Monday, December 11, 2017

WQ6X joins N6KI for ARRL 160 Contest

WQ6X running remotely
The 2017 ARRL 160 contest was a mixture of different significances. While the contest begins @ 22:00z (14:00PT, 17:00ET), on the left coast that is a bit early (altho on Saturday the first signals wafted through the ether into the headphones at 22:36z).

Similar to last year, I dual-OP'd remotely with N6KI (Dennis) while he manned the OP chair live @ NX6T in Fallbrook (aka "NashVille"). Because Dennis was the lone operator atop the mountain, motor-raising tower #2 to 70' (23mh) was a one-man CHORE - Thanks Dennis.

Using WinTest to run the K3 into an ACOM 2000a,
NX6T started running a frequency @ 01:30z, immediately
hitting the 100/hr QSO rate for the first couple of hours.
At 04:00z when I took over (remotely) for the dinner shift there were already 247 QSOs in the log. S&P'ing and then running frequencies, I managed another 133 QSOs in the log by the time N6KI took over @06:30z.

N6KI running Station #2
With barely 2.5 hours sleep
I "stumbled" out of bed (08:45z), chugged a mug of Kona coffee
and picked up where Dennis left off,
adding another 133 QSOs to the log.
By 13:30z with no one new to work, I went back to bed. By 22:00z I fired-up STN-1 remotely tuning the band.

While an SFI of 70 is good for 160 meter contests, a K-Index of 3 resulted in S5 - S7 noise levels, which is not so fun.

What stood out in this 160 meter contest (to put it bluntly) were the numerous ASSHOLE operators.

While I don't normally name callsigns, for this GiG, the RUDENESS of N6ZFO, W1SRT and XE2S notably stood out and were completely uncalled for.

JUMPing on a frequency (already in use for over an hour) with 3KW and BELLERing "CQ CONTEST", without listening FIRST and sending "QRL?" second is completely LID behavior, prompting me to send "QRL QSY"; and when he didn't get it, I sent "QRL QSY LID" - eventually slinking away down 1.2kc to "remind" me he was still around. Turns out I was louder than XE2S;
it took him 18+ minutes of no QSOs to get the message and move on.

MFJ 752-C for laptop audio
During this fiasco, diverting the laptop audio thru an MFJ-752C notch filter I was able to reduce his barrage enough to copy stations who were smart enough to call me PRECISELY on frequency. (In the end. being ON Frequency reaps BiG dividends - ME).
Making only 12 QSOs in 18 minutes is not great, however it certainly is > 0.

Saturday afternoon, by 23:00z 160 meters began
to flutter open. After haphazard S&P'ing at 00:55z I parked NX6T on 1.820 and literally heard the signal levels emerge further and further eastward.
N6KI took the helm at 02:00z.

Because we had worked so many stations, Dennis went on a multiplier feeding frenzy, which was good
for the log. Thanks to his section skeet-shooting we managed 81 out of the 83 ARRL sections; missing
only NL & PR - Go Figure.

Stations #1 (remote) & #2 (live)
When I came back at 09:15z I continued the S&P and then settled in for 2 hours of intermittent frequency running. It was around this time some internet latency crept in. When that occurs, I make sure the auto-repeat CQ option of N1MM+ is turned OFF; I don't want to be knocked out (yes it HAS happened) while the remote station CQ's endlessly. Luckily, I can usually reconnect within a minute
or two to press the [Esc] key - Errrrk!

For NX6T, there were not a lot of DX stations in our ARRL-160 log, however
I was tipped off by N6GEO that V31 was on 160 (he saw the spot but couldn't hear him).

Evidently our slouchy inverted VEE managed to skip a signal across the east-coast "pond" - how nice is that?!

DX-wise, only the usual bevy of regulars made it to the log; such as: NP2J, PJ2T,JE1CKA ,JA3YBK, JH2FXK & RW0CR

10-meter RTTY - all 4 QSOs!!
After the 160 contest was over I had hoped to find some time for the 10-meter RTTY contest
(a sort of pre-cursor to the ARRL 10-meter contest the following weekend (altho the 10-meter contest
doesn't support RTTY). Nevertheless, I found JUST enough time to call CQ, eventually putting
4 QSOs into the log.  In case you're wondering, yes, I DiD send in a WQ6X log and added the
score to my WQ6X submissions list on 3830Scores website.

NX6T ARRL-160 Ending Score

Based on the 3830 Scores website, it would seem that NX6T's 154k point score has taken a 1st place for San Diego section and 2nd place for the Southwest Division. Not bad for a couple of Old Pharts.

Lights out after the 160 contest

Who would have guessed just 3-4 days later the raging Fallbrook fires would come within
1 mile of the "NashVille" operation. Is this a LAST BREATH for NX6T on the mountain?
Stay tuned for the upcoming ARRL 10-meter contest BLOG entry to find out.

Did YOU work the 2017 ARRL 160 meter contest?

Is NX6T in YOUR Log?

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