Tuesday, September 18, 2018

WQ6X SPRINTS thru another 4-Contest Weekend

A L A M E D A   P O I N T
September has been an "unusual" month for me in that I have been motivated to operate
2 out of the 3 NA Sprint contests; first the Cw Sprint and then the RTTY GiG. Normally, this
would not be considered much of a feat, except that in both cases WQ6X was running remote
from NX6T in Fallbrook. In recent weeks the internet dropouts seem to have gotten WORSE
(altho a solution is En Route) making SPRINT operation a "dicey" affair at best.

N X 6 T  R e m o t e l y
For RTTY contests, internet dropouts are less of a problem than for Cw GiGs.

In Cw contests, the decoding is done in my head - after the audio has made it's way (or not) through the internet.

With RTTY, the decoding is done on the NX6T end; other than a complete failure of the VNC Viewer connection,
a little latency is not impactively noticed - the decoded text is patiently waiting on the other end for my perusal.

After a birthday lunch at Alameda Point, the goal for this last contest weekend was to dabble
around in the half-dozen dx contests and state QSO parties, with the 4 hours of the NA RTTY
Sprint to "break things up a bit" - so to speak. Tuning around the bands throughout each
contest GiG time-frame, I managed to participate in 4 of those GiGs.

Any GiG I did not participate in this weekend had EVERYTHING to do with LACK of
Participants for those events. How can we participate in YOUR QSO Party if YOU won't play?!

In order for a state QSO Party to be effective, there need to be dozens (if not hundreds) of
stations operating from that state (activating ALL counties), with signals loud enough to be
heard around the continent, on as many band-modes as allowed by the QSO Party rules.
From my perspective, only the California QSO Party (CQP) accomplishes that goal.

According to the WA7BNM Contest Calendar, on the HF contest agenda for this last
weekend were the following events (in time chronology order):

  1. Collegiate QSO Party - nothing heard @ NX6T
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.
  2. All Africa DX Contest - nothing heard @ NX6T
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.
  3. Scandinavian Activity Contest - WQ6X submitted a SO-40 Log
    (possible 1st place).
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.
  4. Iowa QSO Party (IOQP) - nothing heard @ NX6T
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.
  5. New Hampshire QSO Party - internet spots seen but nothing heard @ NX6T
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.
  6. Washington State Salmon Run (SR) - WQ6X submitted a SOAB Log.
    (possible 2nd place in W6)
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.
  7. New Jersey QSO Party (NJQP) - barely heard @ NX6T - submitted a 20-m Cw Log.
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.
  8. North American RTTY SPRINT - WQ6X stumbled thru to amass a WHOPPING 75 QSOs.
    [CLICK HERE] for the rules related to this event.

For all but the RTTY SPRINT contest, this weekend's operation offered up the opportunity to test out a newly arrived Autek QF-1A filter, for now accompanying the one already present.

After thorough alignment of both units (using an 800-hz audio generator), the laptop receive audio was split; one filter for each ear.  As it turns out, there is some signal crossover; not only in the audio lines, but also in the aural circuits of the brain.

The frustrating aspect of this approach is that sometimes the audio from the two filters combine "inside my head" in such a way that the frequency/selectivity knobs sometimes seemed to have no or little to no effect; then a minute later, the difference was quite noticeable.  True to form, the pair of QF-1A's really came through, pulling signals
out of the noise or de-emphasizing "louder" signals in the audio passband.

In my opinion, except the long-running Washington State Salmon Run (formerly the WAQP),
the other QSO parties were all but a BUST.  This echoes a complaint I voice every month
of every year in this contest BLOG - not enough operators (except Californians) participate
in their own state QSO parties. 

Case in point?  For 2018, NO Iowa or New Hampshire stations were heard, even tho states surrounding those target states were easily worked.  [CLICK HERE] to view the dismal IQP 3830 Statistics and [CLICK HERE] to view the dismal NHQP stats.  The NJ QSO Party is
not much better.  [CLICK HERE] to view these QSO Party statistics.

The Washington State Salmon Run was reasonably attended this year, despite the low SFI and HIGH A/K Indexes.  There were even a couple of out-of-staters (W9PL/7 & N6AU/7) to put KING & SAN counties on the air.

My BIGGEST Beef in this year's Salmon Run is the number of non-WA 7th area stations calling CQ SR with no indication they are NoT in Washington.  Example: K7QA should have ID'd as K7QA / MT.  Nearing the end of the SR GiG I ALSO called CQ however my call went like this: CQ SR WQ6X /6 WQ6X /CA.  What is so difficult with doing that? - the computer
does all the code sending anyway.

Amidst the above events, the NA SPRINT RTTY contest came and went.  It took awhile to get in the groove but eventually it all came together.  To keep the shack heat down I chose to run Station #1's K3 into an ACOM-2000a amplifier dialed back to around 375 watts; just enough
to be heard throughout North America and to work stations as far away as KP3 & JH7.
WQ6X ended up taking 5th place for USA and 1st place for W6.

At 05:30z Saturday evening, as the W7 activity died out, the 2-element Shorty-40 was turned to 15-degrees allowing 6 QSOs to be made with stations in Finland, Norway and Sweden for the Scandinavian Activity Contest (SAC).  This was just enough to take 2nd place for USA
and 1st place for W6 as a Single-OP on 40 meters running high power.

Did YOU play in the various weekend contests?
Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?

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