K6VO - Roode Family Amateur Radio Club

K6VO is the the call of our family club, in memory of my father. Ralph James Roode, K6VO, passed away on May 12, 1999. He was a ham since 1938 with previous calls including W8SNJ, W3SNJ, K3JJX, W5OIC, W5EQ, W8NH and several that I do not remember. Currently, the call K6VO is active in some contests - members of the South Orange Amateur Radio Association (SOARA http://www.soara.org ) and I activited it from San Bernardino County in the 2003 and 2004 California QSO Party. Similar efforts are planned for the future. QSL K6VO or K6VO/5 via K6NR. Dana Roode, K6NR

October 3, 2004 - California QSO Party

As many of you know, I spent most of the weekend with K6NR, NJ6N, AE6QT and KG6JAD working the California QSO party from Dana's contest station in Phelan. I can report that not only was a great time had by all, but we also managed to make over 300 more QSOs than we did last year. I'm also glad to report that we had no exploding amplifier or fried 756proII this time. Dana, K6NR, during the 2004 California
QSO Party.

The final analysis of the logs will take a few days but it seemed that conditions were down from last year but activity was up.  I was very surprised just how many non-California stations there were with QSO counts in the hundreds and how many stations worked us multiple times.   A few stations actually came close to contacting us on ALL the HF bands using both CW and SSB - quite a feat.

Starting with 10M, the band was open from around 11:00am local time onwards to most US call districts.  We worked a couple of South Americans on 10 but most of our contacts were inside North America.

As expected, 15M was open for longer and provided most of our QSOs, Multipliers and DX.  Signals were very strong to much of the US and Canada with weak openings into Europe.  On Sunday morning I worked a handful of UK stations who were taking part in an RSGB contest.  This was somewhat confusing because the exchange that they were giving us (e.g. 59 CO) mean something different in their contest than in did in ours.  For them, they were R5, S9 in COlchester while for us, it meant QSO #59 from Colorado - confusing. We just logged 001 - DX and moved on :-)

On Saturday evening we used the spotter station to give away a few points in the Oceanic contest on 15M.  The band was quiet and signals were really strong. The operators seemed very relaxed and working them was a real pleasure.

20M closed fairly early on Saturday although I think it gave us our biggest pile-ups when it opened again on Sunday morning.  The pile-up was so deep I was starting to feel sorry for some of the operators who were waiting in line and hoped they wouldn't give up in frustration.  QSO rates peaked at well over 200 per hour with sustained rates better than 2 per minute for a while.

The lower bands were, as expected, crowded and noisy.  I crashed around midnight and got up at 4:00am. By then the QSO rate was down to a trickle and it was tough finding any new stations anywhere.  I could hear many JAs at the lower end of 40 but 30 minutes of "CQ Contest/Listening here and 7.0XX" resulted in just a couple of North American QSOs and a sore throat.

Brian, NJ6N, reminded me of a couple points regarding our CW operation. Dana single handedly (good pun eh?) made most of our QSOs except for few made by Brian (with a little help from myself) around 4:00 am on Sunday morning.   With Brian at the controls, both of us listening and a lot of patience from the stations that we were working, we managed to make about 20 contacts.  It actually was a lot of fun and it really made me wish my CW skills were better.  There has been some talk in recent months about having a regular CW practice net for SOARA members.  I hope as a club we can make this happen.

The other incident occurred a little later. I had been calling CQ on SSB for ages with few takers.  Dana said he wanted to try CW so I found a clear spot in one of the CW sections and proceeded to tune up. As I went back to receive, someone sent QRZ? Since I was still sitting in the operating chair I sent a quick "K6VO" in CW - then panic set in as he called me back at around 90 WPM (ok, it was probably around 30 but anything above 20 sounds like Pink Floyd to me). Fortunately Dana was in ear shot and responded to my screams of 'help!'.  He quickly took over and the calling station probably never knew the turmoil he'd created :-)