Before you start reading I want to apologize to all of you for the very big delay with the rest of the story and thank Steve N2IC and Nick NA3M for their help with the article translation and editing.
I would be very thankful for everybody who have audiofiles of QSOs with me in the contest.
Please send them to email@example.com
So now let me continue ...
The dialog in the night -
“Ashraf ! Have you ever had such a situation when your TRCVR was not turning on?”
“Andy, no … never”
“So what could it be?”
The attempt number 128 to press the ‘ON’ button and check the input voltage and nothing happens again ...
“What’s going on !? ….”
Ashraf have noticed: “Andy, we have IC-706 with the same 12V connector.”
“Lets try it!”
Honestly, at that moment I felt no mental and emotional power to try something at all. Ashraf did not wait for my waking up in this reality. He quickly took ICOM and connected it. IC-706 was not working too!!!
“Ashraf did the IC706 work OK before that?”
“Sure 100 percent”
“Are you sure?”
I'm very sorry, my fellow reader. Please do not think that I'm nuts. At this moment and later on tiredness and sleepless made something wrong with my mind step by step. It's great that I was the only person who was not adequate.
“Andy, look! The problem is only with the power cable from the power supply to the transceiver. I'll change it and... ”
“Ashraf! But we saw the voltage on the cable pins!”
It's good that Ashraf did not listen to that. He took some wire and made another cable.
Wrong polarity Oops . But I'm lucky that our power supply has a protection...
We turned it on and … IC-706 is working! Evrica! We had repeated our experiment with TS450 and it also worked GREAT.
Hope that this trouble is the last before the contest. Ashraf had left me. And I had a short 1.5 hour nap with unreal dreams with flying and breaking towers and antennas, the desert which I’ve never seen, feeling that I'll wake at home but not in Tunisia and some strange sound which took my mind in the reality...
Checking the TRCVR and PC. All is working OK.
23:50 - hear EU and USA on 40 and 80. Short QSO with RG3K on 40.
Thanks to God, everything is working properly!
I wish somebody were around cause I needed to say a few words to take away my emotional stress. It is probably 4 most important moments – arrival, starting and finishing the contest and fly away back home.
But these thoughts will come later. And now 23:57, 23:58, 23:59,00:00 GO!!!
First CQ is near 7070. Called by USA and EU. HK0GU is calling me 5min later! Wow it would be great such conditions at home on 100W and vertical.
The first hour nothing interesting happens. I'm called in by 1-2 stations. QSY a bit because of the P40W who had stand near me. I had only 500Hz filter so I can hear a lot of stations.
Looking at the German team result of the last year. The goal is not to be far away from it by QSO.
I was afraid of the 40m vertical because I have moved it and put behind the tower with the tribander and roof exit. But everything seems to work fine. First hour have produced 110 QSO and I moved to 80.
80 is good and 144 QSOs are in the log with EU and some USA during the second hour.
I'm called pretty well and think that signal is quite strong so I did not use split operation. For the whole contest I've tried 2-3 times to work split. But these attempts were not very successful. I felt resynchronization with the stations called in. There was a thought that I began to work near standing stations. So I had to stop working split. So I still have a question of split efficiency “To split or not to split?”
At 02:25 I moved to 40. First mult who came from 40m to 80mtr was TF3DC TNX! Was not satisfied with 40m pile-up and returned again to 80 at 03Z.
Feel that the contest is going OK. Called by my home club station RF9C. Go ahead guys!
The rate is not big again. Remember one of the ES5TV stories and Tonno words that frequent band changes is the key for increase the rate. Lets try this advice. Back to 40 again. Took YV5 and had a 120+ rate.
Next 2 hours were bad - only 57 and 66 QSOs. Between 04 and 05 GMT I loose and put my head on the table having a 20-25 min nap.
Too bad. it's just the beginning of the contest...
Good to me that my nap is short and I felt a bit better than.
Sunrise. Pretty good rate on 80. I'm called in by D4C and P40L but it is time to go up.
At 6 GMT is the same good rate on 40 but I feel that 20 is already should be open. Yes the band change is too late. 20M is wide open. First QSO is with Vadim R9DX. While finding a freq to CQ I could not go trough his tremendous signal.
Next 100 QSO in 35 min. Called by ZF1A and C6.
Need to try higher bands. At 07:37 I'm on 15. Wow what a pile-up. I have 174 QSOs from 08 till 09Z. Antenna is working good. It is pointed to NE direction and I have AH2 3W ZL1 B7 SV5 VK6 ED9 in my log to increase my total multiplier.
But I have a new problem. I don’t know how my signal sounds from the other side of the pile up. My power supply seems to stand in the short circuit protection and TX stopping. New cable from power supply to TRCVR which was made by Ashraf is from multi thin wires. It's not enough for 20Ampers. It seems that wires are burning and time to time soldering to each other. It causes in frequent loosing connection with the transceiver.
I was very angry on the situation. I have 270-300 rate and need to solve insufficient wire problem. Have a 5 min stop. Try to find the better wire but nothing.
Using some tools I clean up wires and try make a more reliable connection. Hey Mr. Murphy is there other players of your team?
That were the best moments of my rate !
10 min 42 QSOs from 07:54 to 08:04
60 min 198 QSOs from 07:26 to 08:30
120 min 353 QSOs from 06:56 to 08:57
Smile on my face. I should be more prepared for the troubles. At the end of the hour I feel that my unlucky sudden stop had failed my pile up on 15 and QSY to 10. Search and pounce RT9W 9M2TO RF9C and EF8M. Try to CQ. But Ten is not for me. Need the pile up and try 20 without success. Back to 15. At 09:29 I'm called by ZL8X. Just try to say my fellow Reader “ I'm called by ZL8X!”.
Does it sounds fantastic to you? For me – it sounds Great!
89 QSOs on 10 from 10 GMT. And power supply cable problem had returned to me. Oh yes Devil is in the details...
S-P mults A7 ZD8 C5 5N7 P3N. Then 140 QSO hour on 10 with kind mult QSYs from VU2PAI, HZ1PS and EI5JC.
Almost no USA on 15 only KT3Y and K4RV I'm disappointed a bit. VK6AA saying yes on my QSY request to 20. Thanks!
Doing some band changes trying to have a pileup. ZL8X is calling me again on 20 ! Wow!!!
Before the contest Ashraf said that he need to work ZL8 but he did not reach that goal. I will made a stress to him saying “Hey I've just worked ZL8” for the first, second and than for the third time. Never mind, he will make 5 band QSOs after the test
4 band QSY and QSO with Jose CR3E.
Than 15-16 GMT not very productive with only 46 and 60 QSOs. Trying to find new multipliers and unsuccessful fight with a falling asleep that was resulted in a new 20 min nap.
Some USA BigGuns around 17Z and too early band change to 40m. Running next 2 hours on 40 with 115 and 137 QSOs in the log. Than again I did early, too early band change to 80. Should stay more on 40 cause my rate on 80 is lower.
Too small multiplier total. I'm trying to put it up with a S/P on 20. Lucky to find LU 5X HK P40 and PZ5.
Before the contest I did not solve problem with vertical on 80/160. SWR on 80 was perfect, but 160 show SWR 1.5 just around 1900 and 2.5-3 near 1840. That's the reason of the low 160m result.
Still running on 80 but why? What am I thinking about...? When I had returned to 40 at 23 GMT rate jumped up. But my physical state in near the sleep..
A few words about my physical and sleep feelings in the contest -
sitting a lot on the chair caused my legs to not reacting on my commands. I even just not follow down one time trying to stand up
many times I had such situations
UA3... 5nn 33 pushing Enter and follow to micro nap to 1-2 or 5-10 seconds
waking up when UA3 repeating his CALL again and again
new micro nap
And some other situations when I've started to look on the keyboard trying to understand why I push the buttons, why when I push the button the cursor is moving right and so on..
You see I was not adequate at all....
Need to sleep BEFORE BEFORE BEFORE the contest!
So when I had a chance to run very good USA pile up on 40 at 23 GMT I was exhausted and went down...
2441 QSO on the first day
Unhappy with such a big rest from 23-21 to 01-42. More than two hours
Running on 80 from 2-4 with a very good strong USA signal which is very unusual for UA9 contester. The pile up is not so easy. I should often repeat callsigns a lot of times to be heard. I'm barefoot ..
Trying to find some mults. ZL8X AGAIN on 40 plus C6. J28 on 20. Only one Caribbean station on 80 is 8P5A.
The Double mult VK1CC at 07-02 on 40. Which band to choose –
40 with some new countries coming through or 20?
Twenty is wide open. And I falling asleep again. I remove the chair and began to operate standing on my legs. Ashraf had came. When he saw me his advice was to have a short walk around take a fresh air and a cup of coffee.
It should be 15 min break but it was 30 min to go back.
Found another thing that probably gave me a lot of problems. I had ant commutator with 12V supply which I took from the same power supply as a TRCVR. After another TRCVR stop I've found that 12V connector on ant commutator had been damaged so it short circuited time to time.
Oh God it took so many time to found the real problem ! I removed it and no power supply stop had ever appeared.
Go to 10.
First QSO at 9-10 with RU1A. At 9:43 plus 114 qso tremendous pile-up of the Russians and Ukrainian stations. A hour later such a huge pile up on 15. I think that it was one of the hardest time in the contest to copy the calling stations. Need to use 250Hz filter but I haven’t got it.
At 12 I can hear first USA signals on 20. Not the big guns. At 14 GMT I'm happy to have 170 QSO hour with a lot of NA in my log. Pileup is so simple – only 1-2 stations calling at a time. After that wonderful NA 15mtr run I went to 20 and continued to work USA.
I expected more NA stations in my log. After the contest I had only 600 QSOs (about 14%) which were made 100 qso’s on 80, 150 qso’s on 40, 200 qso’s on 20, 140 qso’s on 15 mtrs.
Think that probably I did not get all from 15 cause when I've returned there at 16GMT I was able to work zone 3 :(
At 17 quick band change to 80 gave me C5A.
My difference with 3V3S last year results is low by QSOs and I loose multiplier total.
Contest is its end phase and my power is going down too. If there was somebody around to let me sleep 15-20 min and wake me up...
A lot of micronaps I quit at 21-40 woke up at 22-32 to make only 2 qsos..
Thats all 4276 QSOs in my log and 6.1 mega points
Stay with us!! To be continued...