November Sweepstakes, Fourteen Years Ago

11/24/2004 | W5WZ Our family was on a camping trip to Daisy State Park on Lake Greeson in Arkansas. I had hoped to spend a significant amount of time in the contest. However, as my first solo portable operation, it wasn’t as successful as desired.

W5WZ operating 2004 Nov SS SSB at Lake Daisy State Park in Arkansas (Photo by KW5MOM)

I brought an fan dipole for 80/20, and also a trap dipole for 40/15. But, I didn’t bring any soldering irons or antenna analyzers. The 80/20 antenna was up about 25 feet, on the east side of a steep slope near the edge of the lake. The 40/15 dipole had an unknown problem; it wouldn’t tune up anywhere. So I gave it a shot with only the 80/20 antenna.

My station was an IC-756 ProII, a laptop with NA by K8CC for logging and rig control, with the requisite Heil proset and footswitch, all on the picnic table at the campsite.

My family had other plans for the camping trip; as much rain was expected, during the non-rainy periods I was expected to be with them. The first evening, the temperature was falling quickly ahead of the rain, which soon followed, so I packed up and went to bed  in the RV. With 4 kids under age 7 in the RV, indoor operating was not going to happen on this trip.

The next morning, it was very damp and windy, so I decided to set up in the cab of the truck. With the 756 on the dash, laptop in my lap, the passenger seat was mighty comfortable. The kids provided plenty of interruptions, along with the nature hike and my turn at cooking for the family, so once again operating was not the priority. After all, this was my vacation! I did learn that an automobile bucket seat should be considered for an operating chair.

My operating position had one heck of a great view! And the rest of the trip was beautiful, too! — W5WZ

2018-August NAQP SSB M/2 LP (W5WZ+WM5H)

North American QSO Party, SSB – August

W5WZ running stations in NAQP

WM5H running stations in NAQP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North American QSO Party, SSB – August

Call: W5WZ
Operator(s): W5WZ WM5H
Station: W5WZ

Class: M/2 LP

QTH: LA
Operating Time (hrs): 12

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160: 0 0
80: 113 31
40: 537 52
20: 616 57
15: 27 12
10: 0 0
——————-
Total: 1293 152 Total Score = 196,536

Club: Louisiana Contest Club

Comments:

Bands were terrible; lots of noise. And that was before the thunderstorms! Never was able to run on more than one band.

Watching Contest Online Score Board made the progress interesting – N5ZO was chasing us down, narrowing our QSO lead to only 16 at one point, and in the last 20 minutes came up with some multipliers to move ahead in total score.

Whew! That was a long 12 hours. 500 QSOs less than our January effort.

Posted using 3830 Score Submittal Forms at: http://www.3830scores.com/

General class “Ham Cram” July 27 & 28

My elmer, Jim W5LA will be teaching a General Class Ham Cram on July 27,28. If you or anyone you know is interested in being in the class, go to w5la.net/general/ for more information and to register for the class.

Registration is required so I can know how many are coming.

I realize the time is short so I need you to register and pay as soon as possible so I can order the General Class study guides.

Thanks and 73,
Jim W5LA

New Life for old EZ Way Tilt-over Crank-Up Tower

 

Several years ago I acquired an unidentified tilt-over crank-up tower.  Manual winches, it appeared to be about 60 feet tall.  The deal was take it down and it is yours.  So it has sat behind my shop for about 10 years.

Recently, I saw a picture on the internet of an identical tower, and it was identified as an EZ Way, not that it mattered much to me at the time.  However, the motorized trailered tilt-over crank-up tower that our club has used for Field Day for many years isn’t available this year.  Ah-hah!  Now I have a reason to be interested in the EZ Way.  Of course, it was designed to be ground mounted.  But I have a heavy trailer, and began considering the possibility of mounting the tower, temporarily and safely, on the trailer.

Short story is I reinforced the under frame at the four anchor bolt points for the tower base, and  also fabricated a support for the long end of the tower to rest on when in transit. 

All attachments to the trailer are bolted, so the installation is easily reversible to return the trailer to normal utility use.  The project turned out quite nice!

For FD, I don’t expect to need to crank up to more than 45 feet.  Exercising the KISS principle, I’ll install a flat top plate with a 3 ft pipe stubbed up.  Then, I can slide the larger diameter mast over it, and rotate it by a pull rope attached to one end of the boom.  The antenna will be a KT-34.

Many thanks to Jim W5LA, Mark K5MSB and Shawn WA5VQP for the helping hands on the labor to make this all possible. 

N1MM+ Local Area and Distributed Wide Area Networking

Networking N1MM+ on a local area network is both easy to do and functionally desirable for a multi-operator station.

Did you know that it is also possible and relatively straight-forward to do the same thing over a Distributed Wide Area Network?  Why, you may ask?  I can think of several reasons:  1) some contests allow distributed operating, such as IARU HQ stations  2) Special events – here in Louisiana we recently hosted the W5L Louisiana Purchase Special Event, and just a few years back the W1AW/5 ARRL Centennial Event.  3) For a contest where one or more participants is operating the rig remotely

N1MM Logger+ networking is automatic within a single subnet, which is usually the case in local area networks. However, if you want to network across a Wide Area Network, or in rare instances where your network involves more than one subnet, auto-configuration will not work. In that case you will need to fill in computer addresses in the “Edit Computer Addresses” table exactly as assigned by the network(s). For WAN networking you must enter the external IP addresses of each LAN and also port numbers for all the computers you wish to connect to, in the format XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:port number}. The port number is needed to permit operators to set up forwarding through their router firewalls to the right computer. If going subnet-to-subnet, you do not need to enter port numbers and the IP addresses would be the internal IP address.

The details are found on the official N1MM+ documentation site near the bottom of the page.  The diagram by N9KT is very helpful.  I suggest using it as a pattern to create your own cheat sheet, specific to your network.

http://n1mm.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php?page=Network+Status+Window

Your router must be capable of configuring the proper port forwarding, and your “world-facing” IP address really should be a static IP address.  As long as every station’s internet router is capable of port forwarding AND can specify the translation between internal and external ports per host, it is pretty easy to set up.  Every computer that will be included must have the same version of N1MM+, and must be set up for the same contest with the same configuration for the contest.

73, W5WZ

2018 NAQP, SSB, January M/2

North American QSO Party, SSB – January

Call: W5WZ
Operator(s): W5WZ WM5H
Station: W5WZ

Class: M/2 LP
QTH: LA
Operating Time (hrs): 12

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160: 46 28
80: 461 46
40: 612 56
20: 602 50
15: 39 11
10: 0 0
——————-
Total: 1760 191 Total Score = 336,160

Club: Louisiana Contest Club

2018 ARRL DX SSB M/2 HP

ARRL DX Contest, SSB

Call: W5WZ
Operator(s): WM5H K5ER W5WZ
Station: W5WZ

Class: M/2 HP
QTH: LA
Operating Time (hrs): 37:20

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160: 11 10
80: 100 51
40: 237 72
20: 732 98
15: 252 70
10: 69 20
——————-
Total: 1401 321 Total Score = 1,302,939

Analyzing Contest Logs by W5WZ

So you have your shiny whiz-bang contest logging software installed and configured to interface properly between your computer and your radio.  That’s a great step toward an integrated ham station, as far as logging the time, date, mode, frequency, callsign worked, and the contest exchange are concerned.  Much faster than pen and paper!  But, is that the end of the usefulness of software in the ham shack?  No way!  There are countless software tools available that fill various niche needs. I’ll introduce one of my favorite pieces of ancillary software in this article.

It’s no secret; I really enjoy HF contesting.  To me, there isn’t anything else quite like running stations at rates greater than 125 QSOs/hour.  In many contests, whether single-op or multi-op, the log will have hundreds, if not thousands of QSOs.  A deep-dive analysis of the log can provide insight into propagation patterns, timing of band changes, and even antenna azmituth to the maximum amount of QSOs.  The intent of the analysis is always to improve future contest scores.  Many software tools are available that provide detailed analysis of contest logs, but most only output page upon page of data in text tables, which are useful, but get downright boring to comb through to extract and interpret the real meat.

A few years ago, I learned about a software tool that is the cat’s meow. The tool is called “SH5 Contest Log Analyzer.” SH5 is fast and easy to use contest log analyzer which creates a variety of statistics in HTML format (WEB pages) from the Cabrillo format log generated by any contest loggers (N1MM Logger+, Win-Test, Writelog, TR4W and others). Reports may be viewed with any Internet browser, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer. The program also allows you to upload this data to your WEB site for public access and to create an archive of your contest results.

You’ll find the SH5 website at:  https://sites.google.com/site/sh5analyzer/

I invite you to check out the reports I’ve generated using SH5 by visiting my contest log and performance archives online at http://w5wz.com/sh5/w5wz/  Go find my log and reports for a contest that you’ve participated in.  See if we changed bands at about the same times.  Did I leave the band too soon?  Too late?  These are the kinds of questions to ask, and a tool such as SH5 can help answer.

See you in the pileups!
73, Scott W5WZ