I was soaring with excitement after spending time at Contest University and Dayton Hamvention. I have since landed with a thud. I was excited to play in the WPX CW contest and typically make a really good showing considering. This year, however, I have had nothing but difficulties and the fun-factor is very low as a result. I am penning this as I CQ on 10M just for kicks to see if I show up on the RBN and as I ponder my problem.
Lack of energy: I have been burning the candle at both ends due to professional and personal commitments. My memory is shot, my focus is non-existent, my energy level very low. I do best when I am rested and relaxed.
Poor antennas: I am restricted to wires and is not a problem in itself. The problem stems from my lame attempts to get a better signal into EU on 20M. Attempt one, I repositioned one end of my trusty G5RV higher into a tree to see if it would play better: It seems to. By doing so I have also brought it closer to the horizontal part of my Inverted L (my current 2nd antenna for So2R). Radio does not like and RF is locking up my transmit/SO2R+ box on 20M. Damn.
Attempt two, built a quick and dirty 20M bi-square (U-shaped) using my crap R5 antenna. Yeah, it doesn’t work worth a crap. I didn’t model it but now I need to see what I did just to satisfy my curiosity.
On one good note, my G5RV was functioning great on 40M for close in QSO and high-angle DX, and my 40M bi-square did pretty well early.
I have too many non-resonant antennas. I really need to do something different. Radically different. Ideas are bubbling.
Poor Station Engineering: I have been assed/2 about my station cabling and control. I have a 2×6 switch but am only using one side. My other piece of coax is running to a based-tuned Inverted-L (it just dawned on my I could take my autotuner DC from my remote coax switch). I also need to run another control cable out to the switch to run the B side.
(10M is dead, I QSY to 15M to call CQ)
I have been working slowly on a KK1L decoder/switch box combo…it works well but I have not yet put it in the case. Some issues with the Icom decoder daughter-card (I have been testing the prototype) but all in all a great engineering effort on KK1L’s part. I just need to finish it and then I will be able to control my filter switching as well and have one less thing to worry about.
Another positive note: Yes, SO2R did provide me extra Qs, about 10/hr more than single radio.
OK, enough whining! What am I going to do about it?
- Take better care of myself
- Practice, practice, practice CW since I seem to be getting worse not better
- Finish the projects I started (KK1L boards)
- Redo the cable entry point at house
- Two fresh pieces of coax to the antenna switch, and two fresh pieces of control cable
- Common-mode chokes at sensible places
- Rethink the entire antenna situation for 15⁄20, which will include a small yagi on push-up mast
- More and better 40M wires
- 80M dipole
- Consider if I want to continue as a LP station or if an amplifier makes some sense. It would change things.
(CQing on 20M was fruitless. What I have built doesn’t work. How disappointing.)
CQWW WPX Contest, CW Call: WF7T Operator(s): WF7T Station: WF7T Class: SOAB LP QTH: TN Operating Time (hrs): 11 Radios: SO2R Summary: Band QSOs ------------ 160: 2 80: 41 40: 170 20: 77 15: 33 10: 3 ------------ Total: 326 Prefixes = 212 Total Score = 161,968 Club: Tennessee Contest Group Comments: I was having so many station problems I decided to throw in the towel after the first evening. I called a few stations Saturday but my heart wasn't in this one. Very disappointed but I am prompted toward action! Time for a station rebuild... 73 Brad WF7T Nashville, TN ---- IC-7600, [email protected] [email protected]', 40x50' Inv L. N1MM 11.6.1, YCCC SO2R+