Tuesday, September 17, 2019

WQ6X Turns Birthday into Training Weekend

Every birthday I remind myself the importance of learning everyday, until I finally drop - 30-plus years from now.  This last weekend was actually an expression of this learning.  It seemed like everyone was compelling me to "Doit" their way.  In the end, I DiD Doit their way; and when it was all over @00:00z Monday morning (5pm Pdt), looking back, we all made it all work.

In my Biofeedback work, I encourage clients to take things to "the next level"; if you are not up for
a challenge, then work with someone else.  Often, what SEEMS challenging is simply different "aspects" [of experience] not yet appropriately integrated into our conscious experience.

This weekend began with running the FOC QSO party as NX6T remotely, first from Alameda, then Concord; it became SWL'ing, became sleep, became a Toastmasters "Train the Trainer" workshop, became a return to W7AYT just in time for the FOC BW QSO party to end. 
The AQP (Alabama QSO party) never materialized at NX6T or W7AYT.  Before mode-shifting to RTTY, 4 (four) Texas QSO Party stations made it to the log.

By 01:00z, switching modes to RTTY, I found 2 hours to run the NA Sprint remotely as NX6T, followed by the last 0:33 minutes as WQ6X running the FT-1000mp transceiver @ 100-watts (full duty) RTTY. 

Most more expensive but wimpy radios can only
run RTTY at 50% duty-cycle, or risk heat-explosion. 
The 1000mp is barely warm at 100-watts full-duty RTTY; a reason I like to run RTTY with the Yaesu.

This is my 3rd participation in this September event commemorating Bill Windle, G8VG
(hence the CQ BW call).  Most FOC GiGs are for members only, however THIS event not
only allows non-members to play, but to work BOTH members and non-Members during this "operating event" (not a contest).

The FOCBW event is unique in that log submissions are NoT wanted. 
Instead, (per their instructions), I sent an e-mail (one for NX6T and one for WQ6X) detailing
how many QSOs were made overall and the number of FOC members worked.  These e-mails
are based on the honor system.  It's not difficult to verify my submitted numbers (behind the scene)
so there is no point is sending in false numbers. 

Sending an e-mail like these in 2017 resulted in the above 1st-place certificate; something I was
not expecting to receive.  This is yet another reason to follow the contest sponsor's "instructions"
for score reporting.

Before/during the RTTY Sprint event I tuned 20 meters (and then 40) looking for 'Bama stations;
by AQP's 03:00z ending time the N1MM+ AQP log had 0 (count 'em, ZERO) QSOs in the log.  The Alabama people should follow TQP's example and give us some more time to work them on Sunday.

All by themselves, Sprint contests are "weird" events; take a weird event, run it in RTTY and
it becomes REALLY Weird.  This year while there were no evident space-WX storms, overall
the condx. SUCKED; the 3830 soapbox consensus said much the same thing.

At W7AYT, 20-meters was largely a no-Show; making QSOs on 40 and 80 required the "crowbar" approach.

After all the contest hoopla died down, I setup  a Zoom session with Jon (KK6VLO) giving him
control of the desktop on this computer so he could poke around the Winbox APP to troubleshoot
the RemoteRig's RRC-1258 connection problem to W7AYT's router.  Within the hour the Elecraft
K3/0 was fully remotable once again. 
I spent the next couple of hours listening to stations on 75-m Ssb, comparing signal levels between Fallbrook (SDG section) and Concord (EB section); what a learning experience.   I find it interesting
to call CQ on one computer (the K3/0 or FT-1000mp) while listening for that call on the other end.  Overall, it would seem that NX6T is stronger in Concord than WQ6X is in Fallbrook.

On Sunday only TQP (Part 2) was left to run.  Having K3/0 remote access to NX6T allowed me to test-drive remote running from the Cw context.  At 20:00z when it was all over I was confronted with the task of taking screen shots of the stats, making and submitting Cabrillo files and writing up each event for the 3830Scores website.  Because the FOC GiGs are not listed on the 3830 website there was nothing to write up about it, except here in the contest BLOG.

To wrap the weekend, more time was spent SWL'ing.  While waiting for Radio New Zealand (RNZI)
to sign-on @ 08:00z, I began tuning thru the "UTE" frequency areas just in time to hear some code groups in Spanish on 4.724 USB followed by an abrupt signoff. 

At 07:45z I heard what sounded like a Cw beacon sending "3JWV 3JWV 3JWV de QH4P QH4P".  Checking back from time to time, these calls went on for a couple of hours.  While no one seems to "officially" know what these transmissions are about, from the DXWorld.Com website it is clear that these signals are being heard around the world.

From beginning to end, this weekend was about learning something new. 
Adding SWL activities to things makes it even more interesting.

What about you?  Do YOU ever SWL?
What have YOU found on frequencies in-between the amateur bands?

DiD YOU work FOC BW, AQP, TQP or the RTTY Sprint contests?
Is NX6T or WQ6X in YOUR Log?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Why I Work State/Area QSO Parties

"Littered" throughout the radiosport calendar each year are dozens of State and Area QSO party events.  The purpose of each QSO Party is to radio-activate areas of the USA and Canada over
a short period of time (usually 12 to 30 hours), often activating counties and areas with a sparse amateur population.

N6GEO & WQ6X activated S/W Modoc county in 2010, 2012 & 2013 (while the contest group
from Bend Ore ran from N/E Modoc).  As you can see from the K6M & W6C QSL's, we were
literally operating from out in the middle of literally nowhere.  In later years when George and I operated from other locations (Contra Costa, Sacramento & Tuolumne counties in particular)
we were always thankful for the Bend group and one Modoc local who puts 50 - 100 QSOs
from Modoc in the system.

An immediately obvious benefit of state QSO parties is to assist amateurs in communicating
with "new" counties towards the USA-CA (Worked All USA Counties) Award. 

There are other benefits to working QSO parties that may not be so immediately obvious. 
These benefits include:
  • Learning/Studying short/medium range propagation and the effects of
    Space Weather on this range of communication.
  • Learning new operating methods such as: SO2-V, SO2-R & RBN analysis.
  • Learning the Art/Science of rover and portable operations.
  • Testing new equipment/software configurations.
  • Testing new/different antenna configurations.
For me (WQ6X) a MAJOR reason I play in QSO party events is to "collect certificates".....


So there you have it - a number of good reasons to play around in QSO parties.
Do YOU play in state/area QSO parties?
What are YOUR reasons for doing so?
Whatever your reason, I invite you to play in the GRANDEST of all QSO parties - the
California QSO Party - CQP.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

WQ6X Blast from the PAST: NAQP Cw

"As this weekend's NAQP is barely 12 hours away, even at THIS hour it seems appropriate to reminisce and relish the variety of different kinds of NAQP operations I have been a part of, beginning as far back as 2010."

I wrote the above back in August with the intention of writing the rest of this Blog (below).  Somehow, contest participation itself kept me out of the "Blast from the Past" mode for this contest.  So, let's try
it again.  As you can see, there is LoTs of material to draw from, beginning way back in the year 2011.

My first exposure to running NAQP Cw was in January at N6GEO's QTH.
More than anything this event taught me ingenuity thanks to N6GEO's idea of rigging two
manual antenna tuners feeding the 6BTV vertical adding 17 160-meter QSOs to the log.

For the August GiG I took a quite different approach.
Making the drive to NX6T (in Fallbrook), I brought along a Neurosky Mindset to monitor
my Left-Frontal E-E-G while running the contest.

A series of videos were made from this event, now archived on YouTube.
If you copy the Cw and pay attention to the color bars, the Brain-Pharts
(tall RED bar on the left) become quite evident.

You can view the YouTube videos by clicking on the [VIEW] links below:
  • [VIEW] - NAQP CW Aug-2011 while running a Frequency - Video #1
  • [VIEW] - NAQP CW Aug-2011 while running a Frequency - Video #2
  • [VIEW] - NAQP CW Aug-2011 while running a Frequency - Video #3
  • [VIEW] - NAQP CW Aug-2011 while running a Frequency - Video #4
  • [VIEW] - NAQP CW Aug-2011 while running a Frequency - Video #5

For 2012 I put together a "tent station" in a back yard near crown beach in Alameda.  Having first used the tent during the 2011 Sweepstakes Ssb operation on Carpinteria state beach (near Santa Barbara), this operation allowed verifying the tent-contesting concept.

For the August GiG I took a quite different approach operating from the 2nd story
of the Phoenix Lodge using a pair of Hamstick dipoles and an MFJ Apartment antenna.

For 2013 I began NAQP operations again from the Phoenix Lodge, only this time I ran a newly acquired ICOM-7000 into the Hamsticks and Apartment antenna, this time using an MFJ 949-E antenna tuner.  Oh, what a difference a properly tuned antenna makes.

In August I ran the NAQP GiG with yet a quite different approach; this time running the dual-Hamstick dipole from W7AYT's QTH in Concord (altho he was not yet W7AYT).  Lacking a pair of 20-meter Hamsticks put me at quite a disadvantage over the January 2013 event.  If the Hamstick-dipole had been the same height as the 2nd story lodge window, signals would've been considerably louder. 
I wrote this event up for the Contest BLOG.  [CLICK HERE] to read that.

My next NAQP CW event came via a trip to Fallbrook to join the crew at NX6T for a Multi-2 event. 
As you can see, I was quite jazzed by working NP2M (considering that w/N6GEO we won the 2014 RTTY-RU contest from that location).
A YouTube video was made about this event.  [CLICK HERE] to see it.
I wrote a Contest BLOG about this event as well.  [[CLICK HERE] to read that.

In August we now had a Comet CH-250 antenna, the 1st of several antennas to make the scene
at [the future] W7AYT QTH.  This was my 1st attempt at SO2-V with the recently acquired Yaesu
FT-1000mp.  This even was written up in the Contest BLOG.  [CLICK HERE] to read that.

WQ6X opened the new year with another semi-portable operation from W7AYT's QTH in Concord. 
When it was over, 258 QSOs made it to the log.  An unfortunate aftermath to this operation was
my Honda Accord being STOLEN.  [CLICK HERE] to read all about that.

For this August GiG I decided to join up with NX6T remotely from Alameda. 
This was an early implementation of using an Autek QF-1A filter to process RCForb's
remote audio.  [CLICK HERE] to read all about that.

For 2018 I joined NX6T, again remotely. 
For this event, I played around with a pair of MFJ-752 Signal Enhancers for the laptop
receive audio.  [CLICK HERE] to read that write up.

For August, as you can see, I chose to run barefoot in the already barefoot contest. 
While I joined up with the NX6T Multi-2 crew, I also found time to run as WQ6X from the
W7AYT QTH.  [CLICK HERE] to read the barefoot write up about this barefoot event.

2019 is the year for Dual-OP operations of NX6T (remotely using an Elecraft K3/0) and
WQ6X from W7AYT's QTH in Concord.  [CLICK HERE] to read about this "not normal"
NAQP Cw event.

This brings us to the August NAQP GiG.  Because the K3/0 had connection problems, I ran the remote aspect of this Dual-OP GiG using RCForb to run the radio.  WQ6X & NX6T operations were interspersed throughout the day.  I wasn't so much interested in a high score as I was in making the Dual-OP operation work.   [CLICK HERE] to read all about that.

Well folks, that's all we got.  ALL?  wOw! 
I guess I have been busy during NAQP Cw weekends over the last 9 years.

What about YOU?  Have YOU run the NAQP Cw during these last 9 years?

Is NX6T or WQ6X in YOUR LoG?

Monday, September 9, 2019

...But HoW Do I KnoW if the band is Open?

Awhile back (late-May) I wrote a Contest BLOG Entry on the Topic of band openings
([CLICK HERE] to Read it.).  However during recent radiosport weeks (and esp. the All Asian
Contest this last weekend), it occurred to me that all too many contesters are often fooled by
a lack of understanding what [it is that] constitutes a band opening.

To begin with, in radiosport (and to some degree during ragchewing), it is important to understand
in general what radio bands are open @ what time of day, and to WHERE geographically.
Sometimes the only problem is that we are "pointing" the antenna in the wrong compass
direction for that time of day, to that area of the globe.  Remember: at nearly any time,
the plasma energy of a solar event can blanket the upper atmosphere and Change

One of the "excuses" for a low turnout during a radio contest - like this last weekend's All Asian GiG - is Space WX.  The REAL reason the bands seemed too Quiet this weekend was CLEARLY due to the lack of Asian stations Calling CQ in their own contest event.  Notice that in May we MIGHT be able to blame poor WPX performance on a low SFI (67) or an A-Index of 10+, while Sept. finds us with and SFI of 73 and an A-Index of only 8. 

In May we had POOR conditions forecast throughout, while in September we have many FAIR conditions forecasted.  Listening to 75-meter ragchewers from the SF East bay this weekend,
it was clear to me that overall they were experiencing adequate enough conditions to QSO
with friends throughout the Northwest.

Because we are in the TRENCH of Sunspot Cycle 24, 10 & 15 meters often SEEM dead.  In fact, it may well be that everyone is listening and no one is transmitting.  When I make a 10/15 call these daze,
I am often rewarded with a single caller
who ALSO "Knew" the band was open. 

Here in the SF Bay area (even during cycle 24's trench period), I am never surprised when I point the 10-m Long John to Azimuth-120, call CQ and receive calls
from a PY7 or PX4.

Admittedly, having a rotatable yagi makes
a difference.  In a recent contest, I manual-tuned the 10-m Long John to resonate on 15-meters.  On 15, the antenna is more like a Buddipole (I.e., no-Gain); at LEAST it was rotatable.  Sweeping the yagi like a radar, 2 stations (Colorado & Indiana) were worked that could NoT be heard on the 8JK sloper - ingenuity Rocks!

If the bands are TRULY DEAD, one of the reasons may have to do with "Poor" Space-WX.  If the A-Index is 62 and/or the K-Index is 5, of course band openings may be tricky; this is the time to use your creativity, NoT Quit.  It is at times like this when those "secret openings" are found, like the Springtime 05:30z (10:30pm) "pipeline" from the SF Bay area to Colorado, on 10-meters, no less!

A major reason to identify Space-Wx for what it is,
allows us the choice to do something else rather than futilely wrack our brains out over something we can't control and therefore cannot improve. 

"Ya' gotta know when to hold'em, ya' gotta know
when to Fold-em...".

Then again, if your goal is simply to ragchew on 75 meters in the evening, it's going to take a rather nasty solar event to penetrate the 75-meter rag-o-sphere deep enough to ruin your Ssb QSOs.

This last weekend, while Dx contesters were moaning about bad band conditions, that was for Dx contacts with Asian stations.  It seemed the "Bootleg" Hispanic and Indonesian stations (on 80 & 40) were enjoying THEIR ragchews no problem; altho their signals
in the middle of our Asian contest - BiG problem!

Sometimes the problem of band openings can be resolved by switching to a different antenna; one with different wave polarizations (or characteristics).  At W7AYT I have access to 4 different antennas; each with a different polarization characteristic: a 3-el 10-m Long John yagi, the Lazy 8JK Sloper, the [poorly performing] JA-Sloper, and a Comet CH-250 vertical.

During this last weekend, the 8JK Sloper produced considerably LOUDER ham band signals, while the CH-250 vertical brought in Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on 5.940 w/5-9+20db signals, whereas tuning the 8JK sloper could only get an S-6 signal.  I guess the sloper REALLY DOES have a significant F/B ratio (RNZ is off the back of the N-E sloped Sloper).

More than we realize, the MAIN reason bands seem dead during a radiosport contest is because no one (in the target area) has the courage or the wherewithal to call "CQ Contest".  In this year's All Asian Ssb GiG, I was amazed at how FEW Asian stations were actually calling CQ; WE had to DoiT for them, when it is their responsibility (being the host of the contest) to make their presence heard, encouraging US to call them, not the other way around.

In June I even wrote a BLOG Entry on WHY we should Call CQ.
[CLICK HERE] to read all about that.

How have band conditions been for YOU during this sunspot trench?

What steps do YOU take to make it all work for you anyway?

WQ6X Sprints through another All Asian Weekend Affair

N 6 K I  and  K N 6 D L G  on  20-Meters
In a recent "Blast from the Past" BLOG entry on the All Asian contest, I described a typical All Asian weekend.  Because of it's calendar date, this year's A-A coincided with the [for me non-existent] NEQP event, followed by the 4 hour Cw Sprint contest.

This year's A-A Ssb GiG was a SUPER disappointment; especially compared to years past when,
no matter how bad we were, NX6T still managed some sort of a 1st-place.  While that is less likely
to happen this year, on both sides of the operation (NX6T and WQ6X), All Asian "downtime"
(of which there was LoTs) was filled in by other useful activities.

The contest opened Friday afternoon/evening with a WEAK 20-meter opening.  We could hear numerous BG/BY stations calling CQ, as could stations all over the Northwest.  Unfortunately,
they could not hear us back.  9V1YC was LOUD and CLEAR but could not hear us until later
on 40-meters.

At NX6T, on Saturday afternoon there were a number of visitors to NX6T's hilltop QTH in Fallbrook;
in particular, 14 yr-old KN6DLG being groomed by N6KI (see the opening PIC) to join up with the NX6T contest crew.

Later in the afternoon, NN6X and N6EEG made their usual trip to NX6T looking for some action; unfortunately, as you can see from the hourly stats, there was not much to be had.  Eventually the shack was shutdown (for B-I-C action) and N6KI ran the rest of the evening remotely from home
and I ran the 3am to 6am shift remotely from Concord.

Unfortunately, because of an internet audio problem, I could not run frequencies, only S & P. 
We missed a LoT of QSOs from that as all too many Asian stations are either afraid or do not understand how, to run a frequency and call CQ.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you are hosting
a QSO party or Dx contest, it should be YOU and YOUR OPERATORS who do 90% of the CQ'ing;
relying on statesiders to pick up the slack should be the BACKUP PLAN, not S-O-P (Standard Operating Procedure).

Unfortunately, business commitments delayed my trip to W7AYT's QTH. 
By the time I had equipment properly setup and the antennas checked out, it was already past 5pm (00:00z), leaving less than 1 hour in the NEQP, along with POOR signal levels for the SPRINT GiG.

Not hearing any signals from Nebraska (just like Sweepstakes), I deleted the log setup in N1MM+
and focused on the Sprint.  Calling CQ rarely yielded any callers until the last hour, altho stations came right back to me when I called them. 

Then again, altho I ran the FT-1000mp into the WQ6X Lazy 8jK sloper and CH-250 vertical,
overall I must've been rather weak as I was constantly being asked to repeat EVERYTHING.
When it was all over I had managed to Sprint a WHOPPING 64 QSOs into the LoG.
WOO HOO.  Meanwhile with NX6T and All Asian, I went to bed "early" rousted at 2:45am
(09:45z) to do one more 40-meter multiplier hunt.
Now, you've heard me BITCH about 40 meter intentional QRM; especially in Ssb contests. 
Well, this weekend there was good news and bad news:
  • GooD News: During All Asian on 40 Ssb there were NO Data Crankers
  • BaD News: During All Asian on 40 Ssb the phone spectrum (from 7.120 to 7.175) was LITTERED with RTTY stations.  I NEVER hear the errant RTTY stations on non-contest weekends.  WTF is THAT all about?  I guess for the next Ssb GiG I should pop up MMTTY and see what it is they are sending in all that data.
  • WeirD News: At 11:28z (Sunday morning) while listening to JF1NHD's LOUD CQ call, I could also hear some familiar 60's rock music playing in the background.  At first I thought it was an out of bounds broadcast station until tuning around I heard no carrier.  No, it was not only transmitting in LSB, it was EXACTLY Zero-Beat with 7.174.42 - I.e., NO accident.
During my last couple of listening hours", at least I managed to add a handful of mults to the 40-meter log.  In the final couple of hours of the contest N6KI added a few 20-meter multipliers.  While QSOs are great, with a score as puny as ours, Mults are where it's at.
I was so desperate to decipher the propagation to Asia that I took a listen for the Russian beacons
on 7.039 (only the "M" beacon in Magadan was heard) and the broadcast stations above 3.900
and 7.200 to determine propagation patterns.  
([CLICK HERE] to read my write up on the 40-meter Russian military beacons.)
I am convinced that the bands WERE open; there was simply a LACK of participating Asian stations.  In fact, at one point there were more DU/DZ/DX and YB/YC stations (all in Oceania) than there were Asian stations.  HuH?
When it was all over, we had managed to put 197 QSOs into the log on 40 & 20
meters - pathetic, but it is whut it is.
What about YOU?  DiD YOU work the All Asian contest?
How many Asian countries made it to YOUR LoG?

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Blast From the PAST: All Asian DX Ssb Contest

While I operate the All Asian Cw contest nearly every year (thanks to its close proximity to the annual Field Day event), finding time and wherewithal to make the A.A. phone contest work has been more difficult.

In many respects All Asian phone is a more difficult contest than its Cw counterpart.  Under marginal space-WX conditions voice communications are more difficult.  Additionally, the "language barrier" contributes to comprehension difficulty.  In Part 3 of the BLOG Series "The Role of Respect in Radiosport", BEEF #13 is "Stations with choppy English". 
This is what I had to say about it:
"This is another variation of the previous BEEF. Your callsign is your trademark.
If we can't understand you, your call will never make it to the log correctly. Now, I AM impressed by
non-English speaking operators who make an attempt at using English during Radiosport contests. 

However, saying your callsign correctly and intelligibly is SO important that you should practice
it OVER-and-OVER again BEFORE the contest. 
Recording your rehearsed-voice in a .WAV
or .MP3 file allows you to play it  through your transmit audio over and over again.  If necessary,
have someone ELSE (whose voice is similar to yours) say your callsign and YOU record him/her."

Depending on the calendar year, the All Asian phone contest often shares the same weekend
as the KSQP and TNQP QSO parties.  At least we contest OPs can have another GiG to engage
in while waiting for propagation to Asia.  In years like 2019, All Asian often shares the spotlight with Nebraska's NEQP event.
Being a competitive person, I am always looking for legitimate ways to earn a winner's certificate. 
In 2013 I made an ad-Hoc All Asian run from N6GEO's QTH in Brentwood.  Because many of the QSOs were made on 20-meters, I submitted the log as a SOSB-20 (single-OP 20 meters) resulting
in a 1st-place win for Zone-3.  I wrote this operation up in an early WQ6X contest BLOG entry ([CLICK HERE] to read about that).
This is again another reason to ALWAYS submit a log no matter how FEW QSOs are in it. 
If no one submits a log with a higher score - or if their log is DQ'd or the score is drastically
reduced by the LCR (LoG Czeching Robot) then by default we win for that category. 
I learned that in reverse in the 1973 Cw-SS  Had I submitted my log, an EB-Section win would've been mine, as the WA6 station ahead of me was eventually DQ'd; the actual 3rd-place station
walked away with the certificate and probably thought his win was a FLUKE.  Actually his win
occurred by "Cheating, but within the rules" (from a BLOG I wrote on the subject in 2017).

In 2015 I made the drive to Fallbrook a day early
in order that I have the opportunity to load up on
sleep Thursday evening. 

Due to a shortage of operators (N6KI, WQ6X & KK6NON running full-time and 3 other OPs coming
in for a couple hours apiece) I knew that sleep would be in short supply. 

In the 2 weeks preceding the Asian contest, there were a number of solar storms, even a couple of radio blackouts.  For KK6NON, this made for great contest training under adverse space-WX conditions.
When it was all over we took 1st place for North America and 2nd place worldwide - who woulda thunk?!....

For the 2016 event, tired of driving, I rode the Amtrak San Joaquin and Surfliner trains to Oceanside and hopped a ride to Fallbrook to join up with the crew which included a surprise visit from Fabio (IZ4AFW) and a newcomer to contest operating - AA6TU.  Tu joined the ham ranks less than 60
days ago, passing all 3 exams to upgrade his call from KM6ECB to a more respectable AA6TU
joining us in the Extra Class Club.
Having an excellent crew sporting a wide-variety of operating skills,
it's no wonder that we were the 1st-Place Multi-Single team in North America.

For 2017 a number of events had transpired earlier in the year, beginning with my Honda Accord being stolen (twice).  Unless I rented a car or made the 12 hour Amtrak trip to Oceanside, the likelihood of a physical appearance in Fallbrook was not likely.

Comet  C H - 2 5 0  &  WQ6X  Lazy  U-Vee
For 2017, equipment failures and power outages at NX6T took the station QRT
Friday afternoon with its last minute
"Bummer Dewd!" notification.

Having just put up a Cobra Inverted Vee
(a WQ6X Lazy U-Vee) at W7AYT's QTH to complement the CH-250 vertical, I used this weekend to test-drive the antenna installation.

This picture (from that BLOG entry) portrays the tenuous setup; later I added a 2nd Cobra dipole creating the "Infamous" WQ6X Lazy 8JK Sloper , with its accompanying JA-Sloper (that rarely hears any JA's).

Contest-wise, only 1 JA QSO ended up in the All Asian log.  Instead, I ran the COQP, TNQP and the CWOPS Cw open contest.

As you can see from the Blog, I used that contest weekend to test drive an early audio filter combination and a custom antenna switch to phase the antennas (without an external tuner to the
FT-1000mp).  Today, I no longer phase the antennas (altho I still can); using an MFJ-949E tuner allows me to select one of 3 antennas.

For 2018 I did a split contest operation from W7AYT.  Interspersed with running NX6T remotely,
I looked for Alabama stations in the ALQP and experimented with different audio and antenna configurations.
N 6 K I  +  N N 6 X  +  N 6 E E G
At NX6T we had plenty of operators but unfortunately condx were so POOR that they sat
around much of the time listening to static and playing with their figit spinners.  However when the "dust settled", our modest operation ended up in 4th place (worldwide), 2nd-place for North America and #1 for the W6 area; proof once again to never give up.  Or as I explained it in a recent BLOG,
it ain't over until it's over; and then some.
While I enjoy the All Asian contest, because of its fickle nature, a lesson to be learned is to have other (backup) contest plans that weekend if you desire the most efficient utilization of your operating time.
So, what can we say about All Asian for 2019? 
As I currently write this, the 2019 event just ended, a little over an hour ago.  
While this seems like one of the WORST A-A Ssb GiGs this sunspot cycle, I've said that before.
Stay tuned for my 2019 write up.
Do YOU work the All Asian Phone contest?
What have YOUR results been like?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

WQ6X Learns LoTs from COQP & TNQP Double-OP

W Q 6 X  remoting  in  from  Alameda
State and area QSO parties can be a lot of fun; especially if a significant number of stations participate in their own QP (party).  As I gear up for another monumental California QSO Party (CQP), I participate in other parties to keep my skills sharpened, pay closer attention to Space-WX and propagation and test-run new hardware configurations that may be introduced in the next CQP.
W Q 6 X  running  S T N - 1  remotely
This last weekend, August ended with the Colorado QSO Party (COQP) while September [1st] began with the Tennessee QSO Party (TNQP). Right in the MIDDLE of it all, a NASTY Solar-disturbance occurred giving us an A-Index of 38 and a K-Index of 4.  Reading through the 3830Scores Log submissions, it is clear that I was HARDLY the ONLY station with a "hearing problem". 
From what I can determine, 15-meters was a no-show for just about everyone.

I chose to run a Cw only operation from STN-1 @ NX6T while Axel KI6RRN ran mixed mode in these QSO parties from NX6T's STN-2.  We worked out a cellphone signaling system guaranteeing that we didn't work the same band at the same time. 

For the upper bands, by default STN-1 utilizes a 3-el StePP-IR while STN-2 uses a C-31 (multi-element) yagi.  The shorty-40 yagi and Stepp-IR are on the same tower mast (offset by 90 degrees); finding a compromise azimuth position can be a bit tricky.  Nevertheless, Axel and I managed to work both QSO parties sharing resources.  Power-wise, for heat reasons I chose to run the Expert-2K @ around 580 watts.

During this year's COQP event, I encountered two beefs; one a 2-parter.  While the weekend's solar storm certainly put a limit on the signal strength & SNR, as usual, there were HARDLY enough CO stations calling CQ.  From the Left (California) Coast we usually experience a "pipeline" to Colorado, leading me to expect a plethora of COQP signals; even QRP.

Lately, when I experience a DEARTH of QSO party CQ's, I find a run frequency and put out a QP CQ call.  For the most part, stations responding to my CQ COQP call were NO WHERE NEAR Colorado - wassup with that?  Out of frustration I added Part 2 to the "7 Reasons you should not call me" BLOG entry.

My other COQP beef for 2019, was the number of CO stations w/o a "0" in their call.  When they call CQ, they should append a /County to their callsign; when they respond to my CQ calls they should add a /0 to their call so I don't think they are non-CO and ignore them.
When it was all over (@04:00z) a whopping 14 Colorado QSOs (in 10 counties) made it to the log.  The COQP guys either need to add MORE HOURS to their QP event (how about on Sunday?) and/or recruit MORE CO STATIONS to participate in their own even.  Nevertheless the stations that DiD participate were fun to hunt for.
The Tennessee QSO Party (TNQP), wisely runs on Sunday, altho I wish they would start earlier
than 18:00z to give us a possible morning AND evening TN access on 40 meters; how about
starting @ 14:00z?
One of the things I like about TNQP is the existence of bonus stations; in this case, K4TCG worth
a whopping 100 points.  Bonus stations add to the operating excitement, and therefore, gives us added incentive to participate in the TNQP events.  Fortunately, K4TCG usually has a LOUD signal.
There are QSO Parties with rules that state unless we make 50+ QSOs we cannot qualify for a Certificate or a Plaque, yet there are often way less that 50 in-state stations, or stations work
3 - 4 bands, giving us a chance for multiple QSOs.
In the TNQP event, a 1st-place win is a 1st-place win, no matter how FEW QSOs are made. 
If your submitted score is higher than other submitted scores for that category, then, you win .
DiD YOU participate in the COQP or TNQP QSO parties?
How many [new] counties made it to YOUR LoG?