Several months ago, I bounced an idea off Ben (NN9S) and Tymme (K9TYM) — why not get together for some sort of radio operating event? I reviewed the contest calendar and suggested the Indiana QSO Party, a laid back twelve hour contest on May 7th. Tymme has a technician license, but has not had much chance to play with HF, while Ben recently got this extra ticket, but has not taken part in many contests. Not that I have much more experience, but I have been around other people who do know what they are doing in contests, and hopefully, I’ve learned from them.
So, for the last few months, we have been scheming and setting in motion all the logistics to make this event happen. As a first step, we agreed to operate from Tymme’s house near Bloomington, Indiana. There is a lot of land around the house and some tall trees (although, not as many as last week, prior to the storm that sent one through the roof of Tymme’s cottage). We took stock of our equipment and decided that we could probably put three rigs on the air at once, maybe more if we had more participants.
So, here is the plan (after next week, we can see how close we came, and where Murphy sent us in a different direction): Some equipment for this event was ordered and shipped directly to Tymme’s, things like the G5RV antennas, switch boxes, and extra coax. Conveniently, we justified the cost of these items by thinking that we’ll use them again. I’ve also shipped my main station to Tymme’s in a few boxes via UPS. It’s cheaper than flying them out as luggage, and probably safer as well. I will fly out to Chicago on the evening of Thursday, May 5th, pick up a rental car, and catch some Z’s at a hotel near O’Hare. The next morning, I’ll be up early, drive to Ben’s and load the car with his goodies. If anyone else from Chicago wants to come, we can pile them into the car, and/or tie them to the roof, trunk or fenders. Then, it’s a classic road trip down to Bloomington. On the way, we cross back over the time zone, ending up on Eastern Time.
Friday will be set up day, the big items being hanging the antennas, running the feedlines, setting up the workstations and installing the logging software (N1MM) at each workstation. The workstations also need to be networked together to share data in realtime during the contest. Later in the day, we should have some time to review the rules and strategy for the contest and to test the equipment on the air.
Saturday is the day of not only the Indiana QSO party, but several others including the 7th area call party, the New England QSO Party, the SKCC sprint, and the Italian Amateur Radio (ARI) contest. The Indiana event doesn’t kick off until noon, so we can work on our contest style for a bit using one of our personal call signs to make contacts.
At noon, we’ll go on the air with up to three transmitters at once. Although everything is subject to change, we think the configuration will be as follows. Position 1: Kenwood B2000 at 100W to orthogonally oriented G5RV antennas via an LDG 100 Pro II tuner. 2: Kenwood TS450 at 100W to a low horizontal buddy pole configured as a 40M NVIS antenna, possibly switching to a higher 40/20 dipole; this position will use the TS-450′s internal tuner. 3: Icom 7200 at 100W to a high Alpha-Delta DX-EE 40/20/15/10 multiband dipole, possibly switching with an orthogonally oriented dipole via an LDG Z100 tuner; 4: Yaesu 817 QRP spotting radio, to a 40/20/10 end-fedz antenna.
We are hoping to operate the entire twelve hours of the contest. With strategy and logistics largely addressed, we are now turning to more important matters such as what will eat during the event? Mother Bear’s Pizza sounds likely on Friday night and a trip to the Runcible Spoon for breakfast on Sunday. During the event, we are considering putting on a pot of soup plus finger foods.