Friday, July 5, 2013

WQ6X survives 2013 All Asian C.W. on Mt. Able @ 8250'

WQ6X at Sunrise (@13:00z)
Operating tent behind an HF2-V Vertical

All Asian 2013 marks my last appearance from Mt. Abel (8,250' - 50 mi. N.w. of L.A.) for this contest (a new location for A-A in September is being sought). While Abel is a GREAT location for Field Day, Europe and South America communication paths, after four so-so A-A operations from the Abel location I am now questioning it's efficacy for California to Asia communications; although this year middle-east propagation made a surprisingly nice albeit brief appearance.

Overall, I was disappointed in the 2013 event, although I've been increasingly disappointed in Asian turnout to A-A contests for the last 3 years. If I didn't know better, I would assume that there were 5x or 10x non-Asian stations to Asian stations participating in the 2013 contest.  The lack of Asian stations was borne out by log-submission comments from over a dozen California (W6) operators.

The last 10 hours were effectively a waste off time as most Asians under retirement age are either sleeping, in preparation for going to work Monday morning, en-route to work or already at work. Most of the stations worked during this period (on 20m, 15m & 10m) were probably worked a day or two before.

The median age of operators seems to have dropped by a couple of years, spurred possibly by a pair of top-notch 19 year-old operators. Nevertheless, All Asian seems to largely be an over-50 event. 

A design flaw of this contest is the lack of of a Low Power (LP) category. I don't know of ANY contest or QSO party that is w/o a low power category. Running a barefoot FT-920 is no competition to radios running 500 - 1,000+ watts.  My mountain top location had some benefits but could not overcome the DB advantage of running the RF through an amplifier.

Thanks to a crossbow antenna line launcher, I was able to hoist a pair of sloping Cobra antennas phased in an 8JK configuration as well as an all-band inverted slinky antenna. The main antenna was a ground-mounted HF2-V Vertical with a full set of tuned radials.

For 2013 A. A., there was a substantial amount of atmospheric noise; especially on 80m and 40m. The K-Index cycled thru 4 & 5 throughout the weekend, complicating matters.  After the contest the A/K indices subsided considerably but did not return to a workable place until after Field Day.

What was your experience with the 2013 All Asian contest?  
What were the atmospheric conditions like for your location?


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