Adventures in ham radio

WW7D/M does the 7QP

The 2017 7QP was held from Saturday, May 6, 1300 UTC to Sunday, May 7, 0700 UTC. This was my 7th consecutive year running the 7qp. This year, like last, I did the 7QP without a driver. (The four years before that, my buddy Dave, drove while I operated.)

My route this year was slightly tweaked from what I did last year, basically roving through 29 counties, mostly in Idaho. Again, I roved in my trusty 1988 Toyota Pickup (with over 240,000 miles). Again, I used three homebuilt screwdriver antennas and a 10m whip. Again my primary rig was a Kenwood TS-480SAT with a Yaesu FT-857D as a backup. In fact, this 7QP was remarkably similar to last year’s adventure, include similar weather, including thunderstorms about the same time and place.

The equipment rack
The equipment rack including a TS-480, two FT-857s, a TYT-9800, and a 2m brick

I posted my schedule elsewhere before the contest. The 7QP rules were changed for 2017 so that APRS could be used by mobile stations with position reports only. My little ARPS box worked well for about half the contest. Then it quit…perhaps I accidentally unplugged it from USB power or powered it down by setting something on top of its power button.

Radio heads and cockpit information equipment
Radio heads (Top to bottom: TS-480, FT-857, and a TYT-9800) and cockpit information equipment (Tomtom GPS for navigation, Garmin eTrex for UTC clock and elevation)

I left about 10am on Friday morning for the 13+ hour trip to Driggs, ID. A screwdriver on front of the truck gave me some practice worked SOTA activations while en route. By the time I arrived, got checked in, organized things for the next morning, I hit the sack after midnight with the alarm set for 6am. The next morning, I was sitting on the end of “State Line Road”, simultaneously in Teton County, WY and Teton County, ID by 6:45 am. I set up the three screwdriver antennas and did some other pre-contest preparation for about 15 minutes and joined the contest a few minutes after the 7am (MDT or 1300z) start of the party.

View from the IDLEM/IDCLA line
View from the IDLEM/IDCLA line

Twenty meters was in pretty poor shape at the start, so I began on 40m CW for most of my stay in WYTET/IDTET. At 1330, I tried 20m again with only a few QSOs before moving to 40m phone. Twenty meters blew open about 20 minutes later while I was in motion through IDTET. For the next two hours, I switched between 20m and 40m, CW and SSB to equally good effect.

The antenna farm
The antenna farm: a front-mounted screwdriver with cap hat for 40m (day) & 80m (night), right rear screwdriver with small cap hat for 20m (day) & 40m (night), left rear screwdriver for 15m (day) and 20m (night), center left 10m whip, roof mounted 6m whip, roof mounted 2m whip and roof mounted 2m APRS antenna.

I reached the IDLEM/IDCLA line about 1600z (some 25 minutes early!) and tried 15m for a few QSO. Really, I would only find one other small (regional) opening on 15m for the rest of the contest. Twenty meters was in great shape, in fact, I stayed way past my departure time by 25 minutes. I would never completely make up for this lost time until the end of the contest. It’s worked out because I reduced stops during low-yield parts of the contest. IDLEM/IDCLA was worth 140 QSOs. The next stop was on the IDBUT/IDJEF line that produced 48 QSOs in 16 minutes!

In motion through IDJEF, IDBNV, IDBIN, and IDBAN the QSO rate was a phenomenal 50/hour. At about 2015z, things slowed down considerably on 20m, and 40m wasn’t so hot; the QSO rate dropped to 16/hour for a couple of hours. Forty meters opened up sometime around 2230z, and by 0000z, the QSO rate was up to 48/hour as I headed north through Lincoln and then Blaine Counties. By 0200z, I was cruising through IDELM and the QSO rate picked up again to one QSO per minute, well into IDADA county.

At a scenic overlook pullover in IDTWI
At a scenic overlook pullover in IDTWI

At 0330z, I arrived at the IDADA/IDBOI county line, some 50 minutes behind schedule. My 25 minute stay on this line produced 60 QSOs, all on 80m CW, including QSOs with VT and CT stations in the NEQP. Forty minutes later, I hit my last stop on the IDCAN/IDGEM line for just a few minutes. I kept in motion through the final four counties IDPAY, IDWAS, ORMAL and ORBAK. I noticed in IDPAY that my front screwdriver (set up for 80m at night) was showing SWR changes. I figured the finger stock was beat to a pulp in the top of the screwdriver, so I switched to 40m for the last hour. In fact, a thumbscrew holding a shunt coil to ground had worked its way loose. If I had stopped to investigate, I would have had 75/80m for the last hour. Oh well.

I rolled into Baker City, OR, where I had motel reservations, just as the contest ended. It was good timing—I was really not wanting to be driving by then. The next morning, I activated a nearby SOTA summit before heading home to Redmond, WA.

Results

Even though was behind schedule for much of the party, I still hit all 29 planned counties. After removing duplicates, the log contained 723 CW QSOs and 136 phone QSOs for a total of 859 QSOs. (This is slightly down from the 750 CW QSOs and 130 Phone QSOs from my solo effort last year). Here is the distribution of QSOs by band and mode:

Band
CW
Phone
80
109
5
40
218
50
20
379
81
15
17
0
Total
723
136

Here is the breakdown of QSOs by activated county:

County
QSOs
IDADA 61
IDBAN 16
IDBIN 37
IDBLA 31
IDBNV 13
IDBOI 30
IDBUT 32
IDCAM 14
IDCAN 15
IDCAS 7
IDCLA 89
IDELM 61
IDFRE 26
IDGEM 6
IDGOO 13
IDJEF 80
IDJER 12
IDLEM 72
IDLIN 39
IDMAD 41
IDMIN 5
IDPAY 24
IDPOW 19
IDTET 35
IDTWI 19
IDWAS 11
ORBAK 16
ORMAL 12
WYTET 23

In all, 335 unique calls were worked. (Slightly better from 329 last year). Here are the top stations worked by number of QSOs and counties:

Call
QSOs
Counties
N6MU
27
22
K6SRZ
18
16
W0BH
15
9
NA6O
12
12
WA6KHK
11
11
N2MM
11
10
K5KPE
11
10
NX6T
11
9
K7UM
10
5

Total multipliers were 59 (up from 52 last year). This included 48 states, all but NE and (oddly enough) ID, six VE provinces (AB, BC, NB, ON, QC, & SK), and five DX entities (DL, HA, I, JA, OM). Thus, 723 CW QSOs and 136 Phone QSOs the claimed score is:

59*(723*3 + 136*2) = 144,019.

(Shortcut to this post.)

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Comments on: "WW7D/M does the 7QP" (3)

  1. Mike Hohmann said:

    Fantastic results! Congrats!

  2. Darryl, awesome job as usual! Think I only worked you once this year though, however I was only able to operate 9 hours this year….family thing…long story. See you down the log! 73 de KK7YC Ronnie

  3. Mike…thank you!

    Ronnie, yes, one SSB QSO in the log. I didn’t do very much CQing on SSB, because the bands are so crowded when open. Most of the time I do a quick sweep of the SSB portion of a band and work other folks calling CQ. Perhaps I’ll catch you during the Salmon Run or from a SOTA summit.

    Darryl

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