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NR4M ARRL 160-Meter Contest (2018)

ARRL 160-Meter Contest

Call: NR4M
Operator(s): NR4M
Station: NR4M

Class: SO Unlimited HP
QTH: FM18ch
Operating Time (hrs): 23:14

Total:  QSOs = 1335  Sections = 80  Countries = 50  Total Score = 431,730

Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club


Well, this was really a messed up contest for me.  I have no clue how I did this well.

Normally, I do not do much, if any, of a write-up, but this time I thought it might be worth an explanation of ‘Mr. Murphy’s’ visit.

Last week, Larry, K7SV, told me that wanted to operate from his station, as he had recently made some changes and wanted to see how well the station worked.
Normally, he and I do this contest together, as I AM NOT a night time person.  I normally start the contest and then he shows up about 0400 Z and relieves me.
He stays until EU closes up and then I get up about 1100 Z to finish that session up.  For several years this has all worked out just fine, with my only goal is for me to work an average of 100 Q’s per hour, from the start until Larry shows up.

I knew things would be quite different this year with the absence of K7SV.
Over the summer, ‘Mother Nature’ was not good to me.  It seems just about everything here in the station took lightning damage.  Myself and others, worked hard before CQWW CW to fix things in some order of priority.  Just about last on the list was my 160 8 circle receive array.  After all, I did have the Beverage antennas, and 160m in CQWW CW was not as Important as other things.

This past week, I went to the 160m receive array and removed the big trash can that covers all the electronics, which are mounted, above ground, on a 4 x 4 post.  The loose parts inside of the first box I opened told me that I had found another antenna system that had sustained lightning damage.  I knew I didn’t have the time to properly diagnose the extent of the problem and repair it, so I just closed it all back up.  After all, I did have the Beverage antennas…

I have been going back and forth with the local power company about a HUGE noise problem I first noticed last May before the WPX contest.  They still had not found the source.  It is to the SE from me as I can hear it on my 20 meter antennas about S-4.  On 160, it peaks at 10 over S-9 and is a continual ‘droning’, with occasional ‘spitting’!

So, I was kinda behind the eight ball from the beginning.

I started the contest with my three Beverages and my pair of phased verticals.
Early the first night, my NW Beverage failed.  I have had a work/not work issue with all the directions on each of 160, 80 and 40 meters.  Still trying to get to the bottom is it.

Now, even NW was going to be a challenge. As I mentioned earlier, my transmit antenna is a pair of phased verticals, with ini-directional lobes to the NE and SW and bi-directional to SE and NW.  So, now while transmitting and listening to the NW, the huge noise to the SE is making things really difficult.

So, no NW Beverage and SE is next to useless because of the noise.  EU is working, but still plagued by S-5 noise from the SE.  <sigh>

I made my goal of 100+ Q’s per hour average for 6 hours, including 15 minutes off to eat.  My high hour was 153 Q’s.

My first two Q’s were EU, so there sure was a potential for a good score.  As it was I wound up making 231 DX contacts, which will all the noise issues I had, I feel was rather amazing.

Worked two PAC stations, but didn’t hear JA or KL .
Drank lots of coffee in order to stay awake, then couldn’t get to sleep, when I tried to.  I only got about 2 hours of rest the first night.

With conditions being so good, I was determined to give the contest a good effort, even with the issues I was facing.

To add to my stated problems, terrible static crashed the second night made things even worse, if you can believe that.

Thanks to everyone for putting up with my constant asks for a fill or repeat.
Now, off to the field to retrieve my 8 circle parts and see what the extent of the damage is.

Thanks for all the Q’s.

73 de Steve, NR4M


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