2019-CQ WW SSB @ K8AZ

I made my 7th trip to Chesterland, Ohio to the fantastic station of Tom, K8AZ for the 2019-CQ WW SSB contest. Yes, it is a long drive – 16 hours or so. But the camaraderie with the gang makes it all the better!

As usual, I spend some time on Friday helping Tom with various maintenance, repairs, or installations of new items. This trip was no exception. Many hands do indeed make light work!

Tom takes a pre-contest walk around the antenna farm. This time, we found the rope supporting the SW element of the 80-meter transmit 4-square had broken, and the result was a rope tangled up in the elements of several yagis on a rotating tower.

In waning day light, we worked to free the rope from the tower such that the 80-m antenna would be usable. The rotating tower is 15 and 20 meters, so we parked it toward Africa for the night. Once the rope was free, we managed to get it positioned such that the 80-m antenna functioned for the overnight operating period.

The next morning, it was raining. The forecast called for increasing winds throughout the day and into the night. K8AZ and I ventured with bow and arrow to get a string over the appropriate tree. First challenge was using a sling blade to clear walking paths and work areas in the raspberry thicket, then cross a creek to find the loose end of the rope. Second challenge was to place the string. First shot success! Then pulled a larger string, and at last the final rope. With the antenna repaired, back to the house for shower and then operating time again.

Near sunset on Sunday night, suddenly 80-meter 4-square SWR went really high. Upon inspection, we found the NE element had broken loose from the feed point. Hauled a ladder out and worked beyond sunset to complete the repair with 20 minutes left in the contest.

Highlights of this contest: seeing my friends K8AZ, K8NZ, W8CAR, WT8C, AA8OY, K8RR, W8WWV, K8BL; riding in and driving a dual motor Tesla Model 3; meeting KE3X and talking contest strategy; and working CN3A on 160m with my own call!

CQ Magazine included this blog post in their official post-contest writeup!

2019 August NAQP SSB M/2

Call: W5WZ
Operator(s): K5ER KA5M W5LA W5WZ WM5H
Station: W5WZ

Class: M/2 LP
Operating Time (hrs): 10:53
Location: USA

Summary: Compare Scores
Band QSOs Mults
160: 2 2
80: 57 24
40: 434 48
20: 627 52
15: 0 0
10: 0 0
Total: 1120 131 Total Score 146,720

Five members of the Louisiana Contest Club gathered at W5WZ for a M/2 effort.
Having operated the past three NAQP SSB as a M/2 team, Bobby WM5H and Scott W5WZ, were the anchors, joined by periodic station guests Mark K5ER, Marsh KA5M and Jim W5LA.

For this contest, the SO2R station was split between Run 1 and Run2. Additionally,
for the first time at W5WZ we added an in-band S&P station interlocked with Run 2. This S&P 2 was furnished with its own set of independent antenna: KT-34, 40m dipole and 80m dipole. Bandpass filters and front-end protection was employed on all three tranceivers.

We opened with a 262 QSO first hour; hopes were high! The rate decayed to a second
hour of 159, followed by 140 in the 3rd hour.
W5WZ Max Rates:
2019-08-17 1821Z – 8.0 per minute (1 minute(s)), 480 per hour by W5WZ
2019-08-17 1829Z – 5.1 per minute (10 minute(s)), 306 per hour by KA5M W5WZ
2019-08-17 1904Z – 4.5 per minute (60 minute(s)), 272 per hour by KA5M W5WZ

At 2240z, we heard what every contester dreads on a summer day – booming thunder.
Looking at a real-time lightning strike website, we quickly made the decision to
disconnect and safe the station until the slow-moving storm passed. No rain ever
fell at W5WZ, and the strongest part of the storm passed a few miles to our west.
W5WZ – Off Times >= 30 Minutes
2019-08-17 2253Z – 2019-08-17 2359Z 01:07 (67 mins)

No signals ever heard on 10 or 15. Even though 20m was the QSO total king, the mult
count was low. 40m QSO total was lower than our expectations, but the big
disappointment was 80m. Even with the beverage receive antennas, because of the nearby storms and static crashes, we were sorely disappointed in our 80 meter QSO totals.

Carribean stations were not heard; logged 2 Puerto Rico, 2 British VI, and 1 Barbados.

Beginning around 2130z, QSB on 20m was fast and deep, and it wasn’t much better on 40m.

But, with all that, the station performed flawlessly. Operators new to interlocked
transceivers gained valuable experience that will be most helpful for November SS SSB. We employed N1MM+’s “partner mode” on Run 2 and S&P2, with the partner having a separate computer while listening to the same receiver audio stream as the rig operator.

My elmer, Jim W5LA, is a CW guy. He says he doesn’t like SSB contesting. However,
he remarked during the contest that operating a SSB multi-op contest was one of his
bucket list items. Don’t be going anywhere Jim! We’ll make an SSB op out of you yet!

Without the help and contributions of the team, this couldn’t have happened and been
such a success

My wife, Sharon KW5MOM, tolerating all of us!

Bobby, WM5H, for 2 days of assistance in the sweltering heat to get the outdoor antenna work and other preparations completed. And as always, for ensuring that the team is well-fed (to find out how well-fed, you’ll have to be on the W5WZ team for a contest)!

Jim, W5LA for bringing a few pieces of needed equipment to make the partner mode a
success, and for crossing over to the dark side of SSB contesting! It was great to
operate with my elmer at my side (BTW, it is his fault I’m a ham!).

Mark K5ER, for giving up a valuable Saturday away from his wife and other of life’s
necessary responsibilites and priceless opportunities with family.

Marsh KA5M, for making the longest drive to join us- last time he joined the W5WZ team was 2010 CQ WW SSB- he should come back more often!

Thanks for all the QSOs!

73 from Scott W5WZ

Jan 2019 NAQP SSB – 10 minute audio clip

Here’s a 10-minute audio clip of W5WZ running 20 meters during the Jan 2019 NAQP SSB. The rate was 264 QSOs per hour, or 4.4 QSOs per minute.  Keep in mind this is a 100-watt maximum power contest.

Here is the audio clip

View the 10 minute period, which pretty much coincides with the audio file.

Recording made using QSORDER by K3IT

I use SH5 to generate analytical reports about each contest. Link to reports on yesterday’s NAQP SSB contest:

North American QSO Party, SSB – January 2019

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

Class: M/2 LP
Operating Time (hrs): 12:00

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:   39    19
   80:  223    47
   40:  586    55
   20:  723    60
   15:    2     1
   10:    0     0
Total: 1573   183  Total Score = 287,859

Club: Louisiana Contest Club

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

Operating Time (hrs): 12

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


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.