In between last minute software design changes and working with clients I managed to find pockets of contest operating time allowing me to chase QSO party stations in Missouri (MOQP) and Mississippi (MSQP).
For non-stateside fun I searched for Polish stations in the SP-DX contest and anyone else around the world who wanted to play in the Spanish EA RTTY contest.
During the last week the internet microwave relay has been upgraded for station 2. While station 1 improvements are coming, an important aspect about this weekend was to give Station 1 a workout to see what things are left to resolve. While there were a few brief internet dropouts, no modem-resets were necessary the entire weekend, altho Station 1 did shut itself down while I was generating a Cabrillo file for the EA RTTY GiG after all the contests were over.
Equipment-wise I ran the usual Station #1 configuration consisting of an Elecraft K3 running
into an ACOM 2000a amp dialed back to the tune
of about 800 watts for CW & SSB and 550 watts
for RTTY (keeping the amp heat and the shack
down to 40-deg c).
The "antenna farm" was the usual 13mh C-31XR tri-bander for the high bands, and 2-elements on 40.
The QSO parties BOTH began at 14:00z, followed
by the SP-Dx contest at 15:00z and the EA RTTY contest at 16:00z. By 04:00z the MSQP was over. Because I yielded station 1 to another OP to play around in the SSB sprint contest, by the time the Sprint was over, so was MSQP. The people who orgamize these QSO parties need to offer us more hours to work their gig like we do here in California with CQP's 30 hour time frame.
I woke up Sunday morning to an open 20-meters loaded with SP station spots; all for Europe, nothing for the U.S. An hour+ on 20 meters allowed me to finish off the EA RTTY gig and then go back to bed for nearly 3 hours, getting up just in time for the tail end of MOQP.
This weekend CW & RTTY activity seemed to co-exist quite nicely , with plenty of room for ragchewers to call CQ and find each other in between our RTTY signals. People who complain that contests take up hoards of space are simply a bunch of cry baby appliance operators who have not learned to max-utilize our most important resource in Amateur Radio: Spectrum.
The ragchewers heard on 20 & 40 meter CW seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we
were - maybe even more because they were enjoying a leisurely chat while we were feverishly attempting to work each other.
Recent space weather forcasts have been Positivly WILD: SFI-106, A-Index DOWN to 16 and K-Index DOWN to 2.
For the 1st time in MONTHS we see Fair--> Good forecasts for 20 & 30 meters.
Similar to last weekend 20-meters has been staying open much later in the
day here in California.
Also like last weekend there were "pinging" effects riddling many signals; in particular, those coming from more "northern" locations. Around 19:30z I heard a statesider say that we had just been "hit"
by a solar flare. That might explain why the bands sounded extremely quiet at that time.
People may not agree with me when I say not only have we ALREADY reached the BOITTOM
of Sunspot Cycle 24, we are actually headed UPWARD again. The scientists may be basing
their forecasts on the appearance of new versus old sunspots. My opinion is based on 45+
years of DX and contest operating. I know what it FEELs like to be going UP or DOWN.
By 2020 we will know the TRUTH behind the actual bottom of the sunspot cycle.
NEWs at 10:00.
For this weekend, 10 and 15 meters never materialized altho I made numerous lengthy CQ EA Test calls on both bands. WQ6X was even spotted
in ZL-land on 15 meters but had no actual QSO
takers - Bummer Dewd.
40 meters was rather robust Saturday evening with signals from all over. While no European signals
were heard on 40 meters in the EA RTTY contest,
I did manage several runs of JA's and a brief run
of EU stations on 20-meters at 15:30z.
In all honesty I was expecting more EA stations to be participating in their OWN contest - wassup with that?
Because my main focus was RTTY this last weekend, persistence eventually prevailed, taking the QSO count
to a barely respectable 124 QSOs.
For the other GiGs, a handful of QSOS were managed in both QSO Parties and a bit more in the SP-DX contest; which unlike the EA contest allowed me to only work Polish stations.
While I saw DOZENS of SP station spots, only a fraction
of those stations were actually heard in Fallbrook.
For the MO QSO party I managed to work one triple-county-line based staion qualifying for three QSOs and a mixed-mode entry. Technically, I could take 2nd place for USA and 1st
place for California (W6) in MOQP.
The 3830Scores website doesn't list ALL log entries;
only the ones that chose to make their score public.
While I was largely just screwing around on the
radio this weekend, the upside is I got to test-drive
a number of procedures and N1MM configurations which will become useful in upcoming RTTY
I still haven't figured out how to invoke the K3's
RIT feature remotely. In response to off-frequency stations, I press F-11 to transmit "you're off FREQ - please tune me in" and then press F3 ("TU QRZ?") or use F1 to call another CQ. Most stations get it and tune me in; then again there are a handful who don't or won't get it and just disappear - their loss.
|Working the EA RTTY Contest|
To make things more fun I changed the F3 TU message so say
"TU Happy Fools Day de WQ6X QRZ?".
Did you have a fun April Fools day in this weekend's radiosport events?
Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?