“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

“The Barnstormers News”                                                        Volume 8 No.4, October 6,2003


It’s been a Long time….


It seems unbelievable that I haven’t done a “Storm Watch” since April but that’s the true fact of it. I suspect like all of you, the summer zoomed by and not without happenings.


Well here we are less than three weeks away from the CQWW SSB contest and I have been doing some real soul searching the last few days. Most of you have seen my email letting you all know that the contesting in at least the first two contests from KB1H has been in question. I wanted to give everyone as much notice as possible so alternative operating plans could be made.


The decision still has not been made for sure. What’s the problem? Actually there are two major areas I am mulling over. First and the most important is the well being of our group. I guess like an old marriage, P&Ming goes on and at times it can lead to major flare-ups. Things like this really take the fun out of contesting. I think the major problem can all be boiled down to the fact that some of us are overworked with the long list of things to do. There has been less load sharing this year than any other year that I can remember. There are many things that only one of us has the talent to do but there is plenty that can be done by most. The one exception has been the tower work. We have gotten “on the tower” help each time we asked until we were finished most of the repairs. Besides Dave, KE1LI and N1ROZ helped when I got hurt.


I also realize this has been a tough year for some. Health, family problems, home projects, even passing of relatives.

I really think we have to all step back and look and see if what we are assuming the other guy will do, or the other guy can do if you ask is something that you can really do yourself. Anything from housekeeping, to knocking down brush, to setting up stations. I also believe we need to plan a little better for the contest weekends. We spend too much time running around for meals, drinks, and last minute parts. This turns an operating event to a hospitality marathon. I know that this is my responsibility as the host but I would like to get some time in the seat and I don’t mean my car seat!


The commitment to getting ready for the contest also needs to be cranked up. Year in, year out, we are fixing setup problems the Friday afternoon of the contest. I take double blood pressure medicine those days. Why can’t we be ready sooner and the week before CQWW SSB only be testing all the stations in the Work All Germany contest.


Someone has said we make allot of lists, take allot of time to do so, talk allot about the lists, and then barely do anything. Yes, we make list. Yes, we talk about them. But, you have to have the lists. What we have to do it finish the list. Commit to pitching in and attacking the list.


As much as some of you hate to see the list I want to include it here. This is the second area that has me undecided on whether to run the first two contests. Take a look at the darn thing. There are many, many items that do not require climbing a tower, do not need a computer wizard. What it needs is for you to say to yourself I want to contribute to the team effort. One day, a few days, anytime that you can spare. I guarantee that I can find enough time to get you started and probably Kim would be here as well if he knows you are coming. We have allot of equipment that requires much more upkeep than the single op, one tower, one station, one antenna installation.


Have we run out of steam? Are not enough operators interested any longer? Should I scale back and just do single op or guest op operations? I hope none of this is true. I enjoy all your company and don’t want it to end. What do you guys want?








Look at this list with only two weekends to finish:


Station #1

          Upgrade all software

          Test Beverage

          Check all equipment grounding

          Test all equipment


Station #2

          Same as Station #1         


Station #3

          Build new VSWR Amp protection box.

          Ground all equipment

          Needs keyer

          Which rig?

          Interconnect equipment – probably need to make up jumpers

          Upgrade software

          Test all equipment

          Check all grounding



Station #4

          Build VSWR Amp Protection box

          Build PC and install software

          Ground equipment

          Install DVP

          Interconnecting cables

          Install amp

          Connect network

          Install Low Pass Filter


          Install and test Top Ten Decoder and Dunestar filter




          Test all equipment



          Rework 160/80 Meter Switch Board

          Rework 40-10 Meter Switch Board

          Repair 40 Meter Comtek cable

          New cables and torroids on Packet station

          Torroids all around including phones in the house

          Get port to ECT KA-Node running

          M2 Rotor control tested with prop pitch

          Move woodstove


          IP/Routing for Station #6 (next to the TV)

          VHF station for monitoring with CT during the contest.

          MFJ Dummy load needed for emergency testing

          Get some RCA jumpers at radio Shack



Outside Work

          Clear beverage run

          Make beverage switching

          New E-W beverage

          Repackage dummy load on 80M 4-Square

          Finish “The Dallas”

          Tie up cable runs onto new telephone pole


Can you believe this list? If you want to have a good effort then we need to attack many items here. If you want a half-arsed effort ignore them. I want to be proud of our score. If we can’t be then maybe we need to take a breather.


I hope you see where I am coming from and understand my point. This has to be fun or it’s just not worth it.


We got two weeks to show that we are not growing stale or not interested anymore. Show all the others and me that we are committed and I am ready to go on and kick some butt.

I apologize for such a down attitude “Storm Watch” but it has to be said and dealt with.


Give me a call, email me, just show the heck up the next two weekends if all this means anything to you.