“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

“The Barnstormers News”                                                      Volume 8 No.6, November 10, 2003


CQWW CW Coming Quickly Upon Us…


Well, we are looking at about 18 days before the CW half of CQWW. We all know this is our better half so we will be expecting a better score. I think the YCCC will need a good showing in order to continue the winning streak over FRC. Though some email postings have the YCCC ahead in claimed scores I feel it is much closer than predicted.


On our own goals, I hope to give the other Multi/Multi operations a better run for the money in this mode.  No! Not KC1XX but rather K1TTT, K1RX, and a few of the FRC M/Ms. I can not imagine why we should be almost 2000 QSOs behind these other stations.


As I said in my last newsletter, I take most of the blame for the lack of QSOs because I have not done a good job managing the operators and schedule. I am not saying I will cure all during the CW contest but this contest I have already started a spreadsheet with scheduled operators. Basically we need four (4) operators available at all times. If four bands are open that’s great. Otherwise the fourth operator will be a relief for the other three. The final operator list is not complete yet so I cannot say when and how long you will be asked to sit in a chair. You may also find some operating time other than the time you are scheduled and that is OK but you will be expected to be in the chair for your scheduled time. I expect we will have as many as 7 operators staying the whole weekend so you can see that there will be times when we do have people sitting watching TV. Remember, you should also be resting for your operating slot.


I will email out the Excel spreadsheet when it is more complete and I get some replies to my email requests for availability of operators and times.


From the feedback I got after the last contest I think this is a good approach. I had a number of you tell me that the empty chairs hurt and especially Sunday when we have 8 operators here as opposed to the overnights when we had only 2 operators.  We probably lost 200-400 QSOs over those two nights because we had no one calling CQ on two of the bands. It’s OK to work what is spotted but you have to be pushing the F1 key if you want to have a fruitful overnight period. Most of us know the story of last year in ARRL when I sat down on a “dead” 20 meters and called CQ over and over again. The effort got us about 20-30 VKs and ZLs in the log that were not spotted. This was a point proven but not learned! You can tune the band every so often but YOU HAVE TO CALL CQ 75% of the time. A fair estimate would be tuning 15 minutes out of every hour and calling CQ the other 45 minutes.


The advantage of having 4 stations also proved itself in SSB. We had a nice 50+ QSOs on 160 meters. Yes, the country count was low but the band really was terrible. Those 50+ QSOs was one of the highest band totals we have ever had for 160 meters. Again, CQing was the reason. Again, I would expect even better results on CW.


Preparation Continues….


The past few weekends have also been busy. Kim, Chris, Frank, and Mark have all been here and basically fixed the problems that happened during SSB.  Chris brought his L-4B to “The Amp Doctor” K1JCL, got it fixed, and back in line. The bad Dunestar Bandpass Filter was checked and found to be OK. More tuning charts have been filled out. More keying plugs made up. Kim has continued to work on the 40M tower and we are now waiting for the bearings to start our construction up the tower with the galvanized pipe. The prop pitch enclosure has been anchored to the cement base.


Next weekend we hope to replace the 20 Meter rotor. During SSB the indicator was a little flaky and now it seems to have quit all together. Fortunately it still turns. Dave will probably come Sunday and we will put the new rebuilt rotor up.


There is still a small list of “To Do’s” If the weather holds there is even some outside work that can be done such as the second beverage. We need brush cleared and holes dug. It would be nice to also get the new woodstove installed because it has better control of the damper. It might keep Frank from getting the upstairs hotter than holy …. during CW weekend.




With more than two weeks before the contest I am sure I will send out more email if not another “Storm Watch”. Be looking for the Operator Schedule soon. Of course it can be adjusted if I have put you down for a time that will not work for you.


73 – Dick