K1RA as KW4VA /M in Virginia QSO Party 2012

K1RA as KW4VA /M VaQP 2012
K1RA as KW4VA /MIntro

This year I decided to change it up and operate in the VA single operator, mobile category for the 2012 Virginia QSO Party. The past several years I have concentrated on the VA single-op, low power, fixed station category. I have done quite well there, capturing several 1st place plaques. My home setup is modest. I have employed a combination of Kenwood TS-850, Yaseu FT-847 and an Elecraft K3 transceivers over the years. My HF antennas consist strictly of wires, including ZS6BKW dipoles, 1/4 wave verticals and inverted-L’s and end-fed long wires. All logging has been done using N1MM logger. I’d pretty much max’d out what I could do from my home, which sits in an HOA. Since I couldn’t grow the station anymore to gain much more in terms of performance, I opted for something completely different. In this article I’ve tried to capture my experiences operating mobile from various areas of Virginia over the VaQP weekend. I’ve tried to include some pictures and videos of my time operating and on the road. The following is a picture of my operation from home in VaQP 2011. Click this or any thumbnail in this article to expand.

K1RA from home as KW4VA VaQP 2011I wanted a new challenge this year and after listening to a number of Fauquier ARA (FARA) hams talk about their past roving experiences I thought I’d give this category a try. The first thing I learned was that it was best to find a roving partner. Since the object of the VaQP is to activate and contact as many Virginia counties and independent cities as possible it seemed logical to follow another mobile station to various counties to ensure you had some guaranteed contacts. Also from a safety perspective it was nice to know you’d have a ride if you had vehicle problems. I set out early on to plot travel courses for the two day event. This year the event sponsor, SPARC (Sterling Park ARC), broke the event into two distinct operating events, Sat. 10A-10P and Sun 8A-8P. Living in Warrenton in Fauquier county, I opted to run a western and southern route Sat. and an eastern and southern route Sun. The plan was 12 counties Sat. FAU, LDN, CLA, FRE, WAR, RAP, PAG, MAD, RHM, GRN, ALB and AUG and 17 counties Sun. FAU, PRW, LDN, MAX, MPX, FFX, FXX, FCX. ARL, ALX, STA, FBX, KGE, CLN, SPO, ORG and CUL. Several members who had roved in the past thought this was a very ambitious plan. Little did I know they would be correct. Rich W8KRZ initially contacted me showing interest in a caravan rove and would give this plan a shot with me. Below is a picture of the planned route. Also listed is a cheat sheet of all the Virginia 3-letter county and independent city designators used during the contest and this article.

KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 Routes - Day1 W/S, Day2 E/S Virginia County and Independent Cities listIn the weeks leading up to the event I began pulling together equipment to run from the mobile. An old Icom 706 MKIIG would act as the main HF radio, covering 160m-6m. An Icom AH-4 tuner attached to an 1/4 wave 11m steel whip would act as the antenna system. Fellow Grid Pirate, Terry W8ZN, would lend me his Kenwood TM-742 triband (2m,1.25m,70cm) FM rig and accompanying magmount antenna. Most all V/UHF activity in this contest is FM, so I thought it best to dedicate a radio to those bands. I was able to mount both radios in the dash of my 1998 Toyota 4runner. The SUV has over 240K miles on it and I was hoping it would hold up for yet another road trip. I ended up wiring the Icom rig to the main car battery, but opted to get a deep cycle battery to run the FM rig and the laptop. I would run N1MM logger on the laptop. I integrated the laptop to the Icom to facilitate band tracking and also integrated a WinKey keyer to allow me to automate sending code reports on HF. Below are a few pictures inside and outside the vehicle just before I departed my home Sat. morning.

KW4VA /M rigs KW4VA /M laptop logging KW4VA /M rigs
KW4VA /M antenna tuner KW4VA /M mobileDay 1

Unfortunately I awoke to a flat tire Sat. morning. I had to swap that out and subsequently that put me behind schedule. I patched the bad tire and carried it with me just in case I needed a spare during the rove. Running about one hour late it was time to head to the first site which was the intersection of FAU, LDN and CLA. Several years ago in support of VaQP I had developed a Virginia county KML overlay for Google maps. I used this extensively for planning this years route. The overlay along with Google maps allowed me to zoom into various locations near county bisect and trisects to determine topography and elevations using Terrain mode, as well as surrounding structures using Satellite mode. Below are a few views of the first site using this tool.

Map view of county intersect of FAU, LDN, CLA Satellite view of county intersect of FAU, LDN, CLA Terrain view of county intersect of FAU, LDN, CLAFauquier, Loudoun, Clake

It was up Rt. 17 out of Warrenton, to Rt. 66 west and back to Rt. 17 north and finally Rt. 50 west to the county trisect just below Mt. Weather. at ~1200′. I get to the site to find Rich W8KRZ already there and operating. Ross N4RP is there too. A few days earlier Ross opted to join too. Below are a few pictures taken at the county trisect.

Ross N4RP and Rich W8RKZ at trisect FAU, LDN, CLA Rich W8KRZ /M 160m-70cm Ross N4RP /M 6m-70cm
 KW4VA /M in LDN view SE towards FAUThe first QSO in my log was on 2m FM with my dad K1HTV in CUL. I proceeded to work several other FARA members including Randy W4IFI, Greg KI4ZKJ operating as K4G/M and the FARA multi-multi club station W4VA at the home of Mike KA4RRU. Then it was down to running the bands with my caravan partners Rich W8KRZ (10 bands, 160m-70cm) and Ross N4RP (4 bands, 6m-70cm). We would elect to perform a complicated jig to cover all the various county combinations at this site. This included FAU (A), LDN (B), and CLA (C). The unique combinations of two stations working each other from each of these counties worked out to be AA, AB, AC, BA, BB, BC, CA, CB, CC, or 9 combinations. There was a lot of car shuffling going around up there. We ended up spending 1.5 hours at the site doing the jig and more than 2.5 hours overall operating the bands. My plan was roughly 1 hour per stop today and already we were more than 1.5 hours over budget. Below are a few more pictures I took from the site and yes we did move our vehicles around the various county lines.

W8RKZ /M and N4RP /M with KW4VA /M in the background Road to Mt. Weather N4RP /M and KW4VA /M in CLABefore leaving the site I got on 20m and 40m CW in an attempt to pick up some unique multipliers. I knew operating mobile that generating a large final score would be difficult since it is based largely on a multiplier factor. Your final score is QSO pts * Multipliers, where QSO pts are based on a total number of contacts. You can claim 1 pt. for each phone contact, 2 pts. for each CW and 3 pts for each mobile station you contact. The Multipliers are the sum of states, countries and Virginia counties and independent cities contacted. In previous VaQP contests from home I’d contacted over 200 multipliers from all over the world, but that was much easier with big wire antennas. The 9 foot steel whip on the SUV would prove to be a great hindrance in attempting to earn as many multipliers over the weekend. It didn’t help that HF conditions were subdued after an active sun that produced several solar flares and a subsequent disturbed geomagnetic field. I managed to get on 20m CW and picked up K5CM (OK) and N4UU (FL) and on 40m CW I contact NC4S (LDN), W1DWA (MA), W8TM (OH), K4NVA (LDN) for the 500 pt bonus, K0ZR (LDN), K4RDU (SAX) and fellow FARA member Mark K4SO (CUL). Its 12:30PM 1630z. After the first site and 2.5 hours of operating my log sat at 146 QSOs and 11 multipliers. It was off to the get this show on the road. We would travel west toward the intersection of CLA and FRE. I pick up a few stations on V/UHF while heading down Rt 50. through Clarke county including KD4RSL/P and K1HTV. The rest of our days planned travels would look like this.

KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 Day 1 routeClarke, Fredrick, Warren

We make a quick stop in Waterloo for some food at the intersect of Rt. 50 and Rt 340. Next its south to Rt. 522 to Farm Ln. The lane just cuts over into FRE near where WAR and CLA intersect. We perform and abbreviated FRE/WAR jig to pick up a few more QSOs between the members of the caravan. Ross notes that if we back track slightly we can continue this FRE/CLA jig plus add another county trisect, WAR, SHE, FRE a few minutes south on Rt. 81. So its back north on Rt. 522 and west on Rt. 277. We choose a flea market as our FRE spot and circle back to a 7/11 at the Rt. 522/340/277 intersect for CLA. While Ross and Rich finish their jig and as I sit in the flea market field I again log NC4S and K4SO and add new stations K8NYG (WV) and KA3NZR (FRA) in the log on 40m CW both for new multipliers. Its 2PM 1800z.

KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 FRE county flea marketAfter finishing the AB, AB, BA, BB combo we get off the planned path and head to the proposed county trisect. Along the drive I fire up 40m CW again and do a little search and pounce to add a few more contacts to my log. I’m also successful CQ’ing and catch a few more QSOs there too. I add K4ORD (FRA), K4RDU (SAX) again, and the following new multiplier to the log including W4PM (HAN), Tom N4NW as N4A (STA), AD6JV (ALB), and fellow FARA member Tom KG3V (LAN). Not too bad while driving down the road. The video at the end of the day 1 article captures some of this operating. My log sits at 215 QSOs.

Fredrick, Shenandoah, Warren

Ross takes us to Battle of Cedar Creek Campground on the Shenandoah River. Its a quiet, out of the way spot and we set up and run the 9 combo jig. its 2:30PM 1830z. While we’re there we run across Dennis and Carol KF4TJI and KF4TJJ /M a husband and wife team that has been very active in VaQP over the years. They’re not far from us also in SHE. We also catch KD4RSL/P who’s operating expedition and currently in WAR. We will run across Ray a number of times on the air over the weekend. We spend an hour running back and forth across county lines. I leave the site with another 80 QSOs bringing me up to 294. Its 3:30PM 1930z. Below is a picture from Cedar Creek and our new modified route addition shown in red.

KW4VA /M & N4RP /M VaQP Battle of Cedar Creek in SHE county KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 modified Day 1 routeWarren

It’s finally off to Skyline Dr. We are running quite late now compared to the original schedule. Rich W8KRZ has to cut off and leave us as we’re going through Front Royal. We’ll catch him a few more times on the air on his way home and then again briefly Sun. morning, but that will be it for him as other obligations take over. Ross and I make it to the entrance of the park and note no one is collecting an entrance fee. Up the hill we go. Time to get some elevation!

While on the road I spend some time operating on 40m CW, handing out some QSOs from WAR to W4PM (HAN), NC4S (LDN), K0ZR (LDN), N4A (STA) and W4KKN (PRW) all who I’d worked earlier in the day from other stops. Also I log N4HB (NUM), WK4Y (HCO) and K3NLT (RHM) all for new multipliers. The programmable keyer and logger assist greatly in sending the CW reports. We begin to hear Dennis and Carol KF4TJI and KF4TJJ /M again. We work them on FM for a few points. They are ahead of us about to stop at Dickey Ridge a nice high rest area with a good view all around. They beat us to the site, so we’ll move further down the road as not to cause too much interference. Along the drive I continue to work V/UHF FM reaching out as far east as K4G/M (FFX). As I leave WAR for the first time my log sits at 317 contacts. Its 4:20PM 2020z.


I eventually come to a spot in RAP where I pull off and make a few contacts. Its a small crowded parking lot facing east. Its a nice weekend and everyone seems to be out enjoying the mountain, hiking, picnicing and sight seeing. I fire up 2m FM and work W8KRZ/M now down in CUL and find K1HTV (CUL) and then move and work my dad on all the HF bands and modes. That’s it! This place is too noise with cars, motorcycles and people all around. Its up the road a few minutes to meet up with Ross N4RP/M. I step out to take a few pictures of the vehicles and a panoramic shot from the new overlook. Its 4:30PM 2030z.

KW4VA /M and N4RP /M VaQP WAR county overlook KW4VA /M VaQP WAR county overlook KW4VA /M and N4RP /M VaQP WAR county overlook
RAP overlook panoramic view looking eastRoss points out another overlook in RAP about 10 minutes up the road so we both hit the road and eventually get back on the air around 5pm 2100z. Ross and I run the VHF bands and then I find Ray KD4RSL/P again but now in MAD for a new multiplier. I begin to pick up some new FM stations KB8RTZ (STA) and K4ISW (ALB) and KK4BSM (FLU) for a new multiplier. I switch over to 40m CW and I contact W4MYA (GOO), W2SA (NJ) and W8WVU (MI) all as well new multipliers. Then off to 20m CW to try and find some DX multipliers. I find and work N4BP (FL), K5XR (TX), K5WE (OK), N5AQ (OK), N4UU (FL), AD4Z (FL), FG8NY (DX), WJ9B (ID), K5KC (OK) and finally K4LRG LARG radio club (LDN). That will help boost the score some. I pop back to 40m CW to give K4NVA another QSO. Back to V/UHF where I pick up KK4AIU in LSA for a new multiplier then proceed to work AJ4BX/P (MAD), K5OTZ/M (SHE), N4A (STA), W4SHG (STA), W4HFH (ORG) for a new multiplier, K4DPF (PAG) and K2WK/M (LSA). KK4BSM (FLU) calls in again and request a 10m contact and we QSY and close that contact without a problem. Its nearing 6PM 2200z and I’ve got 367 QSOs in the log. Time to get back on the road. Ross left awhile ago so he’s already a ways ahead of me.


After about 10 minutes I come up to Hogback overlook and decide to make a stop. I’m now in WAR again for the second time. I’ve been to this site many times in the past during Sept. and Jan. VHF contests. The sun is starting to get low near the horizon. Its around 6:15pm 2215z and I hand out a few more QSOs from the county again. It N4RP/M and he’s already in PAG so we run the VHF bands. Greg K4G/M is now in FFX and we work on both HF and VHF. Then its Dennis and Carol KF4TJI/M and KF4TJJ/M. They oblige me and run the bands 80m through 70cm, that will be a score booster! I find FARA members K1HTV, K3SK, and W4KKN and run the bands with them giving the FARA club VA only score a big boost. While operating I notice a truck with a big copper loop antenna and other assorted verticals pull up and park in front of me. Its Carol and Dennis. We have a nice eye-to-eye QSO and share our operating conditions and take a few pictures. They hit the road again and I get back on the radio. I pop back over to 40m CW and hand out a few contacts to W4HZ (GOO), NY4A (NC) a new multiplier, NR3X (NC), K4ORD (FRA), W4GDG (CAM) a new multiplier and then finally W4VA (FAU). My log now sits at 419 contacts. Its about 7:15PM 2315z.

Dennis KF4TJI /M and Carol KF4TJJ /M VaQP Hogback overlook KF4TJI /M VaQP mobile radios K1RA as KW4VA /M VaQP Hogback overlook KW4VA /M VaQP Hogback overlookRappahannock

I cross briefly back into RAP for a second time and make one more 30 minutes stop before catching up with N4RP in PAG. Calls contacted include K5OTZ/M (FAU), KF4TJI/M (PAG), KF4TJJ/M (PAG), KD4RSL/P (PRW), K4G/M (MPX) for a new mult, K3SK (FAU) and W4IFI (FAU) all on V/UHF. I get Mike AC8Y at W4KKN (PRW) to run with me across all the HF bands. Ross gives me a call from PAG then after a minute he crosses over into MAD. We log a total of 8 contacts on V/UHF. Its 8PM 0000z and I’ve logged 451 contacts.

Page, Madison

I run down the road to catch up with Ross near the border of PAG and MAD. Ross and I do a jig around the county lines to cash in on 16 QSOs between us on V/UHF. He pops north back into RAP to grab another handful of contacts from me. I spend about 2 hours between these two counties, moving back and forth and working the usuals K1HTV, K3SK, W4KKN, Greg K4G/M now in MAX for a new multiplier and KF4TJI/M, KF4TJJ/M, while they cross through RAP, PAG and MAD. Those stations have provided me a great number of contacts today. I catch a few new stations to include W4HFH (ORG), AF2D (WAR), KI4ORU (AUG) for a new mult, KJ4NAP (CUL), WB4MJF (ARL) for a new mult, KG4UPR (LDN) and fellow FARA member Jonathan AK4NL (FAU). The contest winds down to a close. Below a few final pictures looking down from the overlook and into the darkness of my vehicle.

KW4VA /M VaQP radios at night KW4VA /M VaQP PAG overlook looking westHome

Ross and I plot a course back home, north on Skyline Dr to Rt. 211 and east back into Warrenton. We didn’t make it as far south on Skyline as I’d originally expected, but given we took in SHE and an extra county trisect I can’t complain. My log sits at 536 QSOs! It’ll be about 11:30PM before I’m in bed and it’ll be a short rest and back up Sun. morning to try a hand at the planned eastern route. Ross and I plan to meet atop Bull Run Mtn. at the next day’s contest start. We’ll see how far we get tomorrow.


Below I managed to string together about 15 minutes of video from the first day. This includes my start from my home QTH through near the final hours Saturday night on Skyline Dr. I tried to capture a little phone and CW operating from each site as well as some scenic shots from along the way. If you have the bandwidth to view, please take a look and let me know what you think.

Day 2

Sunday’s route plan is set up to cover a lot of territory. Below is a picture of the planned route. It is an ambitious plan covering 17 counties and independent cities with roughly 30 minutes planned per stop for the 12 hour event.

KW4VA /M VaQP Day 2 routeThe contest starts at 8AM 1200z Sun. morning. I don’t get on the road until 8:40AM. I spend some time in the driveway fixing my Bluetooth GPS and CQ-X application which I didn’t have time to get running on Sat. That combo allows me to know exactly what county I’m in as I drive around. I also manage to get a time-lapse app running on my Android phone that I clip to the passengers visor. I will take a picture every 10 seconds for the entire day. I hope I can make a cool video later on.

While leaving Warrenton I get on 2m FM and work a handful of people. Its my dad K1HTV and mom K1WSN mobile on the way to church. Then other FARA members pop up, Greg K4G/M (FAU), Randy W4IFI (FAU), Mike W4KKN (PRW) and there’s Ross N4RP/M (PRW) already on Bull Run Mtn. I was to meet him there at 8AM, but I’m running late. He says visibility is quite poor up there due to heavy fog. I’ll head up Rt. 29 into PRW and take Rt. 15 north to Logmill Rd. then up to Overlook Rd at the intersection of PRW and FAU at the top of the hill. Boy he’s right the fog is thick up here and visibility to the east across northern Virginia is terrible. No good pictures from up here today.

KW4VA /M VaQP Road to Bull Run Mtn KW4VA /M VaQP Road to Bull Run MtnFauquier, Prince William

I get up to the top of the mountain a little over an hour late, so I’m already blowing the schedule. I start at the very end of Overlook Rd in FAU and immediately hear Dennis and Carol KF4TJI and KF4TJJ mobile in LDN. I’ll be hearing a lot of them today. As it turns out they’ll be following a similar route to the east. We run all the V/UHF and HF bands and start the day out with a bunch of 3 pt QSOs. We end on 75m where I also pick up N3RJ in PA for a new mult. Rich W8KRZ/M is on from PRW, he’ll have just a short window today to hand out some points and I grab him on all the V/UHF bands and 10m. Then its Steve K3KQ/M another FARA member from PRW followed by W4VA. Jerome K8LF calls in and he has HF so we run V/UHF and some HF bands down to 20m. I pop down to 40m CW and make some noise. I grab K1PQS (ME), W9OA (WI) for new mults. Back to VHF where I connect up with K5OTZ/M once again. Today he’s in ALX another new mult for me. KJ4OLF/M (PRW), KJ4YHC (FFX), WB2SIH/M (STA) all make it into the log. I spend almost 1 hour here on the hill. So much for the planned 30 minutes a stop. I can’t complain though, the log sits at 594 QSOs.

KW4VA /M VaQP Bull Run Mtn FAUI roll down the hill some and back into PRW. Time to run the bands again with the locals. KF4TJI-J/M are now in FFX, KJ4OLF/M now in MAX, K4G/M up on Skyline (RAP) where we run all V/UHF and HF bands – thanks Greg! WB2SIH/M now in FFX then soon again in ALX, K4GOR (ARL). I pop back down to 40m CW and hand out a few contacts to N4A (STA), W4KKN (PRW) and K4NVA (LDN) again. I spend 45 mins here in PRW and over stayed my planned schedule again. The log sits at 633 contacts though, so at least the score is increasing steadily.

KW4VA /M VaQP Bull Run Mtn PRWI hear dad K1HTV who I missed from FAU & PRW on most bands, so I make my way back to the top of Bull Run and spend about 30 minutes running the V/UHF and HF bands on both phone and CW with him, giving him 25 3 pt QSOs as I roll across the county lines. Its time to catch up with Ross N4RP/M who’s already left and headed to LDN. Its 11:30AM 1530z when I leave the hill and my log clocks in at 657 QSOs. I don’t think we are going to make all 17 county stops today.


Before I reach our LDN site near the rock quarry on Gum Springs Rd. I hang back in PRW and work Ross on 4 bands. Then I meet him at the site to run the bands again. I’ll hang out here for awhile and try to work some stations. VHF isn’t so good now that I’m off the mountain and on the flat lands. I work KJ4YHC (FFX) again on 2m and then barely hear K1HTV. We make a QSO and try HF. We make it only on 10m, 40m and 80m phone and CW. That’ll be another bunch of 3 pt QSOs for his log. I spend the rest of my time on 40m CW CQ’ing and handing out contacts. I log NC4S (LDN), KA3NZR (FRA), K4RDU (SAX), KO1U (MA) for a new mult, KG4W (HCO), W4HZ (GOO), K4LRG LARG radio club (LDN), KF4UCC (CPX) for another new mult. and K0ZR (LDN). After about 30 minutes at the site I decide to catch up with Ross. He’s down the road back in PRW and I meet him in a shopping parking lot just north of the Rt 234 and Rt. 66 intersect. My log sits at 687 QSOs, its 12:30 PM 1630z.


While sitting in the lot I hear Dennis and Carol. They are now in MPX. They are just down the road a ways and are LOUD. I suggest running the bands and we work 70cm all the way down to 80m. That’s more 3 pts QSOs in each of our logs! I break 700 QSOs before Ross and I head down Rt. 234. He pops into MAX while I stick in PRW and give him another 4 QSOs on the V/UHF bands.

KW4VA /M VaQP PRW Rt 234 & Rt 66 KW4VA /M following N4RP /M PRW Rt 234Manassas City

County and city lines are much closer now here in northern Va. which make for shorter drive times and a bit more operating. I stop in at the Prince William county hospital parking lot. Now that I’m in MAX I can work Dennis and Carol again while they’re still in MPX. Another sixteen 3 pt QSOs for me from them. The points are just adding up. I work Ross again then I hear Greg K4G/M still in RAP. We run most all V/UHF and HF bands. I’ve got some bad noise on 20m so we miss there. Ross circles back to PRW to finish off our county line jig and grabs another 4 contacts from me. I see a hospital guard circling the lot so I leave and park out on an adjacent street to avoid any hassle from the authorities. The weather is finally starting to clear and I’m seeing some blue skies. On V/UHF I continue to pick up AJ4BX/P (RAP), W4VA (FAU), KB4BHB (PRW), N4RP/M as he crosses into MPX and KF4TJI-J/M now that they circle back into MAX. We run the bands as usual to cash in on some easy 3 pt QSOs. Before leaving its a few V/UHF and HF band contacts with Dave K3SK and K1HTV and a few 40m CW contacts with K0ZR (LDN), NC4S (LDN), W4HZ (GOO), W1END (NH), KG4W (HCO), W2JGQ (NY), the later 3 providing new mults. and fellow FARA member Harv K2PI (FAU). I spend 1 hour 20 mins in MAX. Boy where does the time go? Its 2:40PM 1840z and log sits at 776 QSOs.

KW4VA /M VaQP MAX Prince William Hospital KW4VA /M VaQP MAX KW4VA /M VaQP MAX side streetPrince William, Manassas Park City

I circle back into PRW in a bank parking lot just for 5-10 minutes to give Ross a few new QSOs now that he’s in MPX to start another county jig with this AA, AB, BA, BB county combo. I move back down the road 5 more minutes into MPX to catch up with him. I’m liking these shorter drives getting into new territory! We meet up in another shop parking lot and do the MPX to MPX 4 band run. This is a terrible VHF spot so the only other station I manage to work is W4VA on 2m. I move around the lot to find a higher point. I’ll head down to 40m CW for awhile to CQ and search and pounce. I work K0ZR (LDN), NC4S (LDN), KJ4AOM (KY) new mult., K4ORD (FRA), K4BSK (NC), K6JSS (GA) and AC4XO (GIL) for 2 new mults., KA3NZR (FRA), W4HZ (GOO), K4RDU (SAX), W4VA (FAU) and K1PQS (ME). It just after 3:30PM 1930z and Ross headed back into PRW to wrap up our county jig and helped us grab 4 more new QSOs. My log sits at 805 QSOs and its time to get on the road. We’re waaaaay behind schedule. How far east and south will we actually make it today?

KW4VA /M VaQP PRW bank parking lot KW4VA /M approaching MPX shop parking lot KW4VA /M VaQP MPX KW4VA /M VaQP MPXFairfax

Its 20 minutes down the road and I cross over into FFX. Driving in the city means more traffic. This is nothing like yesterdays rove. Its time for lunch and a rest stop, so I hit a Burger King in Centerville near Rt. 28, Rt. 29 and Rt. 66. After grabbing food I see a small parking lot across the street with a good view to the west.

KW4VA /M VaQP FFX traffic KW4VA /M VaQP FFX Burger King mmmm KW4VA /M VaQP FFX west parking lot I park, eat and also make some V/UHF contacts with W4KKN, W4IFI/M (FAU), K3SK, N4RP/M (FFX) and K4G/M now back in FAU. Later we come to find out Greg had car problems on Skyline Dr and had to head back home. The site I’m at is noisy on HF so I move down the road a few minutes to a quieter location.

Near a condo development and a soccer field and a bit quieter I find K1HTV and run some HF bands. We can’t seem to work below 15m. I work W4KKN on all HF bands both SSB and CW. My dad calls back in on 2m and passes info about an 8P6 on 10m SSB from Barbados. The DX station is LOUD and I work him first call, thanks dad! Down to 40m CW and I work W4VA, K4BSK (NC), K4EG/P (NUM) for a new mult., K0ZR (LDN) and NC4S (LDN). I have an idea to get a bit of elevation. Its just after 5PM 2100z and log is at 850 QSOs. I’ll head up Rt. 29 a ways.

KW4VA /M FFX near condo soccer field KW4VA /M VaQP near condo soccer field KW4VA /M VaQP near condo soccer fieldI manage to get up on top of the FFX county dump. Its got a great 360 view of the surrounding area. V/UHF FM is much better from this location. I work KF4TJI-J/M now down in FAU, K4G/M (PRW), N4RP/M (FXX), WB4MJF (ARL), N4YXW/M (FAU), KA4GFY (FFX) and KI4ORU all the way down in AUG on 2m at over 130 miles away!

KW4VA /M VaQP FFX more traffic KW4VA /M VaQP FFX mobile KW4VA /M VaQP heading up FFX county dump KW4VA /M VaQP top of FFX county dumpI pop down to 40m CW and work W1END (NH), then there’s fellow FARA member Mark K4SO (CUL). I give him a call then all of a sudden the HF radio starts to chatter and power down. Now what? I notice while sitting on the hill I’ve left my lights on and run down the car battery. The engine won’t turn over. Crap! Fortunately I have the deep cycle running the V/UHF rig and laptop. I unwire the power harness, pop the hood and grab the jumpers from the back. Its still got enough juice to turn the engine and get me going again. I’ll idle the car from this point forward and deal with ignition noise on HF. Its 6:15PM 2215z and I need to catch up with Ross. Log sits at 874 contacts.

KW4VA /M VaQP FFX dump dead battery KW4VA /M VaQP FFX dump dead battery KW4VA /M VaQP leaving FFX dumpFairfax City

Down West Ox Rd. to Rt. 50 and into the city limits I catch up with Ross as I pull into a shopping mall parking lot a few blocks from him and we work FXX to FXX. After that I hand out city contacts on V/UHF to W4KKN, KD9XB (ARL), KJ4YHC (FFX), WB4MJF (ARL), K5OTZ/M as he crosses through FFX and FCX, the later for a new mult. He also reports an accident on Rt. 66 east.

KW4VA /M VaQP FXX parking lotIts down to 40m CW where I CQ and S&P to work W4JTP (HOX) new mult., KG4W (HCO), W4KKN (PRW), W1END (NH), KF4UCC (CPX), W2CVW (NJ) new mult, KO1U (MA) and then I hear K4EG/P (PIT) in a new county. I go to give them a call when all of a sudden a middle aged asian woman comes knocking on my window. As I role down she immediately begins rambling in somewhat broken English about her car, tires and missing air valve covers. What are these kids doing, etc. etc. Eventually I gather she thinks I’m a guard or some law enforcement official and should be doing something about the matter. After I clear the air she is on her way and I manage to grab K4EG/P then N3UA (HCO), K4LRG (LDN), K0ZR (LDN), NC4S (LDN) and W5KL (FFX). Its 7PM 2300z and my log has has topped just over 900 contacts! There’s only one more hour left in the contest. Time to make a mad dash to cram in a few more counties & cities. Ross is already out ahead of me heading to FCX. He reports that the accident on Rt. 66 has been cleared. Its starting to get dark.

KW4VA /M VaQP leaving FXX KW4VA /M VaQP FFX Rt 66 eastFairfax, Falls Church City, Arlington

I take Rt. 66 east to Rt. 7 south and immediately pull off into a side road while still in FFX to work Ross in FCX on 4 bands, then its down into FCX for me.

KW4VA /M VaQP FFX Rt 7I find a school parking lot to pull into and get on V/UHF to log N4RP/M (FCX), KD9XB (ARL), W4KKN (PRW) and KJ4YHC (FFX).

KW4VA /M VaQP FCX school parking lotRoss leaves the city and near 7 corners pops back into FFX where I can work him again on 4 bands. Its 7:30PM 2330z I head down the road to the edge of FCX waiting for Ross to cross over into ARL. While I wait, I hand out one 40m CW contact to K4ORD (FRA). Next Ross and I do a little jig as I work him in ARL while I’m still in FCX.

KW4VA /M VaQP FCX mobile KW4VA /M VaQP edge of FCXNext I roll into 7 corners and work him again now that I’m in FFX. I manage to also give KD9XB (ARL) and WB4MJF (ARL) a few more QSOs pts.

KW4VA /M VaQP FFX 7 corners gas stationIn the final minutes of the contest I make my way down Rt. 50. Damn why do these red lights take so long. One disadvantage to roving in this area.

KW4VA /M VaQP more FFX trafficFinally the computer says I’ve rolled into ARL. I pull over onto a side street and run the V/UHF bands with Ross ARL to ARL and give a few final points again to KD9XB and WB4MJF. The contest is over! My log sits at 944 QSOs. Wow, what a trip! We didn’t cover anywhere near as much ground as we expected, but who cares.

KW4VA /M VaQP ARL side streetIts a wrap

We wind our way back into FFX and grab some fast food and recount the weekend’s event. Both Ross and I unofficially beat the all time standing VaQP records for each of our respective categories. Ross tops the old single-op VHF record of 40,071 pts by 328 pts for a total of 40,399 pts. I top the old VA mobile single-op record of 57,400 pts by 72,950 pts for a total of 130,350 pts. Aside from Ross, special thanks to mobiles Rich W8KRZ, Dennis and Carol KF4TJI and KF4TJJ and Greg KI4ZKJ as K4G for all the 3 pt QSOs! Also a big thanks as well to all the Fauquier ARA members for working me across all the bands. A final shot of my caravan partner Ross N4RP/M before we leave the fast food joint.

Ross N4RP /M VaQP single-op VHF Post Contest Analysis

I ended up with 944 contacts for a total of 2250 QSO pts. I contacted 57 multipliers. I earned at extra 500 pts for contacting the SPARC club station K4NVA and another 1600 pts for the counties I visited. Some stats follow:

VA Counties I visited = 16

VA Counties & Independent Cities contacted = 37

U.S. States Contacted = 18

DX Countries Contacted = 2

Thanks to fellow FARA member John KX4O for the use of his Cabrillo Log Analyzer and the creation of the following graphs and pie charts. Below you can see several breakdowns of my mobile log. The first two graphs show my QSO breakdowns over time. The first shows how I employed the band hopping technique to contact and move many of the stations I worked across the bands. The second shows a majority of my QSOs were mostly within Virginia.

KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 QSOs by Bands over Time KW4VA /M VaQP @012 QSOs by QTH over TimeNext you can see several more breakdowns of my mobile log over time. The first shows my QSOs by mode, either CW or phone. The second shows my QSOs by the station class of the remote station, be they a fixed, portable or mobile. You can see I tried to focus on working other mobile stations since they offered a 3 pt QSO advantage per contact.

KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 QSOs by Mode over Time KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 QSOs by Station Class over TimeThe next two pie charts show what percentages of contacts I made across the various 10 bands I operated over the weekend and the percentage of phone vs. CW contacts I made. My biggest contact producing bands were 2m, 70cm and 40m producing 54% or 509 contacts. A majority of my contacts were phone at 84% or 792 contacts.

KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 QSOs by Band Breakdown KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 QSOs by Mode BreakdownFinally, as mentioned earlier, most of my contacts were with stations in Virginia. Below is a pie chart that shows my Top 20 most contacted multipliers. As you can see they are all VA counties and independent cities. The top most QSO producing counties were FAU, CUL and LDN respectively.

KW4VA /M VaQP 2012 Top 20 QSOs by MultiplierI hope you enjoyed this article and the view into my mobile experience.

73 and hope to work you all again next year in VaQP 2013!

andyz – K1RA as KW4VA /M VaQP 2012

6 Responses to K1RA as KW4VA /M in Virginia QSO Party 2012

  1. Pingback: K1RA as KW4VA /M in VaQP 2012

  2. Chuck says:

    Nice write up, I hope next year will be just as fruitful. Loved your set up…going to have to try the cw mouse for next year, I know you didn’t use it but it looks like that might work good for me with a little practice. Although I have been looking to do rig control, looks like with the LDG there is an extra port for control. So I might try it next year. I am playing with FLDIGI, which doesn’t have a good logging capability but does have a very good multi-mode operation, including CW. So we are starting now to prepare for next year. Hopefully Murphy stays home next year. Again, great write up.

  3. Tom Gregory says:

    Great wrap up report. I especially liked the CW QSO about 6:50 into the video!

    The QSO total on VHF/UHF over HF was surprising, Other than you, the other guys who were traveling the same route. It is too bad that no one decided to visit the Northern Neck counties.

    Tom (N4A) N4NW

  4. Everett Seamans (KJ4OLF) says:

    This is a fine report. Thanks for posting it.

    Everett KJ4OLF

  5. kk4zuu says:

    Nice write up and summary information, its helping me prep for my first VaQP Solo run!

    One question, what power did you run on VHF/UHF?

    David kk4zuu

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