Sunday, April 5, 2015


This past weekend I took Amtrak to Oceanside allowing me to join up with team NX6T for the 2015 WPX SSB contest; colloquially known as the "Weird Prefix Contest".  Every year we seem to herald the arrival of an increasing number of WEIRD prefixes; altho I guess some people think of NX6 as rather weird.

We operated as a Multi-2 station using 3 K3 radios; 2 for running frequencies and search & pounce (S&P) operations and a 3rd radio to find multipliers on one of the run frequency bands using a lock-out system guaranteeing only 2 transmitted signals at a time.

At NX6T Dennis (N6KI) spent some time this weekend mentoring a couple of up-and-coming contest operators.  SSB contests are a great way to gain exposure to the contest world; the WPX being a world-wide event exposes new operators to the joys of working exotic countries in the course of contest activity.  DX type contests are also an excellent way to learn how to copy weird vocal dialects.  With CW & RTTY dialects are not a problem.  Voice contests teach operators to copy numbers under adverse conditions.

In addition to WQ6X we had quite an array of operators including: N6ERD, KB7V, NA6MB, N6KI, NN6X, N6EEG, W6JBR, WA3IHV, AG6KA, KJ6YXI & KK6NON.

Station #2 @ NX6T

In addition to an array of quality operators, at NX6T we make use of a number of operating aids, including Mr. Bill, the Easy Button and Por-Que Pig.  I even went so far as to record the Easy Button into voice memory #3 as the QRZ message while running a frequency.

We of course make use of the various DX clusters, skimmer utilities (for CW & RTTY contests) and the occasional tip off that comes by way of VHF repeaters.

As a multi-operator setup we are allowed to make use of just about any form of assistance we can think of.  That is one of the reasons we run 3 (or more radios), allowing "off duty" operators the opportunity to locate important multipliers.

Space weather wise things were not too bad altho on 10 & 15 meters the atmospheric noise was severe enough that it made many signals sound super distorted.
Once I figured this out I realized there were not a bunch of "bad" radios showing up on the air.

Super-quick fading was also noticed; especially on 10 meters where a station would jump up in strength and just as quickly disappear.  This is yet another reason (as I have pointed out in other blogs) that contest exchanges should be kept short - insuring that the entire message is exchanged before the signal fades out.
Stepp-IR + 2 el. 40 @ 70'

For this contest it initially seemed that 20-meters was going to be a dud with 40-meters being our major showing.  By the time it was over 20 meters topped at 1006 QSOs, followed by a close 988 on 15 meters.  10 & 40 meters were a close call at 752 & 739 respectively, leaving 217 & 8 QSOs on 80 & 160.  Openings to Madeira and Central/South America were a nice surprise, as was the east coast on 160.  Having a lower solar flux helped the lower bands, no doubt.

C-31a @ a mere 40'

As with all contests (especially DX contests) I have my share of operator complaints; but none worse than SO9Q securing a QSO with me (I had been on that frequency for 90+ minutes) and then IMMEDIATELY sliding .2kc up frequency to call CQ contest.  HuH?  Is that brazen? stupid? unconscious?
Or, is there something else I am missing?

Because the JA station frequency limitations on 75-m SSB (I displayed a picture of this in my blog about the JIDX contest) I found the best frequency to attract JA stations was: 3.747.47.  Someone gave NX6T a "spot" while I was running that frequency, probably accounting for the JA-streak I encountered Sunday morning.

While we in no way expect to take any kind of award for this contest, it DOES get us ready for the upcoming JIDX contest (where we are poised for our 5th consecutive 1st place worldwide) and then the CW WPX contest (Memorial weekend) where we will probably use the WQ6X call.

Prefixes worked screen

To me, because of the myriad of callsign prefixes that appear "out of nowhere", WPX is truly one of my favorite contests (4th favorite).  CW events are more fun however so I look forward to May.  And, I even learned a new word: ZANGO!  Do you know WHAT a Zango is, or HOW to Zango?

QSOs per hour - 214 was tops

You can view our overall score submission at the 3830 Scores website.

Did you work NX6T during last weekend's WPX contest?  On how many bands did you find us?

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