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CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB   2012   Oct 27   Claimed Score

Click on a call below for a list of all the contests for which that call sign is listed as an operator. Click on the [email] link to send an e-mail to the contester who posted the claimed score.

Call: YN2AA
Operator(s): N6GQ
Station: YN2N

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: Nicaragua
Operating Time (hrs): 38
Location: Other North America

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:6276131417Total Score8,153,692


Club: Northern California Contest Club

Comments:     [email]     2012-10-30 09:47:36
First, my sincere thanks and appreciation go out to my friends Octavio and Martha (YN2N and XYL). I was so looking forward to getting back to Octavio’s after my previous trip " being in the jungle of Central America offers a quiet and calm that is pretty rare these days. Octavio and Martha’s hospitality is second to none " I had a wonderful time with them! Each year when I do a single-op effort, I look forward to the recap at the end, its my way of memorializing the weekend, and sharing it is a fun way to collaborate with others with similar interests. I read other commentaries with a lot of interest, usually learning quite a bit from what others experience. With each contest, I enter with a set of goals, sometimes it’s a full-bore effort for raw QSOs, sometimes its just fun, other times its to win, or sometimes its to test a theory. This particular contest I chose my goal as testing a theory " (as I did in the previous YN2AA operation) " this year’s test was to see what a multiplier count would look like with no mult-chasing, only CQing. As I’d expect, its not so good, but I believe the theory that most mults can be had by CQing is directly proportional to how rare your country/zone is. While I believe I was the only active YN in the contest this year, there were a good number of other very active zone 7 operations on the air, and so I was only “half-rare” :) I think its also somewhat proportional to how loud you are around the globe, and this operation shows what can be done in a contest with decent conditions, and without stacks of yagis, big amplifiers, SO2R, or any large investment. In fact, the station is probably similar to what most hams might have at home, a small tribander and low wires, and a small amplifier (500w). My “day job” has kept me extremely busy this past year, and this contest represented a get-away from work for me. Besides testing my theory mentioned above, I also had a goal of not pushing too hard this year, which meant getting more sleep than a regular SOAB effort, taking time enjoy 3 full meals a day, take a nice shower each day, and not be ruled by the clock. I think I struck a good balance this time, having clocked about 38 hours of chair-time, and most of the time feeling pretty alert and not tired. I had been fighting a cold for the week going into the contest, and through the contest my voice changed as the cold started to take hold, bu t I think given that I got sleep and good food, I was able to beat the cold. I had arrived in-country only Thursday afternoon, and so only had the afternoon and next day to get set up and adjusted to the weather, station and propagation. The station consists of the following: Radio: My early Elecraft K3 with DVR but no sub-RX Amplifier: Drake L4 (80-10M " no amp on 160) Antennas: 10/15/20: Cushcraft A3 @18m 40: 2 element wire quad loops fixed on Europe or a dipole @ 18m 80: dipole @ 18m 160: dipole @ 18m I had been listening from home in W6 quite a bit in the preceding days and was hoping propagation would remain as hot as it had been, and for the most part, things were pretty good, thankfully. I’m not a great sleeper, and my flight from SFO to Miami was a redeye, so I pretty much didn’t sleep at all on the night of my travel, but tried to recoup some of that on Thursday night before the contest. So I was a bit tired on Friday but the adrenaline rush from the contest starting pretty much fixed that problem :) I started the contest on 20M and had pretty decent rates for the first 2 or 3 hours, with the 10 minute rate meter regularly pegged at 600/hr, which is always fun. I’m a rate-junkie and always look forward to the “right” pileup size " one that’s managable but doesn’t fizzle too quick. Too small and you exhaust the callers and wait to get spotted again " too big and you can’t quickly pull calls out of the mess. As my friend Robert (S53R) so eloquently noted, it is also related to the origin of the pileups, US and JA pileups are very managable regardless of size mostly, but European pileups can be exceedingly aggressive and this becomes a challenge when trying to complete each QSO. This caused me to make some minor adjustments in my bandplan this time, more on that later. It was in these first few hours that I had the best 60 minute rate of 380/HR. I knew I could probably stay on 20 well into the night but also wanted to get to 40 to catch the majority of the European multiplier base, as well as into Western Asia. I contrast this with 40 being so incredibly crowded that finding a clear frequency in the band is virtually impossible. I didn’t have the option of being 40 over 9 in Europe, so I got pushed around quite a bit by incredibly loud and wide European signals. I remain surprised at how incredibly loud Europe is in Central America with a mostly-open-water path " the band is literally full of S9+40+ signals, and most of them are incredibly WIDE as well, with “good” audio being somewhat of an exception. In fact, I recorded the entire 48 hours of the contest, and have been thinking of publishing some of the clips in an effort to try to get ops to be more responsible with their signals (more on that later, too). So it was with trepidation that I wnet to 40 and tried to find a hole to get a pileup going. This didn’t work so well because as soon as I’d get something going, I’d get pushed off by one of those S9+40 signals splattering over my pileup, to the point of S9+20 signals being uncopyable. So I’d move again, and kept doing that until I decided to change my course. So I switched to 80M. 80M was unfortunately mostly a bust, as the noise level on 80 was S9+20 " perhaps because of the Storm Sandy? I don’t know, but it was essentially unusable in that condition. I went to 160, where the noise was “only” S9, but the problem was there were just no signals. You know it’s going to be a long night when the only thing you hear on 160 during primetime is one or two “locals” (for me, that was HK1NA and TI8M). No US signals at all, not K3LR, not KC1XX, not NQ4I, not W3LPL, nada. I went back to 40 and putzed around for a while but still never really got any kind of good rate going. For me, it becomes an avoidance thing " so I start subconsciously looking for other things to distract myself with " looking for other bands to be open , listening to other ops work pileups, etc. At some point, I just went to bed and set my alarm for 30 minutes before sunrise. At about 30 minutes before sunrise, I expected 40 and 80 to be full of Asian signals, but that wasn’t the case. I did work a few JA’s, but couldn’t get the few BY’s I heard to hear me. I also couldn’t generate any kind of rate by CQing, so I ended up going to 20, which was already pretty much wide open " and full " so I ended up going to 10/15 and getting some rate going with the Europeans. The rest of the weekend was spent jumping from the US band into the non-US band trying to get to a point of maximizing QSO rates and efficiency. This actually worked pretty well, because I spent a lot less time CQing than in previous contests. Some fun statistics: Number of amplifier failures: 0 (Drake L4) Number of computer failures: 0 (surprising, given a Windows 7 box. N1MM is a great logger) Number of radio problems: 0 (Elecraft K3, love it) Crime rate in Nicaragua: Lowest in Central America Best 60 minute rate: 380 (1st hour) Number of missed meals: 0 (I made sure of this!) :) "Way Cool Band Openings": 2 (10M LP at 1AM, 20M SP at ~1AM) Number of 6 band QSOs: 2 (PJ2T and V26B) Number of 5 band QSOs: 82 (Thanks!) The 20M opening on Saturday night was incredible - the band was mostly flat, then about 1AM or so, it "popped" to Europe and Central Asia - the band went from mostly quiet to wall to wall S9+++ signals. So I found a spot and called CQ, and for the next 90 minutes ran Europe at a crazy pace. Finally decided to go split and that sped things up quite a big and allowed me to work through the enormous pileup better and thin it out quicker. Amazing. Lots of fun. Then, like a light switch, it closed again. It was a great contest, a big thanks to all the ops that traveled to unique destinations to get on the air, or those that are already there that took their time to get on the air for the rest of us! And in the end, my score shows that chasing mults would have been a good idea, as I think it would have been 2M points higher with some time spent there rather than sleeping :) But since rate is fun, I'm very happy with the score, especially given that it was done with a small tribander, low wires and "low" power (for the HP category). Thanks for all the QSOs, and one last thing, I do have the entire 48 hours recorded, so if you want your QSO in MP3 format, let me know (or if you want to hear something specifically). I'd also wonder if we, the contest community, might ever have a chance to listen to the SDR recordings, that would be really cool. All the best, Jeff N6GQ / YN2AA