Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WQ6X & N6GEO team up as W6K for Sweepstakes Cw

N6GEO    &    WQ6X
This last weekend again found me in Brentwood (EB section) teamed up with N6GEO as W6K for the 80th running of the Cw November Sweepstakes contest.  We had a lot of ideas for how we would operate this contest as a multi operator setup.  In the end they all didn't make it. 

The Flex Radio Power SDR Screen (w/CW Skimmer) and our superb mini antenna farm
We settled on running a FLEX SDR-1000 (Software Defined Radio) into a pair of cascaded amplifiers giving us 145 watts out; just enough to top-out at the low power limit of 150w.  We front-ended the receiver section with a CW skimmer, which is legal as multi-OP is also an assisted category.  The skimmer certainly helped cut down on code copying errors and made search & pouncing (S&P) a lot of interesting fun.  For antennas we used an 8mh TH-3 jr. yagi  for the high bands and a ground mounted 6-BTV vertical for 80 & 40.

Our goal was to beat last year's record of 469 Q's and get a clean sweep to make up for missing it by 2 sections last year and 2 in this year's CQP.  As with CQP there were a dearth of Vermont stations (2 to be exact) so we almost missed the sweep.  Finally at 20:44z N1UR popped up on the "needed station" screen.  A double-click of the mouse and a switch on the amplifiers snagged the illusive lil' bugger.  We ended up with 531 QSOs in all 83 sections for an ending score of 88,146 points.

There was a propagation rumor that a number of solar disturbances were headed our way.  While I heard that there were signal dropouts at NX6T in San Diego, in the East Bay we experienced no real signal problems other than the predictable slow-fade on 15/10 meters.  I was disappointed in the small number of stations who actually made it down to 80 meters.  Wakeup people!  80-meters was HOPPING - for those who did show up.  Even 40-meters was lacking in signals; not because of poor propagation, but because people didn't spend enough OP time there as we did.

Now that we proved we can get a sweep and beyond, preparations are under way for W6K to operate Sweepstakes phone with this same arrangement (except the Skimmer, which does us no good on SSB).

From the reported QSO numbers and submissions to the 3830 Scores website we know there were over 1500 active stations in this year's event.  This year the number of reported section sweeps seems to have significantly increased over last years action when the Ontario (ONT) section was split into 4 multipliers (ONE, ONN, ONS & GTA).

How was Sweepstakes on your end?  Did you manage a sweep?


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  2. A few days before the 2014 CW Sweeps happened I received two 1st-place certificates in the mail for last year's W6K Brentwood operations. Unlike the phone event, for Cw, our clean sweep remained intact