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ARRL June VHF Contest   2017   Jun 10   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: K2DRH
Operator(s): K2DRH
Station: K2DRH

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: EN41vr
Operating Time (hrs):

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:674277Total Score247,084


Club: Society of Midwest Contesters

Comments:     [email]     2017-06-12 17:36:00
What a difference a year makes in propagation and scoring. The contest started off with no tropo enhancement at all due to a week of slowly increasing temps into the 90s and strong winds. After a very rainy May the skies dried up and it hasn’t rained since before Memorial Day weekend. Essentially flat conditions on 222 and above and depressed for 2M and 6M. Electrical power distribution noise was high due to two weeks without any rain and lots of dust in the air. The contest started with 6M dead and lots of electrical noise buzz on 6, 2 and even 222 (thankfully blankable). There was hardly anyone on and the few signals that were there were noticeably weaker than usual. I started off with a local who want to ragchew then caught K9CT 75 miles away and even his excellent signal was not as loud as usual and got worse as we went up in frequency. After failing at 902 we had S5 signals on 1296 with QSB, a really bad sign since Craig is usually S9 plus. The 902 fail was on my end, the sequencer PTT was intermittent and decided to quit mid QSO, an easy fix but it set the tone for the weekend. We picked up 902 later in the evening but signals were still pretty depressed, at least on my end. The first three hours had QSO rate averages under 20/hr and were spent chasing rovers and calling CQ with little response! Finally a little Es around 2100 on 6M to 5 land put some QSOs in the log but the band quickly filled with CQers to feed off the greater W8/W9 population. I think it’s against the law to S&P in Texas, so the well dries up quickly and run rates fall really fast when its open that way. S&P on this end becomes necessary to maximize grids. Around 2230 I had an hour to W1/2 which normally produces very high rates but the opening seemed very spotlight to small footprint specific areas and wasn’t really very strong. Except for a few short lived bubbles, that was it for Es for the day. The rest of Saturday was spent with under 20 hours struggling to get QSOs in the log. There was just nobody out there on 2M past about 200 miles or so and my total 2m Qs were way down from past years. Few rovers were out and those that were there were far enough out to require coordination. Many out in the field could not put up their all their antennas because of the high winds. And if you don’t get anyone on 6M or 2M, you can’t QSY them to the other bands. There was some decent tropo to the east well after dark but few took advantage of it. KA1ZE/3 at over 550 miles was S5-7 on CW and copyable on ssb for over an hour. K8GP/R called me on CW from FM08 over 600 miles away. But even after we tried to tell everyone on ON4KST that it was open, there were no others. WSJT at night was very productive and getting on the PJ page helped me put a lot of good mults in the log, but the low numbers at the end of the night were pretty depressing causing me to stay up way too late. I’d pay for that the next day. Sunday morning came way too soon after less than 2 hours sleep. My morning sked with K0AWU at 400 miles failed after 222, there was just no signal propagation on 432 even for JT65 to hear. 2M was a veritable wasteland with no signals to be heard and mostly unanswered CQs. 6M was dead all morning. During a rover run with AC0RA/R (who I eventually swept on all 8 bands in every grid he visited) Wyatt failed to hear me on 1296 when he was plenty strong. After running the other bands and letting him go I troubleshot it and saw no power out, quickly determining the transverter itself had no output. Luckily I had an identical spare transverter due to a previous failure some years ago, jacked it in and got it all working again. I texted him and luckily he was still in the same grid, so we easily completed on 1296. Finally about 1PM 6M opened for an hour and I had a good solid rate to W1/2 but still the opening was pretty narrow footprint and did not include much of FN31/32/42 where the real big numbers are. It soon died off and I had a totally depressing slow afternoon where my lack of sleep caught up with me making it even more tedious watching FL and TX dominate the QSO maps with almost constant callouts. It finally perked up again around 2300Z when the Es finally drifted somewhat west with a slow but steady opening to FL and the Caribbean that stayed for at least 2 hours that added lots of mults but I was probably on the fringe so it was never crazy strong or very deep. There also was a smattering of 5 land contacts from time to time. This is the usual time folks start getting on for the evening and it really disrupted the flow of stations to work on 2M and QSY to other bands limiting the totals on 2M even further. Es ebbed and flowed for the rest of the test with low rates and finally opening to the NW with double hop to a few CN grids, but to all very low density areas with few stations. 2M was still not very productive and I didn’t hear any 8s or work nearly as far to the east as I usually do. Considering how poor conditions were for most of the contest I’m not unhappy with about half the score of last year, but it won’t go on my list of memorable contests. Normally I start this with comments on what I had to do to get the station up and running for the contest but I decided to do it at the end this time so you can skip reading it if it doesn’t interest you. This time was a real bear. The spring WX was really wet and nasty with a lot of thunderstorms and wind and lots of broken and uprooted trees. One lightning event just before Dayton we heard a loud POP from the shack and the whiff of burnt something. Never could figure it out until I looked at the tower top and it was all wrong. The controller on the main VHF 130 foot rotating tower with the rotor motor and gearing at 80 feet apparently got bit and failed shorted, putting voltage to the motor and turning the top until the fuse blew. The top 50 feet was all twisted up the wrong way, the steel coax guide standoffs were broken and the rotor loop coax and amp/preamp power and control cables were wound up tight and crushed into the gearing. Those rotor loops I just replaced last year .. mangled! Amazing what damage a 1/3 HP DC motor and a 2500:1 gear ratio can do when it runs free in one direction. I’m sick of messing with FSJ4 Superflex. While the Andrew (now Comscope) specs never say anything about it, two knowledgeable sources told me “OH Yeah everybody knows that was never intended to be used outdoors”! Everybody? News to me and lots of others I’ve spoken to! I’ve been using it on the tower for 15 years and getting a lot of water incursion problems into the connectors. Seems the outer jacket is not bonded to the copper spiral outer coax conductor and any jacket imperfection will cause day/night temperature cycling pressure differential aspiration of humid air to get between the jacket and the copper (like what happens with the air plenum inside 9913 water hose). When this cools at night the water condenses and stays behind building up between the jacket and the copper shield, then runs right down the spiral into your perfectly sealed connectors from the inside. No way to stop it besides cutting some of the jacket off to let it drain before it gets into to a connector. So this time I went with LMR600 but not the ultra flex. Too many stories about the 600uf air foam dielectric softening and distorting due to sun and RF power heating causing the center conductor to migrate and short out to the braid inside the bends. At first I thought I would do the expanding helix method, but that requires way too much coax for the loops around a tower section to get the 3 or so wraps required to make it work right and still be less lossey than more flexible coax like RG 213. 600 is stiffer than superflex (and similarly the solid center conductor can work harden and internally break) so that required a redesign of the swinging gate and standoff arm to limit the motion even further. Most of that stuff was mangled anyway. All 8 rotor loops, one power cable for the tower mounted power supply and four control cables had to be replaced or repaired as well as lots of hardware. It took me 7 days of hanging on a safety belt 3-4 hours a day (at 66 I just can’t do those 7-8 hour marathon tower sessions anymore). Of course it was hot and of course it was windy. One thing that really amazes me is the black files. Why they like to swarm around the rotor at 80 feet in the air is a mystery to me. Glad those hard biting deer flies don’t like to go that high. I used to wear a net hat until I discovered a British antiseptic called Dettol. Nasty smelling stuff, but it’s almost magic the way it repels black flies and other gnats. Not one bite but lots of cuts and abrasions. But I couldn’t even get to the tower work until after I took down the broken trees threatening my house, one of which snapped off at about 20 feet in the air still partially attached and hung up in another tree by my garage. It was still 2 feet or more in diameter at the break. Quite a challenge to handle safely since it had to be sawed off bit by bit on the top of a ladder and then the trunk that had to weigh close to a K pound pulled down with a come along and sawn up. A lot of stuff to deal with. Somehow it all got done and I finished on Thursday before the contest. Glad I’m retired and had the time. Who says contesting doesn’t get you to do any physical exercise! 73 de Bob2 K2DRH