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CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB   2013   Oct 26   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: Grenada, Nicaragua
Operating Time (hrs): 45
Location: Other North America

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:5700139445Total Score7,981,528


Club: Northern California Contest Club

Comments:     [email]     2013-10-30 09:39:39
My typical novel of a 3830 post follows…as always, read on if you have any interest…I love reading all these, and its my way of remembering the fun weekends. Wow, what more can be said about the fantastic conditions this past weekend?! In my 30+ years of contesting this has to be one of the top weekends I've ever experienced, and a great joy to experience it from near the equator. I'd like to first once again thank my gracious hosts, Octavio (YN2N) and his wonderful wife Martha. They make my stay there absolutely wonderful. I continue to say, there is something magical about that volcanic soil that makes the station play like there's no tomorrow. That, combined with the excellent conditions made for a very fun trip. This was my third CQWW SSB from YN, and each time is a bit different. I try to incorporate things I learn into each one to improve. While I thought I would improve this year's score over last, it didn't work out that way for a number of reasons I think. Mostly strategy blunders on my part, and not keeping the proper perspective and focus where it needed to be. Radio/Amp: Elecraft K3, KPA500 (500w) (Thank you, Elecraft, for supplying the amp!) Antennas: 10/15/20: Cushcraft A3 @ 60' 40: 2L wire quad fixed on EU/W4, dipole broadside N/S (W8, South America), 3L fullsize wire yagi fixed on JA/W6 80: Dipole 160: Dipole (using some of the other antennas as RX antennas sometimes) I had originally planned to do SO2V, using a second radio as the second VFO to tune around and find multis, kind of a "poor man's SO2R" - but ended up never using it. So this operation was completely SO1R, completely in the realm of "Classic" (and non-assisted). A year or two ago I put together a group of some top contesters to talk about how we can collectively learn from each other about increasing our performance both pre and during the contests we all do and love. Today one of our topics was sleep and how to best deal with sleep before and during the contest. This is admittedly a very difficult area for me, and it ended up being a problem this weekend. In years past, I would get 1-2 hours sleep per night, not only to avoid the sleep deprivation effects, but also because there's really not much going on in those deep hours of darkness that's really worth much in the long run. Being fresh for the morning runs (or, fresher) really makes a difference. I didn't sleep at all the first night, but felt great by Saturday morning, and thought "Fantastic!". The next night I didn't sleep again, and by Sunday morning, I was a wreck. I couldn't keep my eyes open, and knew if I didn't do something the rest of the day would be worthless. So I went in around 1500z for an hour nap. Upon waking, I was worse off than before, I was still tired, but I was completely out of touch with reality - recognizing that I didn't know how N1MM worked any more, and couldn't figure out how to log a QSO, and realizing that either I'm just in that state of sleep deprivation, or if something else was going on. I have some health issues and looking back on it, I was a little worried I might have been having a small stroke (my feet were swollen up from sitting for 36 hours straight) and I should have taken measures to avoid that, but I didn't realize until it was too late what was happening. Oh well. Its these kinds of things that pop up in the heat of battle that you don't know or think about until you're actually there and doing it. This had never been an issue before, so maybe I'm just getting old. To those that worked me in the hours after 1500z, I apologize if I was not very with it - I was really, really out of it. First strategy mistake. Anyhow, I had just recently returned from a trip to VU/4S7, and another trip to the US east coast, so I was a bit travel-worn, and had caught a cold in 4S7 that I was still recovering from, so my throat was still sore and I was somewhat congested, and this made things a bit rough. As the weekend went on, my voice got deeper and deeper, and my ability to speak clearly and quickly wasn't what it was before. Combining this with a few previous evenings of skeds and play on 160 and I had set myself up for a pretty dumb way to start a contest - already short on sleep and not feeling 100%. But alas, with conditions like that, I was ready to go! Looking back on things, one of the biggest mistakes I made in addition to the not-sleeping thing was not starting the contest on 10M. Last year, conditions weren't nearly as good and 20M was clearly the right choice to start. However this year, I thought that 20M would still be a good band to start on because if anything it would be better than last year (but it wasn't!). But I think in retrospect and comparing my scores to others, I didn't spend nearly enough time on 10M. I think I lost probably close to 1000 QSOs with this mistake alone. Strategy mistake number 2. I made another calculated strategy decision, and that was to stay outside the US phone band until after the European runs died down. This would give me two advantages - 1) I could maximize the european pileups (and hence more 3 pointers and multis) because they are much different than US pileups in terms of management and 2) I would condense the US pileups into shorter windows, thereby reducing the 0-QSO times of what can seem like constant CQing in between the times when you get spotted. It can go from feeling like there's no one in the world hearing you, to being overwhelmed by a huge pileup, all over a matter of seconds due to 1 cluster spot. So the long and short of it is that I spent too much time in the non-US bands because the European pileups never went away (and I can't get the rate in the EU pileups)! This lowered my QSO total significantly because I (again, stupidly) missed the peak rates to the US, where I should have had high-300's to 400+/hr rates. Strategy mistake number 3. In the days preceding the contest, I spent some time on 160 trying to give out a new country to some. Each night there was significant local lightning and try as I might, I could only work the loudest of the folks - they could hear me just fine but I couldn't hear much at all. Changing to different RX antennas didn't help because in the midst of a strong electrical storm that is within a mile or two of you with constant lightning overwhelms any RX antenna - and at one point I shut down and disconnected because I could feel/smell the lightning - too close! Well, the same was true each night during the contest - lightning and local storms made the noise level constantly high with constant crashes that pin the S-meter. 80 was similar. 40 was better. Friday night 40 wasn't that good for me to Europe or USA, and 80 was poor, 160 was almost non-existent. Saturday night was much better, and I was able to work some europeans on 80 finally. On Sunday afternoon I was able to pick up a few quick European mults on 40 a few hours before sunset that I had missed before. Then, as luck would have it, we had a power failure around 1800z on Sunday as I remember, peak time to the US. It gave me time to recover a bit from the zombieness of no-sleep, but I think in all reality had we had power straight through, my score would be relatively unchanged. No biggy. I noticed a few things this year: - "Please copy" still prevalent - Dupe rates were high (I had 86 dupes I think) - The cluster effect is kind of a drag, consistency would be much nicer. Are we becoming dependent on the cluster to find DX now? - Some of the big M/M's ops need help with listening and TX quality To expand on the above, the "please copy" thing, while being somewhat of an irritant, just is. But I think its a symptom of something bigger, that is that IMHO, we should strive to make QSOs as efficiently as possible, that means as few extraneous words/transmissions as possible. We're all doing something like this to some degree, maybe its not "please copy" but it might be in the phonetics we use (or don't) that require us to retransmit again, or the extraneous "thank you" versus "thanks", or what is quicker - "five nine" or "fifty nine"? This leads into my discussion of rates this year, more below. I think high dupe rates for me were partly due to the cluster spam that myself and others experienced. As far as the big M/M's, I stopped by and pointed out to one of the big M/M's 20M op that he was 15-20khz wide and that it sounded almost unintelligible. He cut back on the processing which helped, but I think there more than just an over-processing issue going on. Not sure what it was but I can't count how many times I heard callers and had to have them repeat because they were just over processed to the point of unintelligability. As a few have pointed out, perhaps this is becoming an offensive tactic to keep a run frequency and cut down on frequency neighbors. I also wonder if this was part of why I had such a difficult time with keeping a run frequency. In the days preceding the contest I worked with Jim (K9YC) and others to get as close to perfect contest audio as I could. Looking at TX audio on a scope, and then going for best clarity, punch and comfort. I got a LOT of "Great audio" comments so I think that's a good thing, but at the same time I don't think I was wide and therefore folks creep up right next to me and then push me off (remember, 500w and a tribander is no match for 1500+w and big monobander stacks). I recorded the entire contest so if any of the big M/Ms want to hear what their station sounded like, I'm happy to provide, just ask. On this topic, if anyone else recorded the contest, I think it would be really cool to take our respective QSO recordings to get a feel for what each end sounded like at the exact same point in time. Hmm…anyone? The other thing that I noticed is that the big M/M's are often not the best listeners. When you're "Fresh Meat" on a new band, they are always the first ones through the pileup, but they are sometimes the last ones to reply for the exchange. While I would acknowledge that when working simplex, the pileup gets in the way, but its usually 2 of the big M/M's that have this issue, while the rest of the pileup is quick to respond and we can all move on. So, now to talk about one of my favorite subjects - Rate. This year, my rate numbers were not as good as I had hoped - and not as good as last year. Part of it was just my previously discussed strategic fails, but also I think due to a number of other things - EU pileup management, cluster effect, etc. Regardless, here's some numbers: The best 60 minute rate was 351/hour from 2023 to 2122 (down from 380 last year) The best 30 minute rate was 368/hour from 2023 to 2052 The best 10 minute rate was 414/hour from 2025 to 2034 The best 1 minute rates were: 9 QSOs/minute 3 times. 8 QSOs/minute 21 times. 7 QSOs/minute 72 times. 6 QSOs/minute 143 times. 5 QSOs/minute 209 times. 4 QSOs/minute 292 times. 3 QSOs/minute 301 times. 2 QSOs/minute 300 times. 1 QSOs/minute 426 times. I'll make available (on recordings of these high-rate chunks if anyone cares. And also, thanks for the 6-banders: The following stations were worked on 6 bands: NN3W K8AZ NA2U K3LR TI5W PJ4X NQ4I W3LPL KC1XX I had 49 5-banders, mostly I think due to very poor top band conditions. I'm glad I wasn't the only one though to report the same poor low band conditions. No plans yet for WW CW. While I much prefer CW contests, my work/family life has to be the priority for a bit and so I may not do much on the CW front this year, we'll see…anyone need an op? :) Thanks for the Q's - this one was memorable! 73 de Jeff, N6GQ, YN2AA