“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

“The Barnstormers News”                                                          Volume 8 No.5, October 31,2003


CQWW SSB 2003 is History


Well, the first contest of the 2003-2004 season is behind us. Because there was an answer to my battle cry for preparation we were able to pout together a 4-station effort. There were plenty of operators according to the list of people that stopped by but unfortunately many were very part-time. More on that later.


The list of operators: KB1H, N1XS, NB1U, KB1DFB, K1EBY,N4XR, K1IN, N1QED, KM1X, N1NK, AA1CE. As I mentioned, many were part time so we had allot of unmanned radios.


All in all we had a successful weekend with very few equipment failures. The bands were much better that the predictions given all the crying about solar flares.


The rough totals are:


            Band           QSO           Zones        Countries


          160                 67                5                  10

           80                221              19                  73

           40                263              28                  99

           20                730              36                125

           15              1149              31                124

           10              1014              31                128


          Totals         3444            150                559 č 6,640,494


We still need to merge the logs so there will be some adjustments.



It was great to see new people stop by. Don, K1IN, and Claude, N1QED (6Y5CC), were asked to come by Frank and hopefully will be a new addition the regulars here at the station. Claude is not a CW op but Don promises to work on him. Welcome to both of them and thanks Frank for inviting them. It was also nice to see Vic, N4XR stop by for the start of the contest.


Equipment-wise we lost a few items. The 15 Meter section of a bandpass filter, the L4B amp, and a set of headphones. Chris’s 850 was a casualty before the contest. Antennas did well and even the beverage worked for us.


As I mentioned, the conditions were better than everyone was predicting with all the solar flare activity. Bands came and went very quickly so there wasn’t any long disruption in operations. 20 Meters did die at night though and we were not able to run through the night on that band which we were accustomed to. Nice runs on 80 Meters and unfortunately we never really tried to run that much in 40 Meter which other M/M reported were able to. I am sure this will be much different in CW.


At the end of the contest we sat around for a few moments as the scores were reported on 3830. We also talked a few moments on our score and/or lack of. Our score was almost 2000 QSOs and 3 million points behind those M/M operations that I feel we should be compared with.  Stations like K1RX and K1TTT. Quite a few M/2 stations either equaled our score or beat us. I want to spend a few moments on that and also ask that you all think about it as well. I hope we can lay down a plan for CQWW CW so we can be more competitive. Please share your thoughts by email of if everyone wants to get together before CQWW CW we can do that.


If you look at the number of operators at the lower tier of M/M stations you can see that our numbers are equivalent.  I think we have many more part time operators but that should not hurt us so bad if things are managed well. This is where I think I need to improve my work and strategy. SSB is always a tough mode, as most of us do not enjoy the hurt to our ears. Plus I think it is a more tiring mode. The long stints in the chairs are really debilitating to performance. Over the course of the weekend the sharpness of operating really starts to slip. Relief operators are a blessing but many of us are not “running” specialists. That’s OK because we work with what we have and it’s a good break if that relief operator just works out the packet window.


We have known that we must run to be competitive. We have gotten much better. SSB is our weakest mode and CW has more operators that can run. I expect we will see improvement just in the fact that we are changing modes. We do lose some overnight help though which really helps our multiplier total in SSB.



Here is a tentative list of operators for CQWW CW:


            KB1H, K1EBY, N1XS, NB1U, K1AM, N1RR, KM1X, K1IN, AA1CE


This list does not say full or part-time operators. I really don’t know that at this time.


I believe managing the operators and when they are available is where we next need to improve. This past weekend there were times when we had 2-3 people sitting around and other times when we had only 2 radios manned. Sometimes operators were sitting around due to aural exhaustion (bleeding ears). Again, CW seems to lend itself to longer chair stints but there still needs to be breaks given.


The plan would be to schedule operators a little better. The first step will be to know who the full time operators will be during CW. I can then see where we need spots filled and I can ask the part-time guys to try and do that. I believe we need four operators at all times. Even when only three bands are open there needs to be a relief operator in order to keep everyone from exhaustion. So, please let me know ASAP whether you will be full or part-time.  I will be specific regarding when we need help once I have most of the replies back.


I would really like to make a go at doing much better in CW.



“The Dallas”…..


The 3 element full size 40 Meter beam affectionately called “The Dallas” has been moved up to probably our highest priority. Like Kim mentioned during SSB, there seems to be times when we need that big beam for Pacific multipliers. The 4-square just doesn’t do it all. His overnight experience attests to this. Kim has been diligently working on the lower half. Progress to date has been the cement pad poured, the prop pitch enclosure built and anchored (thanks Terry, KB1FBB, for the “time capsule”), and the first thrust bearing mount bolted to the tower. Paul, KE1LI, has located bearings and we expect delivery around the second or third week of November. Again, Kim has put his efforts into this including a trip to KA1VMG’s QTH to dismantle an old windmill tower for the angle iron. This is an important addition so ask Kim what you can do to help him out.





Thanks to Chris, Kim, and Paul all the received to date QSLs have been entered, printed, and labeled.  Final total for 2002-2003 was around 2000 cards,



Let’s get our planning for the CW weekend started and hopefully we can improve our score. By the looks of the scores coming in the YCCC will need some better results to continue the streak over FRC.


Again, thanks to all that pushed the two weeks before the SSB contest. You all came through and made the operation last weekend smoother that I had expected.



73, Dick