VE1JF’s ‘Excessive Force 12’
by Dan Levin, K6IF
In late 2001, my local contest club (the Northern California Contest Club, or NCCC) decided to make an effort to win the club competition for CQ WW WPX in 2002. In large part due to the club’s focus, I decided to enter WPX SSB as seriously as I could. My good friend N6NF agreed to let me use his excellent station, and I scored almost 5MM points in a 27-hour effort shortened by our family’s Passover Seder. Perhaps more importantly, I discovered that I really love WPX! It is a very high rate contest (due to the ‘everyone works everyone for points and mults’ format), with great DX. Prefixes as multipliers makes it a bit easier strategically than CQ WW, and perhaps most importantly it is possible to do fairly well from California. I resolved to put in a full time effort in 2003 – and to try to break 8MM points.
As time went on, I kept reading about big scores from East Coast stations in WPX. It became increasingly clear that while it is possible to make the top ten from California, the proximity to Europe (and those precious 3 and 6 point QSO’s) gives East Coast stations a big advantage. Almost on a lark, in mid-July I shot off an email to K1TTT. From time to time Dave generously offers his station for guest operators. I noticed that he had hosted a guest for WPX SSB in 2002, and guessed that he might be open to the idea for 2003 as well. Dave agreed to allow me to use his place – but it was such a long time before the contest that I didn’t really start thinking hard about it.
In mid-December, Dave told me that a group of teenage hams from a local club was looking for a place to try out Multi-Multi contesting. He felt that this was a great opportunity to introduce our hobby to these young hams, and I agreed wholeheartedly. Tom had expressed a willingness to let me use N6NF again in 2003 – and I figured that I would take him up on his offer and stay home for the contest.
But one day as I was browsing the Force12 website, I ran across some pictures of VE1JF’s Nova Scotia super-station.
The NCCC had been invited to send a guest to Jim’s place back in 2002, but no one had been willing to make the trip. I wondered if Jim would be interested in a guest for the 2003 contest? I wrote him a note, and a couple of days later he extended an invitation for me to come to VE1 land. A picture of 50 elements of Force12 power was more than enough to get me interested – and with some trepidation I asked my wife if she would be willing to take care of our young daughter and new puppy while I made the trip. She generously agreed, and for the first time I had the opportunity to operate a station capable of a top ten in the world score.
Now there was only one small problem – I have never operated a major contest from the East Coast, and I have never operated from Canada. With no real world experience to fall back on, strategy planning was going to be a bear!