the 6m vehicle
all 4 bands in full operation
With the price of gas being 60¢ higher than the previous June, it was again important to visit fewer grids and spend more time in each one. We activated FN22 Saturday and then FN23 Sunday morning. We traversed FN13 briefly, then activated FN12 Sunday evening.
Several days before the contest a low pressure system centered just south of Long Island had begun bringing rain to all of the northeast, and was originally forecast to dissipate before the start of the contest. Unfortunately, it persisted longer than expected, and on Wednesday night before the contest, the NWS forecasts began predicting a 30% chance of rain for Saturday. When we arrived at our hilltop Saturday, weather conditions were poor and continued to worsen. By the end of our stay, clouds and drizzle had rolled in all around us. The wind continued to gust to 35 mph and temperatures were only in the 40s and this was supposed to be a June contest! That's what you have to be prepared for when you ascend into a new layer of the atmosphere, and this one was 2000 feet above average terrain. The rest of the contest saw a slower-than-expected improvement in wx conditions, but still an unseasonably cold June. In fact, the minimum temperature for the entire month as officially recorded by the NWS was 43ºF which occured on both days of the contest, June 10th and 11th.
This time the rover vehicle was two rover vehicles. One was outfitted with 6m, the other with the remaining 3 bands. Having one vehicle devoted to 6m was a great idea because it would allow one operator to concentrate on any 6m opening that may occur. In addition, having loops permitted a wonderful rotor-free operation; six meters is known to occasionally be open in more than one direction simultaneously. In principle, since there would be no 6m antennas on the other vehicle, the extra space that was made available could be filled with more aluminum for the other bands. So the choice was made to run a small 4 over 4 stack for 2m, giving us extra gain with the same wide beamwidth of a 4-el yagi. Unfortunately, we later noticed that 432 was not working well, and as a result, we were able to make only a few nearby QSOs.
Saturday was an incredible day. We were delighted to work double hop E-skip on 6m for the first time in a contest, but then later we stumbled upon another "contest first" when 2m E-skip started developing (and only 8 days later, N2SLN/M would work more 2m E-skip -- this time with a 1/4 wave whip). We had the perfect situation where one operator was taking full advantage of 6m while the other was free to focus on 2m at the same time. From FN22 we made 105 QSOs in 4 hours and 53 minutes on 6m, which translates to an average rate of 1 QSO every 2 minutes and 47 seconds for almost 5 hours straight. In the first hour the average rate was much higher at 1 QSO per minute.
On 6m, we worked 2/3 of the VUCC award in one contest--not bad for having no beam antennas or amplifiers on that band. Our longest 6m contact appears to be 2437 miles with W6KBX, grid CM98. The longest 2m contact appears to be 1122 miles with NØUY, grid EN18 (5x9+20 signal), although I did hear North Dakota station NTØV, grid EN08 at 2228Z which would have been 1238 miles. On Saturday we worked WØGHZ (EN34) on 6m, then an hour and 35 minutes later we worked him on 2m. Another interesting contact was working KØAWU (EN37) on 2m Saturday, then the next day we worked him on 6m. On 6m we worked 27 states [map] and 9 different fields (CM, DM, DN, DO, EL, EM, EN, FN, and FM), both up from June 2003. We operated only 27.5% of the contest. Our overall score exceeds our AA2YG/R effort of June 2002, but not June 2003, mostly due to better equipment on 144/432 that year.
Band QSOs QSO pts. Mults. ---------------------------------------------- 50 136 136 68 144 46 46 20 222 14 28 8 432 11 22 6 ---------------------------------------------- TOTALS 207 232 102 +4 grids activated --- 106 --- Claimed score = 24,592 --- FROM ARRL LCR (Log Checking Report): 0 (0.0%) duplicates 0 (0.0%) calls copied incorrectly 0 (0.0%) exchanges copied incorrectly 0 (0.0%) not in log 1 (0.5%) calls unique to this log only
|If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the N2SLN rover team.|