I like the extremes with respect to getting out and hitting the road for these contests… something about adding the elements to things that struggle to work for me in the first place is just added entertainment that I can’t seem to get enough of. In a very welcomed change of events, I had everything laid out, hooked up, and ready to pull out of the driveway by Saturday at 11am – no need for last minute connector or patch cord soldering, everything was pretty well plug and play. I received a loaner 2304 looper to replace the dish temporarily (may be just ordering one of my own soon) on Friday night, and we were good to go.
Saturday morning when I pulled out of the driveway it was Five degrees – it peaked at seven when I arrived at my first stop, but within an hour or so it began to drop again. This only proved to be any type of factor when it came to getting out at the beginning, and end of a stop to get the 6m beam fully extended to operating size. I kept pretty on pace with my operating schedule, beginning in FN12 right at 2pm local time (the start of the contest) – pulling away around 5:15pm to head to FN03, being there about 5:35-5:40, and sticking it out until about 7:50pm. This was all I planned on operating so as to get back in time for Bills kickoff. As much fun as I have during these contests – Bills game day still take a priority, and that game was WELL worth missing a few hours of contest activity. As luck would have it, activity seemed to be dwindling at this point as it were, so I don’t think that extra two hours would have netted too large a benefit.
Sunday morning I got a bit of a late start – being up until about 1:30 didn’t jive well with me, so the rubber didn’t hit the road until about 7:45, putting me in my starting spot in FN02 somewhere between 8:15 and 8:30… the Dunkin stop didn’t help as it was a five min detour. FN02 is always the most productive for me, no matter what I do – there are two to three phenomenal spots to sit, with great coverage of close to 180 degrees of horizon. I spent the morning here, and then rolled on to our club rover meetup – in less then an hour we rolled together through four grids, and then went our separate ways.
By 1:30pm I was heading to a spot in FN13, which wasn’t quite worth the trip this time around – maybe it was just timing, or as someone else commented, Sunday activity seemed a little on the slower side, but it was a pretty dry run. Only 40-ish Q’s as opposed to FN02 and 12 which were hovering around 75 each (these numbers are less the aforementioned grid circle). I hung out here until about 5:45, and then decided that with the impending snow storm I’d venture back to FN02 or 03 and be a bit closer to home. I wound up parking down in a secondary spot in FN02 which netted another 25 or so contacts, but then the snow started coming down sideways, and I began to lose to road in front of me, so I opted to call it a bit on the early side, just about 8pm, after only being setup there for about an hour and a half.
For what was a fairly minimal effort, or at least what seemed like such, projected score is something I’m definitely happy with – sitting at 32,050, which looks like it should hold pretty steady just in a cursory glance looking for typos before submitting. Before June I would like to get my 222 and 1296 transverters ready to go – I have them, I just need to test them, and get them wired up and fired up. I’m potentially looking into alternative options for 6m – the full beam is great, but not being able to just pull up and operate can be a little bit of a hinderance in some instances. Additionally I’m looking to transition out the LPDA for 144-1296 for dedicated options, with the potential of adding a secondary mast off of the hitch. We’ll see how everything goes, as always, plans in the works, but time goes on, I forget, get enamored with something else I like to do, and next thing you know it’s time!
Some good ideas here. The H-frame is certainly the way to go with independent antennas. Please reach out with questions or for someone to bounce ideas off of.
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