Tuesday, June 21, 2016

WQ6X makes a notable appearance in WPX Cw 2016

When I join up with the crew at NX6T for WPX, Dennis N6KI always chooses that we use my WQ6X callsign because as he put it "there are too many NX6 calls on during WPX".  Really?  I've never heard one.  I think the REAL reason my callsign is chosen is that it relieves him of the massive QSL card duties - WQ6X receives hundreds of QSL cards every WPX contest.

For this  year's WPX contests I booked client business in Huntington Beach during the weekdays leading up to the contest event.  For the Cw GiG I arrived "NashVille" at 22:00z allowing me to get settled into the operator's apartment next door to the radio shack.  Unfortunately, we had a shortage of available operators so unusual for me, I opened the contest.

Equipment-wise we ran the usual bevy of Elecraft K3 radios into ACOM 2000-a amplifiers.  The antennas include a 3-el Stepp-IR with 160 & 80 meter inverted V's hanging from atop the mast, topped with a 2-element 40 meter yagi.  On a separate tower sits a numerous-element C-31 yagi.

In general, I rarely start a contest on time.  Because the original plan was to operate NX6T from a new remote location, N6KI did a spectacular job of preparing the NX6T site for my arrival.  Except for failing to test some of the Wintest CW macros beforehand, I was ready to go at 23:53z when I received a call from TF3DC (on 21.036 mhz)  in response to my T-E-S-T-ing calls.
We had a nice ragchew and he became the first QSO in WQ6X's WPX log.

Before the evening was long in play, N6KI suddenly showed up at NashVille declaring that the remote operation for NX6T was a bust, taking over the operator's chair after dinner (05:35z).

From that point on it was like old times - Dennis rousting me @ 2am for the graveyard shift - the real reason I'm needed in NashVille.

Space weather wise, propagation conditions were quite dismal.  Luckily, working domestic callsigns is a large part of the WPX contest.

Unlike weeks before, 2016 WPX Cw brought us all kinds of bogus QRM to deal with; not the least of which was the nightly South American SSB QRM on 7.018.18  mhz.

I also encountered the "Woodpecker" radar (base freq. around 6.935) and what sounded like a data "cranking machine" at 11:44z on 7.031.   Fortunately, there were no Russian beacons on 7.039.

Unfortunately, on 80 meters I experienced QRM from data bursts while I was calling CQ on 3.535.35 @ 12:38z and again at 12:56z.  Then, as mysteriously as it showed up, it was gone.  If I had thought about it in time, I could have enabled the K3's 2nd receiver in data mode and attempted to copy the RTTY (if it was in fact 170 hz or 850hz); of course a GooD QRMer would use some other RTTY mode so as to remain virtually undetectable.

Lacking operators made all the difference here.  Compared to last year (10 operators), our 3 guys managed to make nearly 2/3's of last year's QSOs and nearly 40% of the score; not bad considering the age of the three operators.

(The San Diego contest club has yet to recruit some young bloods to the CW crew.)

While it was a fun Weird Prefix Contest, the number of really weird callsigns was way down, compared to last year.  For us, the only calls which qualified under the heading of "weird" include: WA0WWW, XR0YS, HW1SA, WT0O, UX5UO, PX4X, 4T4T, WU6X/XE1, DP65SC, CW4MAX & OM0M.

Did you work the WPX contest?
How many weird prefixes did YOU work?

Is WQ6X in YOUR log?

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