This past weekend (Thursday, March 3 to Monday, March 7) was a road trip of 2,200 miles. I drove up to K8AZ for my 9th time as a guest operator for a major DX SSB contest.
As always, I thoroughly enjoy being with Tom and the ‘AZ Crew. Tom has built a fantastic station, and every time I go, there has been an improvement since my previous visit.
During the drive home, I was reflecting on these trips to K8AZ and how many other hams I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie with while there. I’ve shared shack time with 21 hams at the ‘AZ station: AA8OY K3LA K3LEA K8AAV K8AZ K8BL K8MR K8NZ K8RR KE3X N5OT N8AA N8TR ND8L W3YQ W5WZ W8CAR W8WTS W8WWV WB8K WT8C. Lots of fun and memories!
All of the scores are posted on 3830scores.com, just use the search in the top right of the 3830 page.
We played well together and in the contest, with an apparrent 4th place finish.
During NAQP RTTY, SWR and RF PWR bargraph seemed weird. High SWR, low RF output. RF power set to 100 watts. Outboard LP-100A power meter showing SWR in normal range and power in normal range. As contest progressed, we noticed zero bars on SWR meter, and a single bar on RF meter. LP-100A was showing 100-126 watts, with normal SWR. After contest, connected a dummy load to the K3 Ant2 (easiest to do; normal antenna connected to Ant1) and the meter behaved the same. It was midnight, so didn’t do any other troubleshooting.
Within a day or two, got a support ticket open with Elecraft.
12/18/2021 — Checking out the KT34M2 in preparation of the NAQP series in January and February has revealed issues on all three bands.
Some queries to TowerTalk and the responses all pointed toward bad coax/water in coax, or loose connections between balun and front driven element and/or rear-driven element. On 1/13/22, we tested the coax and even swapped with another run. Same symptoms. A call to M2 support; they suggested perhaps water in one or more of the capacitors. We tilted the tower over to access the capacitors. Removed all 16 end caps, finding no water. We did, however, find much insect debris and dirt dauber nests. Cleaned all that out with compressed air and a long rod to push through the 3/8″ inner tube. We also verified all the mechanical connections on the driven elements and confirmed good continuity with an ohmmeter. The SWR curves are improved, but still too low.
Keeping your butt in the chair is an important part of contesting. Sometimes the chair is the source of discomfort that leads to diminished BIC time. The chairs in my shack were a mixture of cheap and hand-me-down office task chairs that were not very comfortable.
Yesterday my wife KW5MOM and I were shopping for a new bed for the guest bedroom. I saw some used chairs in the corner and asked about them. The proprietor told me they were $50 each. So I made a deal for five of the Herman Miller chairs.
I hope my shack guests will find them more comfortable. At the very least, all the chairs are the same now.
If you have thoughts or experiences regarding chairs for the contest station, please comment below!
And a good time was had by all. 12 hours B.I.C. We had trouble with the SixPack with 15, 20, and 40 meters. Had to coax jump around the SixPack to use 15 and 40 on the right radio. No time to fix during the contest!
Thanks to all for the QSOs, and especially all the >3 band QSOs.
With high anticipation, regular ops W5WZ and WM5H had prepared the W5WZ station for a serious Multi-Single effort for this contest, with full ability for in-band S&P at full power using EA4TX interlock. A portable tower set up 700 feet west of the main tower, with KT-34XA at 60 feet, an 80-meter dipole at 55 feet, and 40-meter dipole at 45 feet provided sufficient antenna separation. First-time guest Dave K5UZ joined the team for the effort.
As always the food was excellent, the station performed well – except the air conditioning – in the 100 degree heat and Louisiana humiditiy it couldn’t keep up with the ops and 3 amplifiers.