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CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB   2010   Oct 30   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: YN2AA
Operator(s): N6GQ
Station: YN2AA

Class: SOAB HP
QTH:
Operating Time (hrs): 46
Location: Other North America

Summary:   Compare Scores
BandQSOsZonesCountries
160:71511
80:6342260
40:8302382
20:16153198
15:16112592
10:4231836
Total:5184124379Total Score5,961,053

 

Club: Northern California Contest Club

Comments:     [email]     2010-11-02 12:24:48
First, I'd like to express my sincere thanks to Octavio (YN2N) and his wife, Martha. They are wonderful hosts, and I greatly enjoyed staying with them. The food, accommodations, and company were fantastic! I would love to go back again, they really made my stay memorable and I couldn't have asked for more wonderful people and a more wonderful stay. As far as the contest goes, this year I felt like rather than a SOAB effort, I was doing a M/S with Mr. Murphy himself. Alas, that's contesting, and that's what makes it interesting. I usually write pretty long 3830 posts, mostly because I like to memorialize my memories but also to give others a perspective on what was going on "behind the mic". Since I'm mostly a CW guy and not much of a phone op, I like to try out things during SOAB phone contests to see how they work. This year I decided to try and keep with a theme of being extra courteous and also making sure that I sign my call with every QSO. So after each QSO I made sure I either said "Good Luck!" or "Thank you!", and signed my call. I was also experimenting with phonetics (or lack thereof) and found something interesting (more on that later). When signals were strong and there were lots of callers, I signed "YN2 double A" - it's going to be interesting to see the NIL report to see if this caused a lot of people to incorrectly copy the call, it may have been easily understood by the masses, or perhaps not. I'm not sure. But it flowed well so when rates were high I used it and it seemed to work ok. I left San Francisco Tuesday night on a 1:22AM flight. That was my first mistake because I was trying to get over the Fall cold that I had for the previous week. The late night didn't help, nor did the two chatty women sitting next to me on the plane that talked and laughed all night on the plane, overpowering my earplugs. So when I arrived in YN, I was very tired and my cold was coming back. Not good for an SSB contest. As I walked out of the airport, I didn't see the transport bus I was supposed to meet, so I hung out for a while and figured things were just a little late. After waiting a bit more, I decided to contact my host and find out if he knew anything - turns out there had been a mistake at the bus company and they had thought I arrived later. They were profusely apologetic and the owner of the company picked me up personally, and we had a great time on the way to the YN2N QTH talking about the YN country, people, etc. It was a Murphy moment but turned out very positive, as I had a nice ride through the country with a person very knowlegable about the area. Arriving at YN2N's, he has a beautiful QTH on the slopes of the Mombocho Volcano, with a wonderful shot in almost all directions. To the north and east are nicely sloped foregrounds and the volcano is sort of behind us, at about 150* azimuth. I had a bite to eat (Thank you, Martha, the food was *fantastic*!), and then started putting my gear together to get myself tuned up for the contest. It's Wednesday now, and a quick tune around the bands tells me that conditions are quite good. I settled on 10m and started running guys and even with just 50w out I was getting S9++ reports from all over USA. Towards evening, some weather came through, and we started getting quite a bit of lightning, and I shut down and got a much needed good night's rest. The next day things were a little degraded in terms of propagation, but I still had hopes that some sunspots would appear and really spice up the weekend! I looked forward to the traditional Nicaraguan meals that were a great part of each day as well :) Since I had never seen a real live Monkey before (well, besides in a zoo), Octavio and I set out to go to one of the islands in Lake Nicaragua to see some Monkeys. Apparently one of the islands has six native species of Monkeys - I thought it would be great to have a smiling Monkey on my YN2AA QSL :) Well, on the way I started getting the tell-tale signs of a migraine coming on - and for me, it's not the headache, but I get vision issues (usually go blind in one eye), and I lose the ability to speak and read. This one wasn't as bad as previous ones but it sort of was a murphy strike 2 :) On Friday, I was settling in getting used to conditions and the station, and about 11AM I heard a "Pop!" and realized that the amp had given up. Oh no! What now - in the mountainous jungle of Nicaragua, where are we going to find parts for an amateur amplifier, and that assumes that we can diagnose the problem in the first place. Luckily, Octavio is a master in electronics and had the problem isolated to one of the big electrolytics in the high voltage section of the power supply. Now, the question is does he have a spare, because if not, this is going to be a game changer. It turned out that he did have a few spares, and within a few minutes, he had the amp on the air again singing. Murphy number 3. As the contest started, it was 6PM localtime - a little bit of a dead zone in YN because 40m is still opening and 20 is starting to slow down, and 15 still has some JA's and Oceana, but I wanted to try to get the log started early with some rate. The first hour or so was fairly low rate, around 200/hr or so, so I went to 40, only to be met with deafening QRM and wall to wall S9+30dB signals from Europe and USA. Trying to find a run frequency was seemingly impossible, I'd find one and then get clobbered by an over-compressed S9+++ signal right next to me. I did start to get creative with filtering on the K3 though and and finally was able to get to a point where I could co-exist to a degree with this QRM but it was difficult. Later, when it came time to move to 80 and 160, I was met with a Carribean storm that had noise levels at S9 on 80 and S9+30 on 160, with static crashes on 160 that would pin the K3's S meter at S9+60 - I'd never seen noise like that before. Wow. I think I only made one or two QSOs on 160 the first night, Murphy number 4. At a point though, 80m calmed down to the point where I could get some good runs going, and I deviated from my plan, which was to get 2 hours sleep from 3-5AM localtime. I ended up staying on the air and having moderate rate - this turned out to be a big mistake because I never recovered from the lack of sleep. That was a dumb move on my part - moral of that story is to stick with your plan. The next morning as the sun rose over Lake Nicaragua, signals were LOUD on 20m from Europe and I did my best to work some before the QRM was too bad. I did the same as 15m was opening. Then about 10am localtime or so, the rates were really getting going on 15m, and from looking at previous years logs, I knew that from about 9 or 10am until about 3pm localtime was the prime rate period. And sure enough, the rate meter was pegged in N1MM for periods - pegged at 600 QSOs/hr (in the last 10 QSO rate) and high 400's for 10-minute rate. It was apparently spot-driven - I'd get a huge pileup and the rate meter would skyrocket, and I'd work 50 or 100 QSOs, then it would drop to nothing. This happened regularly - and while the rate would climb fast, it wasn't sustained. But it was fun, and most of the USA hams were well-behaved in the pileup. I think it was about 10:30, during one of these high rate periods everything went dark. The power failed. The first thing I thought was "there goes my log" because when the power went, my computer froze and I had to power cycle it. Thankfully, N1MM recovered without a hitch! We got the generated started and I went back on the air after about 20 or 30 minutes of recovery time - but the generator wasn't stout enough to power the amp, unfortunately. So for the next 10 hours I did my best to hold my own on 100w, but there was a very clear difference between having the amp and not having it - I couldn't hold a run frequency and the pileups didn't last nearly as long. The good thing was that the folks calling me were on average stronger and made the QSOs easier. Power finally came back around 8PM localtime and we switched back to grid power. Murphy number 5. By this time I had pretty much given up on a great score, and I was more or less just enjoying being in the moment of a great contest and spending my time enjoying propagation, giving out QSOs, and the like. The second night was an interesting one - noise levels were much more manageable on 80/160, and so I hopped back and forth between 40, 80 and 160 as rates allowed. Around 11:30PM localtime, I figured I'd best check 20m just in case there was an opening there. When I switched bands I couldn't believe it, 20 and 30 over S9 signals from zones 20, 21, 39, etc. (short path). I worked a bunch of new mults and did some CQ'ing and worked a bunch of new stuff as the greyline moved across western Asia into Eastern Europe. As things were starting to slow down, I figured I'd best just check 15m and see if there was anything going on there. I tuned across 15 and heard nothing via the short path direction to Europe. Then I figured I might as well swing the beam out over the Pacific (long path) - and when I did, the band was full of Europeans. Not terribly strong, but they were everywhere. I then thought I'd best check 10m and low and behold, moving to 10m I hear A73A calling CQ - by now it's 1:30AM. I quickly tuned the amp and called him, and made the QSO on the first attempt. I also heard DR1A and IQ9T calling CQ on 10 but they couldn't hear me (long path also). This was the time when I fully gave in to my geekiness and totally lost focus - I had decided (over the past day) that due to the Murphy visits, cool propagation, and the utter enjoyment of tuning around the band and giving out a new mult won over trying to finish with a kick-butt score. Anyhow, being jazzed about the LP QSO with A73A on 10m, I went back to 20m and it was shutting down, so I spent the rest of the evening on the low bands, and headed off to bed at about 4:30AM. I got one hour sleep and was back on the air at 5:30AM for the sunrise. By now I was running on 1 hour sleep and I was beginning to feel the effects - seeing double, making mistakes, and not being completely coherent. Not good. I had done my best to remain hydrated, but it was extremely warm that week in YN, and very humid, and it kind of threw me for a loop. Even though I had doubled my water intake, I was still dehydrated and that wasn't helping. My diet had been in check, but the heat was a variable that I didn't allow enough room on - and that probably didn't help my exhaustion. After a few more bottles of water and some caffeine, I was back up to speed and working guys again. Sunday would be spent switching between 10, 15 and 20 mostly. Around noontime local on 10m, I had worked C91WW and a 6W, and figured it was time to swing the beam to Africa and call CQ for a few minutes, hoping to pick up a few rare mults/zones. After a few CQ's, I hear "9echo sierra mike". I'm thinking 9U, 9X, 9Q or something like that...but can't get the prefix. Moving the yagi around doesn't seem to help, he's coming from due East, right across central Africa. Then I think "maybe it's a 9M" so I swing the beam to the Pacific, but nothing there. Bringing it around again, he comes again out of the noise where I can then get the 9W2ESM callsign - long path, in the middle of the night for him. We made the QSO, at which point a few other Carribean stations had heard this and jumped in to try to make the QSO as well. Wow, that was another cool 10m LP QSO story! So now it's almost over, my throat is burning, I think I have a fever, and I have lost focus and pretty much lost interest in making any kind of big score, but I am having a lot of fun finding unexpected propagation, giving out the YN mult (I think I was the only YN on in the contest), and trying to hone my skills. I'm also appreciative of K9YC's help in getting my K3 audio set just right, and enjoyed many reports of "Great Audio!" - the K3 SSB TX audio now seems like it's right up there with the best and is taylorable in any way you wish, and can be made to sound really great. Thanks, Jim! The last 2 hours of the contest were spent on 20M with some great rates and new mults. I find it especially fun when the pileup gets big, the rates get high, and people join in the fun and do their best to keep the rate up - that's really neat and I appreciate the assist. It then becomes a team effort because we both want to finish the QSO quickly, get the QSO or new mult in the log, and move on to the next one. It can get fast-paced and exciting! I also tried something new this time - I took a hardware digital recording device and recorded the entire contest to MP3. I have it indexed by time, so I can go in and quickly grab audio from anywhere in the 48 hours. If you would like to hear how you sounded at the other end, over the pileup, or whatever, let me know and I'd be happy to share the audio with you. The whole archive is big but a small chunk is no problem. I'd love to share and hopefully whomever is interested can get a peek at something they might not normally get to see - how they sound on the other side. Thanks again to Octavio, YN2N and his wife Martha, and thanks to everyone who provided QSOs during the contest and before. Rig: Elecraft K3 + 400w Antennas: Cushraft A3S, 2 element 40m quad fixed on Europe, Dipoles for 40, 80 and 160. 73! Jeff N6GQ, YN2AA