W2RME multi-unlimited

A recent upgrade to the station included a bigger 432 antenna with more gain and a higher mounting height. The 1296 antenna was changed from a center-mount to end-mount beam to prevent pattern distortion from the metal mast. A slow start to the contest allowed us to work local contacts on 50-432 +1296 for the first two hours. For equipment this time we had the bottom 4 bands on a single station (Kenwood TS-2000 and transverter) with small amplifiers, no 903, 1296 on an Icom 706 IF radio and Q5 Signal transverter, and a 10 GHz station thanks to Brian KF6C. We worked our best DX on 222 during this time by working Virginia station W4IY FM08 on Flagpole Knob for a distance of 335 miles / 539 km. Lots of good activity on the upper bands filled the log, including on FM simplex, but no 10 GHz opportunities. Then in the third hour, 6m opened to Florida and the Canadian Maritimes simultaneously. Later in the evening, the band shifted west and we worked more Gulf Coast grids and then picked up EN15 which is in the top 18 percent of rarest grids according to the 2007 Fred Fish Memorial Award Survey. We shut down at 11 PM.

Sunday morning when we fired up the station again we found 6m closed, so we used the additional opportunity to work more local stations, which was especially fun on the bands above 6m despite no tropo. Brian tried 10 GHz with an understaffed W2SZ/1 on Mount Greylock, MA, but no luck. Six meters opened again in the afternoon, and we worked our best domestic DX to New Mexico grid DM62 (1849 mi / 2976 km). Immediately afterward, we found 5 European stations and worked them all on SSB/CW with ease on our 3-el Yagi. We worked two stations in France, one in the Netherlands, one in the Czech Republic, and the best DX of the contest was Slovenia at 4255 miles / 6848 km on quadruple-hop sporadic-E. European signals this time were much stronger than in the 2012 Eu opening when I was operating at K2LIM further west--the reason is probably the change in location and the higher solar flux values (121 versus 93). Later the band closed to Eu but opened to the Canadian Maritimes again, and south to Florida, southwest toward Texas, and west toward W9/W0 all at the same time, all with the beam pointed northeast from central NY. Finally, in the last hour of the contest, 6m got weak enough for us to try some more local contacts and we picked up our best DX on 432 and 1296 by working Maryland station K1RZ FM19 (235 miles / 378 km). An interesting observation: As FN11 seems to get more rare, FN23 seems to get more popular. This contest provided the best FN23 activity ever seen with 8 different FN23 stations working us across 3 bands here in FN22. We worked 28 states on 6m, which is more than half way to WAS in about 24 hours of actual operating. New for 2022 was an "Analog-Only" category and an "All-Mode" category, both for single operators. This good move by the ARRL is what "opened the pressure release valve" and the result was increased SSB/CW activity noticed by more than one of our operators. Hopefully the League extends the 2 new categories to every operating class. Operators on hand for the weekend were Jon W2BDN, Tom KC2SFU, Jeff AA2YG, Brian KF6C, and Lu N2SLN.

50   136  80
144   24  10
222   10   6
432   14   7
1296   5   3

Jeff AA2YG