One exceptional pleasure of our hobby is meeting other Amateur Radio operators. Bill, N6ZFO amtraked his way north from the San Diego area for a visit last weekend. The train arrived as the fog settled for the night while the echoes of NAQP replayed. I was stoked, so much so, I wore my orange Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) badge too the station. Instantly, Bill and I struck up a conversation with a common interest in mind, "Let's get something to eat."
Amateur Radio operators are known for Morse code and their appetites. Immediately, under the cover of the foggy evening, we departed the Grover Beach rail station. I asked myself this question, "What will satisfy two Amateur Radio operators much like a good contest with over-the-top rates and multipliers?"
One restaurant stood out among the many between the rail station and Shell Beach. Not sushi or granola rather thick, juicy, lip-smacking barbecued ribs. There is only one restaurant capable of delivering 20db quality ribs and that is Alex's in Shell Beach. N6ZFO and I set-up our run table and scored some serious rib-mults for an overall top-three finish.
Bill and I chatted into the night owl hour of the new day, one, that inspired a goal for KA3DRR the following morning.
We surveyed available real estate for a new antenna to replace the random wire. It is not much but just enough. Then, before moving to the next step, we took Radio Dawg for a walk near the edge of the continent.
Bill taught me basic antenna construction while the modified inverted-L took shape. We cut approximately 40-feet/leg of 18-AWG stranded copper wire. It is a little more than a half-wavelength on 40-meters. I purchased 500-feet of the stranded copper wire for $25 dollars at Home Depot. The feedline is roughly 55-feet of 300-ohm twinlead from Radio Shack. The north-leg of the antenna fits within our property boundary however the south-leg is folded. A 16-foot wooden mast supports the south-leg and is adjustable in height.
The apex of the modified inverted-L is 33-feet of telescoping fiberglass made by MFJ and purchased through Amateur Electronic Supply out of Las Vegas. The fiberglass mast is infinitely valuable for a CC&R challenged RadioSport operator like myself. The antenna system can be deployed in less than 30-minutes. It's overall visual intrusion is low-profile except for a neighbor's comment, "Have you contacted ET yet?"
The inspiration to build a CC&R superstation is attributable to this moment. I wanted a goal and why not. My location presents all the worst-case challenges as a RadioSport operator. The course is set at KA3DRR to build a CC&R superstation. All in all this is a matter of attitude and perspective. It just depends on how one looks at it.
Time like in a contest disappeared. We ran the modified inverted-L through the transmatch and WWV on 15 Mhz gained 4 s-units over the random wire. Prognosis good followed by high-5s.
The spirit of Amateur Radio is alive and well. I felt honored to meet Bill, N6ZFO and gained a lot from his visit. We laughed over barbecue ribs served at Alex's and worked through lunch on the modified inverted-L. The afternoon was sunny and the sky was blue as we continued our conversation on and about Amateur Radio. Then as quickly as a band opening on 15-meters the train arrived.
I'm deeply grateful as Bill, N6ZFO went the extra Amateur Radio mile and look forward to our on-going QSO in the very near future.
73 from the shack.
The North American QSO Party (NAQP) CW event signaled the last use of KA3DRR's random wire. The details to be discussed in Off the Random Wire -- stay tuned.
I enjoyed my first-ever NAQP as a Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) team member. First step in team selection? Get your callsign to the head coach with hours of available operation. I selected full-time or 10-hours as my maximum contribution. Team selection is a process and one waits patiently until the roster is drawn up. The email arrived and KA3DRR joined NCCC Team Six.
Perhaps NCCC Team Six consisted of the bold, the low-power, and the low-profile CC&R challenged operators. Nonetheless, our Morse code rose up from the dense suburban sprawl, in the spirit of NAQP competition and radiosport intensity.
The first few hours of the NAQP CW became an exercise in patience. However, given the experience with my random wire thus far, by mid-afternoon 20-meters opened. Alas, 100-watt signals filled my Koss headphones with the sweet music of Morse code. One can feel the adrenaline in the gut as the first station is called.
I searched and pounced (SP) throughout NAQP while waiting for a 15-meter opening. It never materialized for KA3DRR. That was radiosport on a random wire. Remember to read Off the Random Wire later this week. Twenty meters, on the other hand, produced a few -Qs and multipliers. My adrenaline pulsed as New Mexico answered KA3DRR's contest CQ high on the band.
Twenty meter multipliers -- NM, OK, TN, and TX.
I like 40-meters but the band behaves differently on the edge of the continent unlike previous operations from South Dakota and Pennsylvania. This band produced the bulk of my 25 -Qs and multipliers; 17 -Qs and and 8-multipliers overall on forty. Good signals from the east and south on average s5 to s7. KA3DRR scored Tennessee for the log along with Colorado and Nevada as notable moments.
The stand out moment during NAQP? One NCCC member sending the club's motto after our successful exchange.
Band Raw QSOs Valid QSOs QSO Pts Pts/Q Mults
10 -- -- -- ---- --
15 -- -- -- ---- --
20 8 8 8 1.00 4
40 17 17 17 1.00 8
80 -- -- -- ---- --
160 -- -- -- ---- --
Totals 25 25 25 1.00 12
Final Score = 300
I concluded my activity as Bill, N6ZFO amtraked his way north from the San Diego area. We are beginning the construction of a CC&R superstation using wire antennas. More on that later...
Overall, I fumbled several times between the keyboard and the radio. A few of my exchanges sounded like gnarly code instead of Morse code. More practice to improve my confidence and coordination. The NAQP is a challenge with its 100-watt limitation and that adds appeal especially for a CC&R radiosport operator like myself.
Keep your receivers dialed in and look for Off the Random Wire later this week. In addition, Signals from the RadioSport Blogosphere, begins this weekend.
73 from the shack.
Gale Sayers said, "I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it."
Rookie photon sprinters geared-up last Thursday Night for one more run. Operators like K5NZ, K9BGL, W7OM, W1UE, K0XP, N9FC, or N9NB persevered through the best and worst of propagation. They competed against the best-of-the-best on the ionospheric field and depart as seasoned NS Sprint operators. The rookie season ended as quickly as it began and forged on the anvil of competition the legacy of honor, perseverance, and good sportsmanship. This is the NS Sprint Newcomer Division.
Victory in the High-6 competition belongs to K5NZ a member of the Central Texas DX and Contest Club who scored an overall 8630 in the division. Congratulations from the RadioSport Blogosphere!
Second place goes to K9BGL who is a member of the Society of Midwest Contesters. BGL scored 8179 in the division. Our third place High-6 finisher is W7OM in Washington who posted 6124.
High-6 Newcomer Division Champions
1. K5NZ, CTDXCC, 8630
2. K9BGL, SMC, 8179
3. W7OM, 6124
Honorable Mention High-6
1. W1UE, 6046
2. N9NB, CTDXCC, 5609
3. K0XP, 5337
Northern California Contest Club, (n.d.). NS Sprint Results Retrieved on August 7, 2007 from http://www.ncccsprint.com/results.htm.
Motivational Sports Quotes and Quotations (n.d.). Retrieved on August 7, 2007 from http://www.great-inspirational-quotes.com/sports-quotes.html.