Friday, March 23, 2018

Q-Filtering for Fun and Profit

WQ6X/6 @ W7AYT's Concord QTH

Ever since the beginning days of radio operators have been plagued my QRM (interference) & QRN (Static and Noise). Each time a new receiver or transceiver is introduced they promise us the latest gimmick circuit advance to help us deal with the interference problem. What they DON'T often disclose is that the circuit design to reduce/rid us of QRM & QRN often introduces noises or interference of its own; something we generically call "artifact" (unwanted effects added or
subtracted from the desirable signal).

As a radio operator, I am a "knob twiddler" (switches too) - I LOVE fiddling with receive signal adjustments to obtain that LAST db of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Lucky for me, during the last 60+ years equipment manufacturers have devised various receiver add-ons; some for the front end, some for the IF-line and some to process the audio end of things. Also during this time frame 100's of construction articles have appeared in magazines like QST/QEX, CQ, 73-Magazine and even
Popular Communications.

As detailed on this WQ6X Contest BLOG website, I have run dozens of different style portable operations. To help overcome the inadequacies of portable operation, I always bring along a bunch
of outboard filters, plugging them together in whatever order will yield the highest efficiency. That I chose the correct equipment order was confirmed by none other than the QST Dr. Joel Hallas - W1ZR. He gave me a personal reply which QST chose to print in their "The Doctor is in" column a couple of years back. In a follow up installment of this series I will publish his reply to my question about the proper order of audio filters.

This BLOG entry is the 1st of a series discussing the pros/cons of Q and Audio filtering. Using examples from the many WQ6X portable operations, I will explain how these devices have worked for me, while detailing the drawbacks or artifact problems. As I am currently in the process of adapting some old construction article circuits into a useful combination, as each circuit comes together I will spend time with it in this BLOG section.

For all intents and purposes while regeneration was the first form of Q-filtering, it was the IF Q-Multiplier that gained strategic use by traffic handlers and contesters (a form of traffic handling). Heathkit alone produced 3 different (altho near-identical) models; the QF-1, GD-125 and the HD-11; all utilizing the high-gain 12AX7 (dual-triode) vacuum tube. Making use of an IF-level Q-Multiplier requires opening the receiver and tapping the 455khz IF output; something not everyone is comfortable with doing.

If you want to know more about Q-multiplication do an internet search for "O. G. Villard - inventor
of the Q-multiplier.

The 1970's & 1980's brought many QRM circuits & devices to the amateur world; some internal to the evolving transceiver technology and some in the form of audio-based external units. Even before [so-called] DSP units came into being, companies like Autek Research (with their QF-1 and QF-1a) and MFJ (with their 752 series of signal enhancers) devised ways to apply Q-Filtering for "shaping" audio. The Autek unit is my current favorite - it WAY out-filters the 752-C.

MFJ 752-C

All the above technologies attempt to provide Low Pass (LP) filtering, High Pass (HP) filtering, High-Q Peak (PF) Filtering and some sort of High-Q notch filtering (MNF or ANF). Additionally, devices like the QF-1A and 752-C provide a secondary Q-filter usually designed best for notching (i.e.. eliminating) troublesome carriers and noises.

When actual DSP filtering first emerged (approx. 25 years ago), what was processed was the audio stream. While such filtering can process the audio and remove annoying interference in a remarkably intelligible way, if that interference is PUMPING the AGC, altho you can't hear it, it's deleterious effects are still present. As technology has improved over the years, DSP filtering is now commonly found at the I-F level INSIDE the AGC loop.

The first REAL external DSP unit I had access to was the JPS NIR-12. While it can be run well with diverse modes like RTTY & SSTV, the NIR-12 does best in an SSB environment (altho CW works rather well, as well). Nighttime 40-meter SSB operation above 7.200 is helped DRAMATICALLY by the Auto-Notch filter in this unit. The NIR-12 CPU chips must work VERY HARD as the unit is often nearly HoT to the touch.

My current radio of choice is the 20 year old Yaesu FT-1000mp, with it's [audio-based] eDSP circuits, for both transmit, as well as receive. Because each receiver in the MP sports a final IF frequency of 455khz, I am proposing a side project this year of tapping both receiver's 455khz signal to run in my classic Heathkit QF-1 sitting on the shelf waiting for something to do.

In preparation for this BLOG entry I took a walk down memory lane to examine the number of different radio and filter combinations used by WQ6X in various portable venues. This is what it looks like:

NIR-12 & MFJ 752-C
NIR-12 & MFJ 752-C
NIR-12 & MFJ 752-C
------ " ------
------ " ------

Now that I have settled in on the Yaesu FT-1000mp as the main radio, I am working on a number of cool audio filter ideas; some a combination of circuit design adaptations along with the QF-1A and the NIR-12. In the next installment to this BLOG series I will share many of the "accidental" discoveries I've happened onto while playing with the different radio combinations.

Do you use outboard DSP and/or audio shaping devices.

Please write me and share YOUR findings:

Ron @ WQ6X.Info

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WQ6X Plays Radiosport with Russians and RTTY

Each contest weekend is so uniquely different, thought must be given on how to integrate multiple modes into one weekend. Figuring this
out now will give me preparation for the 5 contest weekend, the 1st weekend in May - Cinco de Mayo.

WQ6X running remotely
For the March 17th weekend the goal was
to primarily work the BARTG RTTY GiG, followed by the Russian DX Contest (CW only), with the VAQP and LAQP QSO Parties thrown in
as a bonus.
Unfortunately, some bonuses are worth 0-Points as I heard NO Louisiana stations during the way-too-short contest period.

Having been up all night with the Russians on CW and the rest
of the world on RTTY, I need some sleep; but not if it means losing LAQP time.

Note to contest sponsor: I need more than JUST 12 hours to sniff out backwoods LA stations. How can we expect to turn in a winning score in your contest if your potential participants don't actually participate? Am I missing something?

While looking for Russians on 40 meters after 07:00z, because I generally point the shorty-40 yagi between 300 - 360 degrees I can rely on the Russian military beacons on 7.039 to give me a sense of propagation.

This is similar to what we do with the NCDXF beacons. For this GiG, the "K" beacon was heard @ 07:40z and the "M" (barely) @ 09:50z.
At 12:00z I was able to hear the "F", "K" & "M" beacons simultaneously and (I think) even the "R" beacon in the "background". That certainly confirms that 40 meters was WIDE-Open; even tho there were only
a FEW signals actually on the air - Bummer Dewd!

Sunday morning, after thorough searching and pouncing, it was time (10:30z) for stations
to come to me.

Parking the radio on 7017.17 kept me busy
for the last 90 minutes of the Russian DX contest.

Altho the BARTG RTTY contest was still raging on, in order to be effective, a few hours sleep was required.

This was one of the most fun BARTG GiGs I have run in years, even though it was sometimes the most frustrating. Contrary to other RTTY contests, not only do we get 48 hours to play, it begins and ends at 02:00z (7pm local time, after dinner). Unlike most contest efforts I
was ready to go in advance.

Tower-1 - Tower-2 - ACOM-2000a
Because of shack heat considerations when I ran a frequency,
the ACOM 2000 amplifier was dialed back to about 550 watts.
During S&P'ing, 1350 watts was the usual power level. If my
callsign suddenly JUMPED OUT at you, that is probably why.

Something unique to the BARTG contest is the requirement that we send OUR time of day to the receiving station (be it local time or UTC). Unfortunately, many stations added a COLON to the 4 digits (sending 13:36 instead of 1336) confusing the N1MM software. When I see a colon I type the time value in directly. Maybe one day a software fix
will be made to N1MM to fix this. Overall however, N1MM+ is an outstanding RTTY performer.

On the other end of the spectrum are the operators who have not read the rules and do not send the time at all.

Because it takes too long (and produces too much amplifier heat) to explain it, I just type it in UTC.

They will never send in a long anyway, so it really doesn't matter what I put in that field.

Another issue with me are the stations who reply to my CQ BARTG calls but WAY OFF FREQUENCY - Wassup with that? Because the RCForb has no provisions for R.I.T., I have to synch the VFO's and
run split mode so I can tune in the OFF FREQUENCY IDIOTS without shifting the run frequency. Running RTTY Remotely can be REAL Risky.

At 20:08z a station came on my run frequency with what sounded like Spotty CW; it then turned into RASPY RTTY with "VY0ERC" showing up on the decoder screen. I thought it was a joke but the logged the contact just in case it is legitimate - it WAS. Because of where VY0 is, magnetic polar action is more prevalent and literally "pokes holes"
into signals.

My BEEF for this contest were the high number of stations who chose to operate EXACTLY on the 14.100 NCDXF beacon frequency, as
well as the W1AW bulletins and code practice conducted at 048.5 khz into every major HF band. I ALWAYS give these frequencies plenty of room. Remember, we SHARE our slivers of electromagnetic spectrum with other services, as well as SWL listeners. Those beacons and bulletins are of interest to people worldwide.
Give them some breathing room.

In addition to Russians and RTTY I found time work a handful of VAQP stations on CW throughout the weekend - I never made time
to look for VA SSB stations; maybe next year.

Because the 2018 year 60 point score is 7X what I submitted in 2017 for the high California CW score, imagine what kind of placement I
will qualify for THIS year1

Now, while I opened these BLOG comments with a mention of Russians AND RTTY, unfortunately there were very FEW
Russians ON RTTY. While some Russians like to hack internet connections, they should apply those skills to winning the BARTG RTTY contest. After the Russian DX contest was over, there were
still 14 hours left to play RTTY.

Where were the Russians on RTTY?

Did YOU play with the Russians and/or on RTTY?

Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?


WQ6X runs Radiosport from NX6T & W7AYT

WQ6X running NX6T remote from W7AYT
Most weekends sport some sort of Radiosport activity, somewhere around the world. In the month of March there are several multi-contest weekends, including this one - March 10th/11th.

While there were 7 GiGs on my "Gopherit" list, only 4 actually made
it into the NX6T/WQ6X log. The Idaho QSO Party is always poorly timed, relegating it a back seat to the other contests for that weekend. As usual, NX6T was run remotely; but from BOTH Alameda and W7AYT's QTH in Concord.

NX6T at Dawn
First on the list was the RSGB Commonwealth contest, except that ONLY commonwealth residents are allowed to play (kind-of like our November Sweepstakes contest).  The upside was that I was able
to get plenty of needed sleep before the SA-10 (South American
10-meter) contest started at 15:00z.

In 2016, N6KI & WQ6X took 1st place (worldwide) in the SA-10 contest ([CLICK HERE] to read about that). Last year as a single-OP, WQ6X took 2nd place to WP3E' essentially "across the pond" from South America, giving him a decided advantage ([CLICK HERE] to read about that).

C-31 Yagi for 10-m
Ten meters does not usually open until late in the morning. Because we are at the "bottom" of the sunspot cycle, finding an opening on 10-meters is a patient waiting game.

While waiting for the SA-10 contest the OK QSO Party started up putting CW QSOs in the NX6T log (no OK SSB activity was heard).

Finally, around 20:30z (noon time in Ca.) South American signals floated into headphones. Meticulous Search/Pounce yielded only a dozen QSOs; most with GooD signals. Another dozen QSOs made
it to the log ONLY because NX6T began calling CQ on 28013.13, yielding numerous calls from a number of new distant countries.

SA-10 Contest Results
I was disappointed in the POOR South American turnout for their own contest; I have the SAME complaint regarding the "smaller" DX contests and the State/VE QSO Parties.

They hold a contest and ask us to join them; 'cept they don't show up to their own GiG.

Client commitments kept me off the air during the 22:00z - 01:00z period. By the time I made my way back on the air, 10 meters was DEAD and BURIED for another day. On the left coast we only get
ONE shot at South America.

160 Inverted Vee
That evening the BART train to W7AYT's Concord QTH gave me access to a 32" monitor, making things easier to read.

Next UP on the contest calendar was the Stew Perry 160 contest.

While I was quite late in starting, once I got into the rhythm of the contest I

was able to S&P and run frequencies interchangeably for several hours. Something I like about the SP contest is that ONLY the Grid Square ID is sent (no obligatory 5NN in this GiG).
Stew Perry 160 Results

While the furthest distance covered was between NX6T and PJ2T, the
"one that got away"
was the NP2 station who kept on calling, only to eventually be swallowed whole by the noise.

Despite the combination of the K3's DSP-NR and a pair of Autek QF-1a on the laptop audio (a filter for each ear), nothing could be done to salvage that 8-pointg QSO. By 10:30z (and the time change to PDT) 160 was all over for NX6T - at least from THIS end of things.
After 8 hours of sleep WIQP (the Wisconsin QSO Party) was all that was left. I ran the WIQP GiG as NX6T (from "Nash-Ville" in Fallbrook), as well as WQ6X from W7AYT's QTH in Concord.

Having revamped the WQ6X Lazy 8JK Sloper, a handful of stations were worked on 20 meters; including 1 on SSB (10 & 15 meters never materialized for stateside QSOs). For the tail-end of WIQP a surprise 40-meter opening put a bunch more Wisconsin stations in the NX6T log.

WIQP Results
From W7AYT I managed to work a handful of WIQP stations as WQ6X, just before 20-meters faded away.

The FT-1000mp at the Concord QTH also allowed me to monitor
the NX6T in Northern California to get a

perspective on how well the 1300 watt signal was being heard in a northerly direction.

Antennas @ W7AYT

In addition to running contests, time was spent troubleshooting the 8JK sloper phasing line. Thanks to the MFJ 259 antenna analyzer it would seem that the Cobra antennas are resonate somewhat BELOW the band edge of most bands.

While the FT-1000mp's antenna
tuner can handle most frequencies, sometimes it is necessary to "trick" the tuner into proper tuning mode by send random CW characters.

At the other end of the radio (the audio out end) work was begun on a project to integrate the circuit board of an MFJ CWF-2 audio filter into the MFJ 752-B Signal Enhancer box; the idea being to replace the SSB/CW noise limiter diodes with access to the 80hz & 180hz filters
in the CW2.  LooK for an upcoming WQ6X Contest BLOD Entry on how I use audio filters with the Yaesu FT-1000mp.

While this weekend was ad-HOC from the beginning, a LoT of Fun
and Enjoyment was had by WQ6X.

Did YOU work any Radiosport contests this last weekend?

Is NX6T or WQ6X in YOUR Log?

N6KI & WQ6X run another miraculous CQ 160 contest

NX6T - all remotely run.
At NX6T, 160 meter contests are always a challenge.
With only a 70' high 160 Inverted Vee and a 160-Loop with horrible efficiency, it's amazing that we are as LOUD as we are, where we are; of course 1350 watts helps a little. In January, N6KI & WQ6X dual-OP'd the CQ 160 CW contest, amassing 834 QSOs (in 14 countries);
a passable 145k points for our efforts.
[CLICK HERE] to read about that.

NX6T watching WQ6X on STN-1
For this year's CQ 160 SSB contest N6KI and WQ6X did another one of our infamous Dual-OP operations; WQ6X running entirely remote and N6KI running a combination of on-site operating, as well as remote.

With the new and improved Wi-Fi router
and microwave dish, two stations can easily share internet bandwidth @ NX6T.
The webcam works better than ever - as we shall see.

While condx. were poor, nothing was worse than the noise-levels encountered during this February contest; not surprising with A-Index=16 and K-Index=3.

Unfortunately, by the time of the 160 SSB GiG I had run out of the fabulous Popcornopolis caramel corn and had to (horror of horrors!)
do without; altho I always have plenty of industrial-strength Kona coffee ready to go.   Next to good propagation, a 160 operator's
best friend is KONA Coffee.

Running Daytime Remote
No matter how great the propagation, a VOX circuit that can't keep up with remote internet access can ruin the smooth operator flow that I often experience when running a frequency remotely.

In retrospect, I have no CLUE what made the problem come and go; so if I dropped out mid sentence, no it's not because I was drunk (not THAT time anyway), it was due to irregular VOX-latency.

Probably the BEST word I can think of to describe this year's CQ 160 SSB contest is "ordinary" or "plain". The contest meandered along both evenings with nothing spectacular; until some IDIOT starts sending strings of Cw DITs on top of WEAK stations, exactly at the same moment of their reply, making a dozen repeats sometimes necessary. Is this guy REALLY THAT BORED? wOw! - Go Figure!

On the other end of the excitement, the most incredible QSO I made in this 160 contest was with none other than WA6URY in Bellflower; not far from NX6T. What makes this QSO with Daniel so unique? Well, he was running WA6URY remotely from TOKYO while I ran NX6T from the SF bay area; neither of us were actually sitting in the ham shack sporting the radio we were running remotely.

LooK closely to see the 160 Inv-V

By Sunday morning Sunrise 160 meters was gone on the left coast, effectively ending the CQ 160 contest for NX6T. Our 410 QSOs in 11 countries and 51 states/provinces while not spectacular, demonstrated what can be done with a "mere" inverted Vee only 70' high; and 1350-watts; AND a 900' elevation.

NX6T Ending Screen

Probably the only REAL thing of substance to happen that weekend was when people from the local San Diego TV station - KPBS- came by to interview Dennis (N6KI) (in the NX6T "Nash-Ville" radio shack) for their upcoming documentary on Vietnam. While the interview was happening, I JUST happened to turn on the NX6T web CAM and using my Snapshot 3.0 utility captured a freeze-frame from that interview.

KPBS Interview
Did YOU play in the CQ 160 SSB Contest?

Is NX6T in YOUR Log?


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

BLAST's from the PAST: WQ6X in ARRL DX Contests

For WQ6X, the last 6 years of ARRL Dx contests have been characterized by one word: VARIETY.  Operating as W1AW/6 from Fallbrook, a portable setup from the Phoenix Lodge, or a remote operation from the Gold Strike Casino Hotel, off I-15 (enroute to Las Vegas) - no two operations were anywhere near being alike.

This BLOG is the 2nd in a series called: Blasts from the Past.
Each BLOG in this series focuses on some major WQ6X contest activity from years past.  [CLICK HERE] to view the BLAST that started it all.

Most of the past BLASTs have been documented previously in posts to this WQ6X Contest BLOG, and/or on a web section of the WQ6X.Info website (such as WQ6X.Info/WP2).

To continue this series let's take a look at a crowd favorite for over
70 years: the ARRL International Dx Contest - both CW and SSB.

Like CQP and Sweepstakes, the winter ARRL Dx contests give me yet another opportunity to engage in all manner of portable operations and guest-OP appearances. While each event is different they all have the
same goal: emergency preparedness.

Here are some of the highlights from the ARRL Dx contest:
  • 2018 ARRL DX CW & SSB contests - remote from SF
    bay area joining NX6T [CLICK HERE]
  • 2017 ARRL DX SSB contest - WQ6X joined NX6T on-site
    as NX6T  [CLICK HERE]
  • 2017 ARRL DX CW contest - remote from SF bay area
     as NX6T [CLICK HERE]
  • 2016 ARRL DX CW contest - remote from Gold Strike
    Casino Hotel as NX6T [CLICK HERE]
  • 2015 ARRL DX CW contest - with N6GEO in Brentwood
    as WQ6X [CLICK HERE]
  • 2014 ARRL DX CW contest - Operated as W1AW/6
    on 15-m CW [CLICK HERE]
  • 2013 ARRL DX SSB contest - portable from Phoenix Lodge
    as WQ6X [CLICK HERE]
  • 2013 ARRL DX CW contest - portable from W7AYT's QTH
    as WQ6X [CLICK HERE]
As you can see, even the ARRL Dx contest can take on many forms, altho the contest format itself hasn't really changed much in decades. 

However one major difference occurred
during the 2014 100th  anniversary of W1AW.

WQ6X received this for operating as W1AW/6 on 15-Cw during the 2014 ARRL Dx CW contest. 

It's so CooL to be cool.

How often do YOU play in the ARRL Dx Contests?

Is WQ6X and NX6T in one or logs?

Look for WQ6X and NX6T in 2019.

WQ6X Teams up with NX6T for 2018 ARRL Dx Contests

In years past WQ6X has run several solo ARRL Dx CW contests and teamed up with the NX6T crew for the SSB flavor of those DX contests.

The variety of those events is so wide I've decided to write a "Blast From the Past" BLOG Entry (Stay Tuned).

Competition in the ARRL Dx contests is so FIERCE that I/we don't expect to win a plaque.  However the JoY of competition is what brings us back; and, yes, the possibility of DXCC in one weekend.

NX6T @ Sunset
For 2018, variety once again reigned when the decision was made to run BOTH ARRL DX GiGs remotely from the SF bay area; the first being a Multi-2 operation with N6CY (Rick) remoting in on station 2. 

KK6NON + N6KI running SSB
For the DX SSB GiG I remotely joined N6KI and 5 other operators to make an impressive (but unfortunately not award winning) effort as NX6T.

I've always said the reason operators @ NX6T tolerate me is because I am willing to run the 2am shift; not to mention the dinner shift (8pm to 10:30 Fallbrook time). Dennis (N6KI) usually brings me back Italian meatballs or Shrimp-FU-Yung so I don't go without.

Towers #2 & #1
Throughout the day when STN-1 is free, that is the time to point the C-31 yagi to the Pacific or the put the Stepp-IR in BI-Directional mode allowing BOTH Japan and South America to be run simultaneously.

A drawback to this method is NX6T was LOUD in the South East; every Billy-Bob and his brother called in.

If you're calling NX6T in a DX contest, then you obviously have no clue what is going. I simply send "5-9 CA"; the "California" should be the tipoff they don't know what they are doing. Has it ever occurred to them to read the DX Contest rules and point their antennas AWAY from California?

Two MFJ-752's, a NIR-12 & Mystery BoX

During the DX contest weekends I found time to test drive several combinations of external audio filters. While these filters were originally designed to plug into receiver headphone jacks, they process IP-Sound derived laptop audio equally well. For SSB contests, the JPS NIR-12's DSP auto-notch is quite useful; especially when running
40-meter frequencies between foreign broadcast stations at night. 
40-meters is my FAVorite band at night. 

During the current sunspot cycle low, 40 opens up to the east by 2pm local time; by 5pm, Europe is already coming in @ NX6T.

Russian Military Beacons
 After midnight as propagation shifts toward Asia, the Russian military beacons (as annoying as they are) become a useful propagation predictor.
For 2018, a new "T" beacon has been heard.

Also new is hearing a strange CW combo, intermittently repeated the following: --- * --- (K), --- * --- (K), --- (T), --- (T), --- * --- (K).
 Any ideas why there is this variation?

During the SSB GiG, Russian military CW was heard on 3.750 around 10:40z.  I've written about this in other Contest BLOG entries; the 75 meter Russian invasion has been rampant for years.

NX6T Ending Score

While N6CY and WQ6X were the two OPS during the CW contest, we did amazingly well, even tho we didn't win anything. While Rick was pounding away on 20 & 40, I discovered a 10 meter opening and managed over 80 QSOs on 15; not bad considering the low SFI.

NX6T remote @ nite

Did you work the 2018 ARRL DX contests?

IS NX6T in YOUR Log?


Monday, March 19, 2018

WQ6X runs a Weird WPX RTTY Contest

WQ6X running NX6T remotely
The appearance of the 2018 WPX RTTY Contest is a reminder that
we have headed into "WPX Season"; first with WPX-RTTY in February, followed by WPX-SSB at the end of March and ending
with WPX-CW over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend (in May).

For last year's WPX RTTY contest, I chose to run NX6T remotely from the bay area rather than make the long 10+ hour drive to "Nash-Ville".
[CLICK HERE] to read about that event.

For 2018 I again chose to remotely run NX6T  in Fallbrook as NX6T;
a more distinctive RTTY call.  For the WPX-SSB & WPX-CW GiGs,
we will probably use my WQ6X callsign.
Running from "NashVille" allowed me to run high power and take advantage of 13mh yagi's and an 80-meter inverted vee.

Client commitments required I spend time in my Alameda office between afternoon contest runs. The goal was to run NX6T remotely from whenever I happened to be that weekend. Because I run remote by way of a Toshiba laptop, I can even run RTTY from the comfort of my bed - how CooL is THAT?

WQ6X portable station setup @ W7AYT

I setup NX6T's station #1 on 40-meters to open the contest while awaiting a delivery at my Alameda office Friday evening; after which
I made my way to W7AYT's QTH where I ran most of the contest remotely. The operating position @ W7AYT is complete with a 32" monitor for the laptop, making RTTY operation SO much easier.

Antennas & ACOM 2000a @ NX6T

Altho NX6T's STN-1 ran the K3 into an ACOM-2000 as a high power entry, due to heat considerations, when running a frequency the amp was dialed-back to about 550 watts. For S&P'ing the amp was pumped up to around 1350 watts. Antennas in use @ NX6T included C-31, Stepp-IR and Shorty-40 yagis (all at 13mh) and an 80-meter droopy inverted vee.

NX6T spotted on a BUSY 15 meters

Being at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, 10 meters was almost non existent. 40 meters was THE band, with surprising calls from Europe by 01:30z (from W6, that is usually a rarity). Several JA openings provided many higher-point QSOs and over a dozen JA multipliers.

NX6T Run stats

When things run effort-lessly it generates a HUGE adrenaline rush
as happened on Saturday evening (around 04:00z) when NX6T ran pileups
on 80 & 40 meters for
90 minutes.

Stations were kind enough to spot me throughout the WPX RTTY contest.

Not surprising, the skimmers were certainly very busy as you can see from the DXMaps spot of NX6T on 15 meters (above).

NX6T contest summary
Because this was a RTTY contest, none of the usual obligatory 40-meter intentional QRM was encountered - HurraH!

Then again, listening for the Russian military beacons on 7.039 gives me an indication of which areas in Asia are open at that time.

If we could only get the WPX Asian participants (outside of JA) to pay attention to 40 meter band openings and get on the air, I would be ecstatic.

When it was all OVER, based on score submissions to the 3830Scores website, even with a 500k point score, NX6T managed a distant 6th place for W6. The left-coast competition was intense for this 2018 RTTY GiG, leaving me in amazement that WQ6X running as NX6T did as well as I did.

It of course raises the question of whether or not using the WQ6X callsign would have been a better idea. Then again, in perusing the results I noticed a WQ6K entry which might have been confused with WQ6X. (Yeah, I know, "woulda shoulda coulda".)

Did YOU work the WPX Weird Prefix RTTY Contest?

Is NX6T in YOUR Log?