Thursday, February 16, 2017

WQ6X Roars Remotely in 2017 WPX RTTY contest

NX6T Station #1 (on the Left)
WQ6X's participation in the 2017 RTTY contest was ad-Hoc from the beginning. I considered setting up the Yaesu FT-1000mp @ W7AYT's QTH or making the trip to Fallbrook ("NashVille") to run NX6T live.
Both ideas seemed like too much effort. KK6NON was originally scheduled to run station #2 @ NX6T but at the last minute elected to operate from his home QTH. With that in mind, running WQ6X remotely from Fallbrook made the most sense.

Thanks to new super-duper internet access @ NX6T I was able to operate station #1 remotely w/o the 15-second timeouts I experienced when running the RTTY RU last month.

Unfortunately, the internet router was not ready until 05:00z, meaning that I missed the Friday 15 & 20 meter openings.

While the A& K indices were down, so was the SFI so I chose to run station #1's K3 into an ACOM 2000a amplifier dialed back to 550 watts to keep things cool.

Nevertheless according to N6KI the shack temperature was nearly 80 degrees most of the time; even with an open window.

Antenna-wise, I ran a C-31 multi-element yagi on the high bands along with 2 elements on 40 and an 80 meter coaxial inverted vee - on separate towers bot at 13mh

There was virtually no noise so the monster loop antenna was not necessary. The real problem was fast-fade QSB which abruptly knocked signals out.

WQ6X spotted wkg A31MM
Because I was running remote I chose to RUN frequencies 99% of the time. What amazed me this year was how many stations would work me and then immediately call CQ on MY run frequency.  Or, they would hear me work a station and then immediately call the station I just worked, oblivious to the fact that it was MY run frequency.

Near the end of the contest while running a frequency on 15 meters, A31MM gave me a call. Immediately, 3 other stations called him on MY run frequency obliterating his signal. After NINE requests for a repeat he faded into the noise. The exchange I copied will probably be wrong - Thanks ASSHOLES!

To these operators I say this: Courtesy goes a LONG way towards scoring big in a radiosport contest. When a station is running a frequency, it is THEIR frequency, until they decide to vacate it; then YOU can use it, but NOT before. You can always do something I have found successful: when you hear a desired caller, move off frequency +/- 5Kc and call your own CQ; maybe that station will find you. Remember the reason I call CQ as much as I do: I have a recognizable and WPX-desirable callsign that I think will attract callers and bring me MORE QSOs then if I search & pounce (S&P).
You can do that too; however bullying people about on THEIR run frequency is NoT
the way to win friends and make QSOs.

What amazes me is how people can be OFF frequency when they call me. Attempting to use RIT to tune them in can be tricky over the internet so I defined the F-11 key to say: "You are OFF Freq - please tune me in" followed by pressing F3 ("TU QRZ" etc.). What I don't get is if they can copy me, then how are they off freq. If they can copy my F-11 message then why weren't they on frequency to begin with.
 One guy called me LAZY for not tuning him in - GO Figure.

W6JBR offered some interesting thoughts on this:

I think that the off-frequency callers are due to one of two issues:
  1. The calling station had engaged their RIT for a prior QSO,
    and did not reset it to Zero offset, so are transmitting split.
  2. They are running AFSK and have not calibrated their sound card,
    so the transmit tones are off frequency.
So, THEY are the lazy ones!

A concern I report EVERY RTTY CONTEST is that 14.100 (the NCDXF beacon frequency) is ALWAYS JAMMED WITH STATIONS. What? You didn't know 14.100 was a beacon frequency? WAKE UP folks!
Stations the world over rely on the 14.100 beacon to predict 20-meter propagation. Beacons are WORTHLESS if a dozen stations are transmitting on top of them. I ALWAYS give them a window. The closest I came to 14.100 was to run a frequency on 14104,44, giving the beacon PLENTY of space. Unfortunately, the corridor below me was LOADED with stations.

In my experience, intentional jamming is always a problem to contend with throughout any contest. There are some BORED anti-contesters who have nothing better to do than to disrupt other on-the-air operations; even though doing so is technically a violation of FCC (and other regulating authority) regulations. This contest found me plagued with tuner-uppers on 20-meters in particular. While auto-notch circuits don't work in a RTTY contest, manual notch controls certainly do. It is my fervent hope that the only thing these idiots accomplish in doing so is to flatten the finals on their amplifier tubes.

Typically, I encounter intentional QRM by way of RTTY on 40 meters during CW contests. During RTTY contests where we take over the majority of the upper-half of the CW segment, using RTTY to QRM RTTY stations makes little sense; altho several stations did try that. There were many BRAVE cw ops calling CQ in between RTTY operations on 40 meters - they have as much right to use of the spectrum as we do. I don't know if they actually established any QSOs doing so, however I acknowledge their right to be there.

In recent contests when I run the FT-1000mp I have been perfecting the art of SO2V (Single-OP 2-VFOs).
For this remote operation, running a frequency was barely all I could manage. SO2V will have to wait until my next live operation.

With the exception of 10 meters, the remaining bands provided a decent amount of activity.
With few exceptions calling CQ resulted in very little wait time. While 15 meters could have yielded more European and Asian stations, 40 meters picked up the slack, including a couple of callers from South Africa (ZS2 & ZS6); not easy from the Left coast.

Amazingly 40 meters remained open to Asia on Saturday well after 17:00z - I guess we REALLY ARE heading to the bottom of the sunspot cycle. RTTY contests typically don't operate on 160 which is a good thing because 160 operation tends to knock the NX6T internet router offline; even at low power. Luckily, I did not miss out on anything significant.

Did YOU operate the CQ WPX RTTY contest?

Did YOU miss anything significant?

Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your blog comments, Ron. Surprised we didn't work in the contest. Guess I wasn't tuning around enough on my sub-receivers, hi!

    Ed P49X (W0YK)