Last weekend I made the trek to "NashVille" to join team NX6T in the August 2014 NAQP contest. We ran as a multi-2 operation plus a spotting radio tied in with station #2 to pick up additional contacts on whatever band the station #2 operator is running.
To make the transition transmitting between station 2 and 3, the station 2 operator is able to move a knife-switch to split the headphone audio bewtwen JUST station 2, or a combination (#2 in left ear, #3 in right ear) or just station 3. The station 2 operator acts as a conductor, stopping long enough to allow station 3 to make a contact and then resumes with running a frequency. Done correctly, a few dozen extra QSOs can be made per hour, taking what would have been just under 1,000 Q's to over 1200, giving us what looks to be a 4th place for the Multi-2 category.
A number of short video clips were made this weekend:
One video was made by N6KI - click here to see it.
The other two videos were made by WQ6X:
Because this was a North American based contest, we didn't crank the main antenna tower to full height for operating the 20-15-10 meter bands.
It wasn't until about 01:30z that we upped the main tower to 70 feet allowing us to run 80 & 160 meters; altho 160 turned out to be too noisy from our location.
Radio-wise we ran a trio of Elecraft K3 radios barefoot (no amplifiers allowed in NAQP). Despite the low power, thanks to our location (900' above sea level) along with the Stepp-IR and 40-meter yagi's we had a bodacious signal all around, even into Europe. I even managed to work HZ1AB (Abdul) in Saudi Arabia Saturday afternoon on 15 meters.
Because we had both male and female operators, we used the name "Pat" (Papa Alpha Tango) instead of Dennis or Ron.
Using the 4 channel voice keyer built-in to each K3 radio we kept the voice noise in the operating room down to a minimum. Once channels are recorded an entire contest can be run with the only words used are the utterance of the other station's callsign. Then again, sometimes it is actually faster to relegate the voice keyer use just to calling CQ and actually speak the contest exchange: "WQ6X - this is Pat in California!".
Part of the success of the NX6T operation can be attributed to three identical station setups run by identical copies of the WINTEST software running under Windoze XP (SP-3).
Having special operating aids (such as Mr. Bill and an EASY Button) give us additional advantage over other stations that have not thought to use such tools. We make no apologies for our use of such operating aids as it is the "little things" which make the last 10% - 20% of a contest operating score. You may recall several years ago that I included the use of the Neurosky Mindset to EEG evaluate my operating efficiency during the NAQP CW.
When I operate as a single OP, I usually choose to not operate the 1st and last hour of the event; which is perfect considering that I am usually a late starter in most contests that begin before noon local time.
Per the 3830 Scores website it would seem that NX6T took 4th place in the Multi-2 category. That gives PAT a double-pat on the back, but no awards of any kind. Oh well. Our operation went very smoothly with no equipment failures.
It also gave us the opportunity to introduce two new operators to the world of contesting.
Possibly we can recruit them for the night shift in the upcoming All Asian Ssb contest on Sept. 6th.
Did you work the NAQP this year?
If so, is NX6T in YOUR log?