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CQ WW DX CW 2015 RA9USU story


Story from
RA9USU’s facebook page

 

After receiving a several questions from fellow hams I decided to write a little article on CN2AA MS operation.

 

First of all I thank everyone, who is keeping a track on the latest achievements of our Team — it is always a good to have a healthy competition.

 

First time I operated from CN2AA was in CQ WW SSB 2014 also in MS. Since then many things had changed (hardware mostly) and I am happy to be invited again this year. There were huge competition in MS expected, mostly from the Russian teams spread around the World. Some of them you already know (P33W), some of them was newly created ED8X, EF8R. While we do respect all other guys, who competing from European home stations, we still think that World title could be only won from the three-pointer area, therefore the strongest competitors to us were the MS stations from nearby Canary Islands.
Cliff 30m ASL home for 3 towers
When I arrived Wednesday, most of the antennas was already up from the SSB portion of the contest and we had to «just» do all beverages, all fixed wire quad antennas, one tower on the hotel rooftop with 20m monobander and set the complete station from scratch.

 

Yuri RL3FT and Sergey RU3RQ were starting to set up all communication/commutation lines, along with unsealed computers, radios and amplifiers while I immediately rushed to the top hill, where Alex RN2FA and Ruslan UA3ASZ were assembling 3el Quads for 40m fixed to Europe. Later that evening we tried also to finish with 40m pointed to NA antenna, but it’s just didn’t wanted to tune properly to decent SWR ratio. Fiberglass boom was also pretty much way to flexible and couldn’t withstand the tension of the wires. Sunset is pretty quick here and after a few hours it was almost impossible to see anything so we came back to the shack and join the guys in the shack.
6 over 6el Yagi 15m-10m fixed to NA
Very same evening Ruslan UA4Z arrived and we had a nice chat among the friends, getting ready for next day.

 

Next morning we continued to assemble the rest of the antennas. As it became obvious to us, that boom strength wasn’t sufficient enough, we decided to completely rebuild the pole from three different ones by using only thick parts. After an hour or so, finally, antenna was up and we tried to tune it. Spend another two hours there moving the elements around trying to find the best tune and finally got 100 ohms for three element quad, which is pretty unusual. After balancing the load we had a perfect 1:1.4 SWR for that one. Along with the tuning we installed quarter wave vertical for 80 meters right between two NA quads for 80 and newly raised three element EU quads for 40, suspended from the rope, tightened between two towers and hosting EU quads. At least a vertical antenna immediately fall into place and showed 1:1.2 SWR. Nice. This is a multiplier antenna and we need to take a good care of it.
Towerman RN2FA
During that time Sergey UA0SC and Roman RN5M were raising new tower on the hotel’s roof and fixed the 5 element rotatable 20m Yagi on top, while Ruslan UA4Z were unrolling the beverages and run cables to feeding points from the shack. Sergey RX3APM was helping to UA3ASZ and RN2FA on the hill when I went to help Ruslan with beverages. Sticking those fiberglass poles in to the solid ground was very tricky, so we decided to finish the job next day.

 

Friday morning was very exciting… we had almost everything ready and everyone of us knew what to do. Me and Ruslan UA4Z went to finish the beverages and, while we had a breakfast, I pre-cut several stl rods for the fiberglass poles. We quickly hammered those rods into ground and just landed fiberglass poles on top of the sticking parts. Every 50 meters or so. Few hours later all beverages were done and we walked back to shack. Two more beverages had to run along the beach for EU and one from the hill to US. Ruslan, Alexey and Sergey took care of those ones.

 

Last antenna to go up was 2 element quad for 40 meters pointing South. From the previous experience we had a very hard time working all those African multipliers, which is usually blocked by the hills behind us to the South, so we made an extra beverage for Middle East and India multipliers at 90 degrees along with 180 degrees beverage for Africa.

 

After sunset we had a short dinner and quickly went to sleep, all but Yuri and Sergey, who were still working on the setting up the station.

 

Alarm set for 23:15…

 

Almost couldn’t sleep… preparation were exhausting and exciting at the same time.

 

After quick sleep (for about three-four hours) we all went to shack to find out that everything is almost ready, but we had only one band to run on — 80 meters, at least that what Yuri said. So, we decided to start on 80 and hunt the multipliers on higher bands. During next few hours everything else was finally connected and real fun begins.

 

Just to let you understand the setup of the CN2AA multi-single station I will walk you a bit thru to it…
RUN - CQ operators
There is a four radios with four operators running the station (RUN). Two of those operators listening to the same frequency, this allows you to hear two different directions by two different operators and picking up two different call signs at the same time. Sometimes based on the listening habits of operator we had a mismatched signal tones — sorry for that. Finally we tracked both CQ station tones to the same level with the third one and locked the radios. Two other stations (S&P) are picking up what is leff on the band (in-band) around your main transmitter’s frequency.

 

Switching and interlocking the stations is so sophisticated, that every operator can choose any antenna for the band to transmit and receive by «stealing» any antenna from the multiplier station and vice-versa. You can transmit and receive into three different directions, if you want, and by clicking just one button choose which one you are using. Surely at times S&P station is stealing not only your antenna (giving you his own at the moment, so you didn’t left deaf), but also locking you on transmitting anything. With the small obscene messages you quickly inform your fellow team member, that he has to stop «sleeping» on the transmit key and give it back to you. Sometimes it’s getting a good sport to overrun in speed your CQ partner by picking the same call and reply to it faster than he does.
Shack
This time we also had a four multiplier stations. Some people may ask, why do you need four stations when you have a 10 minutes rule and could not use more than one station? Well it’s very simple. While two guys, running in low band multipliers with both stations interlocked — other two guys looking for the multipliers on the high bands and putting stations they could hear quicker with the thinner pile ups etc. to the band map. So, when two of us on MULT station see, that there is no more «easy» workable multipliers left- we just tell the other two guys start working their band. It is still one signal at the time on one band, but four people getting ready to call the multipliers… later in the contest, when there is not much multipliers left to work — only two guys are hunting them. But for the last five hours all radios at CN2AA was taken.

 

Running station operator can see the band we need the incoming station on, and then ask them to move to the current multiplier band. After a successful contact (if the multiplier band is wiped out clean from all the other mults) — we ask the station to move to another band, which starts new 10 minutes of multiplier hunt. WinTest allows you to see how many minutes left on which band for the multipliers, which makes is quite easy to predict your MULT station operating band and boost your multiplier count.

 

Regarding running techniques- it is mostly run all you can, as fast as you can. It was also fun to follow the comparison chart with our 2013 record — very motivating experience to push the limits higher. Least to say — we were 2,4 million points below previous record 30 hours later in the contest (about 1000 contacts less), but every one of us were trying to push those red graphs back to the top line as hard as we could. So at one point it’s just gave up fighting with us and completely went green four hours before the end of the contest.
Never give up!
Sure, after log checking total score will be lower than now, but we still managed to get a little bit higher result than in 2013, one lesson learned — never give up. Never.

 

During the contest we lost for few hours some of our antennas, those 300 meters cable runs are not that reliable when it comes to PL to PL connectors getting sea salt and rust. But tracking the SWR meter really helps — you always know where to run next to fix your cable. At one point we lost EU beverage, but quickly run to the furthest end and fixed that resistor connection, must be wave damage. Unlike last year’s MM effort we didn’t lost half of the antennas this year, so in general it was fun and relaxed competition.

 

The only bad thing — is that we had to disassemble all the towers and antennas after the contest. So…

 

Next morning after the contest, almost all of us started disassembly of the entire shack. Radios, amplifiers, cables, cables, cables, towers, antennas and

everything related to our presence.

 

Want to imagine the amount of work to be done in next two days after the contest? Check out the list of the antennas used by CN2AA on the temporary base from the hotel we staying at:

 

Hill (70m ASL) home for 4 towers:

 

Tower 1 (12m): 5el Yagi 10m rotary
Tower 2 (24m): 2el Quad 10m & 15m & 20m rotary (RQ-23)
Tower 3 (36m): 2el Quad 80m fixed NA & Half wave dipole sloping to NA 160m
Tower 4 (24m): 4el Quad 10m, 15m and 3el 20m (RQ-43) 3el Quad 40m fixed NA @ 15m
Between towers: 3el Quad 40m fixed EU @ 21m & 1/4 Vertical 80m
Hill
Cliff 30m ASL home for 3 towers:
Tower 1 (24m): 5el Yagi 20m rotary 2el Quad 40m fixed to South
Tower 2 (24m): 6 over 6el Yagi 15m fixed to NA 6 over 6el Yagi 10m fixed to NA
Tower 3 (24m): 5 over 5 over 5el Yagi 10m fixed to EU (top rotary) 5 over 5el Yagi 15m fixed to EU (top rotary)
Cliff
Hotel rooftop (15m ASL) home for 1 tower
Tower 1 (15m): 5el Yagi 20m rotary

 

On the beach
4 SQ 80m
4 SQ 40m
Beach
beverage EU 350m preamp 15db
beverage NA 230m preamp 15db
beverage 220* 250m preamp 15db
beverage 90* 200m preamp 15db
beverage 180* 250m preamp 15db

 

Hope that this story clears some of the questions on the ability of MS station work more multipliers that some of the MM stations (well, having two radios on the single band is NOT the same as having four of them with four operators instead of two, plus having two multiplier station for that band when it comes to working that band multipliers).

 

See you all guys next contest.
Dima RA9USU.

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