Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WQ6X Dual-OPs 2018 IARU Contest - Part 1: Another 4 years

[Note: The majority of the text for this BLOG Entry was written
while riding the train to Concord Friday evening, July 13th

While July's IARU HF Championship is an annual event, the WRTC (Olympic-style) finalists only compete every 4 years.  In 2014, the WRTC was held in New England bringing us a slew of unique K1x, W1x & N1x 1x1 callsigns.

The book Contact Sport by J.K. George was written about the 2014 championship event. 
I made a mention of this book in the 2017 BLOG write-up about last year's IARU GiG. 
[CLICK HERE] to read this BLOG entry.

For the 2018 WRTC event from Germany a series of unique "Yxx" callsigns were created, one for each of the two person teams.  They put together a special WRTC page on Facebook. [CLICK HERE] to see the WRTC Facebook page.  From NX6T in Fallbrook, we will be looking for an opening to Europe on 20 meters as soon as the contest begins; 40 [meters] will be fading away as 20 fades
in to the Northeast and then the North Northeast.

Unique to the ITU HF Championship is the sending of our ITU Zone number instead of the usual CQ Zone.  According to the CQ model, California is in Zone 3; under the ITU model, California is in Zone 6.  Luckily, on Cw the computer sends the exchange; on SSB we still have to "think it and speak it".

For WQ6X, the 2018 goal is to operate NX6T during the usual night-time and dinner-time operating time slots.  During the "in between" periods I endeavor to put WQ6X on the air from W7AYT's QTH.  With an incrementally-increasing SFI, I hope to give W7AYT's 10-meter yagi a workout; especially towards South America.

An operating goal on-the-side is  continuing experiments with different audio filter combinations; including a
pair of Autek QF-1a's, a JPS NIR-12
for the FT-1000mp's Sub-RX audio (complementing the eDSP's DNR & DNF features built-in to the Main-RX) and the beefed-up MFJ 752-B (with
it's newly added CW-1 filter).

While the QF-1A's worked superbly, the MFJ filter made almost no difference. 
Because there were so many audio cabling situations to contend with during the 24-hour contest period, I never got around to including the NIR-12 in the Sub-RX's audio line; next time I operate
from W7AYT the NIR-12 will be worked in appropriately.

Because the IARU GiG starts at 12:00z (5am) it will be up to WQ6X and N6CY to put Stations #1 & #2 (respectively) on the air.  Unfortunately, due to microphone audio problems on the laptop being used for remote access of NX6T, it looks like WQ6X will be running ONLY Cw during remote access.  Luckily there are a number of experienced SSB operators on the schedule for live operating from Fallbrook.

Hellllloooooo Radio

On the UPSIDE of things, the SFI
was a little higher as of late and the geomagnetosphere was actually
rather quiet. 

While there was noise experienced at BOTH the NX6T and W7AYT QTH's, amazingly, the DSP-based NB circuits on both the K3 and the 1000mp were able to knock most it out, creating a noticeable improvement in signal-to-noise ratio.

Running the FT-1000mp's stereo audio into a pair of Autek QF-1A filters never ceases to amaze my ears.  While the QF-1A frequency controls can be a bit "touchy" (almost too sharp), when set exactly, signals literally JUMP OUT of nothing into about Q-4 copy.  Most DSP filters can't make
anywhere NEAR that claim.

Propagation-wise, around 04:00z I turned on the FT-1000mp @ W7AYT's QTH and (using just the Lazy 8JK Sloper) was able to copy WWV signals on EVERY operating frequency: 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25 MHZ.  While the 20 & 25 mhz signals were not S-9, the WX forecasts were quite readable.

N6KI Tuning-UP on 160
It looks like things are ready to roll for the start
of the IARU GiG starting at 12:00z starting-time.

In part 2 of this series,
I will detail how it all turned out.



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