the goal was to somehow dual-OP the November Sweepstakes Ssb contest GiG, winning another certificate for East Bay (EB) section and maybe, even another PAC Division plaque (as was done back in 2015). I also had the same goal for my participating remotely in NX6T's Multi-OP (LP) run.
Before every Sweepstakes I review previous operations and stats to give me ideas for how the next Sweepstakes GiG should be run. In 2017 I took a Look back and was amazed by the many different forms of operation WQ6X (often as W6K) has put together for Sweepstakes.
- [x] - BLAST from the PAST: November Sweepstakes.
Of ALL my favorite contests, Sweepstakes is my favorite, favorite. However, Ssb contests always frazzle me; with Cw/RTTY I can quietly live in my headphones with Euro-electronic music blended thanks to the RockVille mixer I added to the equipment lineup in Concord. The music is chosen to neutralize the RTTY signals in my listening - yet still copy signals. With Ssb, I can also use music, but with varying voice-inflections, it becomes more tricky; and, sometimes I have to "shout" into the microphone to get the contact - not needed w/Cw and RTTY.
Cw event is any indication of what to expect, because "anyone" can run Ssb, the expectation was
for there to be an increase in overall participation of more-ore-less 35%. I guess an "EASY" way to estimate participation is by comparing reported QSO counts from both events, realizing that a station can only be worked ONCE in Sweepstakes GiGs. As you can see (above), there was a considerable increase in participation for the Sweepstakes Ssb event.
Section-wise, Sweepstakes 2020 events seemed to produce more activity from areas of the country that have been lacking Sweepstakes activity in recent years; notably, NE, NNY, WV, NH, AL, AR & NV. Lacking in this year's Ssb event were many of the "easy" Canadian provinces, whereas QC, PE and NL were relatively easy this year. The ONE section missing from most logs (NX6T & WQ6X incl.) was of course NT (Northern Territories).
the Cw GiG 2 weeks ago) is the incredible increase in Solar FLUX Index which jumped from 78 - 88 during the weekend; unfortunately accompanied by K-Index = 3. Tuesday after the contest the SFI was recorded at a record-high of 100 with the K-Index down to 1. wOw! I guess Solar Cycle 25 is in FULL Swing!
For me Sweepstakes is all about NoT giving up. This year brought with it all number of challenges. While I love using the Electro Voice 664 microphone for ragchewing (yes, even I chew the rag once in awhile), it is NoT a contest microphone (with a narrow audio frequency PUNCH). Because using the Heil PRO headset worked so well remotely, the 664 was turned upright creating a mic stand, thanks to a mini-bungee cord I found in the junk box.
of my major beefs that I wrote about in 2019. ([CLICK HERE] for more information on the NTF).
In that Blog I also documented the F-U monkey. Tuning around 75-m Saturday evening I heard
N6JS loud and clear on 3.839.50 (right next door to the 3.840 "garbage dump" frequency). I was
NoT surprised to see that he had been joined by the F-U monkey. It evidently didn't phase him because he put up with it for over 1/2 hour. Every time I tuned thru that area of the band, there
THEY were - the Bobsey Twins.
The BiG surprise came at around NooN when one-by-one, the USB ports on the computer
just stopped responding - HuH? (On Monday it was discovered that the batteries in the wireless
keyboard were nearly dead, probably contributing to the problem). After 20+ minutes of futzing
about, the only thing responding was holding down the laptop power button, in effect crashing
the computer. Once rebooted, everything ran fine. When you consider that I had not rebooted Windoze-7 in nearly 38 days, I guess something had to give. The upside of that debacle is that
PE and SB sections made it to the log within less than 10 minutes after restarting, leaving us to
find NT (for our final section), which unfortunately, never happened.
One of the last sections for WQ6X was none other than EB section itself. It would seem that WQ6X not only garnered a 1st-place for EB section, but possibly for the PAC Division as well. HuH? How'd THAT happen? NX6T easily took 1st for SDG section and Southwest Division; missing that 84th section may well have cost us the overall 1st place, as we had the exact same QSO count as WW4LL. Then again, it ain't over until the LCR (LoG Checking Robot) scrutinizes the logs.
If the GA Contest Group made more logging errors than we did, the two top positions could
end up being swapped.
that I can while keeping an ACCURATE log. When newcomers show up in the Sweepstakes
and are not sure how to put together an exchange, we veteran operators take the the time to
assist them thru. After all, the veterans did that for US when we were first learning; which is
why we are now seasoned Sweepstakes operators.
Did YOU work the November Sweepstakes Ssb contest?
Is WQ6X or NX6T in YOUR LoG?