Monday, February 24, 2014

N6GEO & WQ6X do NAQP RTTY as Multi-2

February 22 brought us the winter 2004 NAQP RTTY Contest. I missed the other NAQP GiGs so with NAQP RTTY I easily made up for that. N6GEO and I teamed up as a Multi-2 from his Brentwood Ca. QTH.

We used the same Flex-1500 + Tokyo HyPower amplifier pairs that we ran on St. Croix last month as WP2/WQ6X in the RTTY Roundup (RU).  Each pair was run into a 500-w amp to run more "coolly" at just 100 watts - the NAQP power limit.  We ran these configurations into a multiplexed TH3-jr about 7mh and a ground mounted 6-BTV vertical with a blown 40-meter trap.

This event challenged us with a number of equipment glitches, beginning with a 15-meter bandpass filter failure.  The battery operated MA-500 amplifier developed battery problems early on requiring that we power it off during charging, running the HL-45b at about 28 watts.  Likewise, the other 500 watt amp kept overheating and shutting down requiring power off until cool.  The HL-50 could be safely coaxed to 35 watts during those times.  Even a pair of external fans didn't help much.  I guess RTTY really DOES tax an amplifier; even one running at < 20% capacity.

MFJ Loop & Controller
Not having 40-meters on the 6-BTV hurt us greatly until I remembered that the N6GEO QTH sports an MFJ Hi-Q tunable loop antenna on the roof.  Because it is so Hi-Q the non-tune bandwidth is about 15kc; however it is high-gain in that bandwidth.  Altho the QTH is in an antenna restricted area, most people think the MFJ loop is for some sort of satellite dish access.  I quickly learned the art of calling a station while simultaneously tuning the antenna to resonance.  In less than an hour I made 28 QSO's in 17 sections, as far off as Ontario, New York & Florida - not bad for a stumpy loop.

While the two stations were networked, STN#2 started off signing as WQ6X (instead of N6GEO); a leftover from our WP2/WQ6X operation on St. Croix.   Because we normally use my callsign, I didn't realize we were running as N6GEO until 28 10-meter QSOs were made.

The solution to this problem was to select out the 28 WQ6X QSOs and submit them as a single-OP log entry.  The rest of the log was submitted as N6GEO, satisfying all contest requirements.  In the end, as N6GEO we made 382 QSOs with 147 multipliers, slightly over a 2:1 ratio - not bad for all our trouble.
According to the 3830Scores website we made it to 8th place in the Multi-2 category.
Integrated N1MM & PowerSDR software screens

George and I learned a lot from this event.  Our quick response to the problems we encountered kept us in the contest down to the last 30-seconds.  Because we were using the PowerSDR waterfall displays, it was amazing to watch a screen full of waterfalls disappear at 06:00z, leaving a handful of PSK and JT-65 signals remaining.

Now that we know how to do this correctly, we will be ready for the August
[2014] NAQP RTTY contest - bet on it.

Did you play in the NAQP RTTY?

Is N6GEO in your log?

WQ6X Joins operations @ W1AW/6

Because I usually join team NX6T for ARRL Dx Cw, 2014 was no different; except, that it was COMPLETELY different.  Operators at NX6T's Fallbrook location took part in operating as W1AW/6 in the Southern California participation of W1AW's
centennial celebration.  http://www.SoCalContestClub.Org/Centennial.php

As you can see, different stations/operators volunteered to put W1AW/6 on the air for six days.  At NX6T, operators took on a variety of mode-shifts on Cw, SSB & RTTY.  For the ARRL Dx Cw event, we were assigned 15-meter Cw for the entire contest period.  Other locations were given other bands.  For that reason W1AW/6's ARRL Dx entry will be classified as a checklog.  All contacts with W1AW/6 during the contest WILL count towards DXCC and centennial celebration logs, only the W1AW/6 log "score" will not qualify for any awards; which is a shame as I put on my best ever 15 meter operation for any contest I've ever done.

In addition to 15-Cw, we were given the 80-meter SSB & RTTY evening time-slots on Friday & Saturday.  I was originally slated as a backup operator.  However some schedule changes found me running most of the 15-meter operation (making 597 QSOs out of the 862) and making appearances on 80-meter RTTY and then SSB after 15-meters closed down for the day.

Amazingly, on Saturday evening, I was able to run 15-Cw until 05:30z.  There were still openings to Oceania & Asia but I had worked all the stations that were on, so I shutdown 15 and moved to 80/75.  Because the solar flux was so high propagation was overall quite good until early Sunday afternoon when the geomagnetic storm noise moved in.

While I was quite busy operating, I also found time to put up a webpage about the W1AW/6 operations from Fallbrook (http://WQ6X.Info/W1AW/6/), complete with pictures & links to several YouTube videos made during the weekend.

Because there are multiple W1AW portable operations going on around the country (I've personally worked W1AW/2, W1AW/4, W1AW/5 & W1AW/6), they have changed the callsign in Newington to W100AW.

W1AW and W100AW are a testament to the fact that amateur radio has an incredibly colorful history.  Consider the technological advances amateur radio has been a part of in the last 100 years.
What advances can we look forward to in the NEXT hundred years?

Have you worked the various flavors of W1AW?  They're FREE for the taking.