“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

 “The Barnstormers News”                                                                         Volume 6 No.1 January 1, 2001


“Storm Watch” begins it’s 6th year and announcing the 6th Annual Barnstormer’s Christmas Party……


Mark your calendar for January 27th.  This is the night of the 6th Annual Barnstormer’s Christmas Party. I don’t have to tell you all about the fun had in the past and surely don’t need to hype up the event. Fun and food is always plentiful. Plan on beginning about 6 P.M. and lasting until ??? There is a 160 Meter contest happening at the same time so we can play around with that while we party.


Half way point in our DX Contest season


Now that the CQWW events are behind us we now look ahead to the ARRL weekends. As usual we will compete in the Multi/Two transmitter class. Last year we finished 8th in CW and 4th in SSB. This is the class we are competitive in and I consider our CQWW Multi/Multi efforts as training for the ARRL events. We have continuously made progress, increasing our score every year in ever contest.  The ARRL contests should be no different. I am sure the groups above us have seen our steady improvements and now is the time we can start nipping at their heels. Usually the same calls are above us and let’s try to put one or two of these guys below us this year.


What’s “Running “ have to do with it?


Twisting a line from a Tina Turner song, running is what will make our score grow faster than any other factor. During a recent contest I handed out to each one here the reprint of K1AR’s CQ Magazine article about running. There are more copies in a file and maybe we should all read the article again before ARRL. As I look at the group, the key ingredient we are short of is “runners”. I think we can take care of our shortcoming with the operators we have here now. I have seen great improvement in about everyone of us. No, we all can not do a 120 hour yet but many can do a 60 or 80 hour. A few years back we were lucky to run a 40 hour.


When you sit down to run try to remember a few things:


1)      You are loud! There are only a few stations that can push you off the frequency. Yes, propagation sometimes defeats us but pound for pound we can compete with most stations. Act loud.


2)      Keeping a frequency is not for the timid. Not only is the strength of your signal a part of running. Your character is as well. Sometimes you have to be a bully. I have fought with stations and neither one of us has made a QSO for a minute or two but hang in there. A strong station will answer you sooner or later and you can make that QSO through the QRM.


3)      K1AR made a very important operating point. Tweak your VFO around to stretch your elbows out. I sometimes get a little more processing going to push adjacent QRM out.


4)      Maybe you have to split your antennas to send some RF towards the “frequency foe”.


We all won’t be runners. In the case of CQWW when we are M/M, there are plenty of stations to let anybody sit down. In the case of ARRL where we are trying to place well, we have to see who is the best operator to sit in the only two seats we have available. Fatigue has always limited us in worrying about who should operate. Usually it’s the one who can still talk without mumbling!


What’s Broke?


Well, we faired the recent weather rather well. The lower 40M is a little twisted as usual. I have a plate to fix this and will properly anchor the antenna once and for all.  The 440 antenna on the 10 Meter tower is loose. Don’t know why but will have to resecure this. The 15 Meter Sidearm rotor still needs replacing and the Yaesu rotor is about ready to go up. I am afraid we have to drop the sidearm to re-drill the mounting holes so this is no small job. The Tri-Bander still needs to go on the barn roof. Low priority but needs to be done. The network cards need to be installed and another try given to networking the stations.


QSLs, QSLs, QSLs, those stinking QSLs….


We recently printed almost 3000 QSLs. I think Chris entered 1900 labels, Kim about 400, and me about another 450. We wore out a new ribbon! Kim is slowly sticking labels on QSLs and then off to the League Outgoing Bureau.


Well, hope to see you all on the 27th. Santa has a gift for those who have contributed to the millions of points we have made here at KB1H. There will also be our annual award ceremony, “The K1GX Award”. Hopefully a few gag gifts as well.


Get your brownie points in now with the wife or girl friend. ARRL contests are quickly upon us and we need you here for those two weekends.


73’s Dick