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Stew Perry Topband Challenge   2017   Pre-Stew   Claimed Score

Click on a call below for a list of all the contests for which that call sign is listed as an operator. Click on the [email] link to send an e-mail to the contester who posted the claimed score.

Call: K1LT
Operator(s): K1LT
Station: K1LT

Class: Single Op HP
QTH: EM89ps
Operating Time (hrs): 8.5
Location: USA

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:QSOs222Total Score1,404


Club: Mad River Radio Club

Comments:     [email]     2017-10-22 09:55:59
Just after the summer Stew the hard drive (actually an SSD) in my phased array computer began to show errors. So I got another SSD and rather than copy the old OS (Ubuntu 12.04) and data, I installed a new OS (Ubuntu 14.04) and copied the data. However, the new OS was 64-bit and also did not support version 3 of Qt, the framework upon which GUI (graphic user interface) part of my SDR software depends. I spent most of the summer fretting about whether or not converting from 32-bit to 64-bit would break anything and whether to try to adapt to the newest version of the SDR software or try to build Qt 3 from scratch. A week ago I finally got busy. First, using the 64-bit environment merely requires recompiling all of the affected software. Second, the easiest approach to upgrading to Qt 4 was to back-port the relevant changes in the SDR GUI software from the latest version to the version that contains all of my local modifications. Now my 160 meter receiving system is much less obsolescent. The 160 meter antennas also needed a fair amount of maintenance. In July, 2 different short verticals broke in different ways. Since both of these used 2x4s as supports they both got upgraded to PVC conduit which seems to last much longer. The top of the tree that supports one of the top-hat wires for the transmit vertical broke off and tangled itself with the support rope. I climbed the tree and managed to disentangle the rope and the debris and managed not to injure myself. The top-hat wire is not as high, but at least it is in the air. Over the years, the top-hat wires have gradually gotten lower because the particular trees I chose to support the wires are becoming less effective for various reasons. Also, these trees were chosen because of their location so choosing other trees does not work very well. As the wires have gotten lower, the resonant frequency has drifted up the band by about 25 kHz. If I operate low in the band, I see lots of red LEDs on the amplifier. I'm going to have to accelerate the transmit antenna replacement project. I'm hoping I can put up enough Rohn 25 to make a full-sized vertical and perhaps enough to support catenary lines for extra elements. I had a few frustrating moments just before commencing operations because I forgot how to configure WriteLog for SO2V operation. The step I could not remember was to disable only the CW keying part of the homebrew SO2R box while retaining the audio routing functionality. Before I do anything else, I need to make a snapshot of the proper SO2V configuration. My memory is just not what it used to be. Friday before the content, I heard DK1NO CQing about an hour before my sunset. I haven't heard that phenomenon since around 2008 or 2009. Friday evening I worked several Europeans who had very nice signals so I has hopeful that conditions would be good for the contest. Conditions did indeed seem to be good, at least until darkness to the west allowed static from a storm front extending from Canada to Texas to interfere. Despite the static, the first DX was LZ7A (new call to me) with a decent signal from 8500 kilometers away (17 points per the logging program). As usual, the near sunset burst (word used loosely) dissipated until near European sunrise time. However, the rate got so slow and I got so sleepy I stopped just after 0600Z for a snooze. I set the alarm for 0945Z but my motivation didn't kick in until about 1130Z. At first I was just going to make a sweep of the band and work any new stations and then quit. But I heard a station working VK3IO and I could sort of hear VK3IO's signal. So I picked a spot and started CQing. I worked several lurkers and then VK3IO called with a barely copiable signal. Shortly after that contact, VK3CWB called with an even better signal several minutes past my sunrise. I worked just a few more 7s and 0s that were very difficult to hear the night before. Unsurprisingly, I heard no Caribbean stations. My heart goes out to all of the people affected by the hurricanes. Also I'm sure the long line of persistent, slow moving thunderstorms kept many Midwest stations off the air and made the west coast very difficult to hear. The end result has less than half the QSOs made last year: 222 versus 448. But the bright spot is perhaps the return of conditions reminiscent of 2009. Equipment: Elecraft K3/100, P3, Alpha 8410 at 1kw; 2 arrays of short verticals, computer and SDR software; Elecraft K3/10 for RX while transmitting; 65-foot "tee" antenna with very droopy top-hat wires over 75 120-foot radials (some no longer connected); audio routing stuff.