Friday, May 29, 2020

Wassup with Those Mysterious Russian Letter Beacons?

 In retrospect, it amazes me to think that years back, I used to consider the Russian Letter beacons on ~7.039 to be a nuisance.  If you read BLOG entries from 2013 & 2014, I erroneously compared those beacons to the hassle of RTTY QRM; something FAR worse.  Today, I not only RELY on those beacon signals, I take a listen for them any evening I happen to be tuning around on 40 meters.  (While these beacons live in the Cw band, there are just as useful for Ssb operations to Asia.)

In case you're not familiar with the Russian Letter beacons, take a moment to read what has been written thus far about these beacons and radiosport competitions.
  • [x] - Beacon Tracking saves WQ6X from drowning in 2018 SEA NET
  • [x] - Russian Letter Beacons Rescue 40 meters
  • [x] - WQ6X operations: the Weekend of BEACONS and RTTY
  • [x] - MX Russian Letter Beacons: a Dutch .Pdf article
  • [x] - Russian Navy 7039.3 kHz "K" Cluster Beacon
  • [x] - Single-letter beacons - a frequency list
When doing the original homework for the above BLOG entries, I happened across a pair of articles from Popular Communications Magazine (DEC-1984) & (JAN-1985) and a 3rd article (JUN-1986).  While these articles are 35 years old and many listed frequencies may no longer be in use, amazingly, the 40-meter beacons on 7.039 are still active.  Unless you are a Cw operator and/or know when to listen, you are probably unaware of these beacons.


Like the NCDXF Beacons, the Russian Letter beacons can help determine propagation paths open on 40 meters.  An advantage of the letter beacons is that they transmit every second; unlike the NCDXF beacons which transmit once every 3 minutes.  Unlike the NCDXF beacons which transmit
at 4 power levels (100w, 10w, 1w & 0.1w) the letter beacons operate at a constant power level;
altho that power-level has never been officially documented.

The Popular Communications articles led me to believe that Russian Letter Beacons operate largely
(if not completely) unattended, altho recent K-beacon signal spots have led me to question that.

On May 9th, I made the following observation:
Turning the 2-el Shorty-40 yagi towards Asia, tuning to ~7.039 the F-K-M beacons were heard,
however for the 1st time ever the "K" beacon was transmitting differently than I've ever heard it. 
Repeated over and over again I heard "K K K  T T T..." - why the change, I am not certain. 
I guess the question becomes how long will this difference continue to manifest.


Then on May 16th the following observation was made:
By 07:00 new callers in the contest had all but disappeared.  Hoping for an Asian connection, the Shorty-40
yagi was turned to 320-degrees.  Tuning to ~7.039, the Russian "K" and "M" beacons were heard.  Similar but different to last weekend, 
the K-beacon wasn't transmitting "K" repeatedly; instead, the transmission was "K K K K T T".  Last weekend it was:  "K K K T T T".   
I have no idea why the transmission content has changed for a 2nd time.  Continued listening may provide a clue.

Then on May 23rd, the K-beacon was back to transmitting "K" once every second. 
As to what this is all about, I have no clue.  Nevertheless, I thought it worth reporting. 

Bottom-line?  The Russian Letter beacons have become my friends. 
Altho I have heard a couple of the European letter beacons, the main focus for WQ6X
operations are the Asian F-K-M beacons.  I only wish that other continents & countries
would join in the 7.039 beacon game; if the Russians can doit, why not other countries?

Do YOU make use of the Single-Letter-Beacons?

Please share your results with me and I will write it up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

BLASTS fromf the Past: The WPX Weird Prefix Ssb Contest

While researching the material(s) needed to write the Cw BLAST for the WPX contest, it occurred
to me that the March WPX Ssb contest has been completely ignored in the "Blast from the Past" category.  Because I believe in offering equal time to Ssb contests, this BLOG entry should
remedy that rather rightly.
Combing the archives, it would seem that WQ6X has been a part of as many Ssb WPX contests
as I have Cw GiGs.  Because there are several YL OP's in the San Diego contest club, it is not unusual to see a woman sitting in front of a radio; YL voices is one of NX6T's "secret weapon".
  • [-] - 2010 WPX: #2 in W6 & #9 in NA
  • [-] - 2011 WPX: #1 in W6 & #4 in NA
  • [-] - 2012 WPX: #3 in W6 & #10 in NA
  • [x] - 2013 WPX: WQ6X Operates WPX-SSB Solo for 2013  - #10 in W6
  • [x] - 2014 WPX: WQ6X joins the crew @ NX6T for WPX-SSB 2014
  • [x] - 2015 WPX: WQ6X JOINS TEAM NX6T FOR ANOTHER MULTI-2 WPX CONTEST - #2 in W6 & #5 in NA
  • [x] - 2016 WPX: NX6T New Operator training exercise
  • [x] - 2017 WPX: The WPX contest that ALMOST never was: TWICE
  • [x] - 2018 WPX: WQ6X Dual-OPs another SSB WPX with N6KI - #1 in W6 & #12 in NA
  • [x] - 2019 WPX: 12 OPs make Ssb WPX (Weird Prefix Contest) - Weirder than Ever - #2 in W6 & #5 in NA
  • [x] - 2020 WPX: WQ6X Works the Whackiest, Weirdest WPX Contest Ever - Results Tbd
In a way, it is quite amazing that we (San Diego Contest Clubber's) have done as well as we have
in recent WPX years considering the low Solar Flux index (SFI).  Altho domestic contacts are worth points, DX contacts are worth even more.  Most of the most-exotic Weird Prefixes are from the
other side of the globe.

What I like MOST about the WPX Weird Prefix Contest is all the different prefixes, often created JUST for the contest event.  As reported in previous WPX Blog write-ups, some of my favorite callsigns include:

WW0WWW & W5OOO, TG9, KH2 & KH0, P29, YT2, DS5, E51, ZP9, IK0, 9A15, DM50, 4Z5, GA3, VP9, JW, 9A8, T42, IT9, OG30, 3Z5, DR800, HB14, P4, PX4, 4F2, 5B4, JJ0, HS0, LY50, LZ73, E750, DM200, V31, XP3, A65, 3W1, 4X2, SV5 & SV9, FY5, MW0, UX8 & UX0, RZ10, YL2014 and LZ2014 plus YP10NATO. XR0YS, HW1SA, WT0O, UX5UO, PX4X, 4T4T, WU6X/XE1, DP65SC, CW4MAX & OM0M, VC3C2CAG1RL & JA2GAL, DF0WRTC, 8J1ITU, XE2X, OE8TED, DS2FAG, 9A/E77DX, TI8/AA8HH, 7K1MAG/2, E51DWC5W1SA, ZL40BQD, AB5ZA/7 & CT9/R7KW, YC9FAR, 7N3WRE & VE3NRG.

From the 2019 radiosport events, some of my favorite callsigns included: 9H6A & 9L1YXJ9A73A, 9K2NO, SX1T, P33W, P44W, 4Z4AK, ZL4YL, T40CW, HI0LT & J35X.

From USA: NW0M, KN0WCW/2, KE0UI  & WA0WWW  & AA0AWWI0WA & W0QQQ, KU1CW, KR1DX & WR1ST, KH6ND/NZ7,  KD5DD, KM4FOC, KC5RGQ, KN7NV, AC2OC, AC5O & AD5A, AA6PW.
From Canada were: VA6WWW, CK9ML, CJ7DZO, CK7CC.
 

From Europe, my favorites include: DD0CC, S50KS55T & S55DX, 9A1A, TM70E, TM29X, OM7RU, S573G, HB90TOC, IZ2FLX, LM450C, LY800SP, LZ60KAA, OH10X, S59ABC, Z35F, Z66W & Club Stations: MX3W & MX0SNB.

From Hawaii: WH6RE & AH6RE.
From Asia my favorites include: BA8BABI8FZABI4VIP &BH6KOK, 8J1ITU, JA6ZZZ,
JR6HK, JP3EXE, RW0AR & UA0CID & RK0UT, XV9PS.

It is for all these weird callsigns (and more) that we play in the WPX Weird Prefix Contests.

What about YOU?
Do YOU play in the WPX Weird Prefix Contest?

Are WQ6X and NX6T in YOUR Logs?

Monday, May 25, 2020

BLASTS fromf the Past: The WPX Weird Prefix Cw Contest

In preparation for the WPX Cw contest at the end of this month, I took a look back at the WPX GiGs I've been a part of in the last 10 years; both Ssb and Cw.  Back in September of last year I wrote a "Blast from the Past" post about Blasts from the past ([CLICK HERE] to read that), yet somehow
the WPX contest was overlooked.  This BLOG Entry is the first of two entries to remedy that oversight.

Since 2010, i have teamed up in some way with the NX6T team in Fallbrook, altho some years
we used my WQ6 callsign instead of the NX6 callsign.  Using WQ6X has entered my callsign into thousands of logs worldwide, making for easier callsign recognition of WQ6X in future logs
of future contests.  This is what happened:
  • [x] - 2010 WPX: #2 in W6 & #9 in NA
  • [x] - 2011 WPX: #4 in W6 & #8 in NA
  • [x] - 2012 WPX: #1 in W6 & #6 in NA
  • [x] - 2013 WPX: WQ6X does WPX-Cw as a Multi-2 - despite K-Index of 5
            #3 in W6 & #10 in NA
  • [x] - 2014 WPX: WQ6X Sets new WPX all-time high W6 Multi-2 record
            #1 in W6 & #7 in NA
  • [x] - 2015 WPX: WQ6X @ Fallbrook unleashes new contesting tools
  • [x] - 2016 WPX: WQ6X makes a notable appearance in WPX Cw
  • [x] - 2017 WPX: 2017 Weird Prefix Contest is weirder than ever
            #1 in W6 & #3 in NA
  • [x] - 2018 WPX: WQ6X Double-OPs CQ WPX Contest
            #2 in W6 & #9 in NA
  • [x] - 2019 WPX: WQ6X Dual-OPS another WPX-Cw Contest
            #1 in W6 & #9 in NA
One of the CooL features of WPX GiGs is the variety of wildly different prefixes that come on the
air [seemingly] just for the WPX contest weekend itself.  In several of the above-listed Blog entries,
I listed some of the wilder prefixes encountered in those events.
While our operations have resulted in any #1 worldwide wins, as you can see,
we have made our West coast presence a force to be reckoned with.
 
For the 2020 GiG look for NX6T to cobble together some top-notch Cw operators pulling-off our
best WPX-Cw win ever; then again, we can also "look forward" to increased competition worldwide
as operators join us for this GiG who haven't previously been able to find the time.

In preparation for this coming weekend, this last weekend the WQ6X portable operation @W7AYT was dismantled and reconfigured in a larger room (next door to the old room).  Surprisingly, the MFJ 949E tuner settings noticeably changed from rerouting the feedlines in a different configuration. 
The K3/0 remote is now more easily accessible; exporting the audio to the on-site external audio filters works more effectively than earlier configurations.
 
For this upcoming weekend I expect to be implementing a recently renovated MFJ 784 DSP filter
at the W7AYT location.  I test configure all outboard filters in Alameda before they are sent to the Concord location for actual use.
 
LooK for BOTH NX6T and WQ6X callsigns to be on the air this coming weekend.  While I don't expect WQ6X to win any major awards from this operation, I will at least have all the operating time I could ever want during a 48 hour period.  I expect NX6T to put 3,000+ QSOs in the 2020 log; let's see how it actually turns out.
 
Do YOU play in the WPX Cw contest?
Is WQ6X and/or NX6T in YOUR logs?
 
Can we look forward to working You THIS coming weekend?
 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

WQ6X Dabbles in the King-of-Spain and Speech Evaluation Contests

This contest weekend, two of my FAVorite activities (Radiosport and Toastmasters)
conducted competitions; one worldwide and one local to Northern California.
  • For Radiosport: The King of Spain Contest (K-o-S).
  • For Toastmasters: The District 57 (D-57) Speech Evaluation Contest.
In preparation for this weekend's King-of-Spain contest, I did a "Blast from the Past"
look back at previous involvement in the King of Spain contest, coming up with:
  • [x] - 2016 - 7 QSOs made running SO40
  • [x] - 2017 - 47 QSOs made running SO40
  • [x] - 2018 - 58 QSOs made running SOAB
  • [x] - 2019 - 51 QSOs made running SOAB
Radiosport-wise, this weekend's goal was to run the K-o-S contest while playing around in Kazakhstan's UNDX contest - beginning with listening for any "UN" activity on 40 meters. 
As it turned out, no "UN stations were heard throughout the weekend; and, no Kazakh
spots ever made it to the bandmap in Fallbrook.  An upside to this weekend was the
reintroduction of an Autek QF-1A filter pair for effective implementation of Stereo Cw.

Replacement for the UNDX GiG came in the form of the newly created HamVention QSO Party (HQP, HV, or HVQP - whichever you prefer) in response to the cancelled Dayton event.  A trip to the N1MM download site was necessary to obtain the User Defined Contest (uDc) file to implement the contest in the N1MM logger software.  Altho the event was mixed-mode, because I was running from Alameda the choice was made to run the GiG as Cw only.

The HV QSO party is unique in that no log submission is required; only a score posted to 3830Scores,Com.  Based on the submitted scores, WQ6X took 2nd place for California - below Hank's W6SX score from Mammoth Lakes.  The scored tied Valerie's NV9L entry, except she
ran all Ssb and I ran all Cw; I normally experience her blazing Cw in radio contests, but evidently,
not this one.  The write up about this GiG can be found at:
https://wwrof.org/hamvention-qso-party/
During this contest, calls were received from numerous stations who obviously had not read the rules; thinking it was a state QSO party, they would send "599 CA" (for example) - I would enter them in the log as "2020".

Thanks to K3LR, the above custom certificate was made available.
Being only a 12 hour event, by 00:00z (5pm PDT), the QSO party was over and it was
time to put the rest of my time into the 12 hours remaining in the King of Spain contest.
[CLICK HERE] to see the rules for the event.
 
For me, the BiG surprise was an opening to Europe (beginning with Spain) around 01:00z (6pm PDT).  I spent several hours running 7009.09.  One of the more amazing callers was EA9AZ/QRP @02:15z.  Another surprise caller was M0TDW. 

By 07:00 new callers in the contest had all but disappeared.  Hoping for an Asian connection,
the Shorty-40 yagi was turned to 320-degrees.  Tuning to ~7.039, the Russian "K" and "M" beacons
were heard.  Similar but different to last weekend, the K-beacon wasn't transmitting "K" repeatedly; instead, the transmission was "K K K K T T".  Last weekend it was:  "K K K T T T".   I have no idea why the transmission content has changed for a 2nd time.  Continued listening may provide a clue.

When it was all over it became readily apparent that in this year's K-o-S contest WQ6X made more QSOs in this single-event than all previous K-o-S operations combined.  While other stations easily surpassed this weekend's score, for me, it was a notable accomplishment. 

Based on the 3830 Stats, WQ6X took 2nd place for CA (behind W6SX in Mammoth Lakes)
in the HamVention QSO party and 1st-place for CA in the King-of-Spain contest - not bad for
just screwing around and winging it as I go.

Did YOU work the HVQP or K-o-S contests?

Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?




Wednesday, May 13, 2020

WQ6X Survives the IP-Jungle to play CQ-M & VOLTA RTTY

Out of nowhere a last-minute inquiry from Dennis (N6KI) convinced me to team up with him to play around in the Russian CQ-M contest.  While this was a mixed-mode contest, we focused only on CW.  My contest goals for the weekend was to Dual-OP the CQ-M GiG as well as the Volta RTTY contest; and if possible work stations in the Arkansas QSO Party - simple right? - Not Quite.

Normally when I arrive at W7AYT's QTH, all I need do is plug an Ethernet cable from the a MicroTik router into the laptop and Voila! - instant internet and easy K3/0 remote access to STN-1 & STN-2
in Fallbrook.  The fact that I had to access the internet via the on-site router (rather than thru the MicroTik) was an indication something was wrong.  It would seem that I could power on/off the
radio at STN-2 but could not control it. 
To make a long (boring) story short I needed to work with John (K6AM) to sort out a number of recently developed IP-address conflicts.  In the interim, I put WQ6X on the air from Concord for
the CQ-M & VOLTA GiGs.  Once the K3/0 finally connected up, I lost no time in adding QSOs
to the CQ-M log, picking up where N6KI left off.  Unfortunately, by this time the ARQP GiG was
long over - no Arkansas QSOs ever made it to the log.

Turning the 2-el Shorty-40 yagi towards Asia, tuning to ~7.039 the F-K--M beacons were heard, however for the 1st time ever the "K" beacon was transmitting differently than I've ever heard it.  Repeated over and over again I heard "K K K  T T T..." - why the change, I am not certain. 
I guess the question becomes how long will this difference continue to manifest.

Throughout the weekend I ran into all kinds of operating anomalies.  Typical were stations calling me not knowing the CQM was a contest.  I would send them "5NN 1234" followed by Ctrl-W (wipe from log) and they would go away. 10 minutes later they would be calling in again.  HuH? WTF?!  Several callers (obviously oblivious to the fact I was running a contest), would go into "ragchew mode".

A weird one came from K7BTW chiding us for not following his instructions. 
He sent "W6 ONLY" and then proceeded to work WB8JUI.  HuH?  WTF?!
I wrote this complaint up as BEEF #12 in the "Role of Respect in Radiosport" - Part 3.
([CLICK HERE] to read about that.

In the Volta RTTY GiG my biggest beef was finding an obviously clear frequency, calling CQ
and immediately some other station would begin calling CQ - perfectly zero-beat.  After pressing
the F-11 key ("QRL / QSY") multiple times they would move on.  WTF were they trying to accomplish
by doing that?  I wrote this complaint up as BEEF #2 in the "Role of Respect in Radiosport" - Part 1.
([CLICK HERE] to read about that.

Once the K3/0 was functional the audio out was routed to a pair of Autek QF-1A filters creating
a stereo Cw effect.  (I have written about this before. [CLICK HERE] to read about that.) 
With stereo Cw, tuning thru a signal causes it to shift from the left side of my experience
over to the right side and vice-versa. 

When running a frequency, because multiple calling stations would be at different offsets (relative
to the run frequency), some stations would appear at different locations on the "left side" of my experience, while others would appear at different locations on the "right side".   This makes it
considerably easier to sort stations out of the jumble, running the frequency more effectively.

When it was all over NX6T took 2nd place in the CQ-M contest, missing 1st-place
by only 4 QSOs - bummer dewd.  Northern California beat Southern California in this event.
While running as Single-OP (from both the W7AYT & NX6T locations) brought
me no awards, it was a good dual-OP experience overall and worth the time investment.

What about You?  Did YOU work the CQ-M or Volta RTTY contests?

Is NX6T or WQ6X in YOUR log?

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Creative Competition in Radiosport and Toastmasters - Part 2: The 6 P's

While putting a finish on Part 1 of this BLOG series, it occurred to me that something
Toastmasters and Radiosport competition have in common is what I will call the 6 P's;
namely:
  • PLANNING
  • PREPARATION
  • PRACTICE
  • PERSISTENCE
  • PRESENTATION
  • [Proper] PROTOCOL

PLANNING
In radiosport, for me, planning begins with scanning the WA7BNM contest calendar to determine
the Date/Time for a given event, or, to discover what events are happening over a given weekend.

After one/more events are selected, I make a visit to the contest organization's website and read
the rules thoroughly.  If  a contest has been run before, it may have been written-up in the WQ6X Contest Blog, encouraging me to re-read what I wrote about previous operations in that contest GiG.

If a Multi-Operator event is to be run from NX6T in Fallbrook, a message to Dennis N6KI, will allocate one-or-more OP-time slots; Dennis sets things up, I just show up and operate.  If I am single-OP'ing from NX6T it is up to me to set things up.  Should I choose to run w/HP (which is most of the time)
it is usually necessary to start-up the A/C system; which can easily be done remotely.


PREPARATION
 While Planning is largely Postulate-based, Preparation translates the plan into action. 
In BOTH Radiosport & Toastmasters, reading the contest rules is one of the First Steps towards
being prepared to compete.  In all contests, rules can change before every running of a given event.

In Toastmasters it is useful to view videos of previous contest winners to get a sense for what constitutes a winning speech contest speech.  In Radiosport, I often look at previous years results and Soapbox comments, as well as re-read Blog entries I have written about the upcoming event(s). 
Also in Radiosport, a thorough equipment checkout is essential, as well as an internet connection verification (if remote operation is part of the plan).


PRACTICE - PRACTICE - PRACTICE
 In a Radiosport competition as well as in Speech Contests, practice is probably the most demanding and yet the most repeatable part of becoming a Top-Notch competitor.

In Toastmasters, after winning a given contest level you are faced with the best-of-the-best speakers from other Areas/Divisions; meaning, your competition will be even more of a challenge.  I coach contest winners to practice/rehearse speeches in front of as many clubs as they can, bringing
about more Evaluations and different venues to work with.  Also make time to watch other
winning speakers; live or via video.  Become clear about what works and what doesn't.

In Radiosport participate in as many different contest events; BiG and Small.  Just listening to other top-notch operators run frequencies can be very Instructive.  For each GiG you participate in, be
sure to submit a LoG to the contest committee.  The more your callsign is encountered, stations
will be more likely to remember you during future vents, making operations all that much easier.

Before each event, check the Space-WX forecasts and thoroughly read the contest rules. 
Studying the results from previous years can give you an idea of who you are up against this year.  Consider making use of contest training software to improve your skill.


PERSISTENCE
 In Summary: Persistence is NoT giving up.
In both Toastmasters and Radiosport, too many competitors give up on the process, too easily, usually "early in the game".  While it's important to not waste time pursuing a station (Radiosport)
or Contest Level (Toastmasters) that is truly out of reach, all too often we underestimate our ability
to "rise to the occasion".

In Radiosport, Persistence means not giving up; additionally, it means to keep repeating that which works, while moving on from that which is NoT working (if it's TRULY NoT working).  Determining whether to remain on a seemingly unproductive band or move onto a band which is an unknown
often determines success/failure of a given opening session - "Should I stay or Should I Go";
Band Conditions Let me Know.

Persistence becomes easier when we acknowledge our operating strengths and work these abilities to their fullest.  In Speech Contests it is important to acknowledge effective speaking styles, taking them to the next level.  Additionally, should the unexpected occur, we need to quickly adapt the speech flow to accommodate that shift, as if it was part of the plan along.


PRESENTATION
It could be argued that PRESENTATION is the whole point of what we are about.  To make for more-perfect presentations, once the overall the structure is determined, practice allow us to hone the seeming-minor details to produce a more perfect product.

In radiosport, technically there is nothing to rehearse as each event is completely different.  Radiosport is akin to Table Topics in Toastmasters; we don't know what to expect until that
very moment.  In both cases, from that moment forward, it's ALL about Presentation.


PROTOCOL
Every Presentation has a Protocol - a specific order of delivery.  In Toastmasters, every speech has
a Beginning, Middle & End.  Every radiosport contact also has a Beginning & Ending; your callsign
at the beginning and my callsign at the end.  What we call the "Exchange" constitutes the middle.

In order to be effective, the specific protocol should be repeated, over and over again, more-or-less unvarying.  If a presentation is effective, there is no reason we shouldn't repeat it, making minor adjustments as the conditions vary.

However you look at it, when it comes to Competitive Communication (be it Radiosport or Toastmasters) a number of different factors come into play to be best each year.  Should you
succeed at taking top honors in a given year - CONGRATULATIONS!  Next year, it starts all
over again.

If your competition is on top of things, they will review your score placement, video, Blog entries and anything else to learn what it takes to take 1st place as you did the year before.  It seems to me the competition continues to ascend each year, making a win-reprisal increasingly difficult; then again, that makes the challenge even more exciting.

What about You?  Are You moved by competition in Toastmasters or Radiosport? 
If so..... Tell me about it.

WQ6X Wanders Weirdly thru another Cinco-de-Contest

For many years I have found one excuse after another to work the Cinco-de-Contest weekend. 
Last year I wrote up a pair of "Blast from the Past" BLOGs about this unique weekend, as well
as the contest activity for that weekend:
  1. [x] WQ6X prepares for another Cinco-de-Contest Weekend
  2. [x] WQ6X prepares for Cinco-de-Contest Weekend - Pt. 2
  3. [x] WQ6X Wangles & Wrangles Stereo-Cw for yet another
          Cinco-de-Contest Weekend (2019)
Keeping all 4 contests running concurrently requires proper planning and orchestration. 
Technically all the events were mixed-mode (Cw & Ssb), altho to make things easier,
as WQ6X the choice was made to run only Cw and leave the Ssb QSOs for NX6T.
Unlike previous years, finding the
time for the ARI Dx contest amidst the
4 state QSO Parties never happened.  Overall the goal to Dual-OP another contest weekend was successful. 

Unfortunately the audio-mixing box ended up producing too much hum and was prone to RFI when the FT-1000mp was transmitting thru the MFJ tuner to the 8JK inverted vee.  Until the unit can
be properly bypassed and grounded,
it is not ready for full-fledged contest operation at the W7AYT QTH.
Altho the 4 state QSO parties use different formats for county identifiers, several years ago the N1MM developers developed a way to use a single log entry screen to log all 4 contests.

While it is possible to separate the QSOs for each contest, it turns out the combined Cabrillo file can be submitted for each contest and the LCR (Log Checking Robot) can sort it out later.
I was elected to start up the QSO parties from NX6T remotely starting at 5:20am.  Usually I am going to bed at 5am after running contest operations in the middle of the night.  Altho I had a Zoom video conference at 9am, running Zoom on the laptop allowed me to run VNC Viewer on the large monitor and S&P in between presentations during a BOR-ing District meeting.  During Saturday afternoon,
I found time to run as WQ6X from Concord.  At 03:00z I resumed NX6T operations from STN-2 until the 7QP ENDED AT 07:00Z.

During the operating stints @NX6T the overall plan was to work internet spots for each QSO Party until the bandmap was exhausted; then call CQ for each QSO Party GiG.  Unfortunately, much of
the time I received more calls from OUTSIDE each QSO party than from in the QSO Party states. 
I wrote about this frustration earlier - [CLICK HERE] to read about that.

Looking at the 3830 submissions for each contest, it would seem that NX6T was beat out by
NV9L and her husband WB9Z - well done you two.

Did You work the state QSO Parties?
Is NX6T in YOUR Log?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

If You're Gonna DoIt, then DOIT Right

In recent years, out of seeming-nowhere an envelope appears at my P.O. Box or an unexpected e-Mail arrives, delivering another 1st-place certificate from the previous year's state QSO parties. 
I have won 1st-place awards submitting logs with less than 10 QSOs.  I guess Woody Allen was
right - "sometimes just showing up is over 1/2 of the game.
 
In the olden daze, I used to screw around in state QSO parties; because back then I didn't really
"take it seriously", I rarely sent in a log.  Then I discovered that careless attitude cost me being awarded a lot of high-place finish certificates; all that was needed was taking 5 minutes to post
a score on the 3830 Scores website and e-mail a file attachment of the .Log file for a given event.

The important point to understand in all this is NoT WQ6X that  was the BEST Single-OP in these events, only that I submitted the highest scoring log for that category.  Often, other participants made WaY more QSOs but either they failed to submit a log or for whatever reason, the log was disqualified or made a Checklog, giving WQ6X a 1st-place for that event.

Next time you participate in a state QSO Party and don't feel like submitting a log, then what is
the point of playing at all?  No matter how well you do, your log is important to the contest result committees.  Go ahead - submit that log and possibly YOU TOO can receive a 1st-place when
you don't expect it.

Look for WQ6X to play around in DOZENS of State QSO Parties this year.

Then in October, look for WQ6X (or a 1x1 callsign) in the California QSO Party.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

WQ6X Offers Further PROOF that - "You Should NoT Call Me!"

This last weekend found me a part of what I call the Cinco de Contest weekend (the last two years May 5th was on the weekend).  While I will be writing up this weekend in a separate BLOG Entry, egregious violations of the "You Should NoT Call ME" "Rule" prompted the writing of this current BLOG Entry.

You may recall the previous BLOG Entries on the subject of "why you should NoT call me".
  1. [x] - 7 Reasons You [probably] Should Not Call Me - Part 1
  2. [x] - 7 Reasons You [probably] Should Not Call Me - Part 2
 This weekend running NX6T remotely (STN-2), after all of the QSO Party Spots were worked
on a given band, I would then call CQ for the QSO parties using one of the following formats:
  • CQ 7QP  NX6T/6  NX6T/CA
    - OR -
  • CQ NEQP  NX6T/6  NX6T/CA
    - OR -
  • CQ QP  NX6T/6  NX6T/CA
Let's decipher what all this means:
  • "CQ QP" - any variation on this means that I want to hear from any calling station who
    is working that SPECIFIC QSO Party contest.
  • "NX6T/6" - this means that my callsign is NX6T and that I am in the 6TH call area.
  • "NX6T/CA" - this means that my callsign is NX6T and that I am in CALIFORNIA.
Now, based on the above, it should be unnecessary on my part to remind you that this weekend, my QTH was NoT in the Northwest (7th call area) or New England (1st call area) Delaware (3rd call area) or Indiana (9th call area).

I say all this because my QSO Party CQ calls resulted in well over 60+ callers NoT in those QSO parties who BLINDLY called me.  On Cw because it takes too long to explain the problem, I would
just send " 5NN CA", use Ctrl-W to WIPE their callsign and then press F3 to send "TU NX6T/6". 
On Ssb, when working the 7QP Contest, the .WAV file would CLEARLY state that I am in California.  When "Billy Bob" (from the 4th or 5th call area) calls in I would ask "are you in the 7th call area?"
and be greeted with silence or confused stuttering.

For this last weekend, rather than giving a discourse on WHEN you SHOULD call me, allow to explain when you SHOULDN'T call me, using the 7QP QSO Party as the example; the same points apply to the NEQP, DEQP & INQP.
  1. Have You read the RULES for the QSO Party? - If NoT, then You should NoT Call Me. 
    If You HAVE read the rules, then you know that I am listening for callers ONLY in: WA,
    OR, MT, ID, UT, WY, NV, therefore, You should NoT Call Me.
  2. Do You know that CA is in the 6th call area and NoT the 7th? - If NoT,
    then You should NoT Call Me.
  3. Do You know what /6 means? - If NoT, then You should NoT Call Me.
  4. Do You know what /CA means? - If NoT, then You should NoT Call Me.
  5. There is NOTHING WORSE than a caller being significantly off frequency with horribly
    choppy Cw, requiring several repeats on their callsign, only to find out that they are a DUPE
    or not in the 7th call area.  WHAT a COMPLETE WASTE of MY TIME.
  6. Stations like N5RGH called in 3-times on 20 meters alone.  What was his point in doing that? Did he have a reason for calling me?  Was EACH contact actually entered in some sort of log?
 Here's the bottom line - if you're bored and want stations to communicate with, go to the WA7BNM Contest Calendar, look up this weekend and click on the rules for a given contest event.  Before you know it, you will be contesting like a pro.  Otherwise, blindly calling contest stations when you are NoT actively participating in that event will leave you and everyone else FRUSTRATED.

Can I make it anymore clear?