A visit of contesting station K8CC (Oct. 25th, 1997)
By Jun'ichi Ohgo, JJ1BMB, re-edited version of the article excerpted from "59" magazine 1998 February.
JR1HAA and JJ1BMB visited K8CC, located at the city of Ypsilanti, Michigan.
This article describes an overview of this visit and operation at his shack.
Last fall of 1997, I had a chance to work on CQ world wide phone contest at the farm of K8CC, located at the city of Ypsilanti, Michigan; a 30 minutes drive west from Detroit.
K8CC, Mr. David Pruett, he is a member of contesting club,
called “Mad River Radio club”.
The owner of this contesting station is K8CC, Mr. David Pruett, who is an engineer of Chrysler Corporation in Detroit area, working on the electrical engineering of the vehicle. His hobby is, of course, “ham radio”. He is a member of contesting club, called “Mad River Radio club”, organized by a number of people living in the area of 175 miles radius.
To enjoy his hobby and maximize the benefit of ham radio, he owns a large 5-acre farm, and had built his 3-bed room house with his father as well as four antenna towers on this farm. The farm itself is as large enough as to put a baseball field into this property, surrounded by a cornfield. To let you draw a picture in your mind, it will be easy for you to remember a US movie, called “Field of Dreams”. The same scene can be seen if you would be there. This atmosphere really brought me my mouth widely open and gave me sighs repeatedly, while I was in this farm.
K8CC's antenna farm, itself is as large enough as to put a baseball field.
His residence is one-story house, though; it has the basement where his ham shack is placed. The shack itself is an operating room (approx. 20 m2), a linear amplifier room (7 m2), a workroom and a storage area.
The operating room set up is as follows; two tables are placed against the walls left and right respectively. On the tables, there are Yaesu FT-1000 and Icom IC-765 transceivers, a homebrew antenna controller and so on. The transceivers are computerized, working with his designed contesting logging software (NA), and connected to the packet cluster unit that brings the latest DX stations logged after a QSO on the HF bands in timely manner. This set up has really amazed me since it was so gorgeous and neatly settled.
In the linear amplifier room next to the operating room through a door, there are several amplifiers, such as a couple of home-built amplifiers using single 3-1000Z and single 4-1000A, a home-built multi-band amplifier using a single 4-1000A, and a Henry 2K-3. Most of the amplifiers are used on one band only so as not requiring re-tuning between bands. This scene shocked me strongly. This is really rare to see even in the US and not seen anywhere in Japan.
CQ world wide phone contest at the farm of K8CC
with the members of Mad River Radio club.
Another surprise was the antenna farm, where 4-antenna towers with guy wires were neatly settled. He got the tower units for less than of new cost, when these were removed from a motel chain where they were used to support pay-TV dish antennas. He and some other contesters rented a truck to bring these towers back to Michigan. Three of the towers are 38 meters high respectively, putting a 3 element full size 40m Yagi, 5 element stacked 20m Yagis and 5 element stacked 15 meter Yagis as well. The fourth tower is 28 meters high carrying 5 element stacked 10 meter Yagis. The stacked antenna set features to switch a single or a stacked by the remote control at his shack. Also there is a 75 m band wire array of four verticals, a phase-driven of which direction can be switchable instantly from northeast to southwest, and from northwest to southeast or vise-versa. One of the towers is also used as a vertical antenna on 160 meters. As a Japanese ham radio operator, since I am living in a small house, so-called “Rabbit hut”, and the scene was so impressive and attractive to me.
In the linear amplifier room next to the operating room.
The time when I have arrived at this farm was on early morning of Saturday local time before the sun rises. Several club members have been working on the contest already since Friday evening.
The scene in front of me shocked strongly, when I got into his shack, because the equipment there was mostly computerized. The logging software (NA) installed on two PCs, one transceiver linked each PC and another PC supporting a packet cluster node are linked together to conform the integrated contesting station. In this structure, the CRT monitor in front of the operator has linked to a transceiver, showing DX stations out of packet node and stations worked simultaneously via the packet cluster network. This is really neat and easy to work with non-worked stations in the contest. The station is designed to work in the contest with the least energy expense. The club members do not have to scream “CQ Contest”, in a loud voice repeatedly because of digital voice recording equipment that can play CQ messages.
Sub-operating desk, Packet cluster node, Workroom.
The scene was really quiet. Even in the midst of working with European stations, they have been so quietly working on 20-meter and 75-meter band. The European stations seemed to me that as if it would be the same as the domestic QSO on 15-meter band.
As a time goes by, a dawn has come around 7:00 AM, signals from JAPAN was about to come in, I got my turn to work on. Compared to the propagation to Europe, the propagation to JAPAN and Asian countries in this area as well as the East Coast was somehow weak. So it was a hard work for us to catch up JA signals among the heavy pile up out of the contesting stations in the West Coast. Among incoming signals of JA big guns, this heavy pile up caused us to wait for making QSO, even our set-up holds the legal limit of output power of 1.5Kw with a full size Yagi settled at 38-m high above the ground. For example, the signal of Mr. Kusano, the chief editor of "59" magazine in Japan, was found in this pile up via the packet cluster network displayed in the monitor in front of me, though, it took me a while to get a QSO done with him. I learned through this experience that a making a QSO between Far East and this area was so hard to work under this condition.
The above is all about of the story that I experienced. After this, Dave happened to come to Japan due to his business in April 98. We were able to take a trip to Akihabara to as well as sightseeing in Tokyo. I guess he has enjoyed a lot in Tokyo and made a success on his business trip. Dave would welcome visits from contesting or DXing amateurs who come to visit Detroit. He can be reached via e-mail at K8CC@CONTESTING.COM.
Dave is supposed to come to Tokyo due to his business, so I will accompany with his shopping in Akihabara as well as sightseeing in Tokyo.
URL of K8CC Dave Pruett: http://www.contesting.com/
K8CC Dave Pruett
Actually, he came to Japan and has enjoyed a shopping in Akihabara in April '98.
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