Thoughts on the Louisiana QSO Party 2005
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!
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.