2011 CQP


A Squirrely Year

This was my 20th anniversary CQP Trip...20 consecutive county expeditions to Mammoth Lakes in Mono County...I tried to make an extra push for a competitive score because I am not sure how many of these very physical trips are going to be possible as the years are starting to add up.  I made the 300 mile drive to Mammoth on Sunday night, the weekend before CQP so I could have some extra days to setup.  In addition to the usual wire beams for 15m & 20m and 40/80M dipoles, I brought a 3 el 10m mono band beam.  I spent most of the next 4 days setting up my 5 antennas. The wire antennas were spread though the pine trees and the 3 element 10M mono band beam was mounted on a 30ft mast on my deck. During the week as I installed and tested each antenna I was getting great signal reports and working lots of DX too.  I was very optimistic about the upcoming CQP weekend.

This year there were no bear encounters to report, however, the squirrel population seems to have exploded.  There was a constant stream of pine cones hitting the ground and the roof of my unit.  I actually had to keep alert for dropping pine cones as I was working outside on my antenna installations.  The squirrels answered back my request to be careful with their pine cones with a bird-like squawking sound.

No Bear Encounters this Year... Just lots of Squirrels.  Here's one of the many Squirrels taking a break from dropping Pine Cones around my QTH




15M Wire Beam

20M Wire Beam

At the beginning of CQP I spent the 1st hour on 15M and then went to 10M. I soon realized that 10M SSB was fine, but on 10M CW I was getting too much RFI and the transmitter was locking up. As a result I only had 3 QSOs on 10M CW on Saturday. On Sunday morning, I put a bunch of toroids on all the lines and solved the RF problem, but I never quite caught up on my total 1,000 CW QSO goal.

All of the mults came pretty easy until all I needed was UT & SK. I was excited when VE5KJS called and gave me his #2...I never heard another VE5 for the rest of the weekend. I worked K7UT a bunch of times and others to cover the UT section and get the sweep. I worked so many Canadian stations, that I started "awarding" them by using my special phonetics "W6 Maple Leaf" at the end of each Canadian SSB QSO...nice, eh?


10M Beam Elements ready for Assembly


3 Element 10M Beam on 30ft Mast

When I quit for a 6 hr sleep break at 0748Z I had 1,262 QSOs which was my best ever mid-point QSO rate (81/hr). Sunday was not as productive as my rate for the balance of the contest was 56/hr. This was my first time using my new K3 for a CQP. I particularly enjoyed it on CW...once I setup on a run frequency, I almost never heard anything but the station replying to my CQ. And to go with the "state or the art" K3, my logging software was still CT running in DOS under a Windows 98 PC. I know that it's pretty obsolete, but using it with the DVP voice card that I have had since 1992, it still provides a sweet interface for SSB QSOs. Maybe next year I'll make the jump to the N1MM bandwagon.

It was nice to have dinner with Larry (W7AB) and Don (W7FD) at W6M. They operated from further south in Mono County at Larry's cabin and this was the 12th year that we have met at the local Chart House restaurant for a pre-CQP Friday night dinner. And special thanks to Hank (W6SX), a very contest active ham in Mammoth, who always gives me good tips and encouragement.


This Year's SO2R featuring the new K3


Heavy Rain Hits as it's Time to Leave Town for the Drive Home

Even the weather cooperated...on Monday through Thursday while I was working outside putting up antennas, the weather was perfect...On Friday when I was working inside setting up my station, it rained heavy off and on all day. Then when I had to take down all the antennas on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning the weather was clear, but it started raining again just as I was leaving to drive home...the forecast was for snow beginning on Tuesday/Wednesday.

I was happy to do my personal best in this CQP and beat my prior high score from 2006 (235,480) by about 14,000 points for a raw score of 249,516.  This score turned out to be a new Mono County record and was also good for a 1st place finish in the County Expedition, Single Operator category.

It's always fun to hear what you sound like from the other side.
   After I got home I received an E-mail from PA3GEG with a recording of our CQP QSO.

Thanks for all the QSOs and great ops in CQP!


Jim, W6KC @ W6ML, Mammoth Lakes, Mono County

Back to Mono County Expeditions