N2SLN    FN22qj


    pair of horizontally polarized Cushcraft 3-element yagis


    Icom IC-7000 at 100 watts


The 6 meter fall sprint was sponsored by the Southeast VHF Society. The rules and more info were provided here. Every year this single-band contest runs from 2300Z on a Saturday until 0300Z Sunday, and this year it was held on October 18-19, 2008.

Compared to the spring sprint earlier this year, I had a better mast system this time. This one was made of stackable sections that were all the same 2" diameter, plus I had to add one spare piece from a different mast system to allow me to achieve the required 12 foot stacking distance. Other than that, I had a new rover vehicle and a new transceiver, but the antenna system was the same, and so was the output power and location. Unfortunately, even though I finished assembly a few minutes before contest start time, I was unable to get any photos due to sunset happening so early this time of year.

I got beam headings dialed in on the rotor using K1MS/B in FN42 as well as a barely audible NL7XM/B in FN20. I started on time and began calling CQ with beam pointed north, moving through northeast, east, and southeast, with no answers in the first half hour. Then in the next half hour I worked 70% of the contest all at once (in terms of number of contacts). The remaining 3 hours were painful, averaging one contact per hour. During the spring version of this sprint, contacts were spread out more evenly across all of the available operating time, and I had almost 3 times more QSOs in that event. Perhaps the reduced chance of E-skip this time of year lowered people's expectations for an exciting time.

I spent significant time calling CQ with the beam pointed into the "brick wall" to the north, but just like the spring sprint, got no results. I did hear VE3FGU FN04 calling CQ but he didn't hear my replies--that was the only activity anywhere to the north of my location. Later, in the last 20 minutes of the sprint, I began hearing an occasional syllable pop into my receiver on 50.125, so I turned the beam to the west and listened. I was able to piece together "W9RM EN52" (700 miles away) on ionoscatter(?) at 0254Z. He later said he tried replying to my calling CQ (and I do remember hearing something, but someone else was on the frequency blocking him at that moment). It appears that my longest actual contact was on ground wave with W3BC/R in FN00 for a distance of 204 miles (328 km) versus 255 miles for best DX in the spring version of this event.

There were other stations I heard but was unable to work for one reason or another: N2AO FN13, W4TAA/VE3 FN15, WB2RVX FM29, N1ZN, and KA3EJJ FM19. Notably missing were K1TOL, K1WHS, WZ1V, K1TEO, and W3SO, but I did work my own grid for a change. I didn't hear anything out of FN01, 02, 03, FN23, 24, FN33, 34. Overall, band conditions seemed to slowly deteriorate during the event. Here is a chart showing how that the planetary-K index equalled 1 during the sprint (down one point from the spring sprint). The X-Ray flux chart shows that X-ray emissions from the sun were down overall during the sprint despite an A9 flare earlier in the day. The solar flux was only 69, but that was two points higher than the spring sprint. I managed to get 8th place out of 17 in this sprint.


              PTS.   GRIDS
 50     10     10      8

--- Claimed score = 80 ---


PH 2330    AC2AA      FN32
PH 2338    N3PKC      FN21
PH 2345    W1BS       FN32
PH 2348    AA3RE      FN20
PH 2348    K3TUF      FN10
PH 2351    W3BC/R     FN00
PH 2353    N8RA       FN31
PH 0051    KC2TEP     FN22
PH 0052    K2MPE      FN13
PH 0225    K2SMN      FN20

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the N2SLN rover team."