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CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB   2017   Oct 28   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: 8P5A
Operator(s): W2SC
Station: 8P5A

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: Barbados
Operating Time (hrs): 47.5
Location: Other North America
Radios: SO2R  

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:9114146503Total Score14,459,071


Club: Northern California Contest Club

Comments:     [email]     2017-11-02 08:58:21
It turned out to be a more eventful weekend than I expected. My wife Kathleen and I were setting up on our first day. Things were progressing as usual with slow progress alternating between outdoor antenna setup and indoor preparation as the rain dictated. All of sudden there was a terrifying sound. Kathleen was in another room and she described it as a train going by. It sounded to me like a huge electrical short except louder and longer lasting. We just had a lightning event. I happened to be standing next to the subpanel for the shack and turned down all the breakers. She ran in and we were both shaken, but safe. We looked around for ongoing issues, like a fire, but did notice we no longer had power. It was not clear why the generator had not activated. Since it was our first day, we had not even looked at the generator yet. There was a fault light lit, which I reset and the generator started. Unfortunately, it stopped 10 minutes later. Eventually, I found the issue and it ran for the next 7 hours until the power company fixed the problem out at the pole in the pouring rain. I am always impressed by the response of the local power company in Barbados. When my hands finally stopped shaking, I turned the breakers back on in the shack. Once again I hear a brief crackle and saw a spark/ember on the floor. That said, there was no burning smell or obvious damage anywhere. After building up the courage to turn on the radios, they both came up with ERR KEY messages. I could see that the master station controller, which controls all the automation of the station, and the CW, was not working. This was the beginning of two solid days of sequential problem identification and resolution. Besides the two K3 radios and computers, the rest of the gear in the shack is home brew. While I did not have the resources to repair everything, at least I knew how it all worked. I did have a number of spares for the key components, but other gear needed to be repaired or patched enough to function, even in a degraded mode. Even with spares, like the station controller and the computer plus 8 serial ports that had been blown, lots of rewiring of cables had to be done. By the end of Wednesday, the station was again functional, although had less capability in some areas, and no spares remaining for subsequent failures. Thursday, I fixed a problem to the 160 antenna that was unrelated to the damage. At this time I had some time to test some new functionality I added to the station about antenna selection. Testing went well and while the station was operational, there was a lot of disruption and I was worried about lingering effects of the strikes as well as interstation interference, RFI and intermittent connections due to all the hasty rewiring that needed to be done. When the contest time came, I was mentally exhausted from the intense problem identification and solution realization cycles repeated over the last few days. Nonetheless, the station had been stable over the prior 24 hours and there was nothing left to do except wait for the next issue. Fortunately, the next issue never came. There was a balky footswitch that I do not use very often, and the new battery in my headphones died about halfway through. Other than that, the station was perfect all weekend with all hardware and software working as expected and no intermittent or one time problems. It was probably the smoothest operation in memory. Even the new antenna selection options worked as planned and added materially to the score. As for the contest, 10 was way down on Q's and mults. 80 and 160 did not seem as good as last year either. However, 15 was outstanding and I ended up less than a percent lower than last year's score. I finished elated but exhausted. Kathleen said I was more subdued than usual post contest, but I was too tired to smile. These weekends are full of surprises, and it is (almost) easy to look back and laugh, but I realize that we were lucky not to be injured and the contest was secondary. Kathleen is an indispensable part of 8P5A, and this weekend it was especially true. While I was trying to find and come up with a solution to the next issues, she was frequently implementing, installing or cabling the fix to the prior problem. All the while she was offering support and encouragement Thanks to everyone for the Q's and moves. Thanks to my ham friends for their words of support during the week. Also, a welcome to my new QSL manager HA1AG who will take over from NN1N to who I am deeply indebted for the great job he did. Finally home for some peace and quiet, and then fixing all the broken gear in my 69.7 pound suitcase 73, Tom W2SC QSL via HA1AG or LoTW