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Soapbox for 2020
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Public Health was a big consideration in this year's contest. I chose to operate from the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay in San Diego. I made my longest QSO of 643 km from my 16th floor balcony. The contact was with Jim Moss, N9JIM, a very fine microwave operator.
Relay failure ended Sunday operations early. Thanks all for the Qs.
Short contest but fun. We got to use our portable 10GHz EME station. The new IC 9700 made a great IF radio. It needed a little shade to be able to read the display well. The NR function really helped on weak stations. KI6LQV, Helen, also operated with me on Signal Hill DM03wt.
A crazy year in California ... ... A heat wave & a swarm of thunderstorms the first weekend ... wildfires closed most mountaintops and National Forests the second weekend. Will be glad to see the end of 2020.
The first weekend was amazing with mostly clear skies, high winds and very high heat (as much as 108 in the shade). The conditions were some of the best we had ever seen in California. We turned to online weather radar to find the clouds in between us to make our bank shots. I posted my FM DX QSO on Instagram (@KD6W) bouncing through a rain cloud into Temecula some 400km away to the south. It was so hot that day, my phone overheated and shut down just as I finished shooting that video. Those same storms we were bouncing off were responsible for touching off many of the wildfires across the state which later resulted in closed mountain tops on the second weekend. I recall drinking over a dozen water bottles in one day. September was cooler weather but the conditions were miserable, very few mountain tops were activated, no clouds but lots of smoke from all the fires which seemed to be an attenuator, mostly on 24GH. The poor conditions in the 2nd weekend slashed my points to less than half those captured from the first weekend. The August 2020 sunset picture shows rain clouds off in the distance but otherwise partly cloudy. The September 2020 sunset picture shows the lack of clouds but very smoky conditions. It was much cooler to operate in the second weekend but the lack of mountain top stations killed off any hope of a good score.
My first ever 10G contest. Went portable the 1st weekend and fixed (home) the second weekend. Glad I was home the second weekend because it was cold in WNY. Conditions were very poor the last weekend. Enjoyed all the QSO's both sessions. Hope to do it again next year.
My first microwave contest (and contacts for that matter). Using 10mW from a W1GHZ transverter feeding a horn. Thanks to VA3TO for the new addiction!
I did not record emission type -- cw or usb. There is no provision for indicating this information on the paper log. I have entered this data based on memory.
My favorite contest of the year….However, my shoulder’s rotator cuff gave out in July. While waiting for the shoulder surgery, my ‘rove’ was limited to 3 miles to work Kevin, VE3KH with my second, light weight rig. But the competitive juices are still there, so I decided to compete for low score with 1 Q of 325 km! Next year….. Bill W2RMA
It was a lot of fun. The second weekend on Saturday I learned that wind can ruin a trip to a remote location. My dish was toppled twice breaking a cable so my 10 GHz was dead. In addition it blew my VHF liason antenna mast over which crashed into my car breaking the reflector. The good news is I fixed the 10 GHz that night and made 5 contacts the next day so I guess the fall must have knocked some electrons loose. My 10 GHz is made from scraps so I am quite pleased it survived the fall. Luckily the dish itself was also not damaged. Another contest and another lesson learned - do not tempt Mother Nature.
As a 1st time uW rookie I had no idea what I was doing but I sure had a blast. The 2nd leg conditions were so poor I went outside to make sure a wet towel was not over my dish. Looking forward to the next event & some rain or snow-scatter !