Recently, the only good thing I can say about the current sunspot cycle low is that 160 meters has come alive rather nicely for this year's ARRL 160 meter contest.
I booked a business trip to Burbank by first making a detour through "NashVille" to join up with N6KI in order that we dual-OP the 160 contest.
Internet router configuration problems and relatively intrusive winds from the west almost sidelined this operation.
To make things easier, I authored this blog entry as the weekend progressed.
I arrived at NX6T to discover that things were not ready. The AT&T router lost its mind and needed to be reconfigured and tower #2 with 160 Inverted Vee had not been raised.
|Tower #2 collapsed down|
Because of the winds we decided to run with the tower at the 40' (13mh) position. An advantage to this is that our radiation pattern is probably more 360-like. If the winds die down we will consider putting the tower up to its 70' (23mh) height.
At 02:40z N6KI put our first QSO in the log and I wandered off to do other things. By the time I took over for the dinner run at 04:15z Dennis had put 140 QSOs in the log.
During the dinner run I managed to add 180 more QSOs in the log despite adjacent QRM from the IDIOT who ran W7RN (probably remotely); he worked me and then went up 200 hz to call CQ forcing me to drop down 300 hz to knock him out of the K3's receive passband.
Only a True LiD would work a station and then call CQ less than 1kc away from that same station who had been on the frequency for nearly 3 hours.
When I rolled out of bed at NOON, I stepped outside to discover virtually NO wind activity: To the degree the wind speed is DOWN, Tower #2 can go UP; and it in fact did. Did it make a difference? It DiD seem like there were more S-2 stations calling during the middle of the night.
To pick them out we used one of N6KI's favorite techniques involving turning off the AGC (risking BLASTs of audio when a strong station showed up) while backing off the RF gain and upping the audio gain. Like running two VFOs (SO2V), making this work requires PRACTICE.
|Tower #2 fully extended|
Because the 160 contest is largely an evening contest, for NX6T the band didn't reopen until 23:00z on Saturday, with me making the 1st contact at 23:22z.
One of the refreshing things about 160 mater contests is that there is no 40-meter intentional QRM to deal with. Earlier I mentioned the QRM from a loud Nevada station.
In another like incident (possibly with the same station), I parked NX6T on 1818.18. Hearing no response to my "QRL?" I began calling CQ Test followed shortly by the other station calling CQ on 1817.40 (with no "QRL?" first).
Making no QSOs he eventually gave up, zeroed my frequency and sent "TNX ASS".
My response was "73 - TU NX6T QRZ?"
|NX6T being spotted|
While we were continuously being spotted, it was discovered after the contest was over that other California stations heard several Western European and Spanish stations trying to call us, altho they were too weak for us to hear - Bummer Dewd!
We certainly could have used the extra multipliers. Dennis (N6KI) has vowed that there will be replacement for the downed "Beverage" antennas by the time the CQ 160 contest happens the end of January.
Overall, N6KI & WQ6X made a decent showing in the ARRL 160 contest.
We may well have taken first place for San Diego section and the W6 call area; not bad for a hastily organized contest event. [CLICK Here] to see our 3830 Scores website.
Did YOU work the ARRL160 meter contest?
Is NX6T in YOUR Log?