Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WQ6X Stumbles Thru WAE Cw Contest

WQ6X Remote operation w/QF-1 & QF-1A Filters
Every radiosport event brings unique/different problems often requiring custom solutions.
For the 2018 WAE (Worked All Europe) GiG, the biggest problem came in the form of a repeating internet dropout approx. every 5 seconds. This continual outage defined the WAE contest weekend.

The Worked All Europe contest is considered by many (including myself) to be the most COMPLEX

of all radiosport events. In most contests, a regular QSO is worth 2 points. In WAE, each QSO is worth ONE point; to receive another 1-point you must send a different station a QTC message,
which is in effect a report to the 2nd station about the QSO made with the 1st station. 
For efficiency, QTC messages can be sent in sets/books of 1 to 10 to a single recipient operator.
[CLICK HERE] to read the 2018 WAE contest rules.

The 2018 WAE contest resulted in barely 10% of the 2017 score. Because of the internet dropouts, there was NO WAY I was going to reliably send 10 QTC messages (let alone 1).  Of course sending

a QTC message for every QSO effectively doubles the score. When stations would send "QTC?",
I would press the pre-configured F-10 key to send "NOQTC". It was frustrating to listen to all the
"boys and girls" sending QTC's and I couldn't - Bummer Dewd!

NX6T station during Friday nite setup
CW-wise, WAE brings us many SUPER European operators, like YQ6A who kept the code speed under 28 wpm, sending a fast 5NN and a much slower serial number; the correct way to operate.  Unfortunately, MANY European operators were trying to impress people by running 35wpm during their CQ calls.  When you combine that with QRM/QRN and internet dropouts, it often took 20+ seconds to JUST figure out the callsign.  By the time I am ready to call the station, he is now
receiving a packet of 10 QTC messages.  WQ6X ain't waiting around for that - Buh Bye!
Remember: Your callsign is your calling card, if we copy it incorrectly then YOU don't
get credit for the QSO - SLOW DOWN people.

Commitments with my Toastmaster's club prevented me from getting started until 05:30z; by then, Europe had already faded into Fallbrook oblivion.  I took the time to configure the N1MM+ software
for WAE, connected and tested the outboard audio filters and caught 8+ hours of sleep. 
The 1st WAE QSO did not make it to the log until after 15:00z.

As you can see from the graph, 20-meters was the primary band for working Europe.  Running the C-31 yagi (7-el on 10, 5-el on 15 and 3-el on 20) I took a number of looks at 15 and 10 meters. 

Unfortunately, a low SFI of 67 did not contribute to an opening on those bands, at least the A-K Indexes were reasonably low; while there was plenty of static QRN, amazingly, the K3 radio's NB circuits knocked it all out.

Starting late on Friday missed an opening on 40 and 80 never materialized to Europe from NX6T's NVIS coaxial (double bazooka) inverted Vee for 80.

In radiosport, no matter what the contest result, I always learn something new technically.  
Just before the WAE contest weekend, an original Autek QF-1 filter was added to the laptop audio, effectively in parallel with the already existing QF-1A.  While each ear was routed through one of the filters, because RCForb laptop audio is effectively monaural, technically, the same audio content was being filtered in two different ways for each ear; not quite stereo Cw, but certainly effective enough to raise even weak signals above the noise.

N1MM+ Ending Screen for 2018 WAE
While the 2018 WAE Cw contest was quite a disappointment, it did allow me to work things out at
the remote access site.  I also learned how to invoke the onsite air conditioning in Fallbrook, allowing me to be self-sufficient.  Running 550 watts allowed WQ6X to be heard while keeping the NashVille shack relatively cool.  How CooL is that?

Did YOU work the WAE Cw contest?

How many QTC messages did YOU send?

No comments:

Post a Comment