ZM4T CQWW SSB 2012

CQWW SSB Contest October 27, 2012

This contest is always the big one of the year and attracts the most operators for the effort. There were a number of tasks to complete before the contest. Lee and Gary organized a team work day to organize the 80M and 40M loop antennas a few weeks prior. Attention to detail paid off and the complete antenna system was ready to go when the team arrived. Operating positions, radios and computers were set up the day before the contest. The coax junction distribution box is now permanently positioned at the rear of the operating positions and it is so easy to connect the permanent runs of coax between the antennas and the shack for the primary four antennas.

Holger – ZL3IO shovelling out the pileups on 10 metres

We have always had a question of whether the full wave loop or the full size quarter wave vertical is the better choice for 80M and 40M. Holger is a fan of the verticals and with a few contests we have proved there is little difference in actual operation. In fact the verticals may have the edge and seem to be used more. It is a luxury to be able to switch between the two antennas. The 40M vertical on top of the shack roof with the huge metal roof ground plane is amazing for what it does. Still, a project for the future is a 2 el yagi of some sort on 40M although Gary is leaning towards a 4 Square on the roof.

Holger ZL3IO’s 80M quarter wave Spider Pole vertical with only two radials also works very well and enables us to operate 80M effectively. He manages to erect the antenna in about a half and hour. It is very effective on this band.

A problem which has plagued us is the poor internet operation we have had into the metal clad shack. We have tried Wi-Fi LANs and also a USB Vodem to access cellphone coverage with mixed success. DX Cluster “dropout” when operating is frustrating. Wayne ZL2WG donated some CAT 6 cable and we now have a direct wire link into the shack. It works perfectly to tie into our Ethernet system and N1MM on the screens while operating.

Strategy
Saturday morning saw the team assemble for the usual pre-contest meeting. This year the emphasis was on accuracy as the contest judges will be harsh if any team steps out of line and we did not want to have our hard earned score devastated by errors. We also talked about better operating with more disciplined practices. We all are guilty of being less professional than we could be so that every last second counts. We all agreed that improvement was need and a set of written guidelines was tabled. Then the unexpected happened and from time to time we all slipped back into “Useless Op” mode. The rest of the team were always listening and a few notes were handed to the errant operator with great gales of laughter. It happened to several of us and made us realize the contest operating is not as easy as it looks and the op at the coalface needs to get rid of superfluous and silly expressions which waste time. Did the strategy work? We all noticed an improvement in our individual styles and as a result, the team improved it’s overall result this year. A few seconds shaved off each QSO allows another QSO to be squeezed in the same time.

Stan ZL2ST is a master at producing statistics on past contacts. He pointed out that we should be setting targets and tracking progress on last year’s charts. Stan has historical hourly charts, band charts and others which are of great help to make decisions such as when to rotate antennas and where to aim them. Lee ZL2AL produced the operator shift charts to select individual operator’s times.

We progressively pulled away from last year’s contest rate

After a cuppa we were into the 2012 CQWW SSB at 0000 UTC. We opened up on 10M and 15M as the start of our contest is mid day daylight in ZL. Both bands were running hot during the afternoon and our tracking showed that we were slowly pulling away from our 2011 effort. A few hours later and we were 300 QSOs up on last year. 2012 was shaping up to be a great year. The progression continued and by the end of the contest we were showing a raw score of 12,004,320. Errors, dupes, fatigued ops and the CQWW Judges will no doubt, reduce that score by several percent. It will still be out best effort to date. What was gratifying was the increased multipliers and significantly better QSO numbers on all bands. Holger rightly points out that multipliers are the key to high scores.

Sometimes you have to smile in wonder at how Murphy will strike! Mike ZL2CC recounts this story during the contest…….

Mike – ZL2CC wondering why he can’t get a pileup started on 20 metres

I spent over a hour trying to work up a pile-up with only 5 contacts logged. AND one of those was a dupe! I had tried to work a multiplier and was concerned that I had heard two ZL’s work him yet I couldn’t. Gary ZL2iFB was on next and as Gary took over, Mike ZL2MY, went to reset the antenna as I couldn’t work that area. Almost immediately Gary worked the multiplier and had a pile-up going. Bugga, I thought. It happens……then Mike returned to say that the antenna was actually 180 degrees out. It was pointing in the wrong way by 180 degrees. I would love to know who ‘set me up’ hi.

Equipment
2 x FT1000MPs. 1 x TL-922 amplifier. 1 x Tokyo Hi-Power HL 2.5Fx amplifier.
IBM T60 Laptops and N1MM Contest logger. Linear amplifiers are always suspect during a contest. OP-A was sporting Gary’s new Tokyo High Power HL2.5Fx with matching auto tuner. His new Elecraft SWR power meter display was a joy to watch and lit up like a Las Vegas casino sign. The setup worked beautifully with the FT1000MP. It was interesting to watch the run rate on the N1MM screen increase at the same rate of the temperature on the THP Amp readout screen. OP-B station used the FT1000MP MK5 driving a much modified TL-922 Amplifier. Previously, we had many problems with the Jennings Vacuum relays and when Lee changed them to the Gigavac brand the problems ceased. We believe in redundancy and had an Elecraft K3, KPA500 and FT1000MP available should something go wrong. We have I.C.E filters available for every band. There is little interference between stations that cannot be overcome and it didn’t seem to be a problem this contest except for amplifier wideband “spray noise”

Antennas
160m: quarter wave vertical in the trees, with about 20 radials up to a half wave long
80m: letterbox-shaped full wave loop suspended from the fir trees, top about 25m high, bottom only 2-3m off the deck and a full size quarter wave Spider Pole vertical
40m: quarter wave vertical on the tin roof of the barn, plus a full wave vertically polarized wire loop suspended from the trees
20m: 3 element homebrew Yagi about 15m up (hand rotated)
15m: 5 element Cushcraft Yagi about 12m up (hand rotated)
10m: 4 element rebuilt homebrew Yagi about 13m up (hand rotated) now with a 1:1 SWR!

N1MM Screenshot at the end of the contest. Our best score ever!

The last few hours of the were slow as we seemed to have shovelled out the bands. The end of the contest showed a raw score of 7396 QSOs, 12,004,320 million points and 153 Zone multipliers, well up on last year’s effort. We are well positioned for the next big contest on our calendar: CQWW CW at the end of November.

Thanks to Holger ZL3IO, Gary ZL2iFB, Stan ZL2ST, Wayne ZL2WG, Michael ZL2MY, Wayne ZL2WG, Mike ZL2CC,

73 de Lee ZL2AL

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Tips for the Casual DXer

Tips for the Casual DXer by Dan Romanchik KB6NU

If I was serious about DXing, I’d probably go out and buy a big linear and put a ten-element Yagi up on a 50-foot tower. I’m not all that serious about DX, though. I’m more of a casual DXer. My current station consists of an Icom IC-735 running between 50 and 100W into a 20m ground plane antenna. I work some DX when band conditions are good, and when they’re not, I’m happy working US stations.

I imagine there are a lot of casual DXers. Casual DXers have neither the time nor the money to build a true DX station and track propagation reports, but enjoy working foreign stations when they can. For these folks, I have a few tips:
Use the right band. In general, you should use the highest frequency band that’s open. If the 10m band is open, get on 10. You’ll get the most bang for your buck on 10 and 15 when they’re open, than you will on 20 or 17.

LISTEN! This is a corollary to “If you can’t hear ’em, you can’t work ’em.” I’ve worked many DX stations by just tuning around and pouncing on them when I hear them calling CQ. In many cases, I was the only one to return their call.
Listen even when the band seems to be quiet. Sometimes this means that the propagation is such that it’s skipping over the domestic stations and DX conditions are good. I remember one evening tuning around for a while, and almost giving up when I heard a Spanish station calling CQ with a 599 signal! I answered his call and he gave me a 579 report. We had a very nice QSO on a “dead” band.
Also, listen for really weak signals. I’ve worked a couple of DX stations whose signals were almost unreadable, but for one reason or another, were able to copy me just fine and gave me quite respectable signal reports.

Get a good set of headphones to help you dig out the weak ones. Be patient. If the DX station doesn’t come back to you on your first call, hang in there and try again. A lot of times, DX stations are interested in working as many stations as possible, meaning that they’ll rip them off one right after another. If they’re not extremely rare, or the band is not that active, the DX station will quickly work all the strong stations and after a while it will be your turn. If you tune away too quickly, you’ll never get your chance.
Hone your CW skills. It really is true that it’s easier to work DX on CW than on phone. There are several reasons for this. First, there are fewer stations clamouring for the attention of a DX station on CW. Second, weak CW signals are more readable than weak phone signals. This is important if you’re using 50-100W and even more important when you’re using a QRP rig. You hear a lot of DX stations operating at 20 wpm or more. While most of them are courteous and will come back to a station calling at 12 or 15 wpm, it’s very satisfying to be able to work them at the speed they’re calling CQ.
Work the contests. Contests can be intimidating, but your best chance for working new countries is during the DX contests. During these contests, you’ll not only hear a lot of DX stations on the air, they will be eager to work you. Making US contacts is, after all, how they score points.

You don’t have to work the entire contest, nor do you have to send in the logs for scoring. Figure out what information they’re expecting you to exchange with them, either by listening to several contest QSOs or by reading the rules in QST or on contesting.com, then just jump in and start working stations.
Another benefit of working contests is that it seems to help improve your code speed. My theory is that during a contest you’re concentrating more on the contest than you are on the code, and this helps break down the mental barriers we erect to increasing our code speed. Having given you these tips as if I were some kind of expert, I’d like to be able to report that I’m DXCC with a couple hundred countries under my belt and a boxful of DX QSL cards. Of course, I can’t, though. Since getting back on the HF bands in August 2002, I’ve logged maybe sixty countries and have only a handful of QSL cards. After all, if I knew the exact numbers and had QSLed a higher percentage of my DX contacts, I wouldn’t be a casual DXer anymore, now would I?

73 de Dan, KB6NU

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Tuning Elevated Radials

Tuning Elevated Radials for 1/4 Wavelength Verticals

Verticals for the low bands have classically been an electrical 1/4 wavelength long (tall) and require a radial system for the current return. The exception is the vertical dipole, which is now more commonplace since the development of the SVDA antenna system (see the write-up on K5K) and the new SIGMA series vertical dipoles from Force 12, Inc. When using a 1/4 wave vertical, laying 120 buried radials (as indicated in texts for decades) is rarely practical for most of us; therefore, a different, but efficient approach is needed.

The original concept was discovered in an I.E.E.E. article some years ago where the buried radial systems on commercial AM broadcast antennas were disintegrating over time. Adding elevated radials was shown to be extremely efficient and a practical solution for the current return. The concept was put into practice on our first trip to Jamaica for the A.R.R.L. competition as 6Y4A. It has been used on every installation since that time and on many other installations world-wide.

We had carefully selected the 6Y4A operating site, which was right on the ocean with several hundred feet of beach available for vertical antennas. One of the first antennas we installed was the 160 mtr vertical, followed by the 80 mtr verticals. Since we were on the ocean, we laid the radials on the “ground.” This consisted of a combination of rock, salt water and grass, all right adjacent to the ocean. Conventional “wisdom” would say we had done a wonderful job – hardly. We were unable to have anything close to a 1:1 VSWR, nothing less than 2:1 at best. The team looked to me for an overnight solution (didn’t get much sleep) and my memory was working well enough to recall the I.E.E.E. article. After not much sleep, we got up early and did an important test: when we added the hairpin match to increase the feedpoint up to 50 ohms, the VSWR got worse.

The feedpoint for a full size 1/4 wavelength vertical should be in the low 30 ohm range. Shortened verticals are lower, often in the 12-20 ohm range. We were using physically short verticals with efficient linear loading to load them to an electrical 1/4 wavelength, with an expected feedpoint of less than 20 ohms. When we added the hairpin to transform the feedpoint impedance higher towards 50 ohms for an acceptable match, the VSWR got worse. This meant the feedpoint was already above 50 ohms, which was caused by the added loss (resistance) of the ground. We now knew the problem and we quickly worked out the “gull wing” elevation technique for lifting the radials above ground. As soon as the radials were in the air, the feedpoint impedances became acceptable. It should be noted that even with the poor match (and high losses) we did use the verticals that night, with excellent performance, due to the proximity of salt water. After reducing the losses by elevating the radials, they were even better.

A procedure was developed over the next year to elevate and tune radials. The drawing above shows both the basic technique for elevating radials, as well as the height above ground for effectively de-coupling the radials from the ground.

Any questions or comments, please zip off an e-mail to us at force12info@fix.net.

73, Tom, N6BT

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How to Succeed At QSL’ing

1. How to Succeed At QSL’ing “Without Really Trying – by Ron Notarius WN3VAW

(Author’s Note: This article is based on a post to the DX QSL reflector in May 2002. It was updated for publication in the June 2002 issue of The WASHRag, the newsletter of the Wireless Association of South Hills, Inc. N3SH/WA3SH of Pittsburgh, PA. This update was done at the request of a QSL Manager who wanted to pass these tips on to individuals who needed assistance in sending and receiving QSL cards. Permission is granted to anyone who would like to reprint this for their own use or in their club newsletter providing the author [WN3VAW] and sources [DX QSL Reflector, WASHRag, and eHam.net] are properly credited.)

In recent years I’ve had very good success in getting my DX QSL cards answered, both from domestic and overseas managers and from the DX stations direct. High return QSL rates are sometimes difficult to achieve, especially amongst those amateurs who are just starting out and haven’t learned all of the “tricks” that sometimes help get one that rare or wanted QSL card when others fail at the task.

Several new amateurs asked for advice on how to succeed. While I don’t pretend to know all of the answers, here’s what I tell them:

1. Learn patience. Cards do not return overnight. Expect a minimum of 10 – 14 days for domestic cards and 4 – 6 weeks for overseas cards. 6 weeks for a domestic card and 3 months for overseas is not uncommon. In the cases of a major DXpedition, expect 4 to 6 to 9 months for a return, since most of the time (and there are exceptions) cards are not printed until after the DXpedition returns and the managers literally have tens of thousands of QSL requests to check through.

2. Listen, listen, and listen some more. Listen to the DX station when you work him/her, and before and after. With the exception of contest environments when serious contesters are trying to maximize QSO rates, take a few moments before and after your QSO. Listen specifically for any instructions the DX has regarding QSLing. Sometimes different managers handle different modes or bands (such as 6 meters). Sometimes a guest operator (for example, the 2002-03 4U1ITU operations by K1ZZ) will QSL direct or have his/her own manager.

a. Also, if you have packet or can check an Internet packet node, check the cluster to see if anything has been posted.

2. Subscribe to some of the free (OPDX, 425 DX, etc) or pay (Daily DX, Weekly DX, QRZ DX?) DX e-mail information services as they usually have complete and detailed QSL information.

3. Learn where the Internet search engines for QSL information are and use them. (I highly recommend PATHFINDER, located on the www.qsl.net servers.) But keep in mind that sometimes the wrong information or out of date information gets listed even in the best of them.

3. Make sure the DX station has your call correct, which can sometimes be difficult in a big pileup. It’s been suggested that if you are in doubt, log the calls of the stations worked before and after you so that you have some “proof” you made the Q & the call in the log is busted. Obviously, you can’t QSL the station if you’re not in the log!

a. And it should go without saying, make sure you have the DX call correct also! Too often, someone sees a spot for a rare DX, jumps on the frequency, beats the pileup, and logs the call wrong because the call posted on the cluster has a typo or some other error. Go back to rule 2: listen, listen, & listen some more!

4. Use “security” envelopes, even domestically. Or wrap the contents of the envelope in a thin blank sheet of paper. Or both. Cuts down on potential theft, and the sheet of paper “smoothes” the envelope out a little so that there’s less chance of postal machinery snagging on and destroying an envelope.

a. I have begun in recent months to use computer-generated QSL cards, usually taking my contest logs and manipulating the data (beats writing out 500 cards by hand.) Most of the pre-perforated, 4 to a sheet card stock you can buy (Avery 8387 Ink Jet Postcards) will not fit a #10 envelope. I recently “discovered” that Staples carries the slightly larger #12 Business Envelope, 100 to a box. It may cost a little more than buying two boxes of 40 or 50 #10 Security envelopes, but it’s well worth it – and they are usually manila, so they are security envelopes to boot. And unlike the 6 x 9 or larger clasp envelopes, or the “bubble pack” envelopes, the #12’s run through a standard ink jet printer with little or no problems, so you can make them look professional.

5. Minimize use of call letters on the envelope. You’re usually OK on envelopes going to stations or managers in theUS,Canada, and most ofEurope. But the sad fact is that there are way too many areas of the world where people handling the envelopes covet cash, and have learned that call letters indicate an amateur radio related piece of mail, like a QSL card request with dollars and/or IRC’s.

a. Consider having your envelopes printed professionally with a return address, or use a good quality laser or ink jet printer to print them on the fly. Consider strongly making them look like a professional letter, not a personal one. Some people have gone so far as to make them appear to be “junk” mail (as in “congratulations! You may have won 2 IRC’s by opening this letter!” – ok, only Ed McMahon could get away with that one.)

b. If you’re not going to fake a company name and you’re married, use your spouse’s name (as in “John & Jane Smithe” not “John Smithe”). Again, makes it appear to be something other than a QSL request.

c. Use your home printer to print the mailing address right on the envelope. Hand-written addresses do not look professional. Mailing labels sometimes look like junk mail, but do not look professional.

d. Tape envelopes shut. This prevents humidity and other factors from “accidentally” opening sealed envelopes.

e. Some people recommend cutting a corner off the envelope so that the contents of the envelope can be inspected. That one has never done much for me, but many swear by it.

4. Learn patience.

5. Make sure your address is complete on your enclosed SAE or SASE. If sent domestically, make sure you have enough postage on the SASE. If sent internationally, don’t forget to include “USA” as some DX get quite annoyed having to add that.

a. If you have them, affix a USPS Label 19B sticker to the SAE (that’s the current official Air Mail label). You can get them free for the asking at most post offices, assuming the clerk isn’t in a bad mood.

6. If you print your SAEs, and your software permits it, include the mailing bar code. Use the ZIP+4 number if you know it (and you should). Also, check your mail — especially bulk mail or commercial mail. Seems to be an extra 2 digits added on to the bar codes that the USPS doesn’t advertise (for example, mine is 15234-2317+71). Anything that helps route that envelope back to you, use! (See also 5b above)

7. To IRC or not IRC, that is the question? Most DX will either not respond to your direct request, or will reply only via the bureau, unless you include something to help cover the cost of postage. Sometimes they request more than is absolutely necessary for return postage; in some cases, this helps cover miscellaneous costs including power and food. There have always been rumors about certain managers getting “rich,” which is beyond the scope of this article. Be so as it may, follow the DX’s instructions if any as to IRC or Green Stamp (US Dollars) quantities or preferences.

a. Some areas of the world prohibit their citizens to possess US or other foreign currency. It is usually a bad idea to send Green Stamps to these areas.

b. Banks in some areas of the world charge large fees to convert US or other currency to theirs. So the DX may have to wait until s/he has enough on hand to make the conversion and related costs worthwhile.

c. Some areas of the world do not accept IRC’s or no longer accept the older IRC’s (including the green “no expiration” ones we’ve used for years), a list that has been growing in recent months, Universal Postal Union rules not withstanding (some countries do not belong to the UPU). In these cases, US $ makes more sense.

d. In some areas, a dollar buys more air mail postage than an IRC. In other areas, the opposite is true. And some places want more than one IRC to cover air mail back to the US. How do you find out? Ask questions on one of the many DX & QSL reflectors. Also check out the fine IRC chart that Bill W9OL has at http://www.qsl.net/w9ol/ircchart.txt

e. Where do you get an IRC? You can buy them at the Post Office, currently for $1.75 each — if you can find a Post Office that knows what to do with them and a clerk who can be bothered (IRC’s are a little arcane and many don’t know how to deal with them, another matter outside the scope of this article). DON’T. Instead, contact a domestic QSL manager (I usually get mine from Steve KU9C, occasionally from others including Joe W3HNK and Bernie W3UR) and buy them from him. Why? Because they can only redeem them for an $.80 stamp. So buy them for about a buck each — saves you $.75 per, and lets them buy those stamps with a little extra. (What happens to that little extra? Pays for the QSL card printing, covers bureau postage for the manager, covers other misc. costs and essentials for the DX. Ask the manager in question what he does with it, he’ll tell you.)

e-1. New or old IRC? The new ones are huge (they won’t fit into a #10 envelope with folding!), so in the past I recommended not using them unless absolutely necessary. But since more and more administrations no longer will accept the older “green” ones, you may have no choice. But don’t fold them unless absolutely necessary. Check into #12 envelopes since the new IRC’s don’t fit the #10’s.

e-2. Don’t use the (older still) brown “surface” IRCs. They were officially phased out years ago, and their redemption value to the post office(s) are minimal if anything. So what to do with them? Believe it or not… sell them to a collector on eBay for top dollar!

f. If you’re going to send a green stamp, try and get “fresh” ones from your local bank branch. Again, some foreign administrations or banks can be funny about that, they dislike handling older bills. If two GSs are needed, get a $2 bill; same value, less bulk, less weight, and very rarely in circulation so they’re almost always in good shape.

g. Have you considered using an outgoing QSL service? Les WF5E runs a very successful one (and there are others, but I’ve used Les a lot lately). He charges a flat fee of $.25 per outgoing card, which can add up to a significant savings when you’re dealing with a lot of cards – and he takes checks, too. The only “catch” is that you have to have envelopes on file at your local Incoming QSL bureau – Les sends out the cards to the DX stations in bulk, gets them back, and then distributes them through the bureau system. Keeps everyone’s costs reasonable, and as long as you’re not in a super great hurry to get the card back, you will get it, eventually. Expect a 4 to 6 month turn around when using a service like this.

8. Learn some more patience.

9. If possible, try not to use commemorative stamps internationally. (Even though the current $.60 & $.80 air mail stamps are a little “flashy,” they’re also pretty common). Some of the envelopes stolen in transit are swiped for the stamps, especially the “rarer” domestic stamps sent domestically.

10. Reality is that there are some DX that either have most of their mail intercepted or are IRC/GS collectors. So don’t be afraid to ask first. But don’t be disappointed if some of these never come through, or if they reply years later through the bureau. Some have reasons; they might be good ones (which is no excuse, though). Some are just… what they are.

11. Learn yet more patience.

12. If I make a mistake on the QSL card I’m printing or writing, I destroy it and make a new one. Some people will mark it up and send it anyway. Most cards that are saved for awards purposes can’t be used if they appear to be “altered” so they’re not worth the bother.

13. Keep your log in UTC time (AND DATE) not local time. Today, 99%+ of all amateurs who QSL keep their logs in UTC (GMT to the old fashioned!). If the DX has to spend a lot of time looking for your call and confirming the data, you may go to the bottom of the pile or the “hospital” pile. It does no good to get your card in first if it has a problem causing the DX to deal with it last!

a. Don’t forget to keep the year straight come the first of January! Some DX understand, but others will be very strict. Wrong year = No QSL card!

14. Don’t give up. Things happen. It took me 12 years, for example, but I finally tracked down and got my EL7X card — the original request had been lost during civil disturbances, and it was a long time until I found that the amateur had escaped and was still alive AND still had his logs. Some Silent Key logs are lost, but others are put in a family member’s or a QSL manager’s hands and cards can still be obtained. ASK if in doubt.

15. Patience!

Some things that I know others do that I don’t:

1. I have hardly ever bothered with the flimsy light-weight air mail envelopes. They made sense when air mail was weighed by the pound and sometimes the cost of buying the envelopes and handling them is more than the cost of postage. Those who swear by them will no doubt disagree with me on that!

2. I also do not bother trying to buy foreign postage to send on an SASE. You pay a premium for it, and you may not always send the right amount or the right stamps (some countries use different stamps for domestic and international mail). Especially with the (2002) conversion to Euros in much ofWestern Europe, again it strikes me as more hassle than it’s worth.

3. I also rarely bother trying to get foreign currency to mail with my QSL requests; again, trying to find it is a hassle, and then there are costs above and beyond the value of the currency itself. However, when I have received local currency from a DX station, I save it and use it for the next envelope & request I send to that entity.

4. Some people have success with 6 x 9 manila envelopes. I used to use them for a particular QSL card I generate from my computer that won’t fit a #10. Also, some people get odd sized envelopes from the card stores (usually leftovers after a big holiday). Nice idea — but they don’t fit my printer. I have also been hassled at the Post Office by ill-informed clerks that equate the 6 x 9 envelope with a “package” that has to be screened by Customs before leaving the country.

Ron Notarius WN3VAW 

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Tower Safety by N6JSX

Tower-Party Safety by Dale Kubichek  N6JSX /8

The ultimate achievement, the status flag, the pinnacle of being a HAM is when you operate from your own tower. Whether the tower is to raise the apex of a HF inverted V, obtaining increased repeater/ATV distance, or optimize HF beam antenna height – height will improve your ability to make contacts.

This article is not about lightning nor grounding, this article is about YOU a HAM that has little to NO background in tower climbing or antenna installing – the classic out-of shape nerd that thinks he can do anything and will try to prove it. But all too soon you will learn the perils of heights when hanging from the tower for needless hours while attempting to install a tower section, antenna, rotor, or other items to discover you’re missing a part or tool. Then the ground crew is sent scurrying about seeking what is needed to make the tower-party evolution a success while you hang aloft – is that SAFE?

When it comes to having a successful tower-working-party, it is ALL in the planning, planning of each mundane detail with contingencies, alternatives, or enough information to call a delay until all is right! The number one goal to ALL tower-parties is to achieve SAFE success. The tower owner will lead or designate a leader that needs to create a written tower-party PLAN (a script) for all in the tower-party to reference. Write the PLAN like a choreographed NASA step-by-step space mission.

In the PLAN, do not bite off more than you can chew – plan to complete only one task per tower-party. Consider yourself lucky (or well prepared/experienced) if you’re able to get to task number two before the tower climbers must come down. ThePLAN needs to be written breaking out each task. ONLY progress to the next task when all agree (including climbers)! Party Chief remain aware of your climber’s fatigue while aloft – talk to them often to judge their state, but try not to frustrate them too much as they need to focus on the job at hand!

A good PLAN will select a cooperative and talented ground crew! Tower items should be pre-group on the ground for ease of access, pre-assembly, pre-tuning, and to insure all mounting hardware is present and kitted. Then insure you have the right tools for the job – double check everything ‘before’ the climb!

Just before the climb the Party Chief, Lead Climber and Ground Commander ‘shall’ conduct a party SAFETY briefing and verbally read the PLAN to the party (as a walkthrough) answering all questions NOW – not later – before anyone climbs. Insure everyone in the ‘party’ is thinking alike! Anyone in the tower- party can yell “)STOP)” if any safety hazard is spotted at any time (in this, all are EQUAL)! Make NASA proud – lives may depend on your eyes and actions.

The biggest uncontrollable factor to any tower-party is the “WEATHER!” COMMON- SENSE rules the day on this subject! If you decide to climb a tower with rain or thunderstorms near, I’ll read about you getting a Darwin award. Remember, lightening can strike even in clear skies up to 20 miles in front of a storm. But when it comes to tower work the unrealized killer is WIND, wind will swiftly fatigue even the most fit tower monkey (climber) with sun beating HEAT running a close second. If you climb with wind chills below freezing you deserve a Darwin award!

Topics for the tower PLAN: (but not all inclusive)

Purpose/leaders:

Tower build/repair – tasks #…

Rotor placement/repair – tasks #…

Antenna placement/repair – tasks #…

Annual maintenance inspection/repair – tasks #…

Who’s the tower-party Chief that makes all the calls: _call sign

Who’s the lead Climber who makes all calls aloft: _call sign

Who’s the ground Commander who makes all calls below: _call sign

Weather:

Season temperature – expected OP window hi:___ lo:___

Season winds – expected OP max:____mph

Season wind direction – no go direction:____

Season sun/rain/lightening/snow/ice/fog/etc

Emergency:

Site electrical/telephone wires – proximity safety review

Who will administer: _call sign(s)

First aid

CPR

911 – who will make the call: _call sign

Tower:

Climbers – abilities/experience/stamina

Climber’s harness/Carabineer/belt/hooks/ropes (safety inspection)

Gin pole & ropes

Rotor, cable, brackets, hardware, sealant

Tower parts/hardware

Tools:

Ladder (if used, pre-use safety inspection)

Common multi-purpose hand tools/wrenches

Special tools need/availability/how used

Tape/tie-wrap/lubricant/grease/etc.

Tender bucket for Tools/H2O/etc w/hoisting rope

Antenna #1:

A detailed list of hoisted assembles & discrete support hardware

Pre-assembled & adjusted (on the ground)

Verify all mounting hardware is present / kitted

Coax & connectors

Order of hoisting / tower placement (insure within climbers reach)

Mag or True North – how aligned

Antenna #2, #3…:

Same as Antenna #1

What if’s:

Missing / dropped / lost hardware contingency plan?

Who on Ground team assigned to run for hardware?

Tower-Party items to consider:If you’re erecting a tower or hoisting more than 25 lbs onto the tower use a ‘gin-pole’. A gin pole is a type of crane arm that is temporarily affixed to the tower. This arm has a pulley and rope for hoisting. Use the ground team as the mules (with leather gloves) – the climbers aloft do NOT hoist, they guide items aloft!

Often you will need to pre-assembly the tower mast with the top antenna(s) with coax attached. ALWAYS use a second rope as your guide rope to keep the load away from the tower to insure no snagging of tower rungs. These items get very heavy and cumbersome and just a little wind can double or triple the load complexity making the lift unwieldy! Climbers should never try to be King-Kong by man handing the load aloft, let the ground carry the loads weight via the gin-pole rope. Climbers, it is so very easy to pinch a finger or drop the load onto a finger or hand while aloft; do not forget to watch for the unpredictable devilish helper THE WIND. Rhetorical climbers; how do you get down with a damaged wing that is bleeding onto the ground crew? Climbers need to be conservative in their approach aloft to remember to position yourself away from the load IF it drops it does not drop on you!

Gin-pole in place on a Rohn-25G tower section, notice the rope comes down through the pipe/ pole!

(Shown without crotch straps rigged)

Klein Lanyards #SPA-496

BlackHawk!™ Lanyard #990453OD

Safety requires a climber’s harness has independent (two) lanyards; it is essential the lanyards have self-locking Carabineer/hooks. Having independent Carabineer/hook lanyards will keep you attached to the tower at all times while you ascend, descend, or adjust your position.

http://www.service.kleintools.com/

http://www.blackhawk.com/product/Personal-Retention-Lanyard,1088,1390.htm

I had used a climbers ‘waste’ belt for years but it often would slide up my mid-section creating severe back strain. Upon returning to the Midwest and becoming an Ohio DNR Hunters Ed Instructor, this old dog learned a new trick. I acquired a full body tree-stand hunting harness that has a built-in waist-belt with D hooks for lanyards. This is by far much more comfortable and safer! My son is wearing my vest-harness for the pictures. This vest is similar to “Big Game® EZ – ON Safety Vest” a TMA-certified Safety Harness for ~$60 (what is your life worth?) http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=991940

An added benefit of using a hunter’s tree-harness is it has a safety tether in the center backshoulders where a ‘real’ mountain climbers Carabineer is used to hook the harness onto a tower rung (or looped around a fat rung using the Carabineer to reattach to the strap).

As pictures the “Hunter Safety System® Carabineer” is an aluminum alloy rated to 5,600 lbs, w/large knurled auto-locking nut costs ~$10ea. Do NOT use cheap key-carabineers’ from hardware stores that are not rated for any real weight nor strength – what is your life worth? All Safety ‘Carabineers’ should meet or exceed ANSI Z359.1, CSA Z259.12-01, EN 362:2004B and 100% proof loaded to 3600 lbs, min breaking load >5000 lbs.

(That’s me sitting on the 20’ cross member of the 100’ tri-array)

[Side story: We started out on a bright sunny day in 1988, to install a 220 remote base repeater system on Sunset Peak 5,600ft (just below Mt Baldy 10,900 ft) above the San Gabriel Valley, CA. We were on a 100’ tri-tower complex for hours when unexpected weather blew in. We were caught in thick fog (low clouds) that zeroed our visibility of the ground crew and then it turned into a blowing rain then to snow (blizzard). Since I was the only one with a two lanyard-belt I sent the other two below. During my hour descent I had to install all the hard-line clips and by the time I got to the ground my right side was a sheet of snow/ice. Do you know how slippery soaked leather gloves become on freezing galvanized metal? I religiously and slowly descended one rung at a time always re-hooking into the tower after every rung! As they say _hit happens BUT we did not check the WX before climbing as it was bright-n-sunny when we arrived – see picture!]

From years of experience and lessons learned – I highly recommend climbing with good boots. Putting all your weight on the Rohn-25 quarter-inch wire rungs really hurts in a very short time. If you are working on Rohn towers you will want solid shank boots. Old style Vietnam jungle boots with punji-stake steel bottom inserts works fine and these boots are still relatively cheap through surplus stores. Rohn-45/55G rungs are not horizontal but angled making your foot slide to the tower sides wedging your foot becoming quickly uncomfortable and even slicing your boot soles. http:// www.armynavysuperstores.com/jboots.htm

Never climb a tower without wearing leather gloves. The metal temperature can cause hand cramps, sliding your hands over metal burs will ruin your day, as well as bird stuff, rust, and flaking metal can make for slippery hand holds. Once you’re at the tower working position you may want to change your gloves to a thin rubberized skin workman’s type glove to improve your dexterity for tools/nuts/bolts!

Since I’m not getting any younger (or lighter) I find tower work more tiring than 25yrs ago. Standing on tower rungs hurts in time even with solid shank boots. What is needed is a standing platform to ease my discomforts and prolong my time aloft. Most tower companies sell platforms but are cost prohibitive and the platforms have a very small foot area. Since I’m a hunter and hunting tree stands are made to hold me aloft for long periods I gave it a try. I bought an economical ~$50 tree stand, to be my tower platform and it even has a seat so I may take scenic rest breaks. It does not get much better when relaxing on your tower top looking at your installed antennas or taking in the local vistas!

This may not be the conventional way of using a tree stand but the mechanics are nearly the same. If you decide to use a tree stand on Rohn-45/55G test it at ground level first to insure your tree clamping straps will reach and to verify your stand mounting strategy.

I placed the stand onto the Rohn tower and used a pre-sized bungee cord with hooks to temporarily hold the stand to the tower while I thread the retaining straps through the hand pump-lever winches. You MUST use both stand straps! The top will get most of the leverage from your weight but the bottom strap insures the stand will not kick out from the weight supporting rung. The straps only need to be snug but firmly in place to insure minimal movements of the stand. Beware of the platform cables as they can snag your boot – since you’re still harnessed in snagging this trip hazard should only momentarily get your heart to skip a few beats, but I’ll leave to your imagination what color your shorts have become.

Notice the bottom of the stand platform bracket is resting on the tower wire rung.

NEVER drag equipment up with you while you’re ascending, it may get snagged in a tower rung and the extra weight will accelerate your climbing fatigue much faster. The only item you should bring up with you is a rope that will easily reach the ground.

My Tenders (5gal) Bucket rig

There are a few methods to rig a tender rope, the simplest is to use a tower rung but it creates a lot of rope friction so I made my own Tender rig (pictured above). A Harbor Freight big Carabineer attached to a simple plastic pulley that runs a >¼” rope. My tender rope has two Poacher’s knots, one on each rope end that is connected by the same Carabineer. The Carabineer allows easy attachment of a Home-Depot™ 5-gal tender bucket that will hoist all the tools/water/towels/etc aloft. This rope method makes a complete loop and allows the noload rope to be used as a guide-rope keeping the bucket from snagging the tower.

If I’m installing a rotor or needing to hoist items larger than my tender bucket I will install my Tender outrigger arm. The arm keeps the tender bucket/load away from the tower. This home-made arm is 2”x1/4” steel angle ‘L’ about 4’ long; holes are drilled to allow attaching ¼”x20 ‘U’ clamps (TV mast type) to the tower vertical pipes. I use ¼-20 wing nuts on the U clamps to lessen my tools aloft. The other end of the outrigger arm is a hole to hang the tender rig.

Remember, to ALWAYS have a guide rope on any load going aloft. The guide rope is used to keep the load away from the tower so nothing snags the tower, guy, or electrical wires – but remember to insure the climbers can untie the guide rope. I’ve seen guide rope attached to the reflector/boom end of a HF yagi beam to only discover there was no way to untie the rope when it was installed in place – this mistake usually only happens once!

There is ONLY one ground Commander while the monkey(s) are swinging on the tower, period! The Commander issues all hoisting commands (getting queues from the Lead Climber) while all others on the ground are quite mules. This is not the time to argue or have turf battles. During the pre-evolution Safety briefing a clear chain-of command was established! This may seem harsh and overly bearing but this tower evolution is all about success and SUCCESS MEANS SAFETY — a boisterous or arguing ground crew is unsafe!

In the purest of safety methods every tool has a tether string tied to it. But this is not practical. I found a different method – using two magnetic tool strip holders (bolted back to back) to easily hold tools aloft. I place the strip onto the tower and ONLY use it to hold my ‘actively’ in-use tools. (I move all unused tools to the tender-bucket as soon as possible.) Another handy use is to hold steel screws/bolts/nuts/washers until needed! http:// www.harborfreight.com/18-inch-magnetic-holder-65489.html ~$5ea.

ABSOLUTE RULES for ground crews are to wear eye protection; safety glasses are the best but sunglasses at a minimum. If you’re a ground crew member getting closer than 25’ to the tower you should wear hard a hat, as stuff falls much faster then you will hear someone screaming “incoming”. A falling tool can bounce off tower rungs and fly! CLIMBERS, if a tool (or anything) is dropped immediately scream “INCOMING” or the attention word(here is where a four letter word may be appropriate) to get all to look up and duck-n-cover.

Needless to say, beer/booze is for AFTER the climbers touch the ground!

I’m sure there are many more items to be considered, this article is only a starter to get you thinking. I hope this article helps your next tower-party; if it prevents an injury or saves a life it was worth my time in writing and your time in reading!

Writer BIO: Dale Kubichek, BS/MS-EET, GROL/RADAR, N6JSX – Amateur Extra; first licensed in 1972. Served 10yrs USN, Vietnam Vet, FTG1 Gun/Missile systems & electronics instructor. Electronics Test/MFG/QA Engineer & Program Manager, in; aerospace – Hughes, Northrop, Rockwell, HawkerBeechcraft; commercial – Magellan, Mitsubishi, Emerson-Copeland; heavy construction – TEREX, Manitowoc Cranes, Magnetek; communications – Hughes, STM, RockwellCollins. Currently, a USAF SPO Sr. Engineer on UAV SIMs. Interests are in designing/testing antennas, RDF hunting/training, SAT OPs; published numerous articles in 73 Magazine, eHAM.net, WI Badger Smoke Signals, HamUniverse.com.


Owner of:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HAM-SATs ,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RDF-USA , and many more.

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ZL2DX – Chris Hannagan, Martinborough

Chris ZL2DX has been an active DXer and contester, originally with the ZM2K team.  He has operated under his own call from ZL7, ZL8 and ZL9 from his postings with the Department of Conservation to these islands in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Chris is a member of the ARRL A-1 Operators Club, a founding member of the ZM2K Contest Team and was a team member of the ZL8RI DXpedition to Raoul Island in 1996.  He is currently very active on EME with more than 60 countries worked on 2 metres“off the moon”.

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ZL4PW – Paul Ormandy, Oamaru

I developed an interest in electronics/electrics around 10 yrs old… dissecting perfectly functioning torches and radios… became a ham at age 26 years and 44 before obtaining an HF licence. Slow learner… huh…

I have two mentors, ZL4OW Stan and W0WOI (ex-W5USM) Bill. Both offered great encouragement and always had time to talk thru my silly questions. My first contact with ham radio came when I visited ZL4OW at his shack at about age 14. He even let me talk to an Aussie. I followed the SW/MW listening version of DXing for almost 30 years. Then fellow MW/SW DXer and correspondent of mine for several year, Bill Smith stayed with us for a week. He convinced me to learn CW and get on HF.

I began practicing the arduous 5 wpm and was in the throes of making a date with the Otago Branch boys to sit the test when word came out that the CW requirement was to be dropped… I thought it would be a shame to waste all that practice so went ahead and passed to test anyway.

First VHF set-up as ZL4TFX was an Icom IC22A and a home-brew 4 element yagi, later progressing to a damn good 5/8 colinear. First HF set-up was a Kenwood TS830S and Supreme (yuk!) 3 element monobander. Now, I have a pretty good set-up, an Icom IC746PRO, 3 element Steppir up 10m and a 12m vertical combined with an SGC coupler.

Future plans are dictated by solar events. An 80 metre long centre-fed dipole from a portable operation sloping down from a convenient clifftop approx 60 m high… I figure that with the sunspot cycle declining, the higher freqs will become deserted so I need to spend more time on the top band etc. The cliff-top operation is a temporary solution and I might get to use it for a week a time at most.

My interest is the challenge of working towards goals, e.g. DXCC, contesting etc but nothing beats when a DX station answers your CQ call… e.g. 7Q7BP calling me on 30m!

I’ve only been seriously hamming for a couple of years and my very tolerant wife hasn’t called in the lawyers… yet. Seriously, the hobby answers my passion for radio and there are many branches an interested hobbyist can go down to find some enjoyment. You can even find something enjoyable related to the hobby without even owning a radio.

My contemporaries are anyone who works DX first and ragchews later… much later…

I have two boys, 13 and 16, and a partner who have no interest whatsoever in ham radio. If I wasn’t into radio, I’d be playing lots of golf… and I guess they prefer I was totally absorbed with the  former. At least, with ham radio, I am at home and can be prised away from the set for fatherly/husbandly duties.

73, Paul ZL4PW

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ZL2VS – Dusty, Marton

I was born in Lincoln, England in 1934 and at the age of 15 I joined the Royal Navy and trained for 16 months as a Telegraphist  and passed out at 25wpm before going to sea this was very handy as some of the area broadcasts reached 30-35 wpm depending on the amount of tfc they had. At this time , morse was the only means of communication at sea except for a small amount of VHF close range voice so CW became a second language. During my time in the Navy, apart from shipboard operating, I spent 3 years at Capetown Radio/ZSC and 18 months at Singapore/GYL  mostly ship/shore operating 100% cw. When I finished with the Navy I came to NZ and worked for a while with NZPO and then moved to Waiouru at HMNZS Irirangi as a civilian operator and it was during this time that two of my workmates Rex/ZL2ASM and Bill/ZL2VS coaxed me into taking the exam, I passed and received a Grade 1 certificate in 1970 as ZL2AQK.

My first rig was an old ZC1 11 watts of chirp and it took me 3 hours to get my first DX, a VK2, rst 33? if I remember correctly but the seed was sown. I did graduate to an EICO720 40 watts CW TX with a Collins 51J4 RX and a G5RV before I was posted to Melbourne and became VK3AYO with a TS820s and a vertical. Apart from award hunting I got the VKDXCC certificate. I returned and settled in Marton where I at last got a beam and started DX’ing seriously and received my  ARRL DXCC award in 1982.  My original call was re-issued whilst I was overseas but I was lucky that Bill was transferring to ZL1 and I was able to get ZL2VS. I spent many sleepless hours working the rare ones and finally got #1 on the Honor Roll. I then turned my attention to IOTA and before I pulled the big plug for good I received the coveted 750 Plaque from RSGB only the second one in NZ  (Ramon/ZL1ARY was first) and 89th issued in the world. I finished with almost 900 confirmed. I did a solo dxpedition to Chatham Island as ZM7VS clocked up almost 6,000 QSO’s in 10 days 75%cw. I was very happy to give some EU’s their first Chatham contacts. The highlight of my time as a ham was my solo participation in the Cyclone Val affair when I was the only comms in and out of Apia for about 5 days, a very exhausting but rewarding experience. I was very proud to receive the Certificate of Merit from NZART for this operation.

73/88 de Dusty was ZL2VS

Note from Lee ZL2AL: Dusty achieved No. Honour roll and has now given up Amateur Radio and is into breeding and keeping songbirds

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ZL2JR – Jim Robertson, (SK)

They say that nothing is impossible however, achieving DXCC on the VHF or Lower HF bands is very difficult indeed. 160M DXCC is very rare in New Zealand. In 2009, Jim Robertson, ZL2JR hung his 160M DXCC up on the wall with a 131 entity total. I had the pleasure of looking through Jim’s cards a few years ago and some of them are difficult to work on 20M let alone actually working them on 160M. Jim had a passion for radio as far back as the early 1930s. As a schoolboy he constructed a crystal set and then used the old family radio used to listen to the shortwave stations around the world.  Jim arrived home one day after school one day 1935 and heard two stations in Bolivia  and LR5  LR6  LR7 in the Argentine. The local DX club said it couldn’t be done. Later he received a magnificent large certificate from  LR5  which proved them wrong.

Eventually Jim entered the world of amateur radio and passed his examinations in August 1939 just before the Second World War started. Callsigns and Registrations were not being at that time as amateurs throughout the world were not allowed to operate in wartime.  He was “called up” a month later at age 18 and was assigned to the radio section at RNZAF. When the war was over Jim was registered as ZL4DC in Dunedin 1946. During the past 50 plus years he has been, ZL3PK in Christchurch 1969, ZL2ANR in Wellington (Plimmerton) 1974 and was offered ZL2JR by the local retiring Radio Inspector in the mid 1980s if he paid the $10.00 registration. Jim is well known around the world for his booming signal which is due in part to his superb location on top of the Plimmerton Hill with 360 degree views and no obstructions. He was a frequent participant in the Stew Perry “Top Band” contest giving rare ZL 160M contacts to participants on both SSB and CW.

It takes years of dedication and sore ears to finally get that elusive 100th card. Greg, ZL3IX is the only other recipient of the award on the current DXCC list with over 150 countries confirmed. It is rumoured that Roy ZL4BO has over 200 confirmed on 160M and the late Peter Watson, ZL3GQ certainly achieved that milestone with DXCC on all nine bands. Perhaps there are others that I am not aware of. At the other end of the scale a VHF DXCC is perhaps even more difficult especially from ZL at the bottom of the world. Bob ZL3TY has earned a VHF 2M/6M DXCC with some moonbounce thrown into the mix. Bob Sutton ZL1RS has been working moonbounce for years on the VHF bands and is probably close to the 100 mark. Chris ZL2DX has been working 2M moonbounce for a few years and is up around the 65 country level using WJST software. I fully believe that there will be a 2M DXCC issued to a ZL sometime in the next few years

Written for Break-In in 2009 by Lee ZL2AL

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ZL4BO – Roy Jackson (SK)

ZL4BO Roy DXCC “Top of the Honour Roll” 335/375

There will be many amateurs around the World that have ZL4 “Blue Ocean” in their log books on as many as 5 bands as well. Roy is one of the renowned DXers of New Zealand. Vernon Roy Jackson was born during WW1. Educated in Southland, he joined the RNZAF in 1941 and trained as a pilot at Taeiri airfield near Dunedin. Roy was mentioned in dispatches for his numerous sorties in C47 (Douglas DC3) aircraft in Southeast Asia.

Roy writes,

“I was making an approach to an airfield we called Aberdeen behind the enemy lines in Burma when a jap night fighter took out the port engine and other bits and pieces. Fortunately I was able to put the old girl on the ground with only casualty being a broken wrist on one of the army boys on board. We stripped the aircraft of all the valuable bits and left it there. Nobody ever said anything about the loss of that aircraft!”

He did more than 700 sorties in SE. Asia during the war in DC3 unarmed transports. Flying Officer Jackson was discharged from the RNZAF May 1945.

Roy started collecting “countries” when amateurs were allowed back on the air and made many contacts on the bands 80/40/20/15/10m. His “deleted entity” total is 40, one of the highest in the World. Many ZL hams joined Roy on 80m, or 40m at grayline to enjoy working into Africa on the low bands and many can thank Roy for his kindness and assistance on these nets. Val and Roy retired from his building business and life style block and moved into Invercargill. Roy still had access to DX with his holiday home shack in Alexandra, with the TH6, and various dipoles strung in the trees.

In 2002 Roy took ill and most thought that he would not recover. His family had a premature clean out of his effects and when Roy recovered he found 60,000 QSL cards and 100 logs books had been dumped! Fortunately, his records of the awards 5BDXCC, 5BWAZ had been retained, including his last 4 log books. Help came from ZL3JT and Roy was able to get the last cards he needed for “Top of the DXCC Honour Roll” in 2003. The last entity he confirmed was VP6DIA Ducie Island. Roy could be heard every now and then from Alexandra, DXing as always, with a pile up on 40m! The last entity Roy worked was YV0D Aves Island in August 2004. Roy had finally confirmed all 335 entities on the current DXCC list for DXCC No1 Honour Roll.

His individual band confirmations tell the story: 80m 274, 40m 323 , 20m 331, 15m 323, 10m 294. Mixed , but mostly phone. On CW Roy writes, “I could probably rake up 100 entities in CW from my escapades in the BERU contests alone, I won it a few times, but I never kept a count. Without my logbooks I couldn’t possibly work it out!” Roy was well known as a net controller on the ANZA net on 15m. The longest running net in the World initiated by the late Percy Anderson VK4CPA. Roy always delighted in working Africa… “ They were the hardest to work!”

73, Roy ZL4BO

 

From Derek ZL1BOQ
Let me tell you what a guy Roy was. Back in 1980, we decided to go for the 40m leg of WAZ, as we both liked 40m best. We co-operated with each other of course. When we both need zones 2 and 34 to wrap it up, Roy rang me late one night, when I was in bed to say he had VO2CW waiting for me !! I got up and worked it. We both needed just the one more. At 1605Z, or five past four in the morning, I worked DF3NZ/ST2, in the Sudan, and promptly rang Roy, who also worked it. I told Roy to send his card up to me, and I would get the QSLs. A couple of weeks later they arrived. I rang Roy to tell, and I said jokingly. “I will send you yours next week, while send off my application now” I forget the exact words but it went like this.”You Bastard!!”.I told Roy that I would toss a coin, and if he won the toss, I would hold off sending mine away for a week. He did win the toss, and Roy got award #9 and I got #10. After that we went on to complete the 5BWAZ together, helping each other. Roy went on holiday overseas, and on his way home stopped in LA. I got a parcel from Henry Radio containing two 572B linear tubes!!! That is the sort of Guy he is.

ps. I also rang ZL3GQ when zone 36 was on 80m, which helped him finish first.

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