NP3U winning the 2009 World Multi-Two Plaque was made official in the July issue of CQ magazine with a 9.9 million score.
Arriving in Puerto Rico on the Wednesday before the contest, our mainland group Jay AJ1M, Ken K3IU, Bill N1HRA and John W1AN were all charged and ready for another exciting operation. From experience we knew we had some work cut out for us. Many from the mainland are probably not aware of the difficulties of maintaining equipment, especially antennas, in the tropics. In the Caribbean, each year antennas must be lowered or taken down for hurricane season and serviced before reinstalling. Humidity and salt does its damage to hardware. Coax braid turns black in short time. Even rigs suffer. Salt air corrosion is everywhere, even high in the hills at 1800 feet where we operate. For a M2 operation, our preparation took a little less time than for a MM, but still antennas needed to be raised, coax made up and everything put in order. We had two new wire antennas to raise.
The 3el 40M Monobander had high intermittant SWR. Burned up connectors were found and coax needed replacing. The rotor clamping plate had disintegrated and needed replacing. Four trips up the tower got most in order. The 6el 15m monobander was still in decent shape from our 2007 and 2008 operations but still needed to be raised. As expected most of the Hygain rotors from corrosion had non-functional azimuth indicators. With all the equipment, antennas and towers, Carlos does a great job getting ready, but counts on our group to make things sing. Since we were going to operate M2, we left down the 4el 20M Monobander, expecting good performance from the Skyhawk, which except for the rotor was in working order. The 6EL 10M Monobander was checked out and functional in the event we would find an opening. We also raised a new Carolina Windom and new Bazooka dipole for 80M.
Brought with us were the RTTY Meister PC’s with which we had great success on our last RTTY operations. They transport easily and have three real serial ports and nice audio sensitivity for running MMTTY and Writelog. Custom isolated audio/FSK and CAT cables for the 3 rigs we planned to run were made. All hooked up well. We had some difficulty customizing a CAT cable for rig control with PW1 amp control on the Icom 756 ProIII, but that was put in order. An FT1000MP with an AL1200 amp was our Station 2. The TS2000 was a backup.
We had a good start, but after a few hours time we lost the receiver on the MP, and later the receiver in the backup TS2000. Both these rigs were performing well and there was no warning. Apparently, RF getting in from the 756 Pro III was too much. The isolating filter on Station 2 was just not up to the task. Because we ran out of working radios there were about 15 hours of downtime on Station 2 until daytime when we were able to get a not quite perfect and power limited FT1000 brought in from a few hours away. We moved Station 2 to antennas further separated from Station 1 and were back on track. We lost a lot of 6 pointers from the downtime the first night and needed no more problems. The AL1200 also needed some surgery which we did during the downtime from Station 2.
The operation was very enjoyable and a lot of work! We had the additional challenge to try and beat our last years M2 NA record of over 14,000,000. It was not to happen, but we did achieve a respectable score. And considering the downtime, all the operators need to be commended for the recovery! Thanks to all who worked us and spotted us! And much appreciation for our host Carlos Colon WP4U and also Carlos Osorio WP4N. They put in many hours in the chairs.
Here are the claimed scores…
Band QSO’s Points Mults
80m: 337 1614 93
40m: 1068 5282 365
20m: 1419 3512 281
15m: 800 1926 111
10m: 2 6 0
Totals: 3626 12340 850
Claimed Score: 10,489,000