[MiQP-Mail] W8RU M/M/M Extravaganza, Preliminary Results

Ron Majewski bigsky2000 at sbcglobal.net
Sun Apr 19 19:51:30 EDT 2009


100w and low dipoles
Appx 2hrs per County

    Branch County     Calhoun County     Jackson County

       SSB     CW         SSB     CW         SSB     CW
------------------   ---------------     ---------------
80m     20                 27                 10      4
40m     82                 45                  3
20m      4     20           4     26
       -----------         ----------         ---------
Total  106     20          76     26          13      4

We all had a blast!  The weather was perfect and the bands were in good shape.  Activity would ebb and flow but seemed pretty good overall.

We had three complete stations: A dipole, a center support, a 12v battery, radio, and accessories.  All logging was done on paper.  The plan was to operate about 2hrs in each county.  We budgeted about 30min for tear down and relocation, but it took more like 60min to do both.

The center supports consisted of a base and about 20ft of fiberglass tubing.  One base was a 6ft tripod, another was a nice fold-up unit from Penninger Radio (really excellent), and the third was a pair of cross 2x6s and a vertical 4x4.  We used stakes and 25lb sand bags to prevent the supports from falling over.  The ends of the dipoles were tied to trees or the ground.

We started out in Branch Co., arriving about 12:30pm in a city park in Coldwater.  It was an excellent venue.  We had the 40m station up-and-running in about 20min, and the 80m station followed about 15min later.  AB8OJ (Ed), our 40m op, had a good run.  20m operation was so-so.  We couldn't get anything going on SSB so we stuck to CW.  We stopped operation about 3pm and moved to a rest area on I-94 near Marshall.

The rest area was another good spot.  We got the 40m station running in about 15min and 80m follwed about 15min after that.  15min is the best we could do in terms of setup, and we all had to work hard to achieve that.  40m wasn't quite as good here as it was in Branch, 80m was a little better, and 20m was about the same.  We stopped operation at 5:30pm local time and moved to another rest area on I-94 in Jackson County.

Mr. Murphy caught up with us in Jackson.  We got the 40m station running 15min after arrival but found that we had S9+20dB noise everywhere on the band.  The 80m station had the same situation.  There were no overhead power lines anywhere.  We think the noise may have been coming from the 12 mercury vapor lights in the building at the rest area.  By this time it was almost 7pm and moving to a new spot was ruled out because the daylight was rapidly fading.  We worked the stronger stations on 40m and 80m but it was slow going.  We also tried some CW on 80m but found that the built-in keyer was malfunctioning.  We had a hand key but it had no base (doh!).  To send CW one had to push down on the two lugs with the left hand while sending with the right.  To copy stations we enabled the noise blanker, but that caused a raft of intermodulation spurs to appear making copy difficult.  We apologize to those few who worked us from Jackson County, and to those who
 tried to work us.  We really weren't drunk, just struggling.

To reiterate, we all had a great time with this operation.  It was like doing 3 separate field day setups in one afternoon, but without the bugs.  We greatly improved (shortened) our setup and teardown times when compared to last year.

Thanks to all and 73,

Ron (W8RU).

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