SINGLE OPERATOR LOW POWER (hilltop portable)


  2-stack of Directive Systems and Engineering DSFO432-15RS "rover special" 15-el yagis


    Icom IC-7000 mobile
    8 watts

    TE Systems 4410G amplifier
    60 watts

    Telewave bandpass filter


Earlier in the day I checked the hourly forecasts for each of the 4 hilltops being considered for this sprint. My eastern FN22 site looked slightly better than the others, but it's the highest elevation and there could still be snow at the top. I decided to take the chance and then have my western FN22 site as a backup. There was steady rain for the entire 90+ minute trip to the base of the hilltop and rain water running down and across the access road. As I got near the top, there was a snowbank on one side of the road and a downed tree on the other, leaving very little room to get a cargo van through. The snow kept getting deeper as I progressed up in elevation, but luckily it never got to the point where it was covering the roadway. I got to the top successfully, but when doing final vehicle positioning, the van's traction control system activated because of slippage in the waterlogged soil (and I was on level ground at that point). The rain continued during setup, but of course it began to subside just as I finished.

I got on the air at 7:04 which means no time for photos. I actually heard "bleedover" which doesn't happen very often on 432 MHz nor in FN22. It was a conversation between a couple friends from back home in the western part of the grid (off the side of the antenna at that moment). There were no fewer than four SSB stations on the air from FN22 during this event, and reports are that there were also at least 3 more FN22 stations on FM simplex. I did bring the FM Yagi, but during setup I realized that I wouldn't be able to use it as originally planned, as the 432 station is "patched together" temporarily while being re-worked. I later remembered that the bandpass filter is set up for the SSB portion of the band anyway. After working through the first-hour frenzy of 6 stations, I worked my best DX in the second hour, which was Maine station K1DY FN54 (313 miles / 504 km) who was worked on voice. The second half of the sprint was all CW. In the fourth hour I worked 5 stations and each was a new grid, including my 2nd best DX to Maryland station K3MEC FM09 (294 miles / 473 km) who was loud and gave me a good signal report. As others alluded to, the upper-level low pressure system must have set up a brick wall to the west because I was unable to work anyone west through northwest beyond my own grid. VE2XX was loud on CW at one point, but he was working someone at the time so I turned the VFO and did other things. Unfortunately, I never heard him again. I really need to learn to be patient and wait to see whose frequency it is. If it had been his frequency, we could have easily worked and I would have another QSO and new grid in the log.

No lightning static crashes were heard from the thunderstorms that hit Connecticut to my southeast. I did hear some interference from the same commercial gear that was affecting me in last year's fall version of this event, but it was quieter this time without the higher gain of the external preamp versus the gain of the amplifier's built-in preamp. More than an inch of rain was reported in the 24-hour total for the areas I drove through and operated from in eastern Otsego and western Delaware County, NY. Part of Interstate 88 westbound was closed as I was heading east toward the hilltop.


432     19     12

 --- claimed score = 228 ---


PH  2312  N2SPI      FN22
PH  2312  KC2SFU     FN22
PH  2321  K1TR       FN42
PH  2322  N2RLA      FN22
PH  2329  W2KV       FN20
PH  2330  WA2ONK     FN20
PH  0000  K1OR       FN42
PH  0004  K1DY       FN54
CW  0014  WZ1V       FN31
PH  0027  W2GIO      FN31
CW  0115  K3TUF      FN10
CW  0135  W1GHZ      FN34
CW  0144  K1TEO      FN31
CW  0145  K1PXE      FN31
CW  0204  K1RZ       FM19
CW  0237  N3RN       FN11
CW  0242  K1HC       FN53
CW  0250  K3MEC      FM09
CW  0255  AC2BL      FN23