Thursday, November 18, 2010

SS Phone Plans

For November Sweepstakes Phone this weekend, I will be up at Kevin, AD6Z's place again, signing KM6I. But this time, he and I will be doing a dual station effort, with two transmitters on the air at the same time. Since Kevin's station is mostly SO2R-ready, with bandpass filters and decent antenna routing, it should work out great. This has worked well in the past at other stations, most notably when N6DE and W6RK operated at the K6IDX station for CW SS.

I'll "only" have an AL-80b amp (1000 watts) - Kevin gets the big AL-1200 (1500 watts). But I'll be able to use all that aluminum!


Minimum: 785 QSOs (to make KB-2000 award).
Stretch: 1285 QSOs (to make KB-2500 award).
Crazy: 209,562 points (to make a combined CW/Phone score of 400,000 points)

Approximate rates required (assuming 24 hours op time)

Minimum: 32/hour
Stretch: 53/hour
Crazy: 55/hour

My crazy goal corresponds to about 1327 QSOs and 79 sections). That's pretty unlikely, but what the heck.

Monday, November 8, 2010

How much does the station matter?

Here are some comparisons of my efforts from home and from AD6Z (all SO1R).

Home: FT-857D + Ten Tec Hercules amplifier at 500W, G5RV inverted vee at 60 feet, 2 element wire yagi at 35 feet and fixed @70 degrees. Sea level.

At AD6Z: Elecraft K3 + Ameritron AL-1200 amplifier at 1500W, 80m dipole, 2 el 40m Yagi, 5 el 20m Yagi, 15m 5/5 el Yagi stack, 10m 5 el Yagi. At about 1700' elevation, decent downslope to US.

Major differences:
  • Triple the power (+4-5 dB)
  • Way better antennas (+9-15 dB)
  • Better terrain (just guessing +5 dB)
So here's what you can expect from an improvement of 18-25 dB)

@Home @AD6Z (callsign NW6H)
Time: 10:18 14:13
QSOs: 383 832
Sections: 77 79
Average Rate: 37/hr 58/hr (+57%)
Best 60 min: 52/hr 83/hr (+60%)
Best 10 min: 96/hr 108/hr (+13%)
Longest run: 50 QSOs 151 QSOs
Run/SP count*: 120/263 577/255
Run/SP ratio*: 0.46 2.27
Score: 58,982 131,456
*only counts runs of more than 10 QSOs. Runs less than 10 counts as S and P since that's all that N1MM will show.

There were 258 callsigns that I worked at both stations, meaning there were 125 stations I worked only at KM6I, and 574 that I worked only at AD6Z.

Another interesting thing to look at is the signal levels at the various Reverse Beacon Network CW Skimmers out there. Here's how my home signal compared with AD6Z's signal on 20m and 40m at the K4TD Skimmer site (at the time, Donald, AE6RF was operating AD6Z's station using the callsign K6WC). Click to zoom in on the charts.

While there's a lot of noise in this data (did I really put a 54 dB signal into the Skimmer? I doubt it), it's roughly consistent with my estimates for the signal differences between the stations.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

ARRL November CW Sweepstakes Results

I'll do a longer writeup later, but here are my SS CW results. I did a split-site effort, operating the first part from my home QTH, then driving up to Kevin, AD6Z's place in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Combined results:

24.5 hours, 1215 QSOs, 156 sections, 190,438 total points for the club.

Year Hours Power QSOs Sec Points
2008 ? Low 86 41 7,052
2009 22 Low 624 80 99,840
2010 24.5 High 383 + 832 = 1215 77/79 190,438


ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW

Call: KM6I
Operator(s): KM6I
Station: KM6I

Class: SO Unlimited HP
QTH: Mountain View, CA
Operating Time (hrs): 10:13

Band QSOs
80: 132
40: 146
20: 104
15: 1
Total: 383 Sections = 77 Total Score = 58,982

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW

Call: NW6H
Operator(s): KM6I
Station: AD6Z

Class: SO Unlimited HP
QTH: Los Gatos, CA
Operating Time (hrs): 14:13

Band QSOs
80: 57
40: 248
20: 307
15: 220
Total: 832 Sections = 79 Total Score = 131,456

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ok, that was spooky...

I was using Morse Runner tonight as a warm-up for the ARRL November Sweepstakes, when, out of the blue, I'm "called" by the fellow who gave me my novice exam 36 years ago - Jim, WA8RCN. I think VE3NEA (Morse Runner's author) must have added mind-reading capability to his code.

CW Sweepstakes Plans Set

I've got a second station lined up to operate for the CW weekend of the ARRL November Sweepstakes. Here's the general plan:

Saturday: lead off from home, signing KM6I. Equipment:
  • FT-857D + Hercules amp @ 500w
  • 80/40m: G5RV @ 60ft
  • 20/15/10m: 2 el wire yagi @ 40ft
(I need to use my old FT-857D so I can haul my K3 up to the second operating location - SS rules only allow a transmitter to be used with one callsign.)

After 12 hours or so of operating from home, I'll get a quick nap, then drive up to AD6Z's place, where I'll be signing NW6H. Equipment:
  • K3 + AL-1200 amp
  • 80m: high folded dipole
  • 40m: XM240 2-el Yagi
  • 20m: 5 el Yagi
  • 15m: 5/5 stack
  • 10m: 5 el Yagi
This is far and away the best station I've ever operated, so I'm really stoked to do well. On top of having all this great aluminum and copper in the air, the station is up at about 1700 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thanks to Kevin, the owner, for the chance to operate!