Saturday, October 3, 2009

California QSO Party (Part Uno)

sonovista, my friends... OK... since i may never actually submit any logs, i figure i should probably post an update here on my blog... i just completed the first leg of my first contest, the California QSO Contest... i' ve been looking forward to this for a while and was determined not to let this stupid cold/flu/thing that my friends insisted on giving me, dissuade me from doing a little hilltopping with my K3 and SuperAntenna... so this morning i threw the K3 (in its wonderful new REI bag) along with some paper log sheets i printed out (no, i'm not automated) into the back of my car along with the 28AH AGM cell (fully charged), the MP1 SuperAntenna with the MFJ 10ft mast, all mounted on a video tripod, and headed up to about 1600ft, just off Rt. 17, past the summit, on the Santa Cruz side of the Santa Cruz Mountains... to be honest, i figured i'd do better up on Mt. Umunhum, but that's technically still in Santa Clara County, and there are a ton of hams around here, so i wanted to maybe help some out of state folks with an additional multiplier (a term i don't know i honestly understood even 3 hours ago, and probably don't really understand now)

my thought was that i'd set up (along with my new REI portable folding camp table and portable folding camp chair, both extremely light!) and start clearing out the pileups...


by the time i powered up the K3 at 1652UTC (9:52am california time), 52 minutes into the contest, 20 meters was already jammed up with nary (nary?) a free slot... so rather than add to the QRM, i started answering some calls and immediately mucked up my log (LOL!), putting info in the wrong columns, skipping lines (and thereby giving the wrong contact number info), and generally futzing things up... right out of the gate!

oh well... nobody's perfect, and some of us aren't even moderately competent!

but i've learned that giving up is like letting life give you the big FU, and i'd rather give a big FU right back to life, so i took a deep breath, spun to a new frequency...

and immediately noticed that i had set up camp on top of an ant hill and the ants were causing much pain to my feet!

on the FU scoreboard - life 2, me 0

so i moved the rig, chair and table (the antenna was fine), dug in, powered up, and started again

and during the next hour and 45 minutes i worked 46 stations (i think) including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin - so 24 states in under 2 hours, plus 3 Canadian Provinces (Alberta, Ontario and Saskatoon), and 6 California counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Siskiyou)

now i'm gonna take a break and then get ready for a birthday dinner tonight with some old friends, and i hope to pick it up again tomorrow, maybe from Mt. Umunhum... but even with no chance of winning any kind of award, i am SO BLOODY HAPPY and had so much fun sitting there off the side of a mountain road, with all my gear and kit, bright sunshine, floppy hat and the ether at my fingertips.

a morning spent immersed in the domain of -wonder-.

as Ferris Bueller said, "if you have the means, i highly recommend it!"

de Robin (W6RDG)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Robin,

    Found your blog entry via Twitter looking for other stations from the CQP. I don't show you in our log, but will be on the lookout for you tomorrow. Best of luck, 73s and enjoy your first contest. CQP '08 was my first contest, '09 is my second. It's a really fun one to run. I'm KC0YLK, operating from a friends' station this year K5QQ.