I have never had any problems with my ham radio luggage, not even when I carried 30 kg on a 20 kg ticket, like on this trip to Madeira. The return trip was quiet, boarding the plane to Lisbon on 5:45 local after an uneasy night of sleep.
I had two pieces of luggage. A trolley with the K3 and two laptops, and a sports bag with the power supplies, cables and clothes. The sports bag weighed 18 kg, the trolley with the equipment 13 kg. Check-in was quick, just at the baggage check the trolley came back out of the Xray machine. "Laptop?" said the operator, "please take out". So I took the laptop out of the trolley and put it into a container. "Any other electronics?". "Yes", I said, took the eeePC out and put it with the laptop. The trolley with the K3 then went through the machine without complaints.
The flight to Lisbon, the 5 hour wait in Lisbon and the flight to Amsterdam were quiet, with the planes not more than 25% full.
In Amsterdam the luggage from TP680 arrived at the time the passengers reached the bagage claim room, the first items were already on the belt. This phantastic service can be offered because the foot trip from the arrival terminal is half an hour.
Anyway, the bagage came out, and the sign said "all bagage unloaded" Nothing for PA0R. The next load came, from London Heathrow. No bag for PA0R. The only thing I could do was go hunting for one of the 16 handling agencies for the bagage which would take responsibility for the disaster. After another quest of half an hour I found the office, with two nice young ladies. One of them filled in a form for me, and while we were at it the other one got a telephone call that some of the bagage from TP680 had been rerouted, and was going to be at belt 7 within 5 minutes. I traveled to belt 7 and found my bag already waiting for me on belt 6. Phantastic service! It had a new hand written label, saying things like CHECKED, RECON and LHS (which means Lufthansa).
It had clearly been opened and checked thorougly, I could see that by the inproper way they had tried to repack the power supply of the K3. But nothing was damaged, I only lost an hour of time....
CQWW-CW 2008 contest summary (3X5A missing...)
Call QSOs Zones Cntry hr Score Club
Non-USA M/M HP
HC8N 13394 192 680 48 34,385,576 NCCC
CT9L 11245 577 163 48 24,798,880 RR DX
DF0HQ 9179 175 685 48 14,312,980 RR DX
Call 160m Q/Z/C 80m Q/Z/C 40m Q/Z/C 20m Q/Z/C 15m Q/Z/C 10m Q/Z/C
HC8N 1115/24/ 81 1924/32/118 3694/36/ 13 3495/40/152 2906/37/141 260/23/51
CT9L 857/23/ 76 1593/28/115 3966/36/128 2975/37/130 1812/28/107 42/11/21
DF0HQ 1200/24/ 90 2326/33/124 3010/38/169 1964/37/149 484/32/106 195/11/47
Equipment used by CT9L
160 & 10m: K2 + ACOM1000
80m: K3 + Expert-1k
40m: K3 + ACOM2000
20m: TS990 + Expert-1k
15m: K3 + HL-1.5kfx
Problems encountered with the equipment
The K2 did not work on the 15m antenna and the ACOM2000. Probably the fault was RF related. Strangely it did work with the
bandfilter switched off. The effect was that when the PTT was dropped the ACOM went to ARC fault. We decided to swap the K2 for a K3, which did not have the problem.
One of the K3's had a fault in the filter control, the DSP bandwidth could not be set. Setting to NORM resulted in a
400 Hz CW bandwidth. The same K3 also had only a 250 Hz roofing filter for CW. This is definitely too narrow to work the pileups efficiently. Fortunately signal strengths on 15 were not extreme so we made it with the 2.8 kHz roofing filter and the 400 hz DSP.
The Expert-1k is a nice, fully automatic, amplifier. The only drawback we could find was the HUGE noise made by the fan. You need noise-cancelling headphones when you have this thing sitting on the station table...
Apart from the faulty DSP control in one unit, the K3's appeared to be the right tool for the job. That was the unanimous vote of the group.
This was my first contest where Murphy was on vacation. Once we had the stations running we did not have ANY problem, by choosing the right frequency areas in the bands mutual interference was never a real problem. This was also the first time the N1MM software worked without error.
So why did we not win the contest?
I am sure we were in the wrong geographical location. VOAPROP showed duct-like propagation from 3X5A to europe. We could hear D4C and 3X5A working stations on 10 meters, while we could here none of the stations they worked. 15 meters closed 2 hours earlier on CT3 than in 3X. But I am sure considering the circumstances a third place WW is nothing to be ashamed of, just that it did not quite match our expectations. I am sure next year we will do a propagation analysis before we choose a location.