Sunday, July 8, 2018

WQ6X Says: Happy Birthday Canada!

In 2017 I participated in my first RAC Canada Day event, taking 1st place for California. I also participated in the RAC Winter contest for the first time, although we don't yet know the outcome
of that event. Having resolved station #1's audio problems, I was open to running the RAC GiG

on Cw this time around hoping to at least double last year's score.

For 2018, to make things easier, the amplifier was set to 1350 watts and the antennas pointed more-or-less North to North-east; altho doing a "periodic sweep" from Northwest to Northeast brought many weak Canadian signals into the C-31 yagi.

I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the actual number of VE8, VE9, VY1 & VO stations on
the air this weekend. Where are these stations during Sweepstakes and the IARU GiGs?

 Station #1 @ NX6T (an Elecraft K3 into an
ACOM 2000a was run at about 1350 watts).
Available antennas included a C-31 Yagi and
2-el Shorty 40, plus inverted Vees for 80 and 160.  All antennas 13mh.

While NX6T's antenna tower #2 was useful for the low bands (2-el 40 and 80/160 inv. V's), it was by way of "relentless searching" using the C-31 yagi that stations as far away as VE8, VE9, VY1 and VO2 could be worked.
At 13mh, it possesses all the characteristics of the Stepp-IR
yagi @ 27mh on tower 2.

Rotating an antenna remotely involves some guesswork, but overall allows picking out weak signals and/or at odd reflection angles that might not be heard otherwise. 

Running 1350 watts I KNEW WQ6X would be heard "everywhere" in Canada, whether or not I could hear callers from each of those areas in return. 

Additionally, tuning around on 160
& 10 meters for QSOs that others missed took the QSO count above
400; not bad considering last year's QSO total was only 159.

The QSO counts on 40 & 20 were not really surprising.   The amazing thing was experiencing a dual-opening to Canada on 15 meters.

While 80 meters yielded only 32 QSOs, when you consider the antenna was nothing more than a coaxial-dipole formed into an inverted V, the signal was amazingly strong.  Unfortunately, because the antenna broadsided Northeast (and not Northwest), a lot of the weak signals (mentioned earlier) could not be heard on 80.

As the contest progressed, poor air conditioning required I run the last 3 hours at about 550 watts.
For the most part I don't think anyone really noticed the 5db difference.

When it was all over WQ6X amassed nearly 75K points.  Last year's 1st place for California was made with only 13K points.  Thus far, (according to the 3830 Scores website), WQ6X will EASILY take yet another 1st place for California (3rd place for USA).

Did YOU play in the RAC Canada Day contest?
How many Canadian QSOs ended up in YOUR log?

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