Last year I was active in this contest from the field and got 2nd in the Single OP/QRO/CW section.
This year I decided to give it a try from my friends place (Peter/PA8A).
Not a bad choice I figured as Peter has a fine system for 10/15/20 meters, a yagi up 24 meters.
And I did not need to travel and build antenna's in the week ahead of the contest.
I just had to bring my laptop and paddle, the rest was all there.
I went to Peter around 09:00 local to make the last few things work.
The laptop with the N1MM logging software needed adjustments and I had to test the CAT-connection
and settings as well.
Karin, my wife, who understands my drive for DX-ing and contesting, brought me with the car and
at arrive we enjoyed a nice cup of coffee together with Peter and Herma.
After that, we first checked the guying wires from de dipoles and 40 meter vertical in the back
of the garden.
Then we brought the tower to it's heigh-end (24 meters) which is a very impressive sight.
Next thing, connect the laptop to the PC with an interface for CW and serial cable for CAT connection.
This all worked without a problem, on to the different settings for the amplifier.
It is always handy to write them down for quick change of frequency and I did that for the antenna
switching as well.
This might sound exaggerated to some people but I would not be the first to use a wrong setting,
when tired after 20 hours contesting.
Time for lunch with about an hour to go before the contest would start.
It was not difficult to find a clear spot on 15 meters and I waited for the clock to hit 1200z.
I settled on 21.013 MHz and the first to respond was RU9CD followed by a couple PA's.
Stayed there for about 15 minutes and because no others called in I quickly moved to 20 meters
were conditions should be better.
This worked much better and stayed there for about 2 hours with nice multipliers responding to my
CQ like 9M2, TA, K, and VK.
I switched to 40 meters from 1600z to 1700z to work a bunch there before the sunset.
A lot Europeans came into the log in these hours, then, shortly back to 20 meter again.
A couple new multipliers and on to 80 meter to get the first Q's into the log on that band as well.
I like to switch frequently when response is marginal.
In the evening I had to switch back and forward from 40/80 and 160 because the big runs did not
hold on that long.
I had some runs of 2/3 a minute but unfortunately not for hours like it did last year.
I noticed heavy fading on 40 meter and a local interference coursed a strange rattle on the rhombic antenna.
First nice DXCC on 40 and 80 were logged into the night but strange enough no North-Americans on
160 for me while I saw many PA's spotted by stations from stateside.
The dipole disappointed somehow there but we only used 200 watts from the FTDX-9000 on this band.
Maybe it should have been better to have the Drake-L4B amplifier working there too, like on the other bands.
Anyway, worked NN1N, AA9D and VE9DX, the last two around my sunrise when signals tend to get stronger.
So, three nice multies on 160 then, not bad.
My expectation for 40 meter was high too because I had three antenna's working there.
A dipole with the feeding point up 24 meter, a vertical with 3 elevated radials and a rhombic directed to South-America with about 9 dB gain.
I hoped to work many stations from the South-America region and long path VK and ZL around sunrise.
It worked, but just a few called, not to many extra new multies, something I counted on.
But conditions and activity can not be forced and you just have to take it as it comes.
During the Sunday morning hours things went just fine and I could easily get my score above the 1000 QSO's.
Nice contacts into Asia via the long path on 20 meter and little later short path on 15 meter.
At a quarter to 1200z I had 1175 QSO's in the log and went to 40 meter to get those last 25 for 1200 Q's.
I succeeded and stopped the contest 2 minutes before the end.
Everything worked well except the laptop freezed for about 3 times during the night.
This was just a matter of restarting, but annoying when you are just running a pile-up!
My appreciation goes to Peter and his lovely wife Herma for their hospitality, the fine coffee and the nice Chilly Concarne (Saturday evening dinner)!
Also nice to meet many friends in the contest and appreciate your appearance!
Here is the summary with a best ever score for me of 262.515 points!
Band QSOs Pts Cty
1,8 127 127 28
3,5 354 354 47
7 292 292 48
14 355 355 71
21 89 89 19
28 4 4 2
Total 1221 1221 215
Score : 262.515
Rig: - FTDX-9000
Amplifier: - Drake L4B
Tuner: - Drake tuner for the 160 meter dipole
PC: - Compac laptop with N1MM logging software
Antennas: - 160 meter: inverted V dipole (feeding point up 24 meters)
- 80 meter: inverted V dipole (feeding point up 24 meters)
- 40 meter: inverted V dipole (feeding point up 24 meters), vertical with 3
Elevated radials, Rhombic 4 lambda to South-America (+/- 9dB gain)
- 10/15/20 meter: 3 elements yagi up 25 meter
See you all next year!