Amateur Radio in America's Paradise


North American QSO Party - CW

Posted by R P Davis on January 14, 2014 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)


It's been too long since I've posted! But there's a good reason for that - my radio has been off-island getting repaired. I've made a few QSOs with a borrowed rig, but haven't been on the air much.

That changed last weekend!

Fred, K9VV/NP2X and I operated Multi-Single in the North American QSO Party. NAQP is an awesome contest. It's similar to ARRL DX, in that the only stations worth multipliers are North American. It's unlike ARRL DX in many more ways, however:

  • It's run twice a year for each mode - SSB, CW, and RTTY
  • It's 12 hours long, tops. Single ops can only do 10 hours.
  • It's low power. Nobody can run more than 100 watts.
  • All North American entities count as multipliers, as well as US states and Canadian provinces.

So it's not the 48-hour battle of power and endurance that is ARRL. It's still fast-paced and fun!

Fred and I competed against each other last year. This year we decided to go Multi-operator, Two-transmitter and see how we could compete.

We used Fred's station, because he's got the gain antennas, and a club callsign, KP2RUM. It's always fun to use KP2RUM! Here's how we did:



Ops: NP2X, WP2XX

Band / Qs / Mults

1.8 / 4 / 3

3.5 / 202 / 44

7 / 243 / 44

14 / 235 / 48

21 / 346 / 48

28 / 276 / 44

Tot / 1306 / 231

Claimed score: 314,746

Looking at the NAQP records, that's a new record fromn KP2! We'll take it.

NAQP SSB is this coming Saturday (the 18th). Hope to hear you!


Posted by R P Davis on December 1, 2013 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

For the CQ Worldwide DX Contest CW portion, I had the privilege of once again being invited to join Philip, KT3Y/KP2M and Fred, K9VV/NP2X to compete in the Multi-Single, High Power category from Radio Reef, Philip's rental QTH and home of KP2M.

We did fairly well last year and had a lot of fun. This year, not so much.

That's Fred, K9VV/NP2X at left in the mult station chair, with Philip, KT3Y/KP2M running on the right.

About 20 hours in, I was running on 10m when I observed what sounded like the band going completely dead. Signals dropped from extremely strong to barely-there. I paid it no heed, because I'd heard 10 die before.

The trouble was, the spots never stopped. Either other stations had weird propagation - always possible, but unlikely - or something was wrong. It was at that moment I noticed the error code "HI RFI" scrolling on the K3.

Fred checked, switching the mult station K3 to 10m and tuning around. He could hear fine.  Uh, oh.  After waking Philip up and conducting further diagnosis, we concluded the run station K3 was toast.  So we swapped the mult station K3 over and slotted the Radio Reef backup rig - an FT1000MP - into the mult slot.

Two hours later, the second K3 gave up the ghost, exhibiting the same symptoms. Rather than continue with only the MP - with its 500hz CW filter only - we decided forlornly to call it a day. Which was a shame, because we were on a good track.

The moral of the story - The Elecraft K3 is a rugged, outstanding transceiver. But you cannot use them in a multi-op environment without good bandpass filters. If you do, you'll blow out the front end. 

CQWW SSB 2013...

Posted by R P Davis on November 4, 2013 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

...has come and gone. Here's the rundown:

Call: WP2XX
Operator(s): WP2XX
Station: NP2X

Class: SOAB(A) HP
QTH: St Croix, USVI
Operating Time (hrs): 36.5
Location: Other North America

Total:4202130344Total Score4,579,788


Worked this one from the station of Fred, K9VV/NP2X. Since he and his wife were off-island all weekend, I went from barefoot-and-vertical to kilowatt and tribander. Thanks to Fred and Lisa for their hospitality! Imagine what this station will sound like with monobanders. ;)


WOW. I mean, WOW. Fantastic weekend, fabulous conditions, and just general Awesome slathered Win and dusted with sparkles. Personal best single-op effort.



Went assisted but shouldn't have, as the station computer took a dump before the test so I had no rig control. Because of that, Point-and-shoot insta-mult wasn't on the table. But it's all good. I could still see where the mults were hiding, so it helped.


This was the longest I've spent in the chair for a 48-hour contest, too. I'm tired, but it feels good.


Low bands were "Meh", partly because the high bands were so spectacular and partly because 250w into a vertical on 40m isn't helping. I should have taken an hour on Saturday to drop the 75m dipole and string a 40m inverted-Vee beneath it, but didn't even think about it until this morning.


Highlights, in no particular order:


Getting called by KC4AAN with something like 8 minutes left to play on 20. Never worked Antarctica before. I wanted to ask him if they found the other Stargate yet - that's how punch-drunk I was.


Having my pileup *pause itself* so I could work the HS0 who I couldn't hear trough the wall of USA. Seriously. Guy called me, got the Q, then observed there's an HS calling. Before I could key, the pile went silent. In fact, except for a couple of exceptions my piles were very orderly indeed all weekend.


Speaking of pileups, W3KB maliciously spotting me so he could listen to the pileup go from "a couple of guys" to "FREAKING APESH!T" with a click of his mouse. 8)


Getting lots of unsolicited positive comments on my transmitted audio. One fellow even recorded me and emailed it. Cool. 


Thanks to all the FRC guys who called. In fact, FRC calls figure largely in the first ten minutes of my log. Which is cool. One of my sole regrets about moving to USVI full-time is that FRC can no longer have my single-op points for the Club competition.

Contest results

Posted by R P Davis on August 14, 2013 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

The results of the CQ WPX RTTY and ARRL DX Phone contests were just released.  

In the CQ WPX RTTY contest I was fortunate to be invited to operate at KP2M by Gator N5RZ and Deborah K5RZA as a Multi-operator, Two-transmitter entry (M2).  The results are in the latest issue of CQ Magazine, and they're pretty impressive: We made 3rd in the world and first in North America! 

It says we set a new NA record, but Gator thinks there is a Puerto Rico station that had just over 14M a few years back (we were at 13.9M). Contest Chairman W0YK said we almost took second place due to our accuracy - the 2nd place guys score reduction was about 12% and ours was just over 6%.


What this means is we won the North America trophy this year!  

In the ARRL DX Phone contest WP2XX scored 1,203,276 points with 2,043 QSOs and 197 multipliers in the B (low power) category.  That's good enough to win the category in USVI!  

Okay, there were no other entries in the catagory, but I'm going to be stoked anyway, thanks. :P Now to await the certificate.

Tony N2TK, a fellow FRC member, operated KP2M to the top spot in the high-power class.  6,237,840 - 6,601 - 316 is a fine job from Phil KT3Y's awesome rental station.  Fred NP2X got in on the action, too, for a few hours.

NAQP phone this weekend.  Speaking of Fred NP2X, he graciously offered the use of his newly-installed tower and beam, but some late-afternoon appointments on Saturday mean I'm going to operate from home.  

I love NAQP.  It's one of my favorite contests.  Generally quite small, laid-back, 100w power limit, interesting exchange - it's just fun and relaxing.  I missed the latest CW version a couple of weeks ago due to a trip to the mainland.  But I'm back now, and I'm ready to let 'er rip! 

Field Day 2013...

Posted by R P Davis on June 24, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

...happened on St Croix.  More to come when I have brain.

CQWW Certificates

Posted by R P Davis on May 15, 2013 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Some interesting mail came in yesterday's post from the CQWW Contest Committee:

Yup! I won my categories for the CQ Worldwide DX contests last year!  Top is Single-Op, All-Band, Low Power win in the CW contest.  Bottom is SOABLP Assisted in the SSB contest.

I've never gotten wallpaper before.  I'm stoked!  :D

ARRL DX Contest 2013

Posted by R P Davis on March 3, 2013 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (2)

Friday and Saturday were brilliant.  Run after run after run!  QSOs were flowing like water Friday night into Saturday night, seemingly for the taking.

Sunday, not so much.  

Sunday morning, it seemed as though I wasn't even there.  Maybe the USA/VE stations were being too picky or something.  But situations where I could raise a significant, high-rate run with a couple of calls dwindled to a place where I was lucky to make 6 QSOs in 20 minutes.  Just calling and calling and calling.  I suspect it was a combination of USA/VE training their beams on EU and leaving them there and USA/VE calling CQ instead of tuning.  It got slightly better around 1835UTC Sunday afternoon when 10m closed to EU, and even better when USA/VE got bored on 15. 

Spent most of the time running; probably about 90% run, 10% S&P.

Still, I'm rather stoked about the score.  At least, I was.  Then I saw the 3830 posting from KP2BH, who - if the UBN Gods are unkind - stands to beat me in the SOABLP (Unassisted) category by a handful of points.  I am taking solace in the fact that he has a more sophisticated station: he's got a big radio with lots more knobs and capability than mine, and he's got a tower and beams where I've got a bit of wire bent funny.  8)  Whatever happens in the 2013 scoring, I now have a goal for 2014 - Beat Jimmy!


Maybe some of you wise Elmers can have a look at  the stats and give me a few pointers. That'd be awesome. I can get two things out of it right now.


First is "Stay in the chair, young Padawan." Until I did the stats just now I had no idea I had so much off time! I thought I was really into it - but it turns out I was slacking terribly. Will fix that for next time.


Second is "What about the low bands?" Well, 40 was BEDLAM. My pipsqueak signal didn't stand a chance. Did a bit of split and regular running, but as soon as I'd get a good groove on, someone louder would squash me like a bug. 80 and 160, I just don't have the space to put any sort of worthwhile antenna. I was running a wire ground plane cut for 10MHz and fed with ladder-line (by accounts it gets out quite well on the higher bands), and while it'd tune on 80, nobody but K3LR (IIRC) and a guy in MA could hear me. I called for a while and got nothing. 160 is a joke. Plus it's really noisy here below 10MHz. It's a perfect storm of suck for 160, 80 and while I get out pretty well on 40, I can't hold a run freq without more power (no guarantees then, either).

Here's the rundown:


ARRL DX Contest, SSB


Call: WP2XX

Operator(s): WP2XX

Station: WP2XX


Class: SOAB LP


Operating Time (hrs): 25:32


Band QSOs Mults


160: 0 0

80: 2 2

40: 178 37

20: 686 54

15: 756 56

10: 427 48


Total: 2049 197 Total Score = 1,209,777


Club: Frankford Radio Club

Max Rates:


2013-03-02 0217Z - 7.0 per minute (1 minute(s)), 420 per hour by WP2XX

2013-03-03 2117Z - 5.3 per minute (10 minute(s)), 318 per hour by WP2XX

2013-03-02 2340Z - 4.1 per minute (60 minute(s)), 248 per hour by WP2XX

Runs >10 QSOs:


2013-03-02 0033 - 0148Z, 14318 kHz, 192 Qs, 155.1/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 0204 - 0325Z, 14318 kHz, 255 Qs, 188.3/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 0352 - 0402Z, 7233 kHz, 14 Qs, 82.6/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 0441 - 0457Z, 14235 kHz, 12 Qs, 46.2/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 1155 - 1225Z, 21361 kHz, 33 Qs, 66.4/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 1242 - 1435Z, 28458 kHz, 98 Qs, 52.0/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 1459 - 1507Z, 28498 kHz, 17 Qs, 136.9/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 1519 - 1540Z, 28561 kHz, 29 Qs, 82.5/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 1838 - 1935Z, 28580 kHz, 90 Qs, 93.9/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 2220 - 2236Z, 28525 kHz, 30 Qs, 114.2/hr WP2XX

2013-03-02 2240 - 0007Z, 21432 kHz, 303 Qs, 207.7/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 0010 - 0042Z, 14340 kHz, 76 Qs, 143.2/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 0119 - 0208Z, 7218 kHz, 86 Qs, 104.9/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 0259 - 0349Z, 14320 kHz, 133 Qs, 159.1/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 0416 - 0440Z, 7253 kHz, 36 Qs, 88.4/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 1826 - 1859Z, 28571 kHz, 37 Qs, 66.2/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 1940 - 2023Z, 28545 kHz, 63 Qs, 87.1/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 2105 - 2205Z, 21390 kHz, 233 Qs, 235.0/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 2209 - 2231Z, 21381 kHz, 31 Qs, 84.9/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 2233 - 2237Z, 21381 kHz, 12 Qs, 186.2/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 2239 - 2301Z, 21382 kHz, 56 Qs, 151.5/hr WP2XX

2013-03-03 2302 - 2341Z, 21381 kHz, 47 Qs, 72.1/hr WP2XX