I heard thru the Swamp Foxes about the NAQP contest. I never did it before, there are CW, SSB and RTTY weekends. I signed up as a CW team member (Swamp Fox Delta Force) as I`m on vacation on the SSB part.
It was fun, I set up 2 vertical wires at the same fiberglas pole, one about 14m long (just vertical) and another 17m + 2x 13m as top hat. I operated the short wire on 10-40 daytime hours and the long one on 160-40m nightime hours. I had both wires in parallel after 8pm when I had troubble with tuning but it came from the rain and wind, I found it worked good on the lowbands.
You can only operate 10 out of 12 hours as Single OP and no DX Cluster is allowed, everybody is low power.
I started on 15m after 30 minutes I found my TX power was set to 5W instead of 100W. I quickly decided to turn it all the way to the right and not sign up for the QRP category :-). Now it was much easier to be heard and S&P brought good rates. I checked 10m every 20-30 minutes but no luck with this band.
After a while I also called a bit CQ but on the highbands with little success. When I went to 40m it was much better. I took a break for one hour and wanted to take the other break at midnight, I had QRL the next day and didn´t want to stay til 1am. At around 8pm the QRN raised so much I could barely hear stations. K4SV announced a big storm and once I lifted my headphone I still heard loud noise, but this time from the rain outside. I went outside and found heavy wind and rain shaking the antenna. I hoped that it wouldn`t crash.
I went back to the station and decided to continue, trying to dig QSOs out of the QRN, I had static noise and QRN crushes but slowly found stations loud enough to copy. I had to tune my antenna quite often, I guess it was depending in which direction or angle it was pushed. Once the storm was over the bands wer very quite and it was fun to continue operating til midnight.
Without QRL at the next day I think it would have been better to make another break when the storm was heavy and stay until 1am for a higher rate.
Still pleased with my score, the highbands suffered from my antenna but my trap dipole broke and needs service before I can use it again. So the verticals were the best I could do.
2 minutes before my 10 hours opertaing time were over I found VP5/KM3T for my 600th QSO and then I went QRT.
Thanks for all QSO, looking forward for the RTTY part in February.