Sunday, August 4, 2013

WQ6X makes it to the NAQP Cw Contest - barely

Because the NAQP is only a 12 hour contest, unless I guest-OP an already setup station, I tend to put together simplistic portable operations, as I did this weekend operating from Concord Ca. in the East Bay (EB) section.
For this event, there was no operating desk, only the laptop sitting on a chair, with me sitting on the floor. Because NAQP Cw is largely computer-driven fancy operations are often not necessary. As you can see, I threw together a variation of phased hamsticks atop a simple wooden pole wire-tied to the fence. From one vantage point the antenna "almost" qualified as a stealth antenna. The ICOM 7000 was in as good a form as ever, never missing a dit or a dah. I only wish the bands were as good as the radio.
With a somewhat low solar flux (108), while the A/K-Indexes were low it didn't prevent a considerable amount of atmospheric noise on both 40 & 80 meters. As you can see, I made attempts on both bands. 160 was quiet, although there were no signals to be heard as well. 10 meters was also lacking altho I see there were reports that KH6ZM was quite busy on 10-meters.
While other countries are encouraged to join us in NAQP, there were a dearth of signals heard. JA stations were plentiful but were busy in some sort of "QSO Party" on their own. Because of my minimal antenna I can imagine that my signal was rather weak. I could not get a fix on what direction my hamstick array was favoring so I mechanically turned it from due-north to southeast looking for the best signals; which were from W4-land & W5-land. While I could work easily W8, W9 & VE3, W0 gave me little action outside of KS & Co. W1, W2 & W3 were largely unavailable to me. So were my hamsticks actually cloud warmers?
Many stations were not patient with weak signals. Instead of persisting with a weak signal they chose to call CQ for another 3 - 5 minutes. It would have been quicker to work me first. Kudos to Loco XE2MX for persisting with me on 40-meters to pull me through.
One of things I like about NAQP is that sending Name & QTH for the exchange is not as impersonal as sending something such as 599-KW. I also like some of the more original names such as: Gord, Gator, Axel, Rusty, Marko & Loco. It was also nice to see a couple of YL names this time.
So where were YOU during NAQP?


  1. NAQP Cw was full of screw-ups amongst the members of SCCC Team #3 (the group I was assigned to). Aside from my incomplete Hamstick antenna, one of our members ran his amp the entire time and submitted a high-power score which of course became a check log.
    So N6GP andI made up the whole team #3.
    Look for me this weekend in NAQP SSB as WQ6X operating from N6GEO's shack, to get more experience with the Flex 1500 radio.

  2. Also look for me as WQ6X in the SARTG RTTY Contest.
    Notice the weird operating hours for that GiG.
    0000Z-0800Z, Aug 17 and
    1600Z-2400Z, Aug 17 and
    0800Z-1600Z, Aug 18

    What's interesting about this is that it allows for two 8 hour sleep cycles at different times - unique for Radiosport events.