Monday, March 8, 2010

Two Days Full Of Surprises & A Fig Newton Solution

Both N1TX and KL1JP manned the KL2R contest club location for
the ARRL SSB DX contest. Despite an optimistic pre-contest strategy
of hopeful band openings, we were lonely for several hours in the
beginning of the contest; eliciting responses to that effect from the few
stations that responded to the KL2R call. Saturday afternoon, we
finally gained some traction calling CQ on both 15m and 20m before the
sun let loose a x-ray burst and terminated our modest efforts. As the
x-ray burst subsided and the bands started improving, the aurora kicked
up and limited our efforts again. Fortunately, persistence up here in
Fairbanks becomes a way of life and persisted we did, finally racking
up about 250 contacts before 15m and 20m faded into oblivion Friday
evening. The late evening and nighttime efforts by a solo N1TX added
a few 40m contacts but nothing like we had hoped for. 40m becomes a
continually challenging band from the Alaskan interior and again, that
proved true for this contest too.

We were hoping conditions would improve Saturday morning, allowing us to
pick-up the east coast on both 15m and 20m during the early daylight hours.
But again, despite our optimism, our efforts were akin to plunking away; in
either S&P or CQ modes, getting a few here and there. We had hoped for some
limited action on 10m but it never occurred. It was only in the early
afternoon when KL1JP asked Larry for some snacks and fresh coffee that
conditions up here drastically changed. After a handful of relatively fresh
Fig Newtons, things took a turn for the better. After the cookies, KL1JP,
calling CQ added QSO after QSO to the log, achieving a "personal" best rate
of approximately 250/hr. We were told by many "lower 48" stations that we
were "booming" into the lower 48 and KL2R certainly took advantage of that
factor. Although we mostly played the westerly advancing grayline, some
surprisingly and very strange 20m openings occurred, allowing us to pick up
numerous Midwest and Southeast US stations. The arrival of the evening
hours again saw the bands quiet down. Since Dan had to work on Sunday,
Saturday night saw another solo N1TX effort with some contact additions to
our 80m and 40m stockpile.

Sunday morning saw Larry operate when time and patience permitted, adding
another 90 contacts to our log giving us a total of 740 Q's with a total
point count of 176,160 which bettered our previous 2009 QSO count of 663.

As always, Larry was an excellent host; constantly making fresh coffee and
offering to sit in the seat when I wanted a short break. The way we figure,
in the end it came down to having the Fig Newtons in the shack that did the
trick, allowing the bands to open up. Needless to say, fresh Fig Newtons
will be available during any future contests.

Here's the preliminary tally:
Callsign : KL2R
Category : Multi Operator - Single Transmitter (MS)
Band(s) : All bands (AB)
Class : Low Power (LP)
Operating time : 17h59

160 0 0 0 0 0.00

80 4 3 0 12 3.00

40 19 7 0 57 3.00

20 570 54 9 1701 2.98

15 147 16 0 432 2.94

10 0 0 0 0 0.00

TOTAL 740 80 9 2202 2.98

TOTAL SCORE : 176 160