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Stew Perry Topband Challenge   2014   Warmup   Comment Summary

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Click on a call below to see the score rumor detail. Click on the [email] link to send an e-mail to the contester who posted the comment.

N3HEE   Single Op LP   2502014-10-19 05:02:02
CHECK LOG ONLY. Forgot you cant use spotting network in this test. I got a
late start and missed early Saturday evening rush. Still had fun though.
K3/100 & wires in trees.
WQ5L   Single Op HP   3152014-10-19 05:17:22
No DX, a couple of 7-pointers were best I could find. 73,

-- Ray WQ5L
K1PX   Single Op LP   3382014-10-19 05:37:10
Thanks to all for the Q's.
VE3CV   Single Op LP   1482014-10-19 05:55:30
Just on for an hour after the NYQP 0200-0320 and just before sunrise 1040-1120.
Tried out both new antennas - 80m doublet at 50ft (new config of ladderline
radiator following icestorm 46ft tower ...see and a
backup GAP Voyager DX vertical installed last week which got me into AZ with
one call thanks to AA7MB for my only 9 pointer. Looks like we're ready to go
in December. Now to get the Beverages out, but still waiting for my friendly
farmer to harvest his soybeans.
73 Jeff VE3CV
WØDLE   Single Op HP   5762014-10-19 05:57:52
Ran first hour LP then turned on the generator and amp for last 3 hours. Worked
only 1 DX station. Testing equipment for the winter contest season. Corrected
previous submission. Had my home grid set to some DX location and N1MM
calculated a very nice score. :-) Chuck
WF7T   Single Op LP   5252014-10-19 06:17:25
Thanks to all for the Qs! See you in real Stew...

73 Brad WF7T
Nashville, TN


Marconi 30' vertical/100' horizontal, RX Loop (worked great sometimes!)
N1MM Classic 14.9
KIØI   Single Op LP   7542014-10-19 06:31:33
Trying out new antenna a rg58 coax L "Bazooka Fed". Seems to xmit ok
and I heard almost all who answer CQ.A couple of sigs in noise no copy,but the
beverage isn't up yet.Neighbor is late cutting hay! No EU heard and no
Pacific.Less activity? The score is down a little from last October. Best DX
,KV4FZ loud as usual Herb,also wrked VP5/NU4Y...had to move the pre fix to the
front for N1MM to take it!
Thanks all for the Topband Q's ,hope the band is good for Big Stew,see you
then,73 Mark KI0I
IC-756proIII 100w to Coax Inv L up 55' out with the rest! N1MM logger
WJ9B   Single Op LP   1992014-10-19 06:34:53
73, wj9b
W9RE   Single Op LP   1,0802014-10-19 06:42:46
Very quiet conditions but skip conditions not that good.
Started at 2300z and had an 82 hour. Rate and total almost exactly mirrored
last year within a few q's.

I had (27) 2nd radio Q's with an 80 meter dipole (open wire line) that is high
but works so effectively I almost can't tell the difference between it and a
full size vertical. Only 2 stations could not copy me this year initially and
I worked one of them later but never heard the other.

Only (2) 7 pointers and a handful of 6 pointers.

Thought I heard someone work HI8A but I never heard him.

First time using K3 diversity one antenna is a 160 (8) short vertical EFBS and
the other is an 80 (8) short vertical EFBS (W8JI design).

Several new comers in the fray hope you (they) show up in December. Thanks to
the Boring group for adjudicating, etc.
WD5R(N5ECT)   Single Op HP   9172014-10-19 06:43:08
Saturday morning in Arkansas (morning before SP)
vk9dlx solid copy from 3:30 a.m. thru 2 hours
of sunshine on this farm.
For SP Sunday morning, never copied his full call.

Saturday hc2ao nice copy,
BUT For SP, got his call fine, missed grid.

Last week had to replace several matching xfm on beverages
Also , pvc x-arm been flapping in the breeze at top
of our 125ft vertical. Decided to take it down.
Normally no big deal climbing the tower,
but Marlene insisted I carry a back pack with
food, water,and a blanket. She was afraid
I couldn't make it to the top and back down in one day.

No JA's and no EU's.............
WB8JUI   Single Op LP   6772014-10-19 07:20:12
Score as calculated by N1MM Logger Plus.

Rather strange conditions. Locals were very weak (hopefully lots of QRP?),
whereas KV4FZ and NU4Y/VP5 were booming. Light activity as usual with very few
west coasters.

Always a great time when 160 season finally arrives!

73 - Rick WB8JUI
N3QE   Single Op HP   4192014-10-19 07:29:54
I was busy working JA's in this huge opening on 15M in JARTS RTTY and didn't get
started in Stew Perry until well after sundown! Rates were good, OK2WM had a
huge signal early in my evening, several stations found in the western US with
excellent signals on my west-facing pennant.
K9NW(@K9UWA)   Single Op HP   62014-10-19 07:52:27
No time for the warm up this year. Took a quick peak at the band before I
headed out - worked the two guys I heard.

See you in the fully cooked Stew in December.

73, Mike K9NW
K9AY   Single Op HP   2112014-10-19 08:16:39
Nice to see the 160 season underway! Band was nice and quiet, but I didn't have
the good RX antennas deployed. Best DX was KV4FZ, but heard OA4TT S&Ping
and some whispers from KH6-land.

73, Gary
N1EN   Single Op LP   1182014-10-19 08:24:24
Mediocre conditions. Mostly 2- and 3- pointers for me. Hope that time and
weather will permit putting up a better topband antenna once the leaves finish
W7WHY   Single Op HP   552014-10-19 08:39:12
Just didn't seem like all that much activity. Guess when you are as far away
from everyone as you can get, things slow down some :-)

Always amazes me how stations like NO3M and K1LT hear me every time I call, but
stations much closer just CQ in my face. I hear stations CQ'ing with people
here on the left coast answering, but they just keep CQ'ing.

Thanks for the Q's and 73.

TS-450SAT + AL-811H ~500 watts
Inverted 'L'
N7GP(N5IA)   Single Op HP   2502014-10-19 09:06:34
Casual operation. Lots of QRN from local T-storms in the SW USA and northern
HC2AO   Single Op LP   1592014-10-19 09:11:35
Hey brethren,

I knew the warmup was coming but I'd been busy with other stuff so the last
minute RX antenna (a slightly elevated EWE) without much time invested turned
out to be a major failure and therefore a disappointment. To add up my grief,
the night was windy and all the wires in the vicinity were creating a racket
that (for considerable length of time) would reach 50Db with nothing I coud do
about it. So with all said above, the mood was rather sarcastically skeptical. I
turn on the rig around 0100 and was surprised to hear W3LL calling CQ with a
steady signal through my 15Db noise at the time. I called - he replied. It was
a cheer. I carried on and worked several more that were audible. Then the noise
rocketed to 50Db and I had to QRT. I came back later to work N5IA (after 1 hour
of calling - but hey, 80 watts ain't a KW), K0DI, N7GP (some serious action
there - booming big time), and K1LT (weak but fine ears). All in all I made 11
q's with KC0W the farthest. Ian, G3ROO and I tried but failed (my fault). No
aids were used to make SP qso's - clean S&P if matters. While off I sent
some bitchy spots to the cluster saying that spots are ruining the fun.
73 folks,
yours Al (aka Alex)
N5IA   Single Op HP   7162014-10-19 09:13:46
Continental conditions good at my 0000Z start. Within one hour local T-storms
in SW USA and northern Mexico were producing strong QRN. Never found a station
above 1.840. Total activity appeared to be low.

DX worked = HC, JA, KP2, OS, and VP5.

USA went to bed for 3 hours and then the morning openings to the Pacific never
appeared. Two weak JA's deep in the QRN were the only ones. RT0F was heard
briefly but was very weak. I think he gave up and went back to bed.

Looking forward to the REAL SPDC in December. 73, and thanks for the Q'a de
Milt, N5IA
KV4FZ   Single Op HP   1,7822014-10-19 09:32:06
Heavy Tropical QRN rolling in from NW and NE directions and only few Beverages
working well. So it was a good warm up to see what is and what isn't. No
contacts from Asia, Africa, Oceania, Pacific and only two from South America.
Certainly expected more activity from Europe but things were also slow from NA
except for the first few hours. It was really nice getting a few 19 point
contacts from Eastern Europe and a few 12 and 13 pointers from the West Coast.
W2VJN   Single Op HP   3382014-10-19 09:45:25
Best DX an 18 point JA.
K1LT   Single Op HP   8742014-10-19 09:46:02
Since the Stew Perry Topband Distance Challenge, Warmup Edition, is
the first 160 meter contest of the season, there was much work to do
to get the station fully operational.

About 2 weeks ago, one of the ropes that supports the top of the
broke. I temporarily tied it off at ground level so that the antenna
would work. Tied low, the effective height of the vertical is reduced
somewhat, but the feedline match is better. I even worked VK9DLX with
it "short". But psychologically, an inferior antenna is very bad, so
endured the sometimes painful process of shooting a line over the
support tree with slingshot, fishing weights, and fishing line.

The first shot misfired, and smashed the 2 oz weight into my wrist -
hence "painful". The second shot was perfect, but the line broke
trying to pull the rope over the tree. Then there were a half dozen
misfires. (I think my technique is declining with age or perhaps with
the age of the wrist rocket). Eventually, I got a shot over a lower
branch and said the hell with psychology, this will work fine. The
poison ivy infection usually goes away in less than a week.

The beginning of every season entails visiting all of the short
verticals to clean out the ants and make sure all have proper SWR
curves. Typically, the ants breach the screen over the weep hole and
move in, or a capacitor fails, or a top-hat / guy line breaks, or
something else completely befuddles me.

On the newer array, I switched from plastic screen to aluminum screen,
which has slightly bigger holes, and some ants can get in without
chewing a hole. By accident though I discovered that if I use a clear
lexan cover over the junction box that houses the matching network
instead of the proper opaque cover, the ants don't move in.
Alternately, sprinkling some ginger in the box dissuades the ants from
moving in. However, the ginger powder eventually turns into muck.

My newer PVC based verticals seems to hold up better than the 2x4
version, so as the 2x4s break, I've been rebuilding with 23 feet of
1-1/2 inch PVC conduit, and an end cap. I drill 4 holes in the end
cap for the top-hat wires, and put 1/4 inch clear PVC tubing over the
wires as a strain relief, and make the electrical joint inside the
cap. The lighter PVC, the strain relief, and the immobilized
electrical joints seem to last longer, although the oldest vertical is
only 2 years old so far.

One vertical had a somewhat high impedance compared to the others, so
I built a new ground radial system which when added to the existing
radials cured that problem. The old radials on the original 2x4 BS-EF
array used random lengths of old telephone twisted pair from a
multi-pair cable. These radials were meant to be throw-aways, but the
original prototype worked so well that the prototype was placed in
production without any upgrade. (Where have I seen this pattern
before?) The new radial system is 16 23-foot #13 enameled wires
silver soldered to a #6 copper wire bent into a 6-inch diameter
circle. The #13 wire is surplus transformer winding wire.

I tried the same trick on another vertical but the extra radials had
no effect on the feed impedance. That vertical turned out to have a
bad solder joint that removed one of the tuning capacitors.
Strangely, the effect was higher impedance at the point of lowest
reactance, but not much change to the frequency of lowest reactance.

Last spring the 160 position of the Alpha 8410 stopped working because
I fried the band switch. The 8410 uses a 20 degree per position band
switch that has 9 positions. Thus each band has a unique inductance
value but it is very easy to miss the detent such that the switch is
not fully engaged with a particular position. Then when one sets the
tuning controls using presets and applies full power, a serious arc
develops across the band switch and rapidly melts something. In this
particular accident, the vaporized contact switches in extra
capacitance on 160 meters, so that band no longer works.

I ordered a replacement wafer from RF Concepts. It looks like I can
pull the shaft out of the band switch, spring open the circlip and
replace rotating portion of the wafer to effect a complete repair.
However, it appears that getting the shaft out of the band switch
requires the front panel to be disassembled, so I haven't tried to do
this yet. Why don't I just ship the amp back to RF Concepts?? I'm
cheap! I like fixing my own stuff. I used K8ND's ETO 91B for this
test, for the last time, since Jeff wants his amplifier back. Thanks,

After talking to NO3M about his audio routing scheme, I decided to try
something similar here. The simplest scheme connects both receivers
(the K3 and it's diversity sub-receiver and the phased-array receiving
system) in parallel. Then I can hear in 4 directions simultaneously.
When the caller is very weak, I have to determine which receiver is
hearing him, and turn off the audio from the other receiver. But much
of the time, I just hear one signal in one ear.

In practice, this audio routing seems to work. Most callers are not
that weak, so normally nothings needs done. When the caller is
sufficiently strong and both the phased array receiver and the K3 on
the Beverages hears him, then I have to turn off one audio because the
SDR receiver has a 20 millisecond lag compared to the analog receiver
and the "long delayed echo" interferes with CW comprehension.
Unfortunately, in this simple lash-up, turning off the phased array
audio is just a toggle throw, but then I miss 20 milliseconds of CW
which corrupts one letter. Turning off the K3 audio requires getting
my fingers onto the concentric audio knobs and rotating through more
than 180 degrees which misses many letters because my fingers are
slow. So I requested a lot of callsign fills, especially from strong
stations. I'll build some sort of decent audio mixer with proper
switching for the next contest.

Oh, and I operated the contest. Conditions were quiet but activity
seemed low. Worked OK2WM early, and then didn't hear any Europe until
a very brief run around 0540Z. Also, I seemed to hear Europe better
on the Beverage than on the phased array. I don't know if that means
my array is functioning poorly or if there is some special propagation
that somehow favored the 30-degree Beverage over the phased array.

Worked KH6ZM as my second best DX but hearing him was quite a
challenge. VK9DLX was very copiable just before sunrise, but he was
giving out DXpedition 5NNs, not contest grids. I didn't hear any
other western DX. The 4-way audio system payed off when I finally
worked HC2AO, who has been regularly calling me for the past year
without success.

Wound up with 305 QSOs compared to 350 last year (including dupes).
Also, I noted that the activity started later, started much more
thinly, but seemed to be more intense near the end of the night.
Maybe the NYQP is more interesting to many people.

Surprise DX since there aren't any multipliers: NU4Y/VP5, XE3ARV, and
HC2AO for never before received grid squares. For some reason,
copying a new 4 character locator is just as much fun as working a new
country, even if I've worked that country before.

Equipment: K3, P3, ETO 91B (thanks, Jeff!); 2 x 4 BS-EF phased array,
2 x 3 BS-EF phased array, 65 foot "tee" with an ever declining
of effective radials; too much software.
VE9AA   Single Op HP   752014-10-19 09:50:53
Condx sucky. Goal was to break 100 pts between WAG stints. Called every stn I
heard CQing, then called CQ (and worked a few more). Then called CQ til my
fingers bled. Called it quits. Tnx to Herb KV4FZ for (finally, hi) hearing me
! My best DX in this one. No EU's, no west coast.

Mike VE9AA ~600w, low inverted L, N1MM+
N1SZ   Single Op HP   2652014-10-19 09:58:18
Missed most of the evening due to family obligations. First QSO was not until
nearly 0300Z, and it just happened to be with KV4FZ. Conditions were just
plain strange. The NE was mediocre and surprisingly 8's and 9's were weak to
marginal. It was nice to get called by NU5Y/VP5.

Looking forward to the Big Stew and for the leaves to drop so I can get a
decent RX antenna up!

N5UL   Single Op HP   4622014-10-19 10:02:03
Thanks to those who braved the QRN for all the QSO's. 73 Chas - N5UL
K6MR   Single Op HP   1002014-10-19 10:11:17
No receive antenna but pretty amazed at what I did work.
K7IA   Single Op HP   1512014-10-19 11:34:45
Good thing the REAL Stew Perry is ahead of us and not behind us! Equipment
worked well, but QRN conditions did not. Many signals were barely above the
(variable) noise floor, and many of them simply gave up and moved on in the
face of my AGN macros. In most of those occasions, I lacked only one character
of the grid square (yes, I use Call History, and no, not all ops I worked were
in it). For ops new to Top Band, this is the band where patience with making
exchanges in poor conditions has been the norm in the past. Be patient, and
enjoy the fruit!

I worked mostly S&P, and even weak signals responded and made the log.
Running was difficult and no doubt frustrating to many callers--my Tx voice was
better than my Rx ears--the product of a well-grounded shunt fed 92 foot tower
and Beverage antennas in a canyon location!

See you in the Real Deal in December!
K5LH   Single Op LP   1352014-10-19 11:36:09
Just testing antenna. Much QRN & QSB. Thanks for the QSOs. 73, Chris

Rig: Ten-Tec Eagle, Inverted L, Aether for Mac
NO3M   Single Op HP   7432014-10-19 11:36:57
Didn't put in as much time as usual in this one; few EU (G, F), VP5, (2) HC,
KH6, and KV4FZ about all the DX. Quit a little after EU SR and didn't get back
on for local sunrise.

Seems there were a lot more west coast on this time; sigs general very good.

Transmit array on crutches. Spent a couple weeks pinning down the outer
parameter radials after goats/sheep had them pulled up and in tangled messes in
early summer, which are now "buried". However, never got around to
the other half of inner radials, which were just pulled tight and soldered to a
central cross-buss of #8 wire. Over the course of the summer, those got
molested and now have big tumbleweed-like balls of wire with the near ends
wrapped around the vertical bases. SWR was higher than normal to start, so
after a couple hours, went down in field and pulled back some of the wire away
from the bases; the NE element was actually shorted to ground. After that, SWR
and behavior was better, but hopefully get time before ARRL160 to clean up the
radial mess once and for all.

Usual setup, 2xK3s in SO2R-3RX (run radio left/right diversity or split
directions, "middle" S/P radio), AL-1500 amp (new here), TX 4SQ,
numerous phased beverage arrays and BSEF 8-circle, custom RX switching system
w/ scanning, tracking (left follows right direction), etc.

73 Eric NO3M
N1IX   Single Op QRP   3062014-10-19 12:13:44
Worked most of the stations that I could hear. Unfortunately I didn't hear very
many. I Got a ..--.. out of KV4FZ. I will be on for the Big Stew as SOQRP.
W7FI   Single Op HP   1912014-10-19 12:15:44
K3, AL-82, Dipole, Pixel loop
VE3OSZ   Single Op LP   4502014-10-19 12:31:38
Best DX: N6RK.

N6RK strong signal here. Only other west coast station heard: K7RAT, but he was
very weak.
N7IR   Single Op LP   2642014-10-19 13:14:06
Spent a couple of hours Saturday evening tuning the band and calling CQ. Not a
lot of activity, although the band was open to the east as far as FN25. Best
DX was perennial entrant KV4FZ. Heard KH6ZM calling others around his sunset
but didn't find him calling CQ. Nearby thunderstorms made the band very noisy
and I called it a night early.

See you all in the big Stew in a couple of months.

Gary, N7IR
W4IX   Single Op LP   4612014-10-19 13:20:32
Band was really quiet and signals were great to 3/4 of the country. Did not stay
around to see if there was any prop to Europe at their sunrise. 73's and Tnx for
the Q's.
OU2I(OZ1BII)   Single Op LP   1682014-10-19 14:02:13
Rig: Elecraft K3 100W
Ant: 20 meter wire as INVERTED-L up 12 meter

Thanks QSO's and GL.
Vy 73 de OU2I Henning
K9MMS   Single Op LP   3932014-10-19 17:15:09
IC-756PRO3 at 100W
TX: Inverted L ; RX: HI-Z 23, EWE, and others.

Only DX heard and worked: KV4FZ (Very loud at times. Worked Herb early when
his signals were weaker.) and NU4Y/VP5 (tnx for answering one of my CQs).

Mostly midwest and eastern half of USA. Very few stations heard in western
USA. Activity seemed light. Did not stay up late.

Thanks for the Qs and Grids.
WS7L   Single Op HP   602014-10-19 20:40:39
Just a couple quick S&P passes to see who was around. Never got further east
than Ohio, though I did pick up KV4FZ for my only "real" DX.
73, Carl WS7L
N1LN   Single Op HP   4212014-10-20 03:25:21
Not much time to operate but wanted to give the station a preseason 160 meter

Bruce N1LN
K4BAI   Single Op HP   1612014-10-20 16:56:04
FT1000MP, Alpha 91b, 1 KW, tee vertical. Nice to hear some activity on top band
again. Thanks for all QSOs. 73, John, K4BAI.
W5JR   Single Op HP   2242014-10-21 06:51:08
K3, Alpha 87A, Inv L, N1MM+ (I need to put out more radials...)

Great band conditions, low noise and little QRN. Didn't hear any EU or SA, but
lots of VE's answered the CQ's. Always a low pressure opportunity to hone the
Run mode skills.
K5OAI   Single Op QRP   1262014-10-24 11:10:47
SOAPBOX: K3 5w (300mw ERP) 7' Tall Hi-Q screwdriver @ 20' with 16 radials each
13' long
CW 2014-10-19 0200 K50AI 599 DM91 W9JEF 599 EM26
CW 2014-10-19 0206 K50AI 599 DM91 K5GN 599 EL19
CW 2014-10-19 0209 K50AI 599 DM91 KE0UI 599 DM78
CW 2014-10-19 0211 K50AI 599 DM91 N7DF 599 DM72
CW 2014-10-19 0213 K50AI 599 DM91 WQ5L 599 EM50
CW 2014-10-19 0218 K50AI 599 DM91 K5KC 599 EM16
CW 2014-10-19 0226 K50AI 599 DM91 N5UL 599 DM82
CW 2014-10-19 0258 K50AI 599 DM91 N5IA 599 DM52
CW 2014-10-19 0311 K50AI 599 DM91 WD5R 599 EM45
CW 2014-10-19 0319 K50AI 599 DM91 N0TT 599 EM29
CW 2014-10-19 0323 K50AI 599 EM91 KI0I 599 DM28
CW 2014-10-19 0506 K50AI 599 DM91 KZ5D 599 EL49
CW 2014-10-19 0519 K50AI 599 DM91 N5UM 599 EM15
CW 2014-10-19 0527 K50AI 599 DM91 N7GP 599 DM52
CW 2014-10-19 1027 K50AI 599 DM91 AA7MB 599 DM43
CW 2014-10-19 1126 K50AI 599 DM91 W0DLE 599 DM79
CW 2014-10-19 1217 K50AI 599 DM91 K3PA 599 EM29
NU4Y/VP5   Single Op LP   5432014-10-31 03:14:57
Used a 33 foot vert. inverted L. Low Power. Had to stop at 01:00 Z due to large
thunderstorm just off our coast. The EMP was so bad would shut down the radio,
or make the PTT line. I went upstairs from the shack a friend was just
watching the lightning hit the water. The sight was spectacular, but not for
radio. Went to sleep after watching for over an hour. Did not get a couple of
grids, and some that called, just sent 599 and disappeared. Sorry could not
work more. 73