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My experience as K1Y/0

PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:06 pm
by KA4JQZ
Thanks Brad, (K0DBK) for volunteering to be the zero area
coordinator, allowing me to operate and converting my log to a usable
format. The coordinators really have a big job of stirring up
operators, allocating time slots to those operators, making sure they
do not overlap and setting the standard for log submissions so we can
see our contacts on the SKCC web site. No easy feat considering all
the discussion about Zulu Time on the reflector hi hi. Thanks to all
the other area coordinators and the stations that took the time to
put a K1Y call on the air.

I had a total of 12 hours slotted to me by the K1Y/0 coordinator over
the weekend. It was fun. I have not been a rare or semi rare station
for more than a decade. I loved it when I had several stations
calling. It is a challenge to pick out the callsigns. I did notice
that during the pileups, stations would not stick around for me to
work them. Let me explain; during a pileup I am in the habit of
jotting down a few callsigns then working through that list. When
that list is finished I call QRZ and get a new list. This only worked
a couple of times and I thank those stations for staying around for
me to get to them. Most other stations would throw out their callsign
then leave. Oh well I guess maybe the propagation changed but doubt
it since I averaged about 4 minutes for an exchange if there were no
repeats. I was impressed while the other stations stood-by while I
came back to someone. This has always impressed me about CW operators.

I did not work near the amount of stations I wanted to. Only about 60
or so stations in 12 hours is not very good but with a straight key
that was plenty because my fist got really bad towards the end. I
heard a lot of good fist and a few bugs out there and that always
makes me feel good.

The operating environment at KA4JQZ is a Ten Tec Orion, with ground
mounted vertical, and a Ten Tec Omni 6 plus, connected to a dipole
about 25 feet up. I use both radios at the same time and usually
listen to one freq while using the other (a habit I picked up in the
military). I have a separate antenna for each transceiver so I was
able to switch back and forth to pull out the weak stations.
Sometimes a dipole works better than a vertical and sometimes it
doesn't. This helped me get a few stations that I could not have
normally. I was hoping to use the old HW-16 but after trying for 20
minutes on 7.120 (crystal freq), with a broadcast station very near,
I decided to go back to the main station. I got to get that VFO fixed
hi hi. I am fortunate that I have a restroom near the shack; I just
crank the volume up and run to the bathroom. I can usually make it
back in time to finish the QSO. I usually drink a lot of coffee in
the morning so this is a necessary skill.

I think a lot of people are waiting for a post to the reflector to
work the K1Y stations. While this is one way to do it, it is not the
best. I noticed after I worked AG8A, he sent a post and as soon as it
popped up the calls started. Before that I was calling CQ with no
answer, it would have been a lot easier to listen to the SKCC freqs
or around them to find me, or the station you need, before a real
pileup begins. I do thank Randy (AG8A) as the contacts were getting a
little slim so it picked up the activity for me. Word to the wise, if
you don't spin the dial you won't find them.

The first day of operation was going ok, except for a hangover, until
K1Y/KH6 called me on 20 meters and of course when our QSO ended the
pileup switched to Max. Max is a FB Op and I did not mind as I
switched to 30 meters and the band was not that bad. The next day I
was listening to 18.080 while operating on 14.048 and I heard Max
come on. Not many stations calling him so before he switched to 20,
where I was just getting comfortable, I sent a post announcing his
presence on 17 meters. As soon as the post popped up, you guessed it,
Max had his hands full on 17 meters. Sorry Max, I did not want to
give up 20 meters yet.

I did have a really embarrassing moment when I got K4VDs callsign
wrong; Twice!.... Sorry Kev.

As the month winds down and the sweeps are completed I would encourage
everyone to give this a try. I hope I was able to help out a few
stations with the sweep, I know at least two told me they completed
it with my QSO so that makes it all worth it.

I am not much for straight keys or bugs anymore since I got back into
Ham Radio, about 4 years ago, but I do enjoy CW in all forms and the
simple beauty of a mechanical keying device using 1800s technology
coupled to a 21st century radio.