Friday, December 27, 2013

My First Lumber

Pacific Division Winner
Single Operator Unlimited High Power CW

Woohoo! Thanks to AD6Z for hosting me. And to the "usual suspects" (N6RO, K9YC, and other NCCC big guns) for not entering SO/U/HP in 2012. :-)

Monday, November 4, 2013

SSCW 2013 Recap

                    ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW

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

Class: SO Unlimited HP
QTH: Mountain View, CA
Operating Time (hrs): 21

Band  QSOs
  160: 0
  80:  47
  40:  168
  20:  336
  15:  193
  10:  10
Total:  754  Sections = 83  Total Score = 125,164

Club: Northern California Contest Club


K3, KPA-500, Dipole @ 60ft, temporary 2-el triband wire yagi @ 35ft

This year was the first year since 2009 that I activated my home station. For the past few years in SS CW and Phone I've been a guest op at AD6Z's shack above Los Gatos, CA, but Kevin's moved, so it was time to find a new place to operate. Initially I'd thought about finding a new station host, but since this year is a focus year for NCCC in the November Sweepstakes, I felt like I could make the best contribution to the club effort by getting my own station on the air and putting as many QSOs in the log as possible. Also, I had a division win last year from Kevin's shack (Pacific Division SO/U/HP), so my need for a personal best was temporarily satisfied.

In my previous post, I laid out some overall goals for my CW effort this year. After the first weekend, I'm pretty pleased with my results, although my BIC* time was not as optimal as it should have been, On the plus side, I made the clean sweep, I'm close to my (slightly optimistic) target number of QSOs, and Murphy stayed away for the whole weekend.

I wasn't thinking clearly and committed to the club to make 800 QSOs, as I (erroneously) remembered making that many contacts in the past. What I was actually remembering was making 832 contacts from AD6Z during the second half of a split-site effort in 2009. Oops! Looking back, the best I've ever done from home was about 600 QSOs and an 80-section sweep (pre-Ontario split).

For the contest I raised my temporary 2-element wire Yagi, hanging diagonally from my big redwood tree. It's consistently about an s-unit better on receive than the multiband dipole at 60ft, which is what I would expect.

Because of my son's soccer match, I couldn't start on time, and ended up finally getting started at 2336 UTC. I was feeling fairly loud on 15, and even put together a one-hour run of 60 QSOs on 20 meters starting at 0140, which I found a little surprising given my simple antenna and 500W signal. I had a good S&P session on 40, found 80 very noisy, and conked out too early (0721Z). That was not good, as I ended up only spending 21 hours BIC.

Starting at 1340 the next morning, I started on 20 meters, and bounced back and forth between 20 and 15. 10 never seemed to be good when I listened. Sometime Sunday morning I found ONE for the sweep. Things were predictably slow on Sunday, although when I popped down to 40 for the NCCC rally I did find a few KBers there. I spent the last 2 hours on 40 meters, except for the 80-meter NCCC rally where I picked up 8 KBers.

I finished the contest with 754 QSOs and the sweep, which I am pretty pleased with. It's 30% lower than my score from last year, but then again I had 2 elements, not 5 on 20/15/10, 1/4 the power, and 3 fewer hours. It looks like I'll be able to make KB-1000 this year.

Thanks for the Qs!

* BIC == Butt In Chair

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SS2013 CW Prep

Aargh, SS 2013 has snuck up on me like a stealthy brain-eating zombie. Here's my last-minute panic plan. I don't have a station to guest-op this year, so I need to maximize my home station's effectiveness. This means:

    • Putting up the best temporary antenna(s) I can muster
    • Optimizing my BIC time
    • Doing all the usual things

Given all these constraints, my goal is to make the NCCC KB-1000 award (1000 QSOs across both SS weekends) this year. My stretch goal is 1200 contacts total.


  • A clean sweep on CW
  • 300 contacts on SSB
My temporary 2-el triband yagi is already in the air, but is missing a functional feedline. I'll get that at HRO Sunnyvale tomorrow and should have the thing operational on Friday.

Operating Plan

I'm going to miss the first few hours of the contest because I'll be at my son's soccer match. I should be home around 1700 local time and on the air around 1900, which means I've had 5 hours off time already. Other than that I should have as much BIC time as I need. Looks like an all-nighter!

On the air I'll be operating Unlimited HP, using the cluster spots as much as possible to optimize mults and keep the S&P rate high. On Sunday I'll try to be fresh meat as much as my modest antennas allow.

Operating plan for the SSB weekend is still TBD. Hope to see you on the air this weekend!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SSCW 2012 PAC division SO/U/HP Win!

Yeeha, I won the Pacific Division Single-Operator Unlimited High Power category in the 2012 November CW Sweepstakes! Results are on the ARRL Contest Results web page. A 10^6 thanks to Kevin, AD6Z, for giving me access to his station for the weekend. And the pasta feed!

The one bummer is that I lost my clean sweep in the log-checking process. I'm not sure which one I lost, but I recall having an ESP QSO with at least one of the rare Canadian provinces. I also lost 29 QSOs to log checking, or 2.6%, which is 0.9% worse than last year''s error rate.