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W1AW/5 Story

This past year has been a busy one here in central Texas while we prepared for W1AW/5. Though we were given the W1AW/5 assignment over three years ago, the planning got started in seriousness a year ago - immediately after the 2001 IARU.

Six of the premier central Texas stations agreed to participate - K5NA, K5TR, N5CQ, N5TW, NX5M, and W5KFT. Each of these stations could have been a powerhouse on any of the bands or modes but the assignments were:

K5NA80CW40CW15SSB
K5TR80SSB20SSB 
N5CQ10CW  
N5TW160CW20CW 
NX5M160SSB10SSB 
W5KFT40SSB15SSB 
KK5MI Video
Buy the W1AW/5 video from Bob KK5MI!

W5XD wrote a special version of WriteLog for Windows for use by the W1AW/5 stations. Basically, the new version allowed us to connect to a central Internet server that fed QSOs back to all the W1AW/5 sites in real-time. Each site could always tell what QSOs and mults each of the other band/mode sites needed. The software also fed the frequencies of the radios back to everyone to allow each station to move QSOs to other bands easily.

We had a total of seventeen computers set up at all the sites and each ended up with the same QSO and multiplier numbers at the end of the contest. The software was really awesome.

Weather map
Texas Weather 14 July 2002 0000 UTC

The 24 hours of the IARU were noisy because central Texas was being hit with wave after wave of thunderstorms. This condition caused high QRM on all the bands and especially affected the low bands. The thunderstorms had been occurring for several days before the contest and there was a lot of flooding in the area. But no W1AW/5 sites were affected by flooding. The rain static and thunderstorms were another matter.

The thunderstorms forced the N5TW, NX5M, and W5KFT sites to shut down at different times during the contest as thunder cells passed by. Since the logging system was real-time and current at all the sites, it was possible for other sites to start working the vacated band/modes almost immediately after the affected stations were shut down. A lot of cell phone calls were made to coordinate this. Later the band/modes were switched back to the original stations.

Our goal was to beat the old W1AW/p record set by W1AW/4 in 2000. However, 10 meters just didn't have much in the way of good conditions here and we fell a little short. With sun spots going down, the W1AW/4 record may stand for a few years. Our secondary goal was to beat NU1AW/4 and the other headquarters stations. That looks like it will be close.

KK5MI Video

All the stations owners and operators had a great time doing this. It was great fun.

Thanks to the K1ZZ and the ARRL for allowing us to do W1AW/5 in this contest. Also, thanks to W5XD for his work developing his terrific software to support our effort and to AB5K for the special telnet node used exclusively by all the W1AW/5 stations. It was an honor to represent the United States of America in this competition.

More of the W1AW/5 Story

To purchase your own copy of the W1AW/5 video (about 45 min, NTSC VHS) send $10 and delivery address to Bob Allen KK5MI, 2200 Springlake Circle, Dripping Springs, TX 78620. For more information, email Bob at kk5mi@juno.com.

The W1AW/5 2002 Chairman is Richard King K5NA.

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Last updated: 8 January 2016