Storm Clouds Build over the
20 Meter Wire Beam
Storm Clouds Build over the 20 Meter Wire Beam
After doing the last 12 years in Mono as a very successful multi-multi county expedition, this year I tried it as a single operator county expedition. My goals were to try and break the 10 year old single op record for Mono County and maybe achieve a top 20 score to get a prized bottle of California wine. As it turned out I did break the old Mono County single op record, but I came in at the 21st spot, just out of the wine winners circle. That's OK, it's always good to have something to shoot for next year.
I made the 300 mile drive from my home QTH to Mammoth Lakes in Mono County on Wednesday evening before CQP. Since I was a single op, I wanted to allow 2 days to setup my all wire antenna farm. Itís really a lot of work for one person to try and setup a competitive station in a portable environment. I ended up spending about 12 hours setting up my antennas and station plus another 6 hours taking it all down. Add the 6 hour drive each way and contest operating hours are less than the overhead hours. But a year goes by and you forget about all the work and just remember the fun of operating in CQP from a great place like Mono County in the High Sierra.
Thursday morning I started launching my guy lines in the pine trees. It began as a beautiful Sierra day, but within an hour the clouds arrived and began raining, quite heavily at times and even snowed for a few minutes. I put on my winter hat and coat and carried on. First I got my 80M dipole up in its normal set of trees at about 60 feet. Next I had just about completed setting up my 3 element 15M wire beam up at about 50 feet, when one of the splices in the guy line gave out. The beam fell into the tree that it was still attached to and got stuck on a tree limb at about 40 feet. I tried for a long time to pull it free, but no way was it going to come loose. My solution was finding a fellow that was doing some construction work nearby. He proceeded to climb up the tree up to where my antenna was stuck and get it free. And then the rain stopped. Wow my luck was getting better again. I finished getting the 15M beam back up and then moved on to the 40M dipole leaving just the 20M wire beam which I completed without any problems on Friday.
I started CQP humming along just fine on 15M & 20M, but my 500W amp started arcing at about 6 hours into the contest. I had to finish the last 18 hours operating barefoot. Without the amp I decided to emphasize CW a bit more which seemed to give me a better rate plus more points. By Saturday night I had all my mults except for Hawaii. Boy was I surprised when KH6QJ called me 0754Z on 75M SSB for my sweep. I promptly retired for my 6 hours in bed not having to worry about finding that last mutl on Sunday. The 10M opening on Sunday was a nice surprise, I had to use my 80M dipole barefoot, but it still seemed to work pretty well. Maybe my burned up amp cost me the QSOs I needed for a top 20 finish, but I was pretty happy about setting a new single op record for Mono, my favorite county in California.
Thanks to all for another great CQP
Jim, W6KC @ W6ML in Mammoth Lakes, Mono County
Be sure to checkout the on-line logs from the CQP operations in Mono County.
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