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START-OF-LOG: 3.0 CALLSIGN: TI5N CLAIMED-SCORE: 9920757 CLUB: GRAND MESA CONTESTERS OF COLORADO CONTEST: CQ-WW-CW CREATED-BY: WriteLog V10.61E NAME: Joe Wilkowski OPERATORS: K8FC K2PLF N0KE W0RAA SOAPBOX: K8FC Comments: SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: I have operated many many contests over the years and enjoyed each and every SOAPBOX: one for the most part. I have always been on the US side of pile ups SOAPBOX: chasing that rare DX that I needed for band, mode etc. Never have I SOAPBOX: experienced being on the DX end of the chase. Let me tell you, if you ever SOAPBOX: have an opportunity to go on a DXpedition of any kind give it a fair amount SOAPBOX: of consideration as it will be one of the highlights of your amateur radio SOAPBOX: career. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: Having said that, doing one of these is no small feat and requires a ton of SOAPBOX: work from all the members of the group. Our group consisted of myself K8FC, SOAPBOX: Dick W0RAA, Phil N0KE and Marty K2PLF. We arrived in San Jose Costa Rica SOAPBOX: on November 21st after many delays. I spent over 12 hours in the Dallas SOAPBOX: airport waiting for a plane that seemed never to appear. We all met up in SOAPBOX: Dallas and had a great chance to get acquainted. For me, Marty Green K2PLF SOAPBOX: was the only one of our group I had not met yet so we had a great time SOAPBOX: getting to know each other. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: We finally got on a plane and landed in San Jose Costa Rica about 11 pm in SOAPBOX: the evening. We were met by our host TI5KD and driven back to the station. SOAPBOX: Boy I gotta tell you if Keko (TI5KD) would have dropped us off on the way, SOAPBOX: we would still be looking for a way out of the maze ! After arriving at SOAPBOX: Keko's home and station, we exchanged some pleasantries and we all passed SOAPBOX: out in our fine accommodations. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: You could not ask for anything better for a contest environment. The SOAPBOX: station operating positions are in a small apartment complete with a couch, SOAPBOX: chairs, wet bar, shower, fridge etc. The sleeping arrangements are in an SOAPBOX: adjoining apartment not more than 20 feet away. The station consisted of SOAPBOX: virtually any antenna you would like to use from 160 through UHF. It would SOAPBOX: take a month to describe the antennas and their supports. Suffice it to say SOAPBOX: they were plentiful and all working. Keko had an amazing home brew quad SOAPBOX: that worked on 10,12,15,17 and 20meters, and was pretty much the star antenna SOAPBOX: for the contest on those bands (not 12 & 17 of course). SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: There were a couple of HF transceivers available but usually the op's bring SOAPBOX: their own flavor of transmitter. I had brought along my newly constructed SOAPBOX: K2 and made over 700 qso's with that radio barefoot. If you have not had an SOAPBOX: opportunity to use a K2 you are missing out on a pleasant experience. I am SOAPBOX: using this little gem now in all my daily ham activities including chasing SOAPBOX: those elusive 160 contacts. In addition to the HF transceivers we had a SOAPBOX: number of good working amplifiers ready to use including an Alpha 89. There SOAPBOX: were bandpass filters and shorting stubs available for use as well. The SOAPBOX: electricity is the same as the US (120 / 240 VAC) and the equipment held up well SOAPBOX: in the long haul. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: Keko's wife Sophia, provided the sustenance for us each day we were there. SOAPBOX: She is a fine cook and paid attention to when we operated and her schedule SOAPBOX: was timed perfectly to feed all the hungry ops when they got off their SOAPBOX: shift. She would also pay attention to not preparing dishes that would SOAPBOX: normally make you tired after eating so that you could remain sharp. Sophie SOAPBOX: is a ham as well and understands the environment. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: We worked over the next few days to arrange the equipment and antennas for SOAPBOX: the final contest configuration. We needed to make all the antennas SOAPBOX: available to either station at any time so this took some special switching SOAPBOX: magic that Phil and I concocted, not pretty but totally functional. We had SOAPBOX: a lot of little glitches but worked through each and every problem as they SOAPBOX: came along. I was in charge of getting the network and logging computers SOAPBOX: set up. Phil and Marty having had the experience at TI5N before were in SOAPBOX: charge of bands and logistics. We had a couple of rf glitches but all in SOAPBOX: all it worked fine. Keko had just installed a DSL connection and as yet it SOAPBOX: was not hooked up. I took care of interfacing the DSL with the station as SOAPBOX: well as distribution to the compound in general. This provided the needed SOAPBOX: access to the internet in real time. During the entire weekend we used the SOAPBOX: VE7CC AR cluster to feed our telnet enabled WriteLog equipped stations. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: Writelog was the contest software of choice and provided us with flawless SOAPBOX: logging and networking during the entire experience. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: We had decided upon an operating schedule of three hours on and three hours SOAPBOX: off for each operator for the entire 48 hours. We had no spare ops so we SOAPBOX: all had to pull our share of the load. This worked out perfectly and we SOAPBOX: were pretty sharp in each team relieving the other at the appointed time. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: Let me say a little about band conditions and propagation. First off, Costa SOAPBOX: Rica is only 9 degrees above the equator and they are going into their SOAPBOX: summer. This is the introduction of the "dry season" in Costa Rica. When SOAPBOX: we arrived and even as we were landing, the wind was blowing the airplane SOAPBOX: all over the sky and we were pretty much beat up when we finally hit the SOAPBOX: runway. The wind continued to blow that entire week and into the weekend. SOAPBOX: As a matter of fact, the first two days we were there it got down into the SOAPBOX: 40's at night which was un-heard of and set a few records. This raised all SOAPBOX: sorts of radio noise as you can imagine, and the power lines in our SOAPBOX: neighborhood were no exception. We had a ton of noise on 40 and higher SOAPBOX: frequencies. 80 and 160 were rendered pretty much useless because of these SOAPBOX: conditions. Finally the noise started to abate a bit but still posed a SOAPBOX: major problem for the entire contest weekend. Propagation from Costa Rica SOAPBOX: is great for JA, US and Europe with only about a 60 degree shift in azimuth SOAPBOX: from Asia to Europe. We had a fixed TH6 that provided us with South America SOAPBOX: and Africa. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: The contest was wild, as I said earlier I had never been on the other end of SOAPBOX: a pile up. When conditions were right, you would hear Europe and US at the SOAPBOX: same level and it provided a challenge to sort out the calls during the run. SOAPBOX: We would run the stations and open up on 20, 15 and 10 meters and shift over SOAPBOX: to 40 and 80 later on in the evening. We would intersperse some 160 until SOAPBOX: we could not stand the noise any more. The JA openings were absolutely SOAPBOX: predictable and we were there waiting for them on all the low bands. Keko SOAPBOX: has an 80 meter dipole at 150' that worked wonders on Asia and Japan. What SOAPBOX: a thrill to hear the JA's, VU's, DU's etc loud and eager on 80 meters. SOAPBOX: Think of that, how would you like to have armchair copy on Asia at sunrise SOAPBOX: on 80 meters. Proper planning and band changing (thanks to Phil and Marty's SOAPBOX: experience) really paid off for us in the long run. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: I would be happy to provide any answers to questions you may SOAPBOX: have about Costa Rica in general ( to the best of my experiences) and SOAPBOX: specifically to the TI5N station itself. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: Good luck to all, and if you get a chance to go on an expedition do it you SOAPBOX: will not be disappointed. In addition, for almost turnkey operation of a SOAPBOX: fine contest station I highly recommend the TI5N station owned and operated SOAPBOX: by TI5KD. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: CUL es 73's SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: /joe k8fc SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: W0RAA Comments: SOAPBOX: Being my first time to operate as DX in the CQWW CW I was really awed by the response that I got when I SOAPBOX: sent out my first "CQ TI5N" during the contest. It was, to say the least, mind boggling, to hear the response. SOAPBOX: TI5N is a great contest station and TI5KD (Keko) and his XYL, TI2IY (Sophia) are excellent hosts and provided SOAPBOX: great accomodations and meals. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: If you ever get an opportunity to operate from outside the borders of the US, do so. SOAPBOX: It will be the highlight of your amateur career. I will never forget it. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: W0RAA SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: K2PLF Comments: SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: From K2PLF - This was my second year In Costa Rica for the CQWW CW contest. We again were the guests of our SOAPBOX: wonderful hosts Keko, TI5KD and Sophia, TI2??. As the song goes, the second time around was even better. SOAPBOX: Keko helped us get setup for the contest and Sophia kept us well fed with home cooked delights. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: The most significant factor at TI5N is the multitude of good antennas. We were able to run the two stations SOAPBOX: high power with no interference to one another. Conditions seemed pretty good and we had no trouble holding a SOAPBOX: frequency and keeping a good run going. The team worked well together and we held to a three on three hour SOAPBOX: off operating schedule with no problems. Having another operator or two would have been nice. We probably SOAPBOX: should have had all of the computers using the latest Version of XP, as this would have saved considerable SOAPBOX: setup time. I can't wait to go back. See you in the pileups. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: N0KE Comments: SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: I totally reiterate Joe K8FC's comments. SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: Phil N0KE SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: SOAPBOX: CATEGORY-OPERATOR: MULTI-OP CATEGORY-TRANSMITTER: TWO CATEGORY-BAND: ALL CATEGORY-POWER: HIGH CATEGORY-MODE: CW CATEGORY-ASSISTED: ASSISTED CATEGORY-STATION: FIXED <--- end highest rate 187
View complete log: http://cqww.com/publiclogs/2006cw/ti5n.log
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