This contest has been circled on the calendar since moving to the Cayman Islands in March of 2014.  My family and I will be here for the next two years so it should be easy for everyone to get the ZF multiplier into their logs.  I knew the big club station was already reserved for most of the major contests so I needed to find a location to operate from.  I’ve experimented with multiple setups from all over the island and one thing is clear.  If you are directly on the water then you will have a good signal.

I decided to keep things simple and built a clone of a butternut all band vertical.  The antenna is 26′ tall and uses coils to resonate on 160, 80, and 40.  It sure is great to have such a supportive wife (the two kids are supportive but they don’t have much of a choice) for all of my ham endeavors.  Our apartment has been turned into a quasi antenna assembly warehouse with aluminum tubing, wire, tools, and all other things strewn all over the place.

A couple of weeks before the contest I decided on a location located about 30 minutes from our apartment on the Northside of the island.  This location had a water shot in the three major locations: NA, EU, and JA.  When operating from here reports were excellent into EU and NA.  Japan just isn’t very strong from this part of the world even when using big antennas.  The downside with this setup however is that I would be operating off generator power and have no access to running water.  Basically a field day setup, all though I would be operating out of our mini van.  My main concerns going into the contest were dealing with any public that came by during the operation and potential failure of the generator.  The trade off though was having an outstanding location to operate from.  Coming from Arkansas, I’ve always been enamored with the thought of a vertical stuck out in the salt water.  Believe the hype.  It works great.  All though I know the prefix adds at least an S unit to the signal reports!  At the same time though everything written about the difficulty of achieving a good and stable ground when having a vertical located direction in the water is also true.

The Monday of the contest I received an email from Phil, ZF1PB/ZF35PB about some different potential operating sites.  All of the sites were more isolated than my planned location which was good from not having to deal with any potential problems from the public.  However, they still lacked power and amenities.  Phil then had the brilliant idea of a house that I could use that would provide running water and a stable power source.  The house was located on a small finger shaped parcel of water.  Fortunately the long part of the finger was jutting out towards Europe.  I would have a water shot for a thousand feet or so then it would be over land to Europe.   The shot to NA and JA would be nearly totally over land except for the 30′ that the dock jutted out into the water. I decided that having some safety and stable power would be worth the trade off of a near and far field shot over the water.  I’d still be operating in my car though as the coax runs to the house would have been to long for my taste.  I also wanted to keep the equipment out of the elements as much as possible.   After seeing my new location I decided that since I was giving up a few S units  in operating location that those missing dB needed to be gained back.  Going into the contest there was a good chance that around 70% of my contacts would be made on 10 and 15 meters.  A quick email to my dad and I had a design for a dual band 10/15 meter Yagi on a 10′ boom.  The plan was to mount the antenna vertically over the water in order to get a really low angle of radiation.  Alternatively an antenna oriented around 45 degrees would give both low and high angles with a small sacrifice in gain.  The real word rules and I wasn’t able to mount the antenna vertically so I got it as close as possible with the tips of the 15 meter elements about a foot above high tide.

Stimulating contests always seem to go by in a blur and this one was no different.  Apparently there were some flares.  I was totally oblivious to them. The contest was dominated by incredible EU and NA runs during the day time and incredibly high winds, rain, and lightening during the night time.  The all band vertical fell over into the water three different times Saturday night.  Trudging out into the wind and rain to re erect and secure the vertical on no sleep was tough but at least it gave me an opportunity to stretch!  I do not recommend operating inside an enclosed vehicle for 48 hours.  My butt hurts!  There is also a nasty body odor type stink that permeates throughout the vehicle.  Add our van to the list of things I need to clean up right after the ZF2DX antenna staging facility otherwise known as our spare bedroom.

160 and 80 were horrible, but I attributed that to my extremely inefficient antenna.  The second night was better on the low bands and I was able to work EI7M on 80 meters.  Amazingly, I had IW1CAB call me during an 80 meter run at 5:30 in the morning local time.  I had him repeat his call and then told him that I must be hallucinating.  The next U.S. caller confirmed that he heard him.  I also had KL7RA call on 80 meters during this run which was a double mult that I missed on 20.  40 meters seemed decent and I was able to have some short lived runs into Europe.  Going into the contest I had vision of big EU runs simplex in the DX portion of the band but those never happened.  The second night I had a brief EU/JA run simultaneously when operating split.  20 meters was a real disappointment.  That is the one band where a lot was left on the table.  Many easy European mults were missed here.  There was a nice opening into Europe the second night at their sunrise but I was never able to get anything going.  Joe, ZF2AH, did a single band 20 operation and this probably helped to quell the need for ZF on this band.  15 and 10 were non stop rate fest.

Lasting inside that van for 48 hours sure was an endurance test.   I alternated between a typical sitting position to having my long legs draped over the passenger side seat in order to give my back and butt some relief.   I took two 30 minute naps during the contest, both on Saturday night.  My first nap was precipitated by noticing the SWR go high on 20 meters during some torrential wind and rain.  I turned the headlights on and saw the vertical taking a swim out in the water.  The wind and rain were so high and my rate was so low that I decided a sleep break was in order.   My hope was to take a quick nap during which the storm would pass.

Given all the uncertainties going into the contest, my main goal was to not quit.  Given good conditions and no catastrophic failures I felt like 5500 Qs would be a good goal.   It’s hard to think of terms in winning contests from zone 8 given the point different between here and prime zones like 33 and 9.  I knew that P40W would be low power all bands and I thought that having a Q total around John’s would at least be a moral victory.  I know that I missed a lot of workable mults on 10 and 15, but it just didn’t make sense to pull away from the big runs to tune the dial (only had one radio).

The toughest part was taking off the headphones at 0000z and looking outside into the dark abyss and realizing that I was now faced with dissembling and packing up the entire station.  Operating portable like this has sure helped to increase my patience.  I’m greatly appreciative of the support of my wife for this crazy hobby.  It’s also nice to have an antenna guru on call when needed.  Having a private location with a stable power source was huge and I’m really appreciative of the help that Phil gave me.  The hams here on the island are a great group of guys and are very supportive of all of the contesters that come and visit the island.  After building some of the biggest antennas of the world, it is incredible to think that I was able to fit my entire station inside my vehicle and be highly competitive.

73,

Kevin ZF2DX

 

 

Cabrillo Statistics           (Version 10g)           by K5KA & N6TV
http://bit.ly/cabstat

CALLSIGN: ZF2DX
CONTEST: CQ-WW-SSB
CATEGORY-OPERATOR: SINGLE-OP
CATEGORY-TRANSMITTER: ONE
OPERATORS: ZF2DX

————– Q S O   R a t e   S u m m a r y ———————
Hour     160     80     40     20     15     10    Rate Total    Pct
——————————————————————–
0000       0      0      0     11     73      0     84     84    1.5
0100       0      0      9     27      8      0     44    128    2.2
0200       0      1      1    141      0      0    143    271    4.7
0300       0      0      0    126      0      0    126    397    6.9
0400       0      6      4     40      1      0     51    448    7.8
0500       0      1     59      6      0      0     66    514    8.9
0600       0      7     74      4      0      0     85    599   10.4
0700       0     31     95      0      0      0    126    725   12.6
0800       3      5     38      2      0      0     48    773   13.4
0900       0      4     36      5      0      0     45    818   14.2
1000       1     40     22      4      0      0     67    885   15.4
1100       0     13      5      0     41      0     59    944   16.4
1200       0      0      0      0    215      0    215   1159   20.1
1300       0      0      0      0     80    160    240   1399   24.3
1400       0      0      0      0      0    233    233   1632   28.3
1500       0      0      0      0     48     64    112   1744   30.3
1600       0      0      0      0      0    228    228   1972   34.2
1700       0      0      0      0      0    225    225   2197   38.1
1800       1      1      0      0     19      9     30   2227   38.7
1900       0      0      0      3      5    211    219   2446   42.5
2000       0      0      0      0      5    153    158   2604   45.2
2100       0      0      0      2    256      1    259   2863   49.7
2200       0      0      0     18     33     94    145   3008   52.2
2300       0      0      0      0     24    135    159   3167   55.0
0000       0      0      1      8     72      0     81   3248   56.4
0100       0      0      1     30      0      0     31   3279   56.9
0200       1      0     71      2      0      0     74   3353   58.2
0300       0      0      1      5      0      0      6   3359   58.3
0400       0      0      7     54      0      0     61   3420   59.4
0500       1      3     53      1      0      0     58   3478   60.4
0600       0      2      7     25      0      0     34   3512   61.0
0700       0      0     48      0      0      0     48   3560   61.8
0800       2      6      2      0      0      0     10   3570   62.0
0900       0      0     14      1      0      0     15   3585   62.2
1000       0     79     38      0      0      0    117   3702   64.3
1100       0      6      1     78      1      0     86   3788   65.8
1200       0      0      0      6     81    101    188   3976   69.0
1300       0      0      0      1      2    212    215   4191   72.8
1400       0      0      0      0      1    210    211   4402   76.4
1500       0      0      0      0      5    130    135   4537   78.8
1600       0      0      0      0      1    200    201   4738   82.3
1700       0      0      0      0      0    136    136   4874   84.6
1800       0      0      0      0    143     25    168   5042   87.5
1900       0      0      0      8    118      1    127   5169   89.7
2000       0      0      0      0    115     25    140   5309   92.2
2100       0      0      0      0      2    164    166   5475   95.1
2200       0      0      0      9     99      0    108   5583   96.9
2300       0      0      0    145     32      0    177   5760  100.0
——————————————————
Total      9    205    587    762   1480   2717   5760

Gross QSOs=5813        Dupes=53        Net QSOs=5760

Unique callsigns worked = 4085

The best 60 minute rate was 279/hour from 2107 to 2206
The best 30 minute rate was 326/hour from 2130 to 2159
The best 10 minute rate was 378/hour from 2132 to 2141

The best 1 minute rates were:
9 QSOs/minute    1 times.
8 QSOs/minute    3 times.
7 QSOs/minute   33 times.
6 QSOs/minute   88 times.
5 QSOs/minute  215 times.
4 QSOs/minute  359 times.
3 QSOs/minute  402 times.
2 QSOs/minute  370 times.
1 QSOs/minute  511 times.

There were 154 bandchanges and 29 (0.5%) probable 2nd radio QSOs.

—————– C o n t i n e n t   S u m m a r y —————–
160     80     40     20     15     10  Total    Pct
———————————————————————
North America      7    193    391    573    763   1043   2970   51.6
South America      2      7     26     52     49     54    190    3.3
Europe             0      3    156    104    621   1517   2401   41.7
Asia               0      0      6     10     28     75    119    2.1
Africa             0      1      6      8     16     20     51    0.9
Oceania            0      1      2     15      3      8     29    0.5
————————————————————–
Total              9    205    587    762   1480   2717   5760

Number of letters in callsigns
Letters  # worked
—————–
3        37
4      2276
5      2179
6      1248
7         8
8         5
9         4
10         3

—————— C o u n t r y   S u m m a r y ——————
Country        160     80     40     20     15     10  Total    Pct
——————————————————————-
3B8              0      0      0      1      0      0      1    0.0
4O               0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
4X               0      0      0      4      1      6     11    0.2
5B               0      0      1      2      1      4      8    0.1
5H               0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
5W               0      0      0      1      0      0      1    0.0
6Y               0      2      1      0      1      1      5    0.1
8P               0      1      1      1      1      3      7    0.1
9A               0      0      5      2     13     18     38    0.7
9H               0      0      0      0      1      0      1    0.0
9K               0      0      0      0      0      1      1    0.0
9M6              0      0      0      0      0      2      2    0.0
9Y               0      0      0      1      1      1      3    0.1
A6               0      0      0      1      0      0      1    0.0
A7               0      0      0      1      0      1      2    0.0
C3               0      0      0      0      0      1      1    0.0
CE               0      0      1      6      2      2     11    0.2
CE9              0      0      0      1      0      0      1    0.0
CM               0      3      2      1      0      0      6    0.1
CN               0      1      3      3      4      3     14    0.2
CT               0      0      3      8      6     11     28    0.5
CT3              0      0      1      0      2      2      5    0.1
CU               0      1      1      1      0      2      5    0.1
CX               0      0      0      1      2      3      6    0.1
DL               0      0     24      8    100    293    425    7.4
E7               0      0      0      1      2      5      8    0.1
EA               0      0     15     12     33     65    125    2.2
EA6              0      0      1      1      1      3      6    0.1
EA8              0      0      2      2      6      8     18    0.3
EA9              0      0      0      0      0      2      2    0.0
EI               0      1      2      1      7     13     24    0.4
ER               0      0      0      0      2      3      5    0.1
ES               0      0      0      0      3      5      8    0.1
EU               0      0      0      0      7     10     17    0.3
EY               0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
F                0      0     19      5     32     86    142    2.5
FM               0      0      2      1      1      2      6    0.1
FY               0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
G                0      0     11     10     46    116    183    3.2
GD               0      0      0      1      1      1      3    0.1
GI               0      0      1      2      4     12     19    0.3
GJ               0      0      1      0      0      2      3    0.1
GM               0      0      3      1     12     18     34    0.6
*GM/s            0      0      0      1      1      1      3    0.1
GU               0      0      0      0      2      0      2    0.0
GW               0      0      1      1      5     17     24    0.4
HA               0      0      6      4      9     22     41    0.7
HB               0      0      1      0      6     14     21    0.4
HC               0      0      1      3      1      2      7    0.1
HI               0      1      1      1      2      0      5    0.1
HK               1      1      3      2      5      1     13    0.2
HL               0      0      0      0      0      1      1    0.0
HP               0      1      1      0      1      0      3    0.1
HZ               0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
I                0      1      8     11     45    131    196    3.4
IS               0      0      0      1      0      2      3    0.1
*IT9             0      0      1      2      8     15     26    0.5
J3               0      0      1      1      0      0      2    0.0
J7               0      0      1      0      0      0      1    0.0
JA               0      0      5      1      9     52     67    1.2
K                4    160    328    527    669    940   2628   45.6
KG4              0      0      0      1      2      1      4    0.1
KH0              0      0      0      0      0      2      2    0.0
KH2              0      0      0      0      0      1      1    0.0
KH6              0      1      1      1      1      2      6    0.1
KL               0      1      0      0      2      3      6    0.1
KP2              1      2      3      2      4      1     13    0.2
KP4              0      2      6      5      5      3     21    0.4
LA               0      0      2      0      6     13     21    0.4
LU               0      0      1      9      8     14     32    0.6
LX               0      0      1      0      1      5      7    0.1
LY               0      0      2      1      7     15     25    0.4
LZ               0      0      1      1      2     12     16    0.3
OA               0      0      2      4      3      2     11    0.2
OE               0      0      3      0      4     21     28    0.5
OH               0      0      6      4     30     32     72    1.3
OH0              0      0      1      1      2      2      6    0.1
OK               0      0      6      2     16     42     66    1.1
OM               0      0      0      1      4     15     20    0.3
ON               0      0      6      1     15     43     65    1.1
OZ               0      0      1      1      6     18     26    0.5
P4               1      3      3      2      3      2     14    0.2
PA               0      0      5      1     23     62     91    1.6
PJ2              0      1      1      1      1      1      5    0.1
PJ4              0      1      2      3      1      1      8    0.1
PY               0      0      6     11     15     14     46    0.8
S5               0      0      5      2     11     25     43    0.7
S7               0      0      0      0      0      1      1    0.0
SM               0      0      3      2     16     30     51    0.9
SP               0      0      5      2     32     85    124    2.2
SV               0      0      0      2      4     11     17    0.3
SV9              0      0      0      1      1      2      4    0.1
TA               0      0      0      1      0      2      3    0.1
*TA1             0      0      0      0      0      1      1    0.0
TF               0      0      1      1      2      2      6    0.1
TG               0      0      0      0      1      0      1    0.0
TI               0      2      2      0      0      0      4    0.1
TK               0      0      0      1      1      2      4    0.1
UA               0      0      1      4     54     97    156    2.7
UA2              0      0      0      0      3      2      5    0.1
UA9              0      0      0      0     13      5     18    0.3
UN               0      0      0      0      2      1      3    0.1
UR               0      0      1      1     18     61     81    1.4
V2               0      1      1      0      2      1      5    0.1
V4               0      1      1      0      0      1      3    0.1
V5               0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
VE               0     13     32     27     63     78    213    3.7
VK               0      0      1      5      1      1      8    0.1
VP5              0      1      2      0      1      1      5    0.1
VP8              0      0      0      1      1      1      3    0.1
VP9              0      0      1      2      1      1      5    0.1
XE               0      0      3      2      4      5     14    0.2
YL               0      0      2      0      4     14     20    0.3
YN               1      1      1      0      1      0      4    0.1
YO               0      0      0      0      5     22     27    0.5
YU               0      0      1      2      6     14     23    0.4
YV               0      1      6      6      5      6     24    0.4
Z3               0      0      0      0      1      2      3    0.1
ZD8              0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
ZF               1      1      1      2      2      2      9    0.2
ZL               0      0      0      8      1      0      9    0.2
ZP               0      0      0      1      0      3      4    0.1
ZS               0      0      0      2      1      1      4    0.1
——————————————————————-
Total            9    205    587    762   1480   2717   5760

———— M u l t i p l i e r   S u m m a r y ————
Mult     160     80     40     20     15     10  Total    Pct
————————————————————-
05         3    116    218    318    381    496   1532   26.6
14         0      2    101     57    323    827   1310   22.7
04         1     45    101    184    269    410   1010   17.5
15         0      1     51     37    202    468    759   13.2
03         0     11     42     54     84    112    303    5.3
16         0      0      2      5     80    172    259    4.5
08         2     15     21     14     19     16     87    1.5
20         0      0      2     11     14     60     87    1.5
09         2      7     15     15     17     13     69    1.2
25         0      0      5      1      9     52     67    1.2
11         0      0      6     12     15     17     50    0.9
33         0      1      6      5     13     16     41    0.7
13         0      0      1     11     11     18     41    0.7
10         0      0      3      7      4      4     18    0.3
17         0      0      0      0     12      5     17    0.3
06         0      0      3      2      4      5     14    0.2
07         1      4      4      0      3      0     12    0.2
12         0      0      1      6      2      2     11    0.2
32         0      0      0      9      1      0     10    0.2
02         0      1      2      1      1      2      7    0.1
21         0      0      0      2      1      3      6    0.1
38         0      0      0      2      2      2      6    0.1
31         0      1      1      1      1      2      6    0.1
30         0      0      1      3      1      1      6    0.1
40         0      0      1      1      2      2      6    0.1
01         0      1      0      0      2      3      6    0.1
18         0      0      0      0      4      0      4    0.1
29         0      0      0      3      0      0      3    0.1
27         0      0      0      0      0      3      3    0.1
39         0      0      0      1      0      1      2    0.0
36         0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
28         0      0      0      0      0      2      2    0.0
19         0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
37         0      0      0      0      1      1      2    0.0
——————————————————
Total      9    205    587    762   1480   2717   5760

Multi-band QSOs
—————
1 bands    3085
2 bands     574
3 bands     246
4 bands     124
5 bands      53
6 bands       3

The following stations were worked on 6 bands:

K3LR        P40L        NQ4I

——- S i n g l e   B a n d   Q S O s ——
Band    160     80     40     20     15     10
———————————————-
QSOs      0     56    177    329    664   1859

2 thoughts on “CQWW SSB SOAB LP

  • October 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Igor. Hope to work you in CQWW CW. The 2 element Yagi was at least a couple of S units better than the all band vertical, so it was a huge difference! Before the contest I compared a vertical directly in the water on 15 meters with a 15 meter vertical located about 15 feet from the edge of the water with around 20 1/4 wave radials under the vertical. The vertical in the water was always better than the vertical located away from the water. The vertical in the water only had a piece of copper strap going into the water for a ground. Getting the all band vertical to resonate properly on 40 and 80 meters with it located directly at the water’s edge was impossible. The tuning changed dramatically with the changing of the tide. I didn’t have this problem however whenever moving the vertical out onto the dock as you can see in the picture. I think with the vertical having salt water totally around it the changing of the tide did not produce as big as an effect as when at the water’s edge where the ground would fluctuate between the conductive salt water and the less conductive sandy beach. Have you read any of the articles that N6LF wrote? He has a short article about verticals on the water and I think it is right on. I think the best way to get an all band vertical to work properly is to have it far enough out in the water that the near field is mostly water. Then the fluctuation in the tide won’t have as much as an effect as when the vertical has sandy ground around it. Of course having the vertical out this far presents challenges unless you have access to a dock like I did. Additionally, even though the ground was salt water underneath the dock, I still didn’t achieve a good enough ground as evidenced by an impedance around 50 ohms on 80 and 160 meters. As you know, this indicates some big time ground losses. The 2 element 10/15 meter design worked great and part of the reason is that it is ground independent because the elements were a half wave length long. This is what the team vertical boys found out what was the best way to go because the fluctuating tide would not affect the resonances.

  • October 28, 2014 at 5:48 pm
    Permalink

    Kevin, congratulations with super result.
    I am interested in your experience with vertical antennas over salt water.
    How did you 2 el almost vertically polarised yagi caompaired with single multy band vertical?
    When you were testing different locations did you do A/B comparisons between vertical set near the water and one set in the water?
    How did you cope with single vertical resonance changing with tide?
    We use to operate from 8Q7 and going there again for CQWW CW this year. Therefore we are always interested in verticals over salt water experience.

    73, Igor UA9CDC

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