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CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB   2015   Oct 24   Claimed Score

Click on a call below for a list of all the contests for which that call sign is listed as an operator. Click on the [email] link to send an e-mail to the contester who posted the claimed score.

Call: P4ØW
Operator(s): W2GD
Station: P4ØW

Class: SOAB(A) LP
QTH: Aruba
Operating Time (hrs): 41
Location: South America

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:4690146532Total Score9,320,466


Club: Frankford Radio Club

Comments:     [email]     2015-10-27 23:01:18
K3 @ 100W, Win-Test Software Antennas: 160m Vertical Dipole and Inverted V, 80m Inverted V and 3el wire beam EU, 40m F12 Delta 240 and 4 ele wire beam EU 20/15/10m F12 C31XR @ F12 C3 both @ 60ft. Beverages NE, NW, E/W, N/S This was a very special CQWW for me....since just a few months ago I wasn't so sure I'd be here to share the experience with so many of my old and new friends around the world....all of us operating in the greatest radio contest of them all. For those who are unaware, about nine months ago the doctors told me I had cancer (stage IV metastatic melanoma) and my prognosis was limited. But after six months of treatment with a new immuno-therapy drug (and the loving prayers of thousands) last month I achieved the miracle of complete remission....the cancer is currently gone. Unfortunately there is no permanent cure for this, but I'm enjoying every extra day I have.... life is truly precious. Thanks everyone for sharing in my joy this weekend! This is the twenty first year I've operated from Santa Cruz, Aruba. As stations go, it is still what might you might call 'semi-permanent' since every operation requires re-installing 2200 feet of coax and control cables that are otherwise kept stored away for safe keeping. With 11 antennas, the odds are always quite high something will need repairs in this salt laden island environment which inflicts it's own brand of never ending punishment on all things man-made. This time I'd hoped to be somewhat ahead of the curve having completed rotator and cabling repairs during a visit for IARU in July, but 'projects' found me....not just the normal broken beverages needing splices, but new things like a 160 meter vertical with corroded connections at the balun, an 80m wire yagi DE insulator that had failed from salt corrosion, a broken 160m inverterd V element, a failed beverage coax run and 9:1 transformer, an upper Phillystran guy that was nearly sawed in two by a tree branch, and two 25 year old jumper cables used in the shack beverage switching system (that had both inexplicably lost continuity). Fortunately none of these things were particularly difficult to resolve and I had the parts needed on-hand to make repairs, but they each take time to diagnose and resolve. Actually I secretly enjoy playing 'MacGyver'. It hasn't rained much on Aruba (at least in St. Cruz) for virtually the entire year (think California drought conditions). On the plus side I haven't had to deal with vegetation growth issues (of the cactus variety)this week which most often severely impedes wire antenna work (getting from point A to point B be can be challenging). The downside to no rain is the increased tower corrosion and a power grid that is coated with months and months of salt residue. When the humidity goes up you can literally ride around on the streets at night and see corona on the high voltage lines.....think multiple new noise sources in all directions which randomly appear and disappear. The big moment of anxiety this trip involved a K3 power problem....the output was different on every band, ranging from just 30 watts on 160 to a full 100 on ten meters. One of my biggest fears is arriving here with a dead or partially functioning radio and having no spare. Wednesday night I had the covers off the K3 searching for a "bad connection" somewhere....but I didn't find one. It was time to seek expert assistance after another K3 owner KU2C and I went through what we thought were all the obvious things...but it just wasn't happening. It was time to call the goto guy, Bob, N6TV. After about ten minutes of diagnostic discussion (thank goodness for qood quality internet service and Skype) Bob asked the magic question....had I done a K3 firmware update recently? It so happens just the prior Sunday evening I'd done one. But of course I had not read the release notes. Well, it turns out this particular update required a TX GAIN calibration. My neighbor P49Y kindly loaned me a dummy load, and I proceeded with the calibration. When done the radio was magically restored to normal operation...WHAT A RELIEF! I later heard another P40 operator (the one who specializes in RTTY contests) had made the same dumb mistake last I felt a little better. Anyway, thanks again N6TV for pointing me to the solution....I owe you man! Friday afternoon finally rolls around, all the antennas are working well, I've done a review of prior logs and have a strategy worked out. I lay down for a 3 hour afternoon nap and almost immediately hear the fan in the A/C unit slow down (an obvious voltage drop). Then, not more than a minute later, everything goes DEAD.....the entire island of Aruba is without power (apparently a new software program implemented by the power company had taken down the grid). The local radio news was reporting it could take up to 8 hours before power would be fully restored. YIKES! So I do the logical thing, I laid back down, set my cell phone alarm, and went to sleep....since this was something totally out of my control. I'll consider myself exceptionally lucky....out neighborhood was one of the first back online about 2 hours later. P40A seven miles away at the NW end of the island was not so lucky....he started the contest on generator power. You just never know what is going to happen. Phone contests are not my preference but it seems almost every year I end up down here to participate in CQWW and then perhaps either ARRL or WPX phone later in the winter. Hey, what's not to like about spending a week in the tropics when it is getting cold and snowy up north. A decade ago I changed careers to have the flexibility of coming down as often as I more vacation day limits for this contester!'s finally Zero Hour....the question in my mind is will I manage to stay the when I'm supposed to running, and not revert into a DXer which is my normal tendency during phone contests? After a last minute shower and a quick call home, I'm in the chair one minute late .... ready to rock and roll. I check 15, not much doing so it's down to 20. Takes a minute to find a clear frequency and its off to the races.....well maybe it was more of aa false start....very slow going....until that first wonderful cluster callout for P40W hits the internet....the final outcome for low power guys greatly depends on how often those cluster callouts occur over the course of the contest. Boom.... the rate meter zooms upward....I'm starting to feel in a grove....but my elation soon fades as I compare the rate to isn't very encouraging....but then might say this is just the first hour....there are still 47 more opportunities to make up the deficit. I get discouraged easily operating SSB. Whenever the rate seems to be mediocre I tend to give up quickly and switch into either S&P or mult hunting mode....which is NOT a winning strategy....since the op with the most QSOs usually is the winner, particularly in the CQWW. Of course, I did what I shouldn't, went into search mode for the better part of the first 7 hours....and ended up with terrific first night multipler totals on 20, 40 and 80, but terribly behind in the QSO department. As everyone knows 160 this weekend was the absolute pits, and even more so for those of us running 100 watts or less. I kept watching the cluster callouts for my Carib neighbors to show up.....since they were the only ones who could hear me on top band most of the weekend. Took a 1.5 hour snooze about 0830 I would be well rested for the runs that I needed to 'catch up'. The other thing you learn operating LP or QRP is you must have perfect timing to overcome the 'brute force' advantage of your KW brothers. Sounds simplistic, but this has a huge impact on how well you do breaking pileups. It is a learned skill that takes practice to master. There is what I like to call the 'dead zone' every morning here in the Carib. Between 12z and about 16z running is a terrible struggle. The USA is beaming EU, EU is working each other or the loud USA guys. Those of us running LP more often than not struggle to get a run going during this period if we can at all....this seems to happen every contest. It was easy to slip right back into S/P mode again....but thankfully it was mostly successful....and the mult totals on 15 and 10 were very good the first day as a result. During the 1600 hour ten meters finally explodes. Pretty sure I found a clean frequency near 28303 and it was the perfect storm....a nice mix of EU and Ws calling, disciplined, complete call signs and the bonus were so many new mults calling in. The band was very quiet the first day....and picking at least one complete call sign out of the crowd each time seemed easy....I love runs when everyone is loud. Managed to put 225 in the would be the best hour for rate during the weekend. The next six hours were consistent high rate along with numerous mini five minute trips to the multiplier wars. Even with all of these multiple short mult sprints each hour (I'm not SO2R conversant...just one radio) the rate somehow stays in the 180 to 200 range....I'm very pleased with my execution and how great conditions are sounding. Breaking pileups seems easy. After the first 24 hours there were 2550 contacts logged and 4.2 million points. Using the time tested rule of thumb, double the score and add 10%, I already knew I'd likely fall short of my 10 million point goal, but still had a shot at something reasonably close. The low bands were becoming even more noisy during night two. Not only were the static crashes more prevalent, new line noise sources had appeared, particularly toward EU which is historically the quietest direction here. Perhaps a precipitous increase in humidity after sundown was the cause for the local noise spike. Seemed I was just slogging along most of the second evening, but did manage a few brief and intense runs on 40 and 20. Again 160 was virtually useless but moving Carib stations there from 80 padded that total some. At 0800 I hit the wall, decided to lay down for 1.5 hours, and be raring to go again. Well, alarm goes off, I listen for 3 minutes, the noise is so unpleasant to me I put my head down again for another hour. At 12z I did some quick calculations and reset short-term goals. I needed sustained rates near or above 200 to come close or surpass NP4Z's LP(A) record. As usual sustained runs on any band were not working out during the morning dead zone, so it was back into S/P and mult hunting modes. Fortunately someone turned the switch back on at 1600 and those 200 hours became a reality, first on 10m, then 15, and finally 20 over the remaining 8 hours. I'd already accomplished my pre-contest Zone and Country total goals (650+ combined) which freed me to concentrate on just running. Finished out the contest with 212 and 196 hours on 20 meters....what a rush! Some observations: Much fewer operators are sending partial calls....a very welcomed change and improvement. There are still too many stations with improperly adjusted audio, most often excess compression, but many with RF problems.....which made copying their call signs all that much more difficult if not impossible. Many call off frequency.....turn off or adjust your RIT properly please. Likewise, there are still far too many stations with either improperly tuned or malfunctioning amplifiers. One very active FY5 multi in particular had horrible buckshot nearly 100 Khz wide on 10m, effectively removing a large slice of the band from use....there is no excuse for this. Many of my Carib brothers have really great ears on 10, 15 and 20 meters....working the weak close in mults is one of the ultimate challenges of CQWW that I most enjoy. Every part of the world seemed will represented this year, and was very happy to actually hear all 40 zones during the contest (but unfortunately didn't manage to log them all). I still cringe when I hear contest stations 'going by the numbers'. There seemed to be less clustering of the big multi-op stations at the band edges....why this has changed is unclear. At times while working newer US contesters, particularly on 10 meters, it was like running JAs but without the benefit of an accurate super check partial tool. The mysteries of HF propagation intrigue me as much today as they did 50 years ago. Enjoyed several dinners with my contest neighbor Andy, AE6Y/P49Y this week....there are so many great restaurants on Aruba to choose from.....and congrats to Andy on what appears to be a new "classic" record. Bravo! Like everyone else, I hope this doesn't turn out to be the last hurrah for ten meters this cycle, but if it turns out that way it was sure a great final act. Looking forward to being back on Aruba again in four weeks for CQWW CW. 73, John W2GD