Thoughts on the Louisiana QSO Party 2005

NO5W Rover

Its 2345 UTC and I've just made my last LA QP QSO on 15M with N6MU after moving there to avoid the pre-sprint warm up and ensuing fun on 20M. I check and the logging program is showing 167 crow-flying miles home to Houston from my current location in Natchitoches parish. It's time to pull the plug on NO5W's expedition in the 2005 LA QP. The thought occurs that it would be fun to have a go at a few sprint QSOs from the mobile but I decide that would be unpopular with the driver who has just spent nine hours driving this radio guy across 15 Louisiana counties covering 420 miles. And though she's not a radio contester she would easily detect the change in my operating activities from so slo--oow to frantic bedlam! So its QRT, remove ham sticks from the roof of the Pathfinder, and settle into the driver's seat for the 167 miles. Hmm, should be arriving home just before the end of the sprint, will have plenty of time to reflect on the day's activities (and inactivities) in the LA QP. Plenty of time for…

Thoughts on the 2005 LA QP: Motivation –

It takes a bit of motivation to get out and about in your own state party but to do another state takes even more. But I had wanted to operate the LA QP mobile for some time since that's where I first got the radio bug and emerged as newly minted novice KN5MPM back in 1957. When planning the trip the realization hit that just to get to the LA border from Houston and back was going to be 400 miles. However, opportunity knocked in the form of a business trip to New Orleans for the Monday after the LA QP. How convenient, we'd drive over, instead of fly, and work the LAQP in the process. Not too long after announcing the developing plans in late January on the County Hunter's website the opportunity was modified by a summons to appear for jury duty on the very Monday that I was to be in New Orleans – darn. I wondered if they would understand that I needed to be in New Orleans on business and for a QSO Party – not much chance of that and the summons said I needed to be 70 to be excused – don't want to go there just yet! So undaunted we decided that, what the heck, if K5OT can drive 1100 miles just to get from WI to operate in the TX QP then we can stand the 400 or so. So we modified the linear trip into a looping one and would drive over late Friday afternoon to get a fresh start around Lake Charles in Calcasieu. And from there …

The Trip and Contest – Having never operated the LA QP from either side I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of activity. LA QP is not one of the biggies on the QP scene but surely there were county hunters out there that needed some parishes and some mobile ops in LA to give out a few. However, the fact that only one county hunter responded to the invitation to send me an email of needed counties led me to think that maybe all of LA had been worked out. Maybe I would go there, send out a few CQs, and no one would call. That turned out not to be the case as there were a good number of folks on the other side looking for a party. The ingredient that seemed to be missing the most was active mobiles – I got the impression that there were only two of us. With that level of activity its difficult to keep interest up but there were a number of folks that stayed with me most of the day including: N6MU(30), W2LHL(25), KO1U(24), K4MUT(20), N2CQ(18). Thanks to these ops and many others who contributed to the totals and made the trip worthwhile.

Leaving out of Calcasieu we wondered awhile south of I-10 and then eventually made our way to Lafayette where, after a brief detour south to St. Martin and Iberia, we headed northwest over to St. Landry, Evangeline, Allen, Rapides, Vernon and eventually ending up in Beauregard reaching there around 2:30 CST. We had originally planned to end in Beauregard around 6:00 pm so it seemed way too early to quit so we decided to grab some lunch and gas and head north to put on a few more. That's when the bad decision was made to head northeast to pick up Natchitoches and then maybe with a quick run up I-49 to end in Sabine and then back home across the Toledo Bend Reservoir into Texas. The decision to go from Vernon to Natchitoches was not good because it required a long trip through Vernon which we had already worked out just after entering Vernon while sitting to see if an accident would be cleared out. To compound the bad decision we also missed a turn and wound up going to Alexandria deep into Rapides which had earlier given us one of our best runs so that was non-productive time also. So the additional time ended up netting only one additional county with 18 Qs. Not what we had in mind at 2:30 as we entered the DeRidder Pizza Hut nor at 3:15 on exit!

In total fifteen counties in mostly southwestern LA were activated with the following results: Acadia(31), Allen(28), Beauregard(30), Calcasieu(19), Cameron(14), Evangeline(30), Iberia(12), Jefferson Davis(19), Lafayette(37), Natchitoches(18), Rapides(36), St. Landry(23), St. Martin(8), Vermilion(16), and Vernon(42).

I certainly appreciate all of the above stations and many others that contributed to the QSO and Mult totals and for sticking around considering the limited mobile activity. I also understand from some reports that there were many callers who I did not respond to and I apologize if you were one of those. The QRN along the I-10 corridor was very high and many of the signals that I did work were barely S5.

On the other hand maybe it was all that alligator I ate in Calcasieu on Friday night!

Happy trails,

Equipment: ICOM 706MKIIG, 20/15 Hamsticks, Pathfinder, CQ/X de NO5W Homebrew Logging Software, Garmin Street Pilot III GPS, Dell Latitude D400, Palm Paddle, WinKey External Keyer, Keyspan USBx4RS232 Port Expander.
The logging software also logs the GPS coordinates of each QSO in a form suitable for importing into Streets and Trips. Send me an email if you would like a "GPS-enabled QSL".

The above score includes 750 poins for activating 15 parishes.



Operating from Cameron Parish

The beautiful scenery form Cameron Parish

Taking a break

WA5MC Rover

Mike KC5OKP and myself, John KD5WDY, started our trip from Houma Louisiana about 8:30 CST on the morning of the party, operating as club,WA5MC, Atchafalaya DX Association.

Our first contact came from atop the highest place in Assumption Parish that one can get to legally, The Amelia Highway 90 bridge. That first contact was on 20 meters to V31WR in Belize. We soon realized that with the other contest going on that 20 would be crowded.

After a brief stop in Morgan City we changed to 40 meters and headed the Yukon toward our goal, Cameron Parish.

Once in Cameron Parish we looked for a suitable place to pull off the road and set up the hamstick dipole. The boat launch off Louisiana highway 82 looked like the perfect place.

We set up and settled in working 40 meters.  Activity was brisk although not at the pace we had expected. Of course things change and activity began to pick up. This is when Murphy found us. Setting up in no wind we had not taken time to guy the fifteen foot portable mast.  We soon realized our mistake as the wind came up blowing over our antenna. As we picked it up to put it back in the air, we discovered the antenna stud on the adapters had snapped. So we resorted to the ingenuity that all hams possess and began repairs. By the time we got back on the air, most folks thought that we had gone for good and went in search of other contacts.

After awhile we decide to began moving again. Over the next several hours we activated 5 more parishes. We stopped in Opelousas for supper about 6:00 pm. Our plan was to start up on 80 meters after a period of replenishment.

Finishing dinner and heading back to the truck it was beginning to get dark. Everything was on track. Then Murphy found us again. Keyed up on 80 meters and the dash on the Yukon went crazy .  Pulling over and shutting down the truck reset everything. Trying 80 again and the same thing happen.  So we called it quits and headed for home.

We drove 417 miles, activated 11 parish and had a great time.

Equipment: Icom 706MIIG, MFJ-945E tuner, Hamstick antennas, homemade portable mast.

Parishes activated; Assumption, St Mary, Iberville, Vermilion, Cameron, Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, Allen, Evangeline, and St Landry.

K5ER / W5WZ Rover

Mark drove the entire
300-mile route  

The tower raised was in Tensas parish.

Backseat operating position, complete with desk, for Scott, W5WZ

You can see the 2 RV deep cycle batteries that we used to power the IC-756PROII; we charged them from the trailer towing circuits.

Jeep and trailer belong to Mark, K5ER  .
Mark is the only person shown in these pictures; Scott, W5WZ was taking the photos.