Friday, August 19, 2016

WQ6X dabbles in WAE-CW 2016

NX6T - Station #1

For this year's WAE (Worked All Europe) contest I had to make a decision whether to drive to NashVille (in Fallbrook) to operate the NX6T station, operate portable from W7AYT in Northern California with only a vertical antenna, or, operate
NX6T remotely.

As it turns out, the rock band GAMMA+ was playing at Club Fox in Redwood City on Saturday night so I compromised and got a room for two nights at the Comfort Inn in Redwood City to see the show,
while running the NashVille station remotely as WQ6X.

C-31 Yagi - 12mh
Operating from the East coast or Midwest gives operators there a significant advantage in working Europe.  Operating from NX6T's QTH had the advantage over Northern California of a C-31 yagi on the high bands
and a 2-element 40 meter Yagi.

Because propagation was poor on 80/160/10 I heard no signals on any of those bands, making this operation a 20-15-40 meter affair; not surprisingly with most of the action on 20 meters.

40 meters on Friday evening was a tough go. 
It seemed as though I was weaker into Europe than
I thought I should have been.  On Saturday morning
I discovered why - the K3's power level had been dialed down to 25 watts (probably for station testing) and I neglected to check power levels before starting.  It could've been worse - dialed back to 5 watts. 
(Maybe I shoulda run as QRP).

Running the K3 @ 95 watts made all the difference.  Unfortunately, 40 meters was nearly a no-show on Saturday evening, so I largely missed out.

The WAE contest is unique in that you have the opportunity to send/receive "QTC" (traffic) messages for extra points.  Because I was running remotely using "canned" function keys, making QTC work with N1MM was way over my head for the weekend so I replied "no QTC" to traffic requests; probably disappointing a lot of EU stations.

One of my goals in working the WAE contest was to put the WQ6X callsign in as many EU logs as possible for callsign recognition in future contests.  WAE also put a guaranteed 34 countries on my solo DXCC list from NashVille.

Countries worked in WAE
Being a CW contest, I further developed my SO2V operating skills; thanks to the dual-receive capability
of the FT-1000mp.

Operating remotely, internet latency was a BiG problem Friday evening
and somewhat less of a problem on Saturday afternoon.  By Sunday, things had settled down.  I could no longer blame internet latency for my poor performance; by then it was all about operating skill.

Being a remote operation I relied heavily on internet spots via the N1MM bandmap.  Unfortunately, many of the spots were significantly off frequency requiring "manual" tuning in order to make contact - not always easy to
do remotely.

Additionally, many of the spotted callsigns were surprisingly incorrect (despite being spotted by a skimmer), requiring me to actually LISTEN before blindly calling the station.  Then again, because
I ran frequencies much of the time I was helped along by a number of East coast skimmer radios adding WQ6X to the network.  I submitted a contest score report to the 3830 Scores website.

WQ6X remote view of NX6T
Did you work the WAE contest?

Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?

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