Saturday, July 2, 2011

Contest Results

Its all over now.  The Grand Banquet has been held, the winners  awarded.  While the fun isn't over, I always feel a little down after the anticipated contest is over.   Most of the narrative below will be on the YCCC members and how they did, as that is my primary readership.  My apologies to any names misspelled or to anyone that I may have overlooked. 

The competitors were all required to submit their Cabrillo files on a memory stick 1 1/2 hours after the contest end.  That seemed odd to me, so I asked why so much time (my log was ready 5 minutes after the contest ended).  I could see maybe 30 minutes, as everyone had to be transported back to the Clubhouse center, but 1 1/2 hours?  Well, it turns out that there must have been at least 10 competitors that logged on paper, and sent by hand, the entire contest.  We heard that one LZ even used a straight key!  So those that logged on paper needed the time to create their Cabrillo files.

For the contest, Saturday morning we had a general meeting where we discussed the rules and pulled the envelope with our station location and callsign.  The station callsign envelope could not be opened until 0815Z, but each of us had to be transported to our location.  None of the locations were what I would call ideal; Fred K1VR was on a little ridge right off the main road; the largest plants around were all about knee high and a brisk wind sapped the heat out of you.  Jeff K1ZM, Krassy K1LZ, and myself were about a mile away down a dirt road in a forest, and I'd say about 40 ft less elevation than VR.  There was also a hill between VR and the rest of us.  We were in a forest, with many tress around; with a gentle breeze; I moved my table and chair to the shade of a tree (no umbrella at this location) and operated the contest from there.  I was fortunate that there were high clouds for the first 3 hours of he contest; I was only in direct sun for the last hour or so, but even with that I was warm.  Fred froze, and I sweat. 

Upon arriving at the station, we found a generator, a table, a chair, an antenna (already assembled), an AC cord to get the AC to the table, about 50 ft of RG58 with connectors already on, and (at most sites) an umbrella.  I got to my spot around 0700Z, and had everything set up in 20 minutes or so.  Based upon some comments from my two next-door neighbors (CT1ILT and K1ZM), I started up my generator and made sure it ran well.  I was fairly fortunate, as my generator did not produce RFI; some had a major problem with it.  ZM's generator didn't want to run, but seemed to stabilize after awhile; unfortunately, the generator problem came back to bite him during the contest.

All the callsigns were of the format LZ6xx; I was LZ6AU, VR was LZ6AG, LZ was LZ6BA, and ZM was LZ6AT.  LZ6AA to LZ6BD were international competitors, LZ6BE to LZ6CY were LZ ops.  The station locations were spread around the outside of the Golf Course, at least 50 meters from the nearest station.

The competition started at 0830Z; signals ranged from S9 (my next door neighbors) to unreadable (I could hear others working stations that I could not hear).  My strategy was to stay on one frequency the entire contest and CQ there, and use the sub receiver in the K3 to S&P between CQs.  Once marked on the bandmap, I would go back to the S&P frequency after 30 minutes and quickly work them a second time, and so on.  It worked less well than I thought it would; many ops did not return to their CQ frequencies, and many did not return to me via the bandmap but instead found me S&P every time.  ZM had generator problems early in the contest and lost the better part of an hour of operating time; VR had problems sending CW while he was shivering from the cold,  Krassy had persistent RFI problems, and I had a normal antenna instead of one of the QRP models.  We all had problems with our stations, but that's part of the game.  One of the leading stations operated by YO9WF had 270 Qs going into the last 30minutes of the contest when his generator just quit.  That's part of the adventure of traveling half way around the world to operate; you never know what you're going to get.

The results?  Not surprisingly, the top 3 stations were all LZ: 
Call           Raw QSOs      Verified Qs    Accuracy
LZ2PL           298                  284               95.3%
LZ3YY          304                  281               92.4%
LZ2JR           285                  271               95.1%

Top raw QSOs: LZ1MS with 306.  Top accuracy went to LZ4UU with 97.5%.

US Stations:
K1LZ           254                    241              94.9%
K1VR          232                    219              94.4%
K1ZM         222                     212             95.5%
W1UE         225                     211             93.8%
W6OAT       190                     179             94.2%

Evey QSO was cross referenced by the computer checking program; all 6 numbers of the received and sent reports were verified to be correct.  If not, BOTH competitors lost the QSO.  For example, I lost a Q with K1ZM; I sent 008002, and he copied 000800.  Since the program handles only 6 numbers, he probably hit the zero one time too many without realizing it, and the 2 got lost as the 7th digit.  I recorded the contest, but haven't yet gone back to figure out if my rx errors were my fault or the sending stations fault, and if my partner errors were my sending errors or his copy errors.

Its breakfast time.  This posting has been more concerned with operating the contest and the results; more later on my impressions of the contest.

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