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Default [KB6NU] Operating Notes: Michigan QSO Party

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Operating Notes: Michigan QSO Party

Posted: 18 Apr 2016 12:17 PM PDT

Last weekend was the Michigan QSO Party. I had intended to operate with
W8UM, the University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club. Unfortunately, that
didnt work out.

Instead, I operated from home. While not a stellar performance, it was
respectable. I made 251 contacts over about eight hours of operation. My
total score was somewhere north of 48,000 points.

I started out on 20m, but band conditions were really poor. I worked a
couple of FL stations, a couple of TX stations, and four German stations.
After running into a dry spell, I decided to QSY to 40m.

On 40m, I had much better luck. I parked myself on 7046 kHz, and had many
good runs. Its nice being the DX for a change.

Just before I QSYed, Tom, W8TAM phoned. He was also having a tough time on
20m. He needed to take a break and asked if he could come over. When he
did, we talked about this and that as I worked the contest.

Thats one of the beauties of using N1MM contest software. You just set it
up to send CQs, and then you can converse with someone in between calls.
Seeing that I was having good success on 40m, Tom decided to head back home
and work 40m himself.

Just before dinner, I decided to try 40 m phone, figuring that Id make a
few QSOs up there before eating. 45 minutes later, I was still working
them. They wouldnt let me QRT. That was a lot of fun.

After about a two-hour break, including a short nap, I headed back down to
the shack. I worked 40m for a while, then QSYed to 80m. That was reasonably
productive, until I decided to take a break and lift weights. After about
an hour on the Bowflex, I tried 80m again. This was just before 10 pm.

By this time, Id pretty much had it. I was getting tired, and activity
seemed to be winding down. Even so, I was thinking that I might be able
toÂ*hit the 300 QSO mark. After about an hour with only a few contacts, I
gave up on that and set my sights on 250 contacts.

After QSYing to 75m phone, and working a couple locals—KT8K and N8SBE—I hit
the 250 mark and decided to call it a night. One thing I learned is that I
dont do so well on 75m phone. Several stations I called could hardly hear
my barefoot signal, even though they were S7 S9 here.
RFI problem

I had to deal with one problem during the contest—RFIÂ*in the shack. When I
connected the USB keyboard to my laptop, I began to get random keystrokes.
This was kind of strange, as I hadnt had any problems at all with RFI since
installing my Cobra antenna in the fall

Fortunately, the fix was pretty easy. Somehow, in connecting and
re-connecting things, I had positioned the coax cable connecting the tuner
to the radio quite near the ladder line. Moving the coax away from the
feedlineÂ*cured the problem. I also put a snap-on choke around the coax
cable, but Im not sure that helped all that much.
More stations whose callsignsÂ*spell words

One cool thing about operating the contest was working stations whose
callsignsÂ*spell words. Stations that will be getting my QSL card include
those ten, twoÂ*areÂ*all-time new ones (ATNOs)—K8TAO and K8SKY.

Overall, it was fun. I made a lot of contacts and learned some things. Even
if youre not a contester, Id encourage you to try operating your states QSO
party. State QSO parties are generally very laid back affairs, and being
the DX for a change is a lot of fun. And, it doesnt matter if youre an
experienced operator or not. Other stations want to work you.

The post Operating Notes: Michigan QSO Party appeared first on KB6NUs Ham
Radio Blog.

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