have my best hour of the contest during the 1800z hour with 202 contacts going into the log. During this hour 4K9W calls for a double mult, followed a minute later by TK0C. I know from reviewing previous zone 5 logs that this is the time that HS, VU, and other really good deep Asia stuff will call in, but so far nothing other than the 4K. Where is everybody? At 1839, A45XR calls in for a new country and at this point I’m totally one radio with the rate being as high as it will ever get in the contest. A few common UK mults call in to close the 1900 hour on 20 meters. At 1903, I find ZD8W on 10 meters for a new one. At 1912, ZA1WW calls in on 20 and 5 minutes later OX3LX also drops by to add to the country total. At 1933, GD5F calls for a new one followed immediately by GU4YBW. There are a lot of mults in the UK! The second radio moves to 15 and within a five minute stretch 3 new mults and 2 new zones are added on 15. 15 continues to be productive with D4C, VP2EAQ, AND ZD8W all going into the log in the course of two minutes. The HS I was hoping would call me on 20 meters never happens and at 1955 I QSY to 40 meters.
2000z: The run radio settles in at 7006. It is 3:00 p.m. eastern time and 40 is bangin! I’m getting in good second radio work on 15 meters with Caribbean and South American mults going into the log at a nice clip. I still haven’t eaten and I’m feeling great. No need to get up and go to the bathroom and I’m not feeling overly hungry despite the fact it has been 24 hours since I last ate. The hour ends with a total of 148 Qs going into the log with only 9 second radio contacts. It isn’t much but I’m being picky about who I work on the second radio, with nearly all Qs on the second radio being mults.
2100Z: I continue running on 7006 but now the second radio is on 20 meters. FY5KE and CO2RQ go into the log at 2108 and 2111 respectively. At 2013, P40L is found on 20 for another new one. Finally at 2120, something interesting calls in on 40 with 5R8SV going into the log as a double mult. I’m unable to convince him to QSY. At 2145z, the second radio finds VK2IA for a double mult on 15 meters. I’m missing a lot of Oceania and Asian mults on 15 and 20 meters! The hour ends with a whimper with only 89 total contacts going into the log. 20 of those coming from the second radio.
2200Z: Continue to run on 40 meters. At 2216, AH2R goes into the log on 15 for a double mult. Finally a JA on 15, with JA7NVF quickly followed by YN2CC. I move the second radio to 20 meters, and the JA stations are sounding good. It is around sunset and frankly it would be nice to work something other than Europe for a bit. I move to 14004.51 and promptly have a few JA stations call in along with VK7GK for a double mult. This also gives me a chance to put the second radio on 40 meters. At 2254, VK6VT calls in for zone 29 and I’m starting to think that being on 20 is a good place even though the rate isn’t very high. VK6HG calls in for my second zone 29 in the last 5 minutes. Then EF8R calls in for a new one. 20 is open to everywhere and it is an exciting time because there is no telling who might drop by. At 2304, CX7ACH calls in for a new one. I have the four high stack pointed due North but it doesn’t seem to matter where it is pointed as I’ve worked 3 different continents in the last three minutes. Second radio work on 40 starts to pay off with PJ6/OH1VR going into the log. I abadon 20 meters, with the fear that I’m playing DXer and head to 80 meters at 2315z, which is 6:15 PM eastern time. The run radio settles into 3513.65 and I start to walk Europe. The second radio promptly finds 6V7A on 20 meters at 2320. Zone 16 is pounding in on 80 meters and at 2325, TF3W goes into the log on 20 meters for a new country mult. 5 minutes later the second radio finds something interesting: VR2XAN! 2 kHz up the band BV1EL goes into the log for a new country and a few minutes later CR2X followed by YE1K are found on 20 meters. The move to 80 is paying off with a decent rate on the run radio and some really juicy mults on 20 meters going into the log. The 2300z hour ends with only 78 Qs going into the log but several nice mults were found on 20 meters.
Saturday Night 0000-1200Z
I’m starting to get tired. I’ve been up for well over 24 hours and I’m getting into the mode of dredding every minute of the contest. I question how in the world can I do this for another 24 hours, not a good mental mind set to have. Hopefully I can push through this and remember that this really is fun. The first 24 hours ends with around 4.5 million points and 3176 Qs. One of my goals was to make 5,000 Qs and I’m on track to make it!
I decide to give 20 meters another try at 0009 and I settle into 14026.96. Europe will be on 80 for the next 6 hours, but I doubt that Asia will be around much longer on 20 meters. I’m rewarded with my third contact being HS3XVP for a double mult! At 0023Z, DU3JH calls in for another double mult. YES!!! This is fun. It’s hard to believe but Asia never sounds this good in Arkansas. At 0027z BH4XDZ and HL1VAU call in for back to back mults. I’m playing Dxer again because my second radio has now gone silent. At 0042Z 6Y5WJ calls in for a new one, but I can’t get him to move. Jamaica was not very active during the contest. The next minute KL1JP calls in for my first zone 1 on 20 meters. KL7RA is sorely missed throughout the contest. This move to 20 is really paying off and I’m telling myself that my competitors in Maine probably aren’t milking an Asian opening on 20 meters when the low bands are wide open to EU. At 0045Z OA85O calls in and finally I’m successful with a move as I convince him to go to 40 meters. 6Y5WJ hears me move OA85O and calls me on 40 meters, score! 6Y5WJ agrees to move to 80, double score! The hour ends with only 71 Qs, but a total of 16 mults add to the score. Not to mention some plain ole fun running Asia.
At 0113z I find 3501 wide open. 80 actually sounds kinda dead and I wonder if everyone is taking some rest time? By this point I’m really concerned about the mult total on 160. I know that the Maine contingency is kicking my butt on that band so I’m going to have to work really hard to get as close as I can mult wise on that band. While the second radio slowly tunes through 160 I have ZT6T call me on 80 meters for a double mult! A few minutes later TA1L calls in for a new one as well. At 0155Z RD8D calls in for a new one on 80 and I’m reminded that I’m missing a bunch of Asia on 80 meters including zone 25. I’m getting tired and sort of coasting. The second radio finds ZB2X at 0234z on 40 and then 9K2HN makes it into the log on 40 meters. I have a Cliff Bar and a Red Bull and it gives me some needed energy and alertness.
At 0300Z I’m still on 3501 and can’t believe it when C92ZO calls in! Thanks Marko. He even agrees to QSY to 40 meters for two double mults in a row. I continue to bounce around 40 and 80 meters. Around 0500Z I decide that I can’t effectively pick up everything on top band with the second radio so I decide to focus solely on 160 meters. I’m feeling weak but over the course of the next hour several mults are worked including: GD, ES, OM, 9A, F, ON, HB, E7, UA2, HA, GM, EA, LX and VP9.
I’m back on 40 meters at 0700z and really feeling tired. In Arkanas I wouldn’t think twice about taking an hour and half nap at this point. But I’m not in Arkansas I’m in totally awesome perfect DX location land where EU is around forever and never ever quits, ever. But I can’t shake the drowsiness and I know that I need a quick nap. I set my timer for 30 minutes and lay my head down on the desk and fall asleep immediately from 0738-0815z. Resume running on 7012.85 and at 0822z 5T0JL calls in for a new country. Later I move to 80 hoping to have a VK or ZL call, but no luck. HI8A does call in at 0853z on 80 meters and we quickly QSY for a nice move and mult on top band. I manage to find CR2X on 40 meters a few minutes later and he kindly QSYs to 80 meters for an easy mult that I had surely missed. Thanks! I continue to run on 80 meters and at 0900z KP3Z calls in on 80 meters and I move him to 160 for another mult. I’m not really running on 80 meters but it is one of those times where I know the rate will be slow but whoever calls will likely be a new mult. That doesn’t last long though and at 0900z, back to 40 meters to continue to mine EU for more contacts.
1040z I continue to run 40 meters and have my first ZL station call in on 40. 10 minutes later I finally break through and work JA3YBK on 80 meters for a double mult. I get lucky and have AH2R call me on 40 meters at 1104z. There is an 8 minute gap in the log (I think I was taking a pee and doing jumping jacks to try and wake up) but the next contact is still on my run frequency and it is with AH0K for another mult. Despite my nap, I’m feeling really sleepy and wishing the sun would rise so I would wake up and the rate would also wake up. During my pee break I see eyes reflecting in the distance outside. Is it the dreaded evil tenacious Paddington the Bear? Being on practically no sleep I get a little freaked out but can’t resist figuring out who the eyes belong to. The flashlight reveals it is just a deer and I actually welcome the short rush of adrenaline. The rocks outside look like blankets and they are inviting me to take a nap. I resist though and head back to the radio. JA and Asia never really materalize on Sunday morning like it did Saturday morning on 40 meters. Good thing I made hay on the first morning while it was there.
QSY to 20 meters at 1123z and the EU run that will last for the next 12 hours begins! I continue on 20 meters with very few second radio Qs. Clearly I’m tired and it takes all I have to focus on the main radio. I do manage to find C92ZO on 15 meters for a double mult at 1216z and our 5th band. I still feel like there is life left in 40 meters and I’m rewarded with finding V73NS on 40 meters at 1223z.
The run radio moves to 15 meters at 21001 at 1233. The band is packed but the frequency sounds good and the pileup is legit big. RM9A calls in at 1242 for a double mult. I feel like I’m going to have some deep Asia stuff soon and I also tell myself that 10 is going to open to Europe for real. One of these predictions holds with 4L3T calling in at 1256 for another double mult. 5 minutes later VU3KPL also calls in for another double mult. I’m tired and the rate is big so the second radio is off. I’m going to have to force myself in the future to hunt (or CQ) with the second radio even when I’m tired and the rate is high. OX5T calls in for another mult on 15 meters at 1315 but VY2ZM has moved in very close. I doubt that he even hears me as he is barely audible here. We both seem to be working people so I continue on the frequency but I know that Jeff is loud in EU, even with 100 watts. TA1DX, IS0GQX, CU8FN, V47T, and ER1DX call in during the 1300z hour all for new mults. I’m clearly tired as the second radio never gets a consideration. I also realize that the RX vertical isn’t working properly on 10 meters.
The 1400z hour continues with running on 21001 and very few second radio Qs. RW0BG calls at 1442z for a new one and he kindly QSYs to 20 meters for another new zone on 20 meters.
For some reason N1MM+ loses communication with the K3 and continues to log contacts on 21001 even though I’m tuning 15 meters. Just like Saturday, I give up a nice run for combing through the band hoping to find lots of good mults. I don’t really care that the frequency readout is wrong just as long as I stay on 15 meters. I restart the program and it fixes the frequency tracking instantly. During my hunt through 15 meters I find a weak 9X0NH for a nice mult and also CJ3A for a new zone (what???? still needed zone 4 on 15, crazy). I’m starting to think that this is a waste of time, but at 1544z 6V7A goes into the log for a new one, followed by OA850 at 1603z and HZ1DG at 1607Z. I continue to search up the band on 15 meters and am rewarded with PJ4Q, FM5FJ, TO8M, C6AUM, and J35X. When I finish the searching it is clear that 15 is on its way out. It is closing early which means I’m going to 20 meters way before I intended too. It also means that 10 meters never opened or I managed to miss it. At 1637 I QSY to 14012.20, about an hour and a half earlier than I expected to.
In hindsight I was clearly tired and not thinking about two radios (bad, bad, operator). I probably missed some good stuff on 10 and 15 meters during this time. At 1713 LX7I calls for a new one, immediately followed by OY4M for another new country. GD4EIP calls in on 20 meters at 1723z and he kindly moves to 15 meters for a new one. I continue to run on 14012.20 and A61EK calls in for a new one at 1735z ten minutes later, A71AE also calls for a new country. The 1700 hour ends with 152 contacts going into the log. I continue to run on 20 meters as there really isn’t anywhere else to be. At 1817z, ZM1A calls in on 20 meters, but I can’t get him to qsy to 15 meters. 4X7R calls on 20 for a new one and the second radio finds CR2X on 10 metes at 1834z. Some excitement occurs at the end of the hour. PJ7/G4JEC calls in on 20 and moves to 15 for a new one. Followed immediately by OH0X on 20 who also agrees to QSY to 15 meters. Four new mults in three minutes! The rate is dropping on 20 but I still manage to put into the log 119 contacts.
Its only 1900z and the zone 16 stations are drying up. It’s 2:00 PM Eastern time and it seems way to early to be on 40 meters. The second radio goes to 40 and at 1918z finds an interesting pileup of Europeans high in the band. It turns out to be 3B9HA, I figure that it will be one of those 5 minute
pileups to bust but not so. One call and the mult goes in the log! Wow that 4/4 stack really kicks some butt. What other goodies might be lurking on 40, ZA/YT7DQ and 4O3A are found within five minutes of each other for two more second radio mults. A few minutes later at 1939z, EA6UN calls on 20 for a new one and moves to 40 for a new one. I’m feeling really tired but I’m pushing hard to find as many mults as possible. At nearly 8 Qs each they are quite valuable. 20 meters is fading and I try 15 meters hoping to get some Pacific, Africa, or anything else to call me. At 1957z, HK3ZD calls for a new one and the next contact is ZS1C for a double mult. Yikes, I would have been kicking myself if I missed South Africa on 15 meters. Nothing else going on 15 and at 3:00 PM local time I go to 40 meters. The 1800z hour ends with 119 Qs.
40 meters is decent and I get woken up when VK6HG calls for zone 29 at 2035z. The next contact is VY1EI on the second radio for a new zone on 15 meters. I continue to CQ on 40 and am rewarded with A93JA at 2110z. I’m having trouble copying calls accurately but I push on. At 2129z the second radio works V47T for a new one. Thanks Andy. I never find Andy on 80 meters which really ticks me off. Oh well, you can’t get them all. I continue to CQ on 40 meters with the second radio combing 20 meters and at 2146 9Y4/WJ2O goes into the log on 20. Ten minutes later YN2CC is also found on 20 meters. Nicaragua on all 6 bands, I’ll take that.
I get lucky and a 2214, VE2IM calls in for zone 2 on 40 meters! It’s to late to move him to 15 meters and he wasn’t able to QSY earlier so I end up missing zone 2 on 15. 40 sounds good, but after putting over 1800 Qs in the log the band is starting to feel tapped out. I make a QSY to 20 meters to see if anything is happening at 2244z. I have a nice run of JA stations going plus the second radio finds PZ5W for a new one on 40 meters. 72 Qs go into the log at the end of the 2200z hour.
The last hour of the contest. And I QSY back to 40 meters to 7005.10 at 2328z. ZZ5T goes into the log on 80 meters for a double mult at 2343z and at 2351z VP5CW is a new one on 20 meters. The contest ends on a great note with PJ6/OH3JR as the last contact and a new mult on 20 meters. Even better, than the mult I’m surprised by WU2X popping into the shack as soon as the final bell tolls. I’ve been dreading for the past 12 hours the thought of walking the quarter of mile in complete darkness back to the house. Certainly the thought of lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my was running through my head. That along with some hallucinations was not a pleasant combination. Scott gave me a ride back to the house and then surprised me again with a home cooked Thanksgiving meal courtesy of his wife… Delicious!
I will always be in debt to the generosity of N2QV and WU2X. That station kicked some serious butt! I’ve done some really cool stuff in the last two years and this is right up there at the top. Getting to prove to myself that I can hang with the big boys was definitely most rewarding.