Sponsored by HDXCCthe Hoosier DX and Contest Club

2010 Soapbox

From ARRL Indiana Section Newsletter (from our SM W3ML): Indiana QSO Party sponsored by the Hoosier DX and Contest Club (HDXCC) is over for another year. It seems that from what I am hearing the propagation was not at its best for most of us to make a great number of contacts, while others may have been luckier and racked them up. Whichever was the case for you, I hope you enjoyed working the QSO Party as much as I did.  It won’t be long before they publish the results from this year, so be patience and understand that it takes a lot of hard work to confirm all the entries and tabulate the scores for those that did submit a log. The HDXCC does a great job handling this contest and I would like to simply say thank you for doing another outstanding job again this year.  Your dedication to handle all the work is appreciated by all of those that participated in the Indiana QSO Party.

AA1KS (Maine) - Would have liked to work more CW but very strong QRM from stations trying to reach me from other states. I am using these INQP contacts to apply for Worked All Indiana Counties Award. 73, Rich AA1KS

AB9LE/m (northwestern counties) - I had lots of fun again this year, but the mobile setup was not performing as well.  I have to big "to-do" list for next time! John AB9LE

AE8M/m (southeast counties) - This was a fun contest to operate mobile, but today I am very tired.  While the weather forecast was ominous, I experienced no more than 10 drops of rain after the beginning of the contest.  I operated in 9 counties including county line operations at Jefferson/Switzerland and Shelby/Rush.  I park to operate and 9 counties seems to be my limit.  I worked 33 IN counties and 29 states/provinces. Thanks to all who called.  Special thanks to the following for 4 or more Q's: N8II(9), N4JF(8), WA3HAE(7), NS9I(6), W0BR(6), K9WX(5), N0LY(5), NW6S(5), W9OO(5), WB8JUI(5), AK9F(4), K8JQ(4), KB9OWD(4), N9LF(4), NN9K(4),W9MSE/M(4), W9OG(4). I used 2 antenna mounts.  The mount in the center of the roof is a Lakeview super quad mag mount with a sheet of aluminum taped to the car roof to form a big capacitor with the roof. The other mount is a permanent Hershey kiss mount in the center of the trunk lid.  The antennas were Lakeview Hamsticks.  This time I used separate 80M and 75M Hamsticks which was a big improvement over trying to use a single Hamstick for both.  The rig was a K2 with the 100W amp and auto tuner in the trunk. John AE8M

AK9F (multi-op Perry County) - This was one of the most difficult contests we've had from our Perry County farm. We were lucky to get all our antennas deployed before the rain hit. And what rain it was....we were on the North end of the huge weather system that hammered TN and KY. We had nearly constant tornado watches, flash flood warnings and some torrential rainfalls.... We had many thunderstorms come through our QTH and intense QRN but managed to maintain fairly good rates. 80 meters was the most difficult with the noise continually S-9 plus. We understand that many stations called us that we just could not hear. We operated almost the full 12 hours, but got on just a bit late because of a computer glitch. Thanks to all who braved the noise and worked us. Howard AK9F (with K9CS and K9NR)

K9DUR (aka W9UUU Vigo County) - A number of technical difficulties kept me from getting on from the planned location (WVARA Club Station #1), so I ended up operating from home, by myself, with my less than optimum antenna system. It was well after 3pm before my 1st contact on 40m (1939 UTC). Since my purpose was to hand out bonus points (& Q's) to stations participating in the INQP & not to build score for myself, I decided to skip 20m & go straight to 40m. Tried running CQ for the 1st hour or so. That produced a handful of Q's, but I found I was more productive in S&P mode. Ended up switching back & forth, but probably spent 75% of the time in S&P. 40m was good, but 80m was lousy here, mainly due to my antenna. My dipole is down at the moment, so all I have is the Gap Titan DX, which is not all that effective on 80m. Bottom line: 11 Q's on 80m & 49 Q's on 40m for a total of 60 Q's with 38 unique calls. Ended up working WN9O/m in 11 different counties! Man, he had a good signal. Ray, K9DUR, Vigo County

K9IG (Johnson County) - I had around 15K in points - log will go in soon. Greg K9IG

K9MI (Madison County) - Madison County was well represented this year. My cousin, my age died and they had a wake for him Saturday, so I made sure they we're setup at the club and just worked a few from home. Rough day Mike K9MI

K9NN (Marion County) - I had a great time in this year's INQP operating from Mike Wetzel's (W9RE) station.  Operating for about 7 hours with about 650 QSO's and 130K points in the Single Op, High Power class. Thanks to all of the mobile/portable stations for their efforts and a BIG thanks to Mike and Ann for their hospitality. Dale K9NN

K9WX (Benton County) - I reached 3 conclusions after analyzing last years results: I needed something other than my portable vertical antenna to improve my ability to work Indiana stations, especially mobiles.  I purchased an MFJ push-em-up mast which became the support for my vertical (a 23 foot wire and an SGC 237 coupler) and added an Alpha Delta multiband dipole.  The top of the dipole, hung as an inverted V, was at about 27 feet and I got great signal reports from Indiana stations and stations from the surrounding states.  I made a point to check back with mobiles on a regular basis in order to work them again when they changed counties.  I also concluded I needed to spend more time on phone in order to increase my mults. My score last year (for 11.5 hours of op time) was 65K so I am very pleased with this year's results.  The number of counties I worked suggests we had good activity again this year.  I suspect N9LF will have his hands full as the logs come in. Tim K9WX Benton County

KJ9C/m (north central counties) - Weather where I was wasn't as bad as predicted, overcast all day with only 3 or 4 hours of rain, some drizzle, and not too warm. Not very many static crashes until late.... I hope your weather was even better. Managed to activate  all 22 counties. I found propagation to be rather shaky early on..... and 40 meters was short to inside Indiana all day long. Even late in the evening I was working stations only a few counties away as well as down state on 40. Eighty meters didn't get going early on as I expected, even though I tried it right away....  it was an hour  before making the first QSO on 75 meters, and almost five hours before I could raise anybody on 80 CW.  How was propagation at your end? Not as many QSOs as last year, but I found a LOT more SSB activity.... in fact, for the first time in ANY QSO party I made over 100 phone contacts. Mel KJ9C

KK9V (Johnson County) - Well my weekend didn't go as planned (it never does) so I only made about 30 QSOs.  Mike KK9V

KM9X and KB9MGI (mobile in south counties) - KM9X and KB9MGI ran together mobile as scheduled, and was really better weather than forecast. Minor antenna problem on 20 m, but not a problem as the band was not good anyway. We ran 15 counties, and made over 275 contacts. All on SSB. Almost all on 40m.  Worked several of the INQP stations and mobiles.. We ran the INQP freq, the MARAC contest freq and the county hunter freq for those needing the counties. As we both worked everybody, we would both have the same score. Not planning to send in logs, we ran so there was the activity for INQP and we picked up a lot of counties for our county awards. My second attempt at mobile run, will do that again. KM9X Dan and KB9MGI Judy

N8II (West Virginia) - Thanks for the efforts of the mobiles; there was enough activity to make it a really fun QP at least until the sun went down; then the /M activity really seemed to nose dive and I was pretty pooped, so went QRT around 0215Z. The county coverage of the state was outstanding! I think I only missed 4 counties overall! 75 phone was not very active I guess due to the high QRN, but I could pretty much hear all who called easily. Compared to other larger states, the activity level was really FB! I worked about as many IN stations on phone as I did GA in GQP in the same time span and I’d guess the population in GA is considerably higher.  I hope the driving wasn’t too hard. It took about 3 days for me to recover from a 500 mile trip in WVQP; most of the roads were fine, but Preston county was dreadful and a long trip. Jeff N8II

N8XX (Michigan) - Went to a hamfest in Cadillac, then to the QCWA (Olde Fogey's Club) banquet. Got home about 3 p.m., had to assemble my antenna because the wind blew apart the old one. Got on about 7 p.m., couldn't figure out N1MM idiosyncrasies, so send an e-mail to a couple reflectors, and logged by quill and papyrus. Several FB Ops told me the quirks of N1MM, so I copied all the (few) Q's into it, and took off contacting 7 land and 1 land on 20, and IN on 80/75. The antenna worked fine on 80 and 20, zilch on 40, but 40 wouldn't have worked into Indiana anyway at this time of night (or so I figured, so I didn't work very hard at fixing it in the dark. QRN was bad, a storm was over northern Indiana, but many (most) of the stations I called heard my 5 watts at least on the 2nd or 3rd time. Thanks to the Hoosier DX and Contest Club for hosting this FB party. Hank N8XX

N9FN/p (Benton/Fountain Co line) - The Dave's (N9FN/K9FN) had a good time between storms on the Fountain County and Warren County line. We parked the Ham Van within feet of the river, and with the rains we were fortunate that we did not end up in the river! Being on such low ground was of course not the best for RF in/out, but all things considered we did reasonably well. Most of the time 80 was S9+ with noise due to the storms, but it occasionally quieted down enough to make a few QSO's there as well. Dave N9FN I was the 80 CW op that heard your signal (barely)... the credit goes to the other Dave and his great portable radio van... he uses top notch gear, cuts no corners, and keeps things in a great state of repair... he is also capable of dealing quickly with anything Murphy may through our way... including such things as a backup radio, backup computer, more than enough coax and several antenna choices.  He is so well prepared that if there was an emergency in our area that needed communications assistance, he could be fully packed and on the road in a short time, and could quickly put TWO complete HF stations, plus VHF/UHF rigs on the air from the middle of nowhere.  As a further indication of how well he has designed the setup... after the INQP we were completely torn down, packed up, and pulling into McDonald's for a late snack just 40 minutes after our final QSO.  Dave really does it right, and I am honored to have been part of the team on several memorable QSO parties over the past few years. Dave K9FN

N9JF/m (southwest counties) - Safely home (in Illinois) at 11 pm CDT.  Miles driven: during INQP about 270.  The rest of the week; about 2300.  My rump is tired. Counties activated: SPE, WARK, SPE, DUB, PER, CRA, PER, DUB, SPE, DUB, PIK, DAV, KNO, SUL, CLA, PAR, FOU, VER.  Total contacts: no idea.  Band conditions: fair to awful. Was it fun?  Too soon to say…. Jim N9JF

N9NS (Hamilton County) - 20 meters was good but had a lot of QRM from the DX contest over in Europe.  40 meters was great with short and long skip.   Stations from Indiana all the way out to the West Coast were loud.  I didn't get on 80 much because 40 was so good and the QRN from thunderstorms was always bad.  I worked it just the last hour and most signals were weak and watery, both from the Midwest and farther out. Mike N9NS

N9OL/m (Ohio River counties) - Had a great day –  operated from counties VAN, WARK, SPE, DUB, GIB, and POS. Condx were a little rough at times, but had a lot of fun. John  N9OL  Evansville

W8ISH (Brown County) - I live in Marion county but was operating from a farm in Brown county.  Operating as single Op using 80 watts on battery power.  No packet.  We'll try that next time.  There were three of us from the Johnson County club at the same farm but operating from different areas on our own rigs and antennas.  That may be why none of us did that well points wise. The other ops were Steve Carmean K9DY and Steve Brown N9LC.  I thought about changing my name to Steve for the day but they wouldn’t' hear of it.  The farm is located 1/2 mile south of the railroad tracks after passing through Fruitdale.  But, we had a good time and definitely improved our ability to operate on portable power using tree strung and barn strung wire antennas. Jack W8ISH

W9IP (LaPorte County) - My measly three Q's were made from LaPorte county at the Bluhm County Park in Westville.  Peter W9IP

W9OG (Vanderburgh County) - We had quite a successful operation from the Red Cross office in Evansville. We operated two stations - one CW and one phone. The CW station used a 260' doublet at about 40' and the phone station utilized an 80m loop at about the same height. We had a number of visitors including some newly-licensed CAP cadets. Our phone station ran on 20 meters for quite some time picking up contacts with 7-Land and NE QPs. Eventually 20 filled up with stations from Europe (we were hearing many Italian, Dutch, Romanian and Bosnian stations at S9+) operating in the ARI International DX contest so we switched to 80 and even 15 (our CW station was on 40 most of the time so we stayed away from that band). We attempted to work as many Indiana counties as possible on 80 but even though we made contacts in various points of the state it just seemed that there weren't many IN stations on that band. Later the phone station had a good run on 40 meters when the CW station switched to 20m and 80m. I haven't looked over the CW log as yet but on the phone side we made about 310 Qs for approximately 41 Indiana counties and 45 states. Since we heard so many Europeans we went ahead and worked a few of them for a handful of DX contacts as well. We were also happy to have contacted both of the bonus stations! It appeared that everyone involved had a good time. I would like to personally thank the Hoosier DX and Contest Club for managing the INQP as well as everyone who participated. I would especially like to thank the mobile stations who went the extra mile (pun intended) to put as many counties on the air as possible! Only 364 days until the 2011 INQP...

W9TE/90 (Special event, Allen County) - To see a brief video containing images from the Fort Wayne Radio Club’s Indiana QSO Party special event station (W9TE/90), visit the club web page at or follow this YouTube link.

WB9CIF/m (south central counties) - Had trouble getting the mobile rig to key. Thought I had it fixed. Fought it all day Saturday. Trying lots of different things. They all would work for awhile. Finally in Paoli it died completely. So no counties after Orange. The key jack on the rig is either bad or possibly the trace for the shield on the PC board has cracked. It is a shield problem. No dits or dahs. Wiggle the connector and it would work for awhile. I even wrapped tape around the connector and pulled it tight sideways and wrapped the tape around the rig to get it to make connection. Each time Becky would hit a bump of any size it would quit working. Coming out of the Hardee's in Paoli Becky hit a BIG bump coming out of the parking lot back onto 150. That was the end. Mark WB9CIF

WN9O/rover (Northern counties) - The 2010 INQP was a lot of fun this year (despite the weather conditions). Again a BIG THANKS to Mel, KJ9C, and many others for helping with the publicity and organization of this contest.  Great job guys!! Don, W9IU, and I started at the 4 county point of Steuben, LaGrange, DeKalb and Noble.  We had portable antennas down each of the county roads as there were numerous NO TRESPASSING signs around the 4 farm fields and a few of the farmers came out to check us out.  They never got within 100 yards of us, but they were curious on what we were doing. We started on 40 & 20 and noticed 40 had a long skip.  Besides working W9THD on ground wave, the few counties we did work were primarily in SW Indiana.  After spending the first few hours at this point we went mobile through Whitley, Allen, Adams, and Wells counties until we hit the Blackford and Jay County line.  A quick setup of a 40 meter portable antenna was just what we needed and Don was off and running.  We stayed at this QTH for 45 minutes or so and moved onto our next location at the Grant and Huntington line where we setup two antennas (40 & 80). This new location was very exposing to us and we watched the dark clouds roll in and the rain come.  Tear down was messy and it reminded me that I should have a poncho for protection and a towel for the muddy shoes. Three of the portable sites we went to were dirt roads and the rain just made everything more complex. By the time it was dark, setup became more of a challenge.  The portable flag pole came in very handy and provided a fairly quick setup for us, since we were not hoisting antennas into trees. This is one of the first years Murphy was kind to us as we only had one antenna fail and it was noticeable before it went up.  We had another antenna to replace this one, so it was a plug and play to get it going. We used batteries provided by N9NS, WB9CIF and WO9Z (thanks guys!!). The additional batteries were great as we did not have any failures like last year. 20 Counties Activated... Kevin WN9O and Don W9IU

WT9U/rover (northeast counties) - Decided to try out the new Rover category this year for something different. I've had a 40' push up mast lying in the weeds for years. I found that if I used the top 30' I could easily push it up extended as long as I had a decent pivot point on the ground. I stuck a 2x4 across the roof rack of the mini van and mounted a pivot point (U) on a 1x8 that I could drive the rear wheel onto. I could bungee the mast against the 2x4 and then pull the 80/40/20 meter dipole up with a pulley. I used Google Maps and the satellite images to look at the various county lines I was wanting to operate from. When I got to the first two locations they were just fine but I had to move a mile further south at the Newton/Jasper line to find an area free of power lines. It took 15 minutes to set up the antenna and 15 minutes to tear it back down. I really need to play with the mast/antenna sometime before the next contest and make sure everything is working correctly. There were times where I felt the antenna wasn't working that well but it may just have been conditions. Couldn't quickly find a decent place to erect the mast at the Lake/Porter line so threw the three resonator Hustler mag mount on the roof and a 80m Hamstick. and sat. I pulled the Hustler down to move down the road. Since it was dark by the time I got to the Laporte/Starke line I continued with the mobile antennas. All told, 12 counties in the log. Sure would like to have done better. Guess I've got to be a bit more aggressive. Jim, WT9U/R

Summary - In terms of activity, our largest population county (Marion) has finally pulled into the lead with 12 fixed stations active. Lake County has 9 fixed and a rover. Tippecanoe shows 8 fixed stations and a mobile (where was W9YB? Even K9IU managed a few QSOs from IU in Monroe) Johnson County had 8 fixed stations on. Starke County shows 7 fixed stations active (including a couple of guys who live on county lines). Allen County shows six and a rover, while Madison had six and a mobile. Hamilton County (LOTS of population there) had five stations and a mobile. Ripley County had four and two mobiles. Hendricks had four and a mobile (lots of people there...) Other than Ripley county, fixed station activity from the southern part of the state was relatively low. Part of that is due to less dense population, I guess. Fortunately we had some mobiles and portables to help out down that way. Most will agree that propagation was not ideal, and weather hurt a lot of us. But I think everyone who made the effort also had fun! We had a record 228 logs turned in.

NEXT YEAR Look for a multi-multi class (multiple operators with multiple transmitters). Also there may be a school club competition if Carl K9LA and Vicky AE9YL can get the ball rolling on that. Mel KJ9C