FALL 432 SPRINT 2014
SINGLE OPERATOR CATEGORY (hilltop portable FN22)



    Icom IC-7000 mobile
    8 watts
    TE Systems 4410G amplifier at 50 watts out plus preamp


I left home at 4 PM to stop for fuel and then continue the 90-minute trip to the hilltop. The plan was to get there and get set up with daylight to spare so that I could take photos. The antenna system was set up not long after 6 PM local. The sprint started at 7 PM and I began calling CQ. No takers until 21 minutes into the event when I worked KJ1K who was on top of Mount Greylock, MA. Only two more stations were worked in the first hour. That's not a good start for someone who was running 3 dB more antenna gain than last year and operating from a higher elevation.

In the second hour I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get the attention of K3TUF but I began noticing that I was getting very randomly timed receiver de-sense, and on top of that, I was getting the chirps, sqeals, and buzzes of intermod. Time for a bandpass filter for this band too. Good grief, I just ordered them for the bottom 3 bands and thought I was safe on 432. Add to that the very poor (negative, not flat) propagation and this was quickly becoming the toughest sprint I've ever done. I worked K1DQV FM19 (256 miles) to prove that I really could get signals to the south; unfortunately, he ended up being the ONLY station I worked to the south. I couldn't get through to W3EKT, K1RZ, or WB2RVX.

In the third hour I called CQ profusely on CW, turning the 30-degree beamwidth antenna system in 10-degree increments all around the compass. Nothing in the first 26 minutes, then I finally worked 3 stations in the last part of the hour. Heard but did not work W3IP and WB2SIH. In the fourth hour I had only one QSO. At times I felt like I was working crossband, listening on 432 but transmitting on 3.4 GHz by mistake. Briefly heard K3GNC and K1PXE but didn't get through. Seems as if the tropo is running on a 4-year cycle: In 2009 and 2013 it was great...in 2010 and 2014 not so great. El Nino has also been known to run on a 4-year cycle. One wonders if there is a connection.


432     12      7

--- Claimed score = 84 ---


PH  2321  KJ1K      FN32  Mount Greylock, MA
PH  2344  K8ZES     FN02  5x7
PH  2350  WA1RKS    FN32
CW  0028  K1DQV     FM19
PH  0053  AF1T      FN43
PH  0054  W1ZC      FN42
PH  0054  K1WHS     FN43
PH  0055  K1BX      FN43
CW  0126  N1CD      FN32
CW  0149  W1AN      FN41
PH  0156  WZ1V      FN31
PH  0200  K1TEO     FN31