After-Action Reports

April 21st, 2024
Frank Maynard, NF8M
nf8m@arrl.net

RE: MI QSO Party

All in all, we had a very successful day considering that we have three marginal antennas, a very high noise level and only one functional operating position which had to be shared with CW and SSB. If anything put us behind, other than QSOs lost in the noise, it was the time we took to allow the students that Norah invited into the shack to get on the air and make a few contacts. Even though our rate dropped substantially during that time, I feel that the investment made in introducing new people to ham radio was worthwhile.  I served as control operator for almost the full 12 hours (Charlie KE8ZRH was able to control-op for his shift and a couple of the students) and I assisted the eight or so unlicensed students, showing and telling how to make a QSO, what to say, and doing the logging for them. They each made anywhere from three to a dozen contacts. Each one seemed quite interested in ham radio and was excited to make HF contacts, and one stuck around for a couple hours watching and listening.

We got off to a great start. I ran CW for about an hour on 20 and 40 meters, and Norah took over and ran SSB for a bit until the students had their time. Norah and I alternated after that, each doing about an hour for the rest of the day and evening. Also of note was that the writers and photographer from Spartan Magazine (the alumni and donor publication) came and interviewed Norah and Dr. Hipple (KE8UQV) and took lots of pictures and video for a feature in an upcoming issue. 

Looking at the breakdowns, the small differences in the balance between SSB and CW QSOs (where CW are worth 2 points and SSB 1 point) and their larger total of 20 meter CW QSOs when the band was open in the afternoon made the difference - but more importantly, Norah gained valuable experience and skill at running pileups, which she handled very well considering her almost total lack of experience ("I did this once", she said). 

A bright side is that we are still #1 in Multiop/Single Transmitter, at least as far as claimed scores go on 3830. 

We are somewhat disadvantaged geographically in that we are near the center of the lower peninsula and thus many close-in county mults are in the skip zone. (See the county breakdown below.) That doesn't matter as much on 80 at night but W8UM, being closer to the southern border, could potentially work more mid-state county mults. Perhaps our low-to-the-roof dipoles help with a NVIS pattern as well.

Many issues remain to be resolved, but once they are taken care of, we will have a good M/M operation for next year. 

W8SH breakdown:
Band	CW Qs	Ph Qs
80:	    64	    16
40:	    208	    201
20:	    25	
15:		4
10:		
Total:	297	    221	    CW Mults	75	Ph Mults	77	Total Score	123,880

W8UM breakdown:
Band	CW Qs	Ph Qs
80:	    3	    23
40:	    217	    183
20:	    97	    54
15:		
10:		
Total:	317	    206	    CW Mults	71	Ph Mults	79	Total Score	134,400


Counties we worked: (c=cw, p=phone) ALLE (p) AREN (p) BARA (cp) BENZ (c) BERR (cp) CASS (p) CHAR (p) CHIP (c) CLAR (p) CLIN (c) CRAW (p) DICK (cp) EATO (p) EMME (c) GENE (cp) GLAD (cp) GRAT (c) GRTR (c) HILL (p) HOUG (cp) INGH (cp) IONI (p) IRON (p) MECO (cp) MIDL (cp) MISS (c) MONR (cp) MTMO (cp) MUSK (cp) OAKL (cp) ONTO (p) OTSE (c) OTTA (cp) SAGI (cp) STCL (cp) TUSC (p) VANB (p) WASH (cp) WAYN (cp) WEXF (cp)

Counties left behind: ALCO ALGE ALPE ANTR BAY BRAN CALH CHEB DELT GOGE IOSC KEWE LAKE LEEL MACK MANI MASO MENO NEWA OCEA OGEM OSCE OSCO PRES ROSC SANI SCHO SHIA STJO 

States worked: 0: CO (c) IA (cp) KS (cp) MN (cp) MO (c) NE (cp) 1: CT (c) MA (cp) ME (p) VT (cp) 2: NJ (cp) NY (cp) 3: DE (cp) MD (cp) PA (cp) 4: AL (p) FL (cp) GA (cp) KY (cp) NC (cp) SC (cp) VA (cp) 5: AR (cp) LA (cp) OK (cp) TX (cp) 6: CA (c) 7: AZ (p) MT (c) NV (p) OR (c) WA (c) 8: MI (cp) OH (cp) WV (c) 9: IL (cp) IN (cp) WI (cp) VE: ON (cp) QC (c) SK (c) DX: OM (c)

Our scores through the years: (final corrected scores except 2024)

Year	W8SH	                    W8UM
2024    (claimed) 123,880 (M/S)	    134,400 (M/M)
2023	77,364 (M/S)	            16,236 (SO LP)
2022	75,088 (SO LP)	            No entry
2021	675 (M/S) 	                13,600 (SO LP)
2020	No entry	                No entry
2019	41,800 (M/S)	            79,365 (M/M)
2018	124,465 (M/M)	            96,390 (M/M)
2017	93,168 (M/M)	            31,408 (M/M)
2016	75,312 (M/M)	            No entry
2015	57,404 (M/M)	            116,739 (M/M)
2014	104,536 (M/M 1st)	        No entry
2013	99,830 (M/M)	            No entry
2012	52,364 (M/M)	            No entry
2011	39,289 (M/S)	            No entry
2010	No entry	                No entry
2009	6,815 (M/S)	                No entry
2008	37.469 (M/S)	            No entry


Note that 2020 was the year of the Covid shutdown, and in 2021 only authorized persons (students) were allowed into the building, so we really had no good way to prep the station or operate. KW4EV worked what he could in the time he had available that year.

I've updated our 3830 posting with the following soapbox, editing the first paragraph of this email slightly and adding a bit.

All in all, we had a very successful day and our second-highest score ever considering that we have three marginal antennas, a very high noise level and only one operating position which had to be shared with CW and SSB. If anything put us behind, other than QSOs lost in the noise, it was the time we took to allow the several students that our new club president (who has yet to take her license test) invited into the shack to get on the air and make a few contacts. Even though our rate dropped substantially during that time, I feel that the investment made in introducing new people to ham radio was worthwhile. I served as control operator for almost the full 12 hours, and assisted the eight or so unlicensed students, showing and telling how to make a QSO, what to say, and doing the logging for them. They each made anywhere from three to a dozen contacts. Each one seemed quite interested in ham radio and was excited to make HF contacts, and one stuck around for a couple hours watching and listening. We were fortunate to not only maintain a high rate during the time that we ran, but that we are inspiring and enabling a future generation of hams. Our hands-tied-behind-the-back approach caused us to lose our annual competition with a rival university by a few thousand points, but it is all in the name of growing our fabulous hobby. Spartans WILL. (NF8M)

--
73,
Frank Maynard, NF8M
nf8m@arrl.net