The sum of preparation equals performance and I'm excited as the weekend draws near. I ramped up KA3DRR during the Texas QSO Party (TQP) and the station performed to satisfaction. On the other hand, I will pay better attention to my antenna tie down points. My center fed inverted-L doublet standing wave ratio spiked and further inspection revealed the north leg of the antenna was drawn into its supporting mast. It was a lesson gained in the spirit of preparation.
I checked off the following from my preparation to-do list.
- Loaded function key memories.
- Prepared label for keyboard function keys.
- Prepared antenna tuner reference table for quick tuning.
- Antenna system, station, and contesting software checked out.
This tip from the current edition of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Contest Rate Sheet,
- "If you'd like to get a sneak preview of propagation before a big contest, tune the bands 27 days ahead of time. The Sun rotates on its axis once in that time, so features that affect HF propagation such as sunspots (remember them?) and coronal holes are again positioned towards Earth. No guarantees, of course, since the Sun changes all the time, but there is some merit in using the 27-day look ahead as an indicator." (2007, October)
My remaining preparatory steps include band plan and time budget. Currently, propagation numbers are solar flux indice (67), A-index (16), and K-index (3) and 27-days ago solar flux (67) and A-index (13). It's just the bottom of the cycle. Twenty-meters, no less, might be analogous to the Los Angeles 405 on any given day. Check 15-meters for any possible openings in the afternoon. Forty and eighty-meters late into the evening. Frequent band changes are possible as rates drop.
The clock is running and I'm looking forward to the California QSO Party this weekend.
73 from the shack.
American Radio Relay League (2007, October). ARRL Contest Rate Sheet for 2007-10-03.
The fall season, for me, is a period of stillness before the great winter slumber. A Morse code operator develops an ear for sound perhaps like a musician. I sense quiet resonanting just below the surface of activity. Moreover, this weekend goes down into the blog as robust athletic adventure. Hiking, RadioSport, and climbing punctuated my 48-hours of rest and relaxation. I'm grateful to live in a county that is girded by a chain of ancient volcanic peaks (Dickerson, 1990). We hiked the base of Cerro San Luis Obispo or San Luis Peak, one of nine sister peaks, mid-Saturday morning. The first photograph is Cerro Obispo or Bishop Peak located north of Cerro San Luis Obispo (Dickerson). The giant 'P' emblem signifies California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo. The school's engineering department is among the best in the nation. The next to last photograph taken from Cerro Obispo captures four of the nine sisters. Lastly, Radio Dawg who is a real trooper and outdoor companion par excellence.