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Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 36.0
|Summary: Compare Scores|
Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club
|Comments: [email] 2017-04-02 07:32:57|
|I worked REALLY HARD to get ready for this, my favorite of all contests. I started on the treadmill in late December ( BEFORE the holidays! )and lost 20 lbs since then â€" this greatly helped my stamina and ability to stay awake â€" which is especially important for me due to the effects of the many meds that I take and the fact that I can no longer drink coffee ( caffeine ). A positive effect of the stronger legs was that I was able to repeatedly trudge out to the woods/ledge last week in the foot+ deep snow to fix and restring the 80 4-Square, 160 Inverted Arc and the 40 4-square which were torn to pieces by the blizzard and last three gales since ARRLDX CW, though the 2 1/2 L 40 meter wire beam had to remain as a 2 1/2 L wire beam - 1/2 L was torn off in February. ( Ironically it loads better now on SSB than when it was a 3L wire beam! Iâ€™m still scratching my head over that. ) The problem with slogging around for hours in the deep snow isnâ€™t just the physical exhaustion, but itâ€™s all the damned buried rocks, tree stumps, etc. and other nasty hazards that you canâ€™t see and then you trip over, slip on awkwardly and fall on. I wrenched my back pretty badly and cut my knee among other things. But I fixed 3 of the 4 wire antennas and they made a HUGE difference this weekend. I also spent several hours on Thursday evening manually tuning my pair of ACOM200A amps and noticing some pretty large disparities in output power depending on the band and the freq. within the band. I swapped the amps to maximize the power out ( still below 1500w ) and things behaved more normally although on Amp B, the output power is still way too low on 20 SSB ( 800W ). Iâ€™m not sure why. I also ironed out some audio issues and computer â€śquirksâ€ť and everything was set up and working well BEFORE Friday. On Friday I brought down a TV and cable box and hooked it up so that I could glance at it while operating. It was a stroke of â€ś genius â€ť on my part. :-) I used to have a TV down there but when the cable company changed to scrambled signals that old box that I had was useless and I brought the TV back upstairs. I have missed it while operating. From now on I will make sure to move it back to the station before a contest! :-) Cndx positively sucked here Friday night with high qrn and qrm making 20 dead and 80 almost useless. With 40 the only usable band, I struggled to pull out stations but I had a very godo start with 138 and 146 qsos in the 00 and 01 hours. That was mostly because US stations were loud, not because cndx were good. Unfortunately, almost all the Northern path stations had heavy auroral flutter. I watched quite a bit of TV while operating. :-) The strangest part was that occasionally a VERY loud EU station would call but then NOTHING. I wondered if the EU stations were on 80 working each other. 7Z1SJ, TF3DT, J43TR and 4X7R were notable LOUD callers along with the always loud multistations CN2AA, CN3R and P33W. I did not notice any sunrise peak in EU and I went qrt at about 06z Saturday morning cndx were poor on 20 â€" K= 4 and virtually no Asiatic Russia. R8IA and a few others made it - I suspect that there were other Asiatic Russian callers but they could not be heard through the pileup of loud EU callers. Occasionally I would get a 5 minute burst of propagation to Russia and then the window would close. 15 was dead and even though I knew that it would open to SA and Caribbean and that I needed those prefixes, there would be no meaningful rate. One of the most fascinating things about WPXSSB are the incredible equinoctial propagation shifts. You start with an EU run on 20 but then just when it starts to really get good, the signals go into a HUGE and lasting fade for about an hour. During that time the band goes VERY long and often a YB, HS or other station will call. EU is VERY weak, especially Western EU ( DL, G, EA, I ) but occasionally a loud Asiatic Russian station will call. If you have sunspots then perhaps a small run of watery and fluttery JA signals. Sometimes you get NOTHING but a huge drop in rate. This often corresponds to a noticeable qsy of hundreds of stations from 20 to 15 but not always. Sometimes when cndx are poor - like they were on Saturday morning - people just shut off the radio and go do something else. That seemed to be the case here. What was really strange was being called by a KL station in Alaska at 1335z off the side of the antenna ! That is before his sunrise ! and it almost never happens at this qth except near the top of the cycle ! But then things improved rapidly and then became incredibly good for three hours late Saturday afternoon on 20. It started with KL4SD calling in early at 1945z followed by a few EU Russians and then JA8MS and 5R8SV at 2044 and 2045z. Within 10 minuted I had a pileup of JA stations - a rarity on 20 at this qth in recent years ! I had a 121 hours at 21z and then I swung the top 20 to JA and there was no doubt that they were peaking shortpath 335 degrees instead of the usual skew path about 10 degrees. AH2O, Al1G, AL7LO, VK7GN, and BOTH EU and JA stations continued to call - this was EXCEPTIONAL ! Through it all I was rewarded for my tracking the NOAA and other propagation websites and predicting the trends of the changing propagation. Consequently I made two major correct operating decisions on Saturday and I was on the right bands at the right time. :-) I enjoyed the best JA/Asian opening on 20 that I have experienced in many years even though it was brief. But then instead of the run ending, it just shifted direction and teh short and sweet China run started with BH3SCC, a REALLY loud 9M8K, BG7BES, BV0WPX, BH4RNX, B4T, BH1HUK, BI8FZA, YB3ZJN, YB1AR and BY6QS all called mixed in with loud Northern EU stations. It sure was exciting! But then it was over quickly and it was time for 40 which was just a wall to wall qrm fest. I used every trick and technique to filter out the callers from the crud, ending up using a combination of the narrow pair of cascaded 2.0 khz filters in my FT1000MP together with AF shift, IF shift noise blanker and notch filters and endlessly tweaking them to get one or two letters at a time. It was incredibly tough operating and mostly it was impossible for me to get the EU calls. Much easier to take the louder one point US callers where my 4 - square had amazing front to side and front to back rejection on some signals allowing them to just JUMP out of the noise. It was quite interesting to see how rapidly the signal angle of arrival was changing. One moment the front to side could be 50 db ! and a few seconds later there was barely any signal strength difference between adjacent directions NW vs NE, NE vs SE on the Comtek controller ! A73A calling in at 0024z made the work worthwhile ! but it was just too much and it was time to qsy to 80. I found a good spot and after a few minutes I had a rip - roaring pileup of predominantly EU callers. CNDX were not great but they were good enough and the pileup grew - with P33W and J42T finding me along with several Northern EU and Russian callers. However it was not long before loud EU stations encroached and my run disappeared. I found another freq. up the band and had my second good hour 112 at 01z and another 112 at 02z. The QRN and QRM rapidly intensified and I decide to take offtime and try again later. I was back on at 0424z with better cndx. QRN was high and the EU callers had thinned out but the rate was solid and lots of West coast US stations were loud along with callers 8R1AK, 3V8SS, XE2KJ and YN2KW. The EU stations were loud but there were very few of them. I tried 40 at EU sunrise but there was no run. Apparently most of the EU stations were taking offtime or were inaudible and I went qrt at 0625z. I didnâ€™t bother with 10 or 15 on Saturday and put all my energy in 20 what with the constant fight to hear stations amidst epic splatter and what has to be the most rapid and dramatic qsb that I can ever recall in this contest. Many times a 59+ station would almost completely disappear by the end of giving me his callsign! But instead of a predictable fade down and then back up â€" like a wave â€" there was no such pattern this weekend. I probably removed 3 or 4 dozen qâ€™s because I never could hear the station come back again even though I am sure he actually was there giving me the report and was probably just as surprised and frustrated at how weak I got and that I couldnâ€™t hear him. I have also noticed that this often corresponds with an enhancement with EU short skip so that they actually get louder to each other when cndx worsen on the path between them and us. Itâ€™s not such a bad thing for them but it is crappy for us since we do not get the same quality of short-skip opening. I donâ€™t know if this is related to the ionospheric clouds that tend to form off the coast of Western Africa but I suspect that it might be. I found a good spot on 20 and began to run at 1021z. I had gotten up earlier on Sunday, about 0930z, to take my meds and prepare my food because with a K = 2, the band would be open earlier than Saturday when I started too late. EW8G was the first Russian caller at 1029z, extremely early ! Then the impressive opening to Russia started with RA4W, RA3R and RW3XZ at 1037 and 1038z This was no accident - there really was going to be a fine Russian opening today ! That meant lots more qsos with stations that I had not yet worked and lots more prefixes. ZB2TT and TA2LG called along with RK9DM, R9UA, RZ9JZ and UN5GV and EK3GM. Signals continued to increase with more and more Russian and Asiatic Russian callers. At times the last ten rate got over 300 per hour but then would die quickly and without warning. The combination of qrm, splatter and insanely fast qsb could kill a run in a matter of seconds. Such is life at the bottom of the sunspot cycle ! As the rate repeatedly stopped and started, B7M, YE1K, J42T and OX7RST all called in along with YB3IZK and TF3VS. Then at 1255z EX8M called in with Number 1 followed by HS0ZCW and HS0ZDX a few minutes later. B1Z at 1307z, TF3DT at 1311z, UP0L at 1318z and 4L6AM at 1330z ended the exciting polar route qso's and with the rate falling dramatically, I decided to try 15. I had found myself endlessly fighting off would-be freq. stealers, maybe more so than I can ever recall in any contest. A lot of that was marginal and sometimes relatively one-way propagation plus the combined effects of qsb, splatter and shortskip making it easy to â€śnot noticeâ€ť that someone was on a freq. but a lot of it was opportunistic as well, especially with the world crammed into 150 khz on 20 with 10 dead and 15 barely functional. On Sunday, I had resisted the temptation to attempt to run on 15 knowing that it would â€śteaseâ€ť but not open for us in New England. Consequently I had been content to stay on 20 and work dozens of Russian stations that I could not hear the day before. But with the SSN of 12, it meant that the opening would be short and when the K popped back up to 2, I knew that it would be brief â€" which it was. First the Russians disappeared suddenly and then the band noise changed and that told me all that I needed to know. Eventually I could not even hear typical EU stations calling me. I took this as a sign that I should take offtime â€" learning from getting fooled in past WPX SSB contests. I then alternated with off-time and run-time regardless of the signal strength of the loud EU stations which are always heard well at my qth. But itâ€™s the â€ś little guys â€ť that you need to hear for the good runs, and if you canâ€™t hear them then you canâ€™t run. Although I had successfully earlier avoided the â€ś siren call â€ť earlier of a 15 M run, I did eventually succumb to the temptation when my 20 M run disappeared and J42T and II9P got up to S9 on 15m and I worked 7Z1CQ. A few other Western/Southern EU stations were audible but their signals were hollow sounding which means that it is not a real opening. Twice on Sunday I bet â€ś 15 to run â€ť. The first time it was over quickly as the propagation was of a true â€śSpotlightâ€ť nature. The 2nd time was more promising with shortpath signals and a string of 4X and SV stations. One F station was an honest S9 but no one else was more than S4. And the qsb was almost immediate, almost as bad as the â€śpingsâ€ť of meteor scatter propagation that we see in the 10M contest. I did not expect the 15 M run to pan out and was prepared with Plan B. Actually it was Plan A because Plan B was to sit on 15 and run which was not something that I really expected. Back to 20 and alternating off and on times, one of the mistakes that I had made last year when I stayed on 15. During my 2nd brief run on 15, at 1356z AC1U ( N1UR ) called me and we exchanged almost identical qso numbers â€" I had 2876 and he had 2878. We both laughed. I hoped that Ed needed to take more off-time than I did but I didnâ€™t know â€" at that point I only needed about 3 more hours off. I took more offtime at about 1430z and came back to 20 one hour later where in a slow " walk " J42TR and TK5EP called in along with a few more Russian stations. I continued to plug away on 20 and was rewarded with steady rate and 9K2HN, SY1AQG, VU2RCT, 9H5DX, VU2UAT, VU2WJ, TA2PI, EC6PG and SV9COL all in the 17z hour. CNDX once again improved and TA4RC, WH7W SZ1A and several other Greek stations called in along with a smattering of SA, Caribbean, northern EU, Russian and US stations. The big surprise was T2AQ longpath who confirmed that he was in Tuvalu even though the called sounded suspect. I had begun to actively operate the 2nd radio to catch all the SA and Caribbean stations that I had not worked on Friday and Saturday. This noticeably boosted my rate and mult count. I had taken offtime late in the afternoon and apparently had missed almost all of the very brief 10 meter opening catching only the last few minutes - but I got 5 stations a few mults. Then 15 which had been open well, suddenly faded out leaving only 20. This is typical of near quiet sun cndx. The MUF is just at the freq. of a band that is just barely open or trying to open and you get a slight â€ś burp â€ť in the ionosphere and the signals disappear. Then it quiets down just a bit and â€śVOILA!â€ť signals reappear suddenly and so on. It is very easy to get fooled ! With 10 meters we are justifiably skeptical but 15 we EXPECT to open and then it seems like it WILL open and we are tired of the battle on 20 and cqing on 15 seems like a cold beer on a hot day while sitting next top the A/C in a comfy chair. But then the A/C dies and the beer tastes bad when 15 â€ś sucked you in â€ť to operating instead of taking off-time or you realize that 15 wonâ€™t open and have to go back to 20. Last year I had made a tactical mistake on Sunday in staying on 15 during marginal times and the repeating it with 20. I was also exhausted and lost my voice and when 10 meters opened well I only half-heartedly pursued the 2nd radio. All that cost me dearly and I could not finish the contest on 40 when the points per hour would have been better. I also had a mult that was too low for the cndx and K1LZ beat me in a close finish. I vowed not to repeat those mistakes this year and I didnâ€™t. Satisfied with the 20 meter Asian run on Saturday afternoon and convinced that no one in addition to ZL1AIX was going to call me longpath from the Pacific on 20, I decided to go straight to 40 and ignore all other distractions. Cndx were good on 40 and signals were strong with little qrn. A pileup quickly started with A65DR making it through at 2150z, CN2AA at 2159z, HZ1TT at 2216z, CN3A at 2229, J42T at 2239z, A44A at 2254z and 9K2HN at 2316z. The 22z hour was filled with 101 qsos and lot of mults and I went qrt at 2323z. I had a great run and finished in pretty spectacular fashion making almost 800k points in the final hour which was pretty cool considering it took me the first 18 hours to get to 5.0 Meg ! All in all it was a very satisfying contest effort for me this weekend â€" after the start with really lousy propagation, I hung in there and then got to experience the joys of operating a contest in which I got the most out of my station and made all the right operating decisions ! Although 20 and 40 were incredibly crowded and often stations cqed on each other without listening, I am pleased to say that overall the operators seemed more considerate and helpful to each other than in ARRLDXSSB. Often when I nicely asked a station if they could please move up or down a little they did and several of the really bad splatterers did turn down their mic gain and or compressor when asked. Likewise, when I was asked to please move up or down a little, I did so as well. This operator courtesy and cooperation made operating more pleasant and enjoyable and the contest more fun - which is the whole point ! After logchecking, if no one emerges with a higher score, then it will mean that I have won the USA Single Opr. All BAND HP NON-assisted category in four different decades ! Tnx for all the qsos and mults this weekend â€" your support was evident and greatly appreciated! And thank you most of all to the two ops who said â€ś Itâ€™s good to see you on the air again! â€ť. 73 Bob KQ2M firstname.lastname@example.org www.rlsfinancialgroup.com BREAKDOWN QSO/mults KQ2M CQ WORLD WIDE PREFIX CONTEST Single Operator HOUR 160 80 40 20 15 10 HR TOT CUM TOT 0 ..... ..... 138/112 ..... ..... ..... 138/112 138/112 1 . . 146/85 . . . 146/85 284/197 2 . . 105/63 . . . 105/63 389/260 3 . . 83/41 . . . 83/41 472/301 4 . 30/16 58/23 . . . 88/39 560/340 5 2/2 21/11 25/13 . . . 48/26 608/366 6 . 6/2 5/3 . . . 11/5 619/371 7 . . . . . . . 619/371 8 ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... 619/371 9 . . . . . . . 619/371 10 . . . 70/38 . . 70/38 689/409 11 . . . 159/91 . . 159/91 848/500 12 . . . 119/57 3/1 . 122/58 970/558 13 . . . 120/43 . . 120/43 1090/601 14 . . . 92/30 1/1 . 93/31 1183/632 15 . . . 82/23 . . 82/23 1265/655 16 ..... ..... ..... 101/23 ..... ..... 101/23 1366/678 17 . . . 109/39 . . 109/39 1475/717 18 . . . 97/26 8/7 . 105/33 1580/750 19 . . . 89/22 18/12 . 107/34 1687/784 20 . . . 85/26 3/3 . 88/29 1775/813 21 . . . 121/52 . . 121/52 1896/865 22 . . . 85/32 . . 85/32 1981/897 23 . . 29/5 45/18 . . 74/23 2055/920 0 ..... ..... 50/13 ..... ..... ..... 50/13 2105/933 1 . 112/27 . . . . 112/27 2217/960 2 . 112/22 . . . . 112/22 2329/982 3 . 19/2 . . . . 19/2 2348/984 4 . 57/5 . . . . 57/5 2405/989 5 . 72/13 . . . . 72/132477/1002 6 . 19/4 3/1 . . . 22/5 2499/1007 7 . . . . . . . 2499/1007 8 ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....2499/1007 9 . . . . . . . 2499/1007 10 . . . 60/18 . . 60/182559/1025 11 . . . 114/33 . . 114/332673/1058 12 . . . 100/34 2/0 . 102/342775/1092 13 . . . 68/17 10/1 . 78/182853/1110 14 . . . . 34/7 . 34/7 2887/1117 15 . . . 45/7 . . 45/7 2932/1124 16 ..... ..... ..... 94/15 1/0 ..... 95/153027/1139 17 . . . 97/23 6/2 . 103/253130/1164 18 . . . 36/6 8/4 . 44/103174/1174 19 . . . 36/9 1/0 5/4 42/133216/1187 20 . . 1/0 63/7 12/4 . 76/113292/1198 21 . . 46/8 22/5 3/0 . 71/133363/1211 22 . . 101/11 . . . 101/113464/1222 23 . . 42/6 . . . 42/6 3506/1228 DAY1 2/2 57/29 589/345 1374/520 33/24 ..... ..... 2055/920 DAY2 . 391/73 243/39 735/174 77/18 5/4 . 1451/308 TOT 2/2 448/102 832/384 2109/694 110/42 5/4 . 3506/1228 Continent Statistics KQ2M CQ WORLD WIDE PREFIX CONTEST Single Operator 26 Mar 2017 2324z 160 80 40 20 15 10 ALL percent North America SSB 2 269 511 494 29 0 1305 36.8 South America SSB 0 7 17 35 50 5 114 3.2 Europe SSB 0 165 295 1418 22 0 1900 53.5 Asia SSB 0 2 9 155 4 0 170 4.8 Africa SSB 0 8 8 22 6 0 44 1.2 Oceania SSB 0 0 3 14 0 0 17 0.5|