N5XU participated in the Collegiate Championship conducted during the weekend of 17-18 November 2001. We operated in the Multioperator Single Transmitter (M) class, with W5JLP, KB5LBN, KM5TY, N8DVM, K5PI, and WM5R operating.
This was a fun contest. We had more operators than we had for CW: four students, one staff member, and an alumnus who showed up late Saturday night for a bit. This was the first phone Sweepstakes for one of our operators, and the first contest ever for another of our operators. Together, those two operated for probably six hours in total. Two of our other operators are not really phone contesters, but did a great job and were enthusiastic.
We had a slow start on Saturday this year. Last year, the first five hours of the contest yielded over 500 QSOs - this year, just 345. The first two hours, in particular, were disappointing. We started on 15 with a nice clear frequency for about 15 minutes before people crowded in on us big time, and it became painful. Some years, we get lucky and can maintain a good frequency for a few hours. Other years, we get squeezed by the big guns on either coast. Our tribander does not effectively cover both coasts at once, and when we're beaming to one or the other, we tend to get stations on the opposite coast trying to slide closer to us. We lost ground throughout the rest of the evening, and were a little under 200 QSOs behind last year's running total by 0600 UTC. We were able to make up some ground on Sunday sporadically, only to fall behind again. This year, we had more Sunday hours in the 20's and 30's, where last year we had 30's and 40's, so we ended up roughly 200 QSOs behind at the end. We had a couple of really decent Sunday hours, though - 2000 UTC was our third best hour of the contest, with 81 QSOs. Ken had a lot of fun that hour.
Working a clean sweep this year wasn't a problem. We ended up being called by stations from all but WTX, which wasn't hard to find. The last section we worked was PAC, and one of the last was AB. We still don't understand why Alberta was so absent this year in both the CW and phone contests. There are big cities with lots of hams there!
In the hours Ken operated, he noticed two trends.
"I noticed a lot more stations using voice keyers for large parts of the exchange in addition to, say, calling CQ. The worst sounding ones used little tiny voice files for each individual number in the serial number, and sounded like some sort of badly implemented automatic telephone credit card system. I just don't understand why people want to sound that bad. But that wasn't the only problem. I don't know if they're all using stuff they recorded last year, or if it was recorded on a different microphone or what, but there were many stations that would give me a number in their real voice and then (what sounded like) an entirely different voice would give me the rest of the exchange. I know it was the same person, but the sound was _so_ different that it was really jarring and took real effort to recover and get everything the first time. Sometimes the precedence was cropped badly, and I had to ask for a repeat. Why do these people handicap themselves this way?
"On the other hand, our handicap was our check number. There were times when literally 50% of the stations that called us asked us to confirm our check, and it was not because of QRN or QRM. This was noticeably higher than last year."
It looks like the number of college and university clubs participating might actually be the same or even a little higher than last year. If it is higher, it could be the first time since the ARRL introduced the School Radio Club category four years ago, and college and university club participation fell in one year by nearly 50%. At least 28 colleges and universities were heard on the air this year (only 18 entered the phone competition last year) and there may be more activity reports to come. Maybe everyone who despised the League for the way they handled it has graduated? Still, several college and university clubs (ours included) continue to boycott the SRC category and enter in the Multi-op category.
The score below is claimed.
Contest Logging was done with TR LOG contest logging software. The following reports and log were created using TR LOG's post-contest processor.
Last Updated 14 April 2016