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ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW   2017   Nov 4   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: Ohio EM89ps
Operating Time (hrs): 19.1
Radios: SO2R  

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:866Sections79Total Score136,828


Club: Mad River Radio Club

Comments:     [email]     2017-11-06 11:50:04
The weeks leading up to the 2017 ARRL November Sweepstakes found me in sort of a quandary. I've been working on a fascinating project at work which introduces some new technology that I have also been applying to my 160 meter SDR activities. So at this point in my life, both the work and the hobby projects are much more interesting than a domestic contest. Blasphemy, I know, but for me new technology keeps contesting interesting. Since the new 160 meter technology project requires a working 160 meter station and Sweepstakes CW is sort of a low band contest, I figured some station maintenance might be motivational. I have been mostly ignoring the 12 Beverage antennas in favor of the phased array. But the Beverages are useful on 80 and 40 and Sweepstakes is mostly about the low bands. So Saturday afternoon I got all of the Beverages working again. The most difficult fault to find was the ground binding at the north end of the north/south 2-wire Beverage. This connection joins the stranded Beverage wire to the solid ground wire. Whereas unsoldered but tightly wrapped solid wires remain functional in the weather, it is hard to tightly wrap stranded wire. The joint had become an open circuit which made the south direction very dead. Note that instead of a "reflection transformer" I just tie one side of the Beverage to ground to deliberately create a differential-mode to common-mode transition. The other faults were the usual collection of slightly corroded F connectors. These are always resurrected for a few weeks by scraping the center pin (the copper clad steel wire center conductor) until shiny. Since my Beverage system is well beyond the prototype phase, it it probably time to trade easy coax disconnection for permanent, waterproof connections. The other problem I attempted to resolve seems to be inside the K3. Ever since one of the summer contests, (eclipse QSO party?) the K3 seems to have a new "self monitoring" mode. On CW, this mode sounds just like a sidetone in the headphone circuit (rear "line out" jack). On SSB, I hear my own voice. This signal is loud and interferes with effective SO2R operation. This behavior is different than the K3 "monitor" function accessible with the front panel knob - that audio always goes through the speaker, regardless of the use of the line out connector. Lots of Googling and reading of the manual did not reveal a means to turn off this extra monitor. My other older K3 does not produce this extra monitor signal. Anybody else observe this phenomenon? The contest itself started on a hopeful note. I found VY1AAA getting ready before the contest and made note of his frequency. After a few minutes into the contest I had the NT multiplier logged. CQing on 15 produced a modest rate and also produced PAC and AK multipliers fairly quickly. Since I expected PR and VI to be unavailable, I figured I was in good shape with regard to the hard-to-find multipliers. 20 meters was insanely crowded and 40 was fairly well packed. By the time I reached 80 meters, where I typically make almost half of my usual 1000 and some contacts, the rate was already slower than last year. Also, VE6 was missing. Furthermore, the amplifier insisted on play games with the temperature sensor and blower speed. The most irritating noise in the world is the grinding buzz-saw as the blower transitions from noisy to loud. From last year's soapbox I see I had the same complaint. Apparently, the temperature sensor weirdness has a band component because I don't remember much annoyance from the blower speed problem in other contests. Maybe the amplifier doesn't like 80 meters. Increasing the speed of the outboard fan to continuous severe whine is better than the cycling buzz-saw and kept the tubes particularly cool. Normally I can just sit on one frequency on 80 and rack up 400 QSOs, but this year I had to cycle between 40 and 80 to accumulate QSOs. I kept operating until I had more QSOs than last year at 0600Z and then stopped for the night. At that point, NNY, ND, NL, AB, PR and VI were missing. Since I was feeling very sleepy, I set the alarm for 6 hours rather than 5 hours. Since I slept an hour longer than last year, I missed a fair amount of the Sunday morning rush. By noon, I had all of the multipliers except VE6, NNY, PR and VI but about 40 QSOs behind last year. By 3pm I was ready to finish mowing the lawn. After mowing and flood-proofing the barn, I was about 120 QSOs behind. The rest of the evening was very slow. A run would be 3 QSOs in a row. The rest of the time was tune for 3 minutes, make a contact, and then tune some more. Also, the static was increasing as a storm front approached. When the band scope filled from MDS to MDS+40 db with solid noise from corona on both tribanders, I turned off the radio to watch buckets of rain blow past the window horizontally. The bright flash followed immediately by the loud kaboom suggested that my timing was good. Something nearby got hit, but it was at least half a mile away judging from the flash to boom delay. A little later, the power company kindly turned off the amplifier for me. When the storms subsided, I though I might try operating the last 20 minutes. At that point the keyboard wouldn't work! After much screwing with the computer, I decided that one of the USB controllers inside the computer had gone wacko. (Not the lightning - this problem has been developing for quite a while). I rearranged USB connections and replaced the USB keyboard with a good, old fashioned IBM Model M with a PS2 port, but it would not work until I discovered that I had to cycle power on the computer to wake up the PS2 port. By that time, the contest had ended. Equipment: K3/100, P3, Alpha 8410; K3/10, Hardrock 50 "barefoot"; homebrew keyers and SO2R boxes; 80 meter full sized vertical, 40 meter full sized vertical, 20-10 X7 up 101 feet and second X7 up 61 feet.