June contest AA5PR/R

John Klem

Over the last year or so I put effort into improving the antenna configuration on my rover to reduce setup and teardown times, so this time around felt I could visit 7 grids during the contest. That worked out pretty well, although my schedule was once again overly optimistic.  Given decent cell coverage, the availability of Slack for tracking, and the uncertainty of 6 m openings, it seems that simply publishing the daily grid sequence without times would work just as well.

I really enjoyed making a few more contacts on 2 this time around, including DM85/DM58 (W9RM) and DM82/DM65 (K5TA).  A little work to improve my 2 m receive capability seems to have helped, and that coupled with low-noise locations makes 2 a lot of fun. 432 continues to be a challenge and where I roved did not help, but I was happy to make a couple of contacts on that band.

I came home with a list of half a dozen things that needed fixing by a little reconfiguration, re-engineering, application of my wallet, or a smack to the side of my head.  Near the top of the list was trouble maintaining power to the radio due to power cable losses and a low-voltage interlock on the battery booster.  A consequence of that was a recurring threat of losing transmit power halfway through a QSO (particularly on 2 m) with a total reboot required, so in some cases I had to either operate with reduce power or cut attempts short.  In the head smack category was not adequately testing my new laptop setup for automated logging, which is once again the kind of thing you really don't want to be troubleshooting in the back seat of your car in DM84.

SSB contacts seemed unusually difficult even when 6 was open and there were lots of loud signals.  It's possible I didn't have a single SSB contact without at least one repeat required. The "... Romeo / rover" part seems hard for many, so perhaps I need a new callsign.  FT8 on 6 was a slogging struggle - I pretty much gave up trying to work anyone with a minus sign in front of the S/N. With band full open, FT4 was a different story - lots of quick and relatively easy contacts, especially into FN/FM.  Almost half my contacts were made in my last 2.5 hours of operation, in DM73.

And I really want to do it all again.

Bottom line, subject to a little further inspection:

143 QSO points x 100 multipliers = 14,300

The picture, assuming it makes it through, is from the edge of the caprock in DM74xv, looking west towards Santa Rosa, antennas not yet raised.

John, AA5PR/r