Tuesday, January 30, 2018

WQ6X Parties with North America during January NAQP Contests

WQ6X Remotely - w/ MFJ-752c and NIR-12 audio filters
After the RTTY RU contest is over, to open the new year, the CW & SSB NAQP GiGs are the first contest events of each new year (the NAQP RTTY contest doesn't happen until late in February).
The NAQP contest is unique amongst contests of its type in that there is no high power category
(only LP and QRP); run over 100 watts and your entry becomes classified as a "check log".

NX6T STN-1 & STN-2 Night-Remote
Additionally, unlike so many contests, there is no 59/599 report, nor is there a serial # in the exchange, just name
and QTH; which tends
to makes things a bit more personal, even tho we make up names like "Dude" and "Loco" (often heard from XE2MX).

A unique aspect to NAQP is that each of the 3 contest events (Cw, Ssb & Rtty) are run TWICE every year (in
the winter and again in August) offering a 2nd opportunity to improve on our original scores from earlier that year.

Antenna Towers @ NX6T

Because of the low power restriction there is a greater reliance on antenna directionality and gain
as well as operator skill. While there is no Multi-multi category in NAQP, there ARE Multi-single and Multi-2 classifications. Additionally, because much of the NX6T operations are run remotely, installing a new microwave dish to the fiber-optic internet connection across the hill has made all the difference towards reduced internet latency.

N6KI Running 20-m CW
In years past I have often run single-OP from NX6T in Fallbrook (either from the shack in "Nashville" or remotely) when N6KI operates from elsewhere. For 2018, NX6T ran as a Multi-2 operation in both events; cw (run completely remotely) and ssb run with operators in the chair as well as remotely (thanks to Ron WQ6X and Rick N6CY).

For the CW event, I opened on 15 meters (making occasional CQ calls on 10 meters) while K6AM & N6KI put 20-meters on the air.

For the Ssb event I opened on 15 meters (again 10 meters never materialized) while KK6NON ran
a continuous pile up on 20 meters. For both events, 15 shutdown by around 22:00z, relegating me
to take early refuge on 40 meters.

KK6NON on 20 meters
One of the few advantages of being in the depths of the solar cycle 24 is that 40, then 80 and 160 meters open up considerably earlier in the afternoon than during the upper reaches of the solar cycle. For the Cw event I was receiving calls from Western Europe
by 01:30z - UNHEARD of normally.

Another "advantage" of NAQP GiGs over other contests is that they are over by 06:00z. On 40-meters, the so-called intentional-QRM (that occurs in most contests) does not usually occur until well after 07:30z.

During the 2018 NAQP SSB I encountered intentional RTTY QRM on 7232.32 at 23:56z.
Usually there are foreign broadcasts carriers on 7.230.  This year, instead of broadcast QRM I get RTTY.  Luckily, the K3's auto-notch filter can take out most RTTY signals and carriers. Unfortunately, in Cw contests, the auto-notch filter also takes out the code, so we take what we get at those times.

Another indication of incredible low band propagation was hearing the M - D - K Russian military beacons on 7.039 @ 06:15z - shortly after the NAQP was over. Unfortunately, propagation to Japan (Zone 25) doesn't occur on 40 meters before the NAQP is over with - by 08:00z their signals approach S-9.

Score-wise, while we made more QSOs for the NAQP SSB event than for CW, WQ6X logging
an additional 49 multipliers made a difference of 58k points. This is why multipliers are often considerably more important than "raw" QSOs. It is for that reason that I go to the
trouble of working 80 & 160 meters - those are what I call "Free" multipliers.

NX6T NAQP CW Results


Did you play in the January NAQP contests?

Is NX6T in YOUR Log?


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