Monday, September 30, 2013

WQ6X & N6GEO do CQ W W RTTY as a Multi-Single

The 2013 CQ WW RTTY contest snuck up on me when I wasn't looking. 
At the last moment, my callsign request for W6R was denied on a technicality so we ended up using my WQ6X callsign, to go with all the other WQ6X CQ contest entries this year.
You can see our 3830 score entry HERE.

WQ6X doing the Friday night shift.
N6GEO on Sunday morning be-4 church
Work commitments on my part and social commitments with George (N6GEO) found us not on the air during crucial parts of this weekend's RTTY contest. Nevertheless, we managed 274 QSOs on all bands (80 - 10) while enduring numerous Windoze Vista "blue screens", probably caused by the PowerSDR software demanding more than a simple dual-core laptop can provide.

We ran a FLEX-1500 SDR radio, directing its 5w output to an ALS-500m amplifier, resulting in anywhere from 70 - 100 watts out (depending on the band).

We are still researching the FLEX-1500 and PowerSDR software for an upcoming RTTY event next year. As wonderful and full-featured as PowerSDR is, one of its main drawbacks is that it takes over much of the screen in 1200 x 1000 resolution screens requiring that we position the right side of the software screen off the edge of the monitor, which also has its drawbacks.
N1MM directing the PowerSDR software
Ending stats after the contest

While there was LOTs of activity in this year's CQ WW RTTY GiG, especially from the European countries who do RTTY so well, missing again this year was Asia & Oceania. It's almost as if there was an ionospheric vortex around the Pacific rim.

In the end, we verified the TH3-jr atop its military mast is ready to roll for next weekend's CQP contest. Look for us as W6C from Modoc county.

Meanwhile, did you play in the CQ WW RTTY contest this weekend?
If so, how did you do?
Is WQ6X in your log?

Monday, September 23, 2013

WQ6X does WAQP Salmon Run Portable in Alameda

This last weekend found me setting up a portable station at the Monterey Center (my office) in Alameda California. The setup consisted of the ICOM-7000 into an MFJ apartment antenna attached to the rain gutter 2.5mh with a 40-meter hamstick replacing the MFJ whip.

I managed 36 QSOs in the Salmon Run (the WA QSO Party); 34 on 20-m and 2 on 40-m. Signals on 15 & 10 meters were non-existent. I was amazed at who could hear me and who couldn't. By the time it was over I managed to work 17 counties in Washington state; not bad for a puny antenna. 
 At 00:28z SJ2W drifted in at S-2 running the Scandinavian contest. 
 A little persistent effort on my part got me into SJ2W's log as #001 in their contest.

Monday morning found me checking into the Adventist Amateur Radio Net (@17:00z) on 14.328. Net control Bob VE7DSE was S-7 here and I managed a whopping S-2 into his Prince George BC QTH.
At 18:00z they switch to 21.405 (altho I had no copy) and sometimes 28.328 after that. 
From N6GEO's QTH I've managed to check in on both 20-m & 15-m, but have yet to copy them on 10-m.
 Possibly this fall we will have a shot at 10-meters again; unless the sunspot cycle really is on its final trip down to the bottom. 

Did you work the Salmon Run this weekend? If so, how many counties did you snag? 
Did you work the bonus station W7DX? I did. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Necessity turns WQ6X Multi-OP into Single-OP for 2013 All Asian SSB Contest

This last weekend's All Asian contest was full of surprises.  My original plan to join the NX6T crew in Fallbrook was preempted in favor of a multi-OP entry from N6GEO's cabin in Twain Hart as I did last year.  Unfortunately, the Yosemite fires threatened that area so the next plan was to multi-OP from N6GEO's QTH in Brentwood (near SF).

I setup the ICOM 7000 on a card table in George's shack on Thursday evening and we went to
great lengths to network the computers.  Friday afternoon I started operations a few minutes
after 00:00z.  Later when George showed up we discovered his Flex-1000 would not properly transmit, so in the end I ended up as a single op.

During the 48 hours of the A-A contest I managed to eek out 135 QSOs & 77 multipliers.
160 & 80 meter condx. were all but non-existent from Brentwood.  40 meters ended up
producing a whopping 4 QSOs thanks to the house blocking the West direction of the 6-BTV vertical and the woodpecker radar.  10-meters produced all of 5 QSOs; more than they managed at NX6T.

It was 20 & 15 meters that produced most of the QSOs (30 & 96 respectively).
When it was all over I decided to submit a single-band log (even though I sent in all 135 Q's).
I almost submitted the log as an LP 40-meter entry which would have beat the Arizona Outlaws (N7TEW) 3 QSO entry for 40.  Instead, I submitted the log as an LP 20-meter entry.

Again the turnout for All Asian was for me quite a disappointment.  This weekend was largely a JA fest with a few UA9's and UA0's thrown in.  During greyline on Saturday I heard a 4X4 station loud and clear but unfortunately he was not working All Asian - go figure.

As in recent years past, the median age for All Asian was well over 50.  I heard one station in their 20's, two in their 30's and only 2 YL's.  The number of 60+, 70+ & 80+ operators was quite staggering - we need some young blood in All Asian.

Did you operate All Asian this year?  If so, how did it turn out?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

WQ6X makes another HQP/OHQP bare-minimum appearance

The last full-weekend in August brings us a number of state QSO parties; most notably the Hawaiian QSO Party (HQP), The Ohio QSO party (OHQP) & and the Kansas QSO party (KSQP), as well as the YO Dx contest and Slovenia's SCC RTTY contest.  For that weekend I had work obligations that prevented me from setting up a full operation, as I did from Mt. Diablo for the 2011 HQP.

This operation became an interesting challenge as the only way I had of making the MFJ apartment antenna work was to mount it on the window ledge pointing due west.  That of course all but eliminated radio contest activity with the Northeast.  It also made reception from Europe all but impossible, so my only QSO in the YO Dx contest not surprisingly was from Oceania - ZL1BYZ.  
Hearing no RTTY signals calling CQ SCC, I chose not to go to the effort of setting up the RigBlaster cables for RTTY.
What little op time I had I focused on the Hawaiian QSO party; looking to see how many bands I could work KH6/KH7.  In doing so I doubled the number of QSOs  from last year, from 2 QSO's to 4, while 4x'ing the number of multipliers by working Lahaina, Honolulu, Hilo & Molokai for a whopping score of 32 points versus 12 points from last year.  Maybe I will take 2nd place for W6-land on Cw versus 3rd place last year.
I was quite disappointed to hear no KH6 action from my location on 80/40.  Because 10 meters was sound asleep, 3 QSOs on 20-meters and one on 15 meters was all I could manage.  Waiting for KH6 signals was quite exciting as you can see.
All Asian SSB is only a week away.  In the past I have voiced my displeasure at the lack of Asian turnout for their own contest.  Let's hope that this year is different.  Thus far the solar flux isn't helping much.  Maybe we really HAVE long ago reached the sunspot peak and are now in the final downturn of Cycle 24.  Being an eternal optimist, I want to believe otherwise.
For 2013 A-A, the original idea was to operate again from Twain Hart (similar to last year's K6A effort) however the Yosemite fires may make that not possible.  
My backup plan is to join the team @ NX6T and help them win another medallion like last year.  There is a rumor afloat that a loaner Kenwood TS-990 will be at the "Nashville" location.
Decisions, decisions.........

POST HQP Update:
As you can see in the comments below, WQ6X took 2nd-place for Cw in the W6 Call area - proof once again that just showing up can win an award.