Sunday, October 28, 2007


The word of the day is half. We are about half-way through our vacation and CQ WW SSB is behind me. The villa, while beautiful, is about half what I needed. The building is nestled against a hill with the bulk of North America sheltered behind the mass. I had a pretty good shot towards the East and South but the other half of the compass was a compromise at best.
I had deployed antennas 10,15,20,40, and 80m for the contest. A 17m antenna was also erected upon our arrival so I could work before and after the event. Of those six bands, only half were usable during the contest. The tribander (Mosley Mini-32-A) did a pretty good job (with the caveats I'll list below) but the low bands were a bust. There was no way to deploy these wire verticals against this hill so that the radials could be elevated or even run in a reasonable way. As it turns out, 80m was so noisy that lots of us here in the Caribbean had trouble with it. Pounding rain storms and lightning probably contributed to the problems.
I had hoped to spend most of the 48 hours working the contest but probably only worked half of that. My operating position was on the veranda and either rain or bugs were attacking at night. Given the shape of the low bands (and my antennas), it made more sense to watch baseball.
As a consequence of losing half those bands I made fewer than half of the QSOs I had hoped to make. My original trip goals looked to post about 1000 QSOs. I made about 385, with all but 8 on the tribander. Below is the summary of my efforts.

Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 0 0 0
80: 1 1 1
40: 7 4 7
20: 115 16 44
15: 238 14 31
10: 24 7 8
Total: 385 42 91 Total Score = 79,800

This total is what I expected to have about half-way through the contest. Instead, it is my final (claimed) total. Needless to say, my little wager with fellow YCCC teammate Paul (K1XM) will go easily to Paul's FS/K1XM effort. I heard him running a nice pile-up several times during the weekend. (I just took a peek at the 3830 contest list looking for his post but it has not appeared.)
Now that the contest is over, we'll be relaxing and putting QSOs into the log at a more relaxed rate. Though we are only half-way through the week here I decided to take all the antennas down save the 17m fishing pole vertical. Weather forecasts call for thunderstorms over the next day or so and both Sandy and I were spending half the night going out to the veranda to see if the beam and masts had blown onto the golf course. We both need a good night sleep. I decided it would be better to just disassemble and pack these things up before the weather turned worse and we drove ourselves crazy worrying about this stuff.
This was a 100 Pound DXpedition but even that goal was only met half-way. The total weight of the checked bags exceeded 200 pounds. I hope to ditch some of this weight here on St. Kitts before we head back to the airport. The painters poles, while light, were seriously stressed by the trade winds down here. I'm still looking for a reasonable way to get this yagi in the air. In fact, it was only up about half as high as it should have been--barely peeking over the roof of the villa. I need to think about this problem as the antenna was coupling with the metal in the roof on 20m until I cranked it up a bit (further stressing the painter poles).
I plan on packing up about half the radio equipment in the morning. I'll take the audio processor out of the loop, I've already removed the recording equipment, and I'll probably switch to the Heil Traveler headset just to lighten the load on my head. It weighs about half as much as the Heil noise canceling model.
As of this writing we are about half-way through the Sox/Denver game. I've written more than half of what I wanted to say but I'm too tired to continue. Time to put up my feet, grab something cool to drink, and watch the game. 73 from St. Kitts!


Blogger Steve Weinert said...

Howdy V4/Scott !

Would a sked fit into your plans?



October 30, 2007 12:54 PM  

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