NP3U winning the 2008 World Multi-Two

NP3U winning the 2008 World Multi-Two Plaque was made official in the
July issue of CQ magazine with a 9.9 million score. Here is a repost of
our operation:

Our mainland group Jay AJ1M, Ken K3IU, Bill N1HRA and John W1AN were all
charged and ready for another exciting operation. We arrived in Puerto
Rico on the Wednesday before the contest. 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’ve 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 WP4U and also Carlos WP4N.
They put in many hours in the chairs.

John W1AN