Ken Harker WM5R
2008 CQ World Wide WPX Phone - WM5R (@ W5KFT) SOAB HP


The station at W5KFT:
Antennas:
  • Beverages - 900' long, fixed 30 degrees, not terminated
  • 160 - Inverted V @ 145'
  • 80 - Sloping dipoles - NE, NW from 150', SE from 135'
  • 40 - Cushcraft 40-2CD @ 150', rotatable
    Cushcraft 40-2CD @ 70', fixed NE
  • 20 - Hy-Gain 204BA @ 157', rotatable
    Hy-Gain 204BA @ 105', fixed NE
    Hy-Gain 204BA @ 53', fixed NE
    Hy-Gain TH7DXX @ 45', fixed NW
    Hy-Gain TH7DXX @ 75', fixed NW
  • 15 - Hy-Gain 155CA @ 135', rotatable
    Hy-Gain 155CA @ 90', fixed NE
    Hy-Gain 155CA @ 45', fixed NE
  • 10 - Hy-Gain 105CA @ 140', rotatable
  • Hy-Gain 105CA @ 100', fixed NE
    Hy-Gain 105CA @ 60', fixed NE
    Hy-Gain 105CA @ 30', fixed NE
Radios:
  • Radio 1: Kenwood TS-850SAT, Ameritron AL-1500
  • Radio 2: Kenwood TS-850SAT, Ameritron AL-1200
  • Headset: Heil Proset
  • DVK: W9XT Contest Card
  • Software: TR Log 6.78
  • Other: WX0B SixPak, WX0B StackMatches, Ameritron RCS-8V switches,
    ICE bandpass filters, Top Ten Devices Band Decoders,
    Top Ten Devices DXDoubler, CDE rotors

A 99 second long video of the storm I took during the first power outage from the front porch with my Samsung i607 Blackjack smartphone. Soon after I took this video, the rain got to blowing such that you could not stand on the porch without getting soaked. The lightning got much worse. This was about 45 minutes before the big strike that took out some of the station equipment.

I got off to my best start ever in this contest. I was well over 600 QSOs at 0400 UTC when I began hearing thunder and seeing lightning in the distance. I started paying attention to the weather radar and decided that I needed to shut down the station around 0420 UTC. In the process of rapidly disconnecting everything, I think I stepped on the power strip for the PC and shut it off rather abruptly. I kept watching the weather radar on my smartphone. The lightning got to be pretty intense by 0500 UTC, as the storm cell went directly overhead. I lost power briefly on two occasions.

We took a near or maybe even direct hit sometime after 0500 UTC. It was one of those strike where the lightning and thunder were (to my senses) simultaneous and I involuntarily became airborne for a moment. There was a lot of static discharge at the bulkhead, and I was staying well clear of that side of the building. I was without power at 0600 UTC when I decided to try to sleep a little - because what else could I do? When I woke up a few hours later, the power was back on. I booted up the PC and discovered that my log was gone. The file was there on disk, zero bytes, with a timestamp from before the contest. Maybe I need to figure out what SMARTDRIVE is supposed to be doing on that PC, as it looks like for more than four hours it never wrote the log to disk. In 12 years of using TR Log, I've never lost a log before, even with sudden power loss.

When I started checking things out, I thought the situation was pretty bad, as I wasn't immediately able to put power out on one of the radios, but it turns out only a few things actually died. An IC in one of the Top Ten band decoders exploded, COM2 in the PC is dead, there are some LED issues in the other band decoder and a band pass filter, and a blown fuse (no spares on hand) in the SixPak control box. I spent a long time checking out antennas, rotors, amps, radios, switch boxes, the DX Doubler, etc. and those all seem to be OK.

Next year.


Last Updated 14 April 2016
wm5r@arrl.net