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Pennzoil 400 Activation 3/1/24-3/3/24

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,199
1,685
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I am activating the Pennzoil 400 NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from 3/1/24-3/3/24! I will be camping in my RV on the infield backstretch the entire weekend and will be setting up an HF station powered by an Elecraft KX3 and KXPA100. i mainly plan to operate phone on 10-40 meters; as the event gets closer, I will update my operating plan in this post. I plan to operate as W9WDX...I look forward to working you!


Operating 3/1/24 at 10AM PST ON 14.260
 
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Conditions are VERY tough here as the wind is howling. I've had to make antenna repairs a few times because the wind just keeps beating things up. I'm in my RV camping on the infield on Row 1, right on the back straight coming out of turn 2. I can operate a few hours a day in between on track events.

Here's the log from 3/1/24, day 1 of the Pennzoil 400 activation:

N7LEM
N0ZQL
W2NQ
KB9LHT
KF6VVP
N6ZT
K6MBD
KD7LWL
W7A6M
NH6NS
VE7PBF
KO6HS
N5MUO
VA7JWD
KN6OS
N5AQ
WB6TUO
KK7ADA
AE0VC
KN5HEC
KK6HDU
AC0Z
KN6USH
WA7PVE
AI7R
K6DXN
WF7K
KC5ORO
N6LY
N7KVN
KD7GUP
KA6HVC
 
Saturday was brutal at the track with wind gusts up to 70MPH. It was so bad that the track took down the USA flag because it was bending the flag pole. Saturday is also the busiest day of on-track car activity with all of the practice and qualifying sessions for both Xfinity and Cup. Since my camping spot is right against the track, you can't operate while the cars are running because it's too loud. I was able to operate for a little over an hour today before I had to stop for track activity. Due to the extreme winds, I also had to lower the antenna. I think I was the only guy crazy enough to have an aerial up - even the other RVers took their flags down due to the wind!

Here's the log for Saturday 3/2/24. The wind has died down and I'm getting ready to raise the antenna again.

KN6MJB
W6WHU
NX9C
W6KM
WB7TAZ
KK7PUH
K9RJT
KL7KTP
KG5ISG
WB6SKS
WB6ZZY
KO6CVD
KK7OGJ
KI6EAB
 
Day 3 report, day of the actual Pennzoil 400. The wind calmed down significantly. but now the conditions on 20 meters stink in the morning, which is when I can operate before race activities.

The ARRL DX contest did me no favors as I could scan around the band and hear stations calling for DX which i could not hear with a compromised antenna and had no interest in returning a call from me. I parked on 14.262 for a few hours and made calls and made a few contacts but even had one guy call over the top of me to make a distant EU contact. I thought he was returning my "CQ Racing on the Air from the Pennzoil 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway" but after he gave is call which I responded to, he asked me to stand by as he was trying to make an EU contact for the contest. I replied that the frequency was in use for a special event station and he didn't care, proceeding to just smash me. When i got home today, I mentioned that story to a local who said he could hear me and was trying to make the contact only to be told by that same station to stand by for the contest. IMO, this is the perfect example of a complete ass hat operator. I can't change the date of the ARRL DX contest or the NASCAR race, but a little respect by all operators should be had.

20 meters never really opened up on Sunday before race time, but here's my log - the best I could do:

N7IAD
AI7RK
KX7VHF
AI7QF
KA7RRA
EI7M (this one was on 21Mhz...I got a text from a friend and I used the ATU in the Elecraft KXPA100 to get him).
K7UAP
KN6ZHJ
KM6MWO
WA0TPN
K7KIB
 
And now a few notes about my experience as I just got home. I will post up a few pictures and possibly a video of the Pennzoil 400 Racing on the Air experience throughout the week.

  1. It's tough to do something like this while a contest is happening at the same time. Many operators were courteous, but as expected, several were not. For those that only care about contesting and disregarding other activities happening on the band, some introspective should be in order.
  2. Next time i will take an antenna system that is more easily operated as multi-band, at least 40-10m. The Buddipole setup worked great for the stations that i made contact with, but when 20m wasn't open, I needed to be able to switch bands quickly without having to take down and retune an antenna that was 20' up on the RV. At a minimum, if I do use the Buddipole, I will do a test setup on the RV ahead of time and place multiple taps on the coils so I can quickly change bands.
  3. This was my first use of the newly acquired Elecraft KXPA100 amp. It performs really well, delivering full power on a 12v battery bank and continues to work well when the voltage starts to drop. I did use the RV generator to top off the batteries periodically when the amp would report low current.
  4. I received a lot of comments from the contacts I made about how great of an idea that "Racing on the Air" is. People really liked the fact that I was on the infield of the track, right on the back straightaway. I think this idea can take off.
  5. If you're operating on the track, don't plan on doing any operating during track activity, because you can't hear a thing!
 
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