Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SS Phone 2012 Prep

Like the last two years, I'll be station-sharing with AD6Z at his mountain shack above Silicon Valley. Kevin and I will be operating two contest efforts simultaneously, utilizing his excellent antenna farm and bandpass filters.

My goal for this year is to make [2000 (nccc kb-2000 award) - 1085 (raw qsos from the cw weekend)] = 915 qsos. Of course, I need to add a stretch goal onto that number, so the real goal is 1065 Qs for this weekend, and I'm assuming a sweep. Given the reduced activity observed during the CW weekend, this might be a real stretch, but it's my goal and I'm sticking to it.

I plan to give my new KPA500 amplifier a workout during the contest. Although I'll be giving away about 3dB relative to Kevin's AL-80B amp, well, hey, it's family.

Strategy updates this year: if I'm not CQing, I'm losing. Keep hitting the damn F1 key, lamer! Other than that, the strategy advice is to be more aggressive, and stick with a run frequency even when you think it's dried up -- it'll come back to life.

Also, devote more attention to 10 meters. While pickings were slim during the CW weekend, there are potentially more SSB contacts to be had from Novice/Technician licensees from 28.3 to 28.5 (so if you're CQing, don't go high).

Hope to work you this weekend!

-- Update Thursday Nov 15

I just got back from Kevin's shack where we got everything plugged in and checked out. We re-fused the KPA500 to run from 220V so it will be using one of the dedicated 220V circuits. A couple of of other random notes:

  • I was seeing very high SWR on all bands, and disconnecting and reconnecting the coax from the bandpass filter to the amplifier remedied the problem. So if that crops up again, that's the cable to replace.
  • Both operating positions share a beverage receive antenna, which is plugged into the AUX antenna input on my K3. To enable diversity receive with the beverage, hold the SUB button until the display reads DIVERSTY. But be aware that any SO2V stuff, like selecting the 2nd entry window, will pull the subreceiver off of diversity duty, and when you go back to VFO A's window, diversity receive will not be restored. I think the way to use this is to just know that, if you've got a weak station calling, to turn on the diversity receive and don't worry about the second VFO.
  • I loaded my rate goals into N1MM, and in the process, noticed just how "lumpy" they are. That reflects some bad operating decisions on my part last year (like, why did my rate drop to 30/hr in the second hour of the contest?). But there are also some puzzling rate bumps in the last few hours of the contest. Depending on those rate bumps again (especially given how hard the last few hours of SSCW were) would be a bad idea. Basically, I should have put some more thought into my rate goals, rather than just taking last years log and multiplying it by a constant.
  • I'll be 3dB down from last year, since I'll be using 500w instead of 1000w. But I'm hoping to make up the difference with more aggressive CQing.

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