Thursday, November 3, 2016

WQ6X operates the CQ W.W. Contest that BARELY happened

For the CQ W.W. SSB contest in 2015 a number of fluke circumstances found me operating solo as WQ6X from the San Diego Contest Club station (NX6T in "NashVille") after stopping in Orange county to pickup a loaded FT-1000mp (formerly owned by N6VR and used to run SO2R in the November Sweepstakes from Santa Barbara section).  Unfortunately, during the drive back to the bay area after that contest my 99 Mercury Cougar blew the engine (after 166k miles), replaced later that week with a Honda Accord.

This year (like last year) there were not enough operators to put together a multi-Single operation from NashVille so N6KI opted to run N6XT remotely and I came up with the [sic] brilliant idea of setting up the Yaesu FT-1000mp on the 6th floor of a hotel in the SF bay area (location to remain a secret).

While I was not able to hang wires out the window, I have run contests during years past from 2nd & 3rd story hotel rooms using an MFJ apartment antenna with reasonable results.  Because I could not find the extendable whip for the MFJ antenna, as I have done in years past, a 75-meter hamstick took the place of the whip.

When the 00:00z contest start happened I quickly scanned the bands finding 10 & 15 meters quiet with a 20-meter opening to South America.  During the 1st contest hour the MFJ antenna analyzer helped me to ready the apartment antenna for contest operation.
Unfortunately, by the time 01:00z came around 20 meters at my location was DEAD; even stateside signals could not be heard.

Switching to 40 meters I heard very little except for a few broadcast carriers above 7200 khz.  On 75 meters all I heard were a few ragchews and the usual evening west coast traffic nets.  While it is true that space weather conditions presented a rather bleak situation, I was expecting to at least hear dozens of stations on from the U.S. and Canada.

Instead, I heard virtually nothing, leading me to wonder whether or not something was amiss with the the 1000-mp; something I know to not be the case.

After several listening sessions throughout the evening I shut things down at 07:00z (midnite local time) hoping to find everything renewed on Saturday morning.

Saturday turned out to not be much better.  At 19:44z PJ2T in Zone 9 was the 1st QSO.  The remainder of the hour brought about two Zone 8 stations and another in Zone 9.  CX2DK and CV7S were worked the next hour and that was it.  As it turned out, when 10 meters was done for the day, so was I.  Not knowing that, approximately every hour I would scan the bands looking for a fluke callsign to jump through.  Throughout the afternoon, I could hear only a handful of stateside stations.  Unfortunately, none of them could hear me.

On Saturday evening 20, 40 & 80 produced virtually no signals, even though I could hear WWV on 2.5, 5.0 and 10.0 at various points; and even WWVH in the background on 5.0mhz.  Calling it quits, I turned the radio on at 9:30 Sunday morning.  Eventually 10 meters opened back up.  While I could hear central and South America the callsigns were DUPs from Saturday.  It wasn't until 22:00z that I managed to work PV2P, CA4CBK and XE1B; which as it turned out wrapped the contest for me.

 This was TRULY the most dismal CQ W.W. contest I've ever operated it.  In viewing the contest submissions, it is clear that conditions and signal-levels were down, however contest results reported by other W6 stations certainly showed more than 9 QSOs in their logs.

Altho not much to get excited about I made a 10-meter submission to the the 3830 Scores Website.

A view of Mt. Diablo from the hotel

 Hopefully, the CW version of this event will be more productive.
In the meantime, look for WQ6X in the CW November Sweepstakes.

Did you work the CQ W.W. contest?

What were the signal levels like at YOUR QTH?

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