Friday, November 30, 2018

WQ6X Wanders thru another CQ W.W. SSB contest weekend

I am usually not a big fan of SSB Dx contests (except for the DXCC improvement potential).
However the last weekend of October offered me the opportunity to test run the recently acquired Elecraft K3/0 remote radio control unit during an SSB contest.

For reasons beyond my control, the goal of working a recently acquired Mikrotik wireless hotspot
into the configuration never materialized.  That meant Friday evening required reverting back to the RCFORB & IP-Sound approach; a measurably archaic system compared to the K3/0 + RRC-1258 hardware configuration.

Unable to make transmit audio work via RCFORB, John (K6AM) loaded up NX6T's station #1 voice memories allowing efficient Search & Pounce (S&P) operation.  Using an Autek QF-1A audio filter on the RCFORB laptop audio made difficult voice accents more readable.  While I worked on things, Rick (N6CY) kept station #2 alive.

N 6 C Y  and  N 6 K I
The receiving end was no sooner made functional when N6KI came
back from dinner to relieve me for a nap (which never materialized because S&P'ing left me wired").  Before long
it was time for my 1am shift.

Because the SFI (Solar Flux Index) continues to hover around 69 or so,
80 & 75 meters were the primary evening bands, with a handful of contacts made on 160 to round
things out a bit.  By 7am (W6 time) the Dx disappeared returning 80 & 40 back to more-or-less local communications.

Saturday began with the monthly meeting of the Amateur Radio Club of Alameda (ARCA) where we learned about the FT-8 digital mode,

After the club meeting, a drive was made to W7AYT'S QTH by way of a stop at Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) in Oakland to pickup
a 50' roll of RG-8X coax for Dennis' newly acquired Buddipole Deluxe. 

Saturday afternoon I helped Dennis put the antenna through
a thorough test-run.  While the Buddipole instructions are abundantly clear, the final secret to properly adjusting a Buddipole is an antenna analyzer such as the MFJ-259
which for me has provided years of exceptional antenna
design experience.

T o w e r  # 2
Typical of my portable operations from W7AYT, there are always some sort of surprise to be encountered; some good and some not so good.  Amazingly, no disasters occurred for this weekend; not even intentional QRM.  Once the K3/0 operation stabilized the CQ WW GiG became my first attempt at running an ssb contest remotely.

While our score (as reported by the 3830 Scores website) was nothing spectacular, our operation gave us the opportunity to test-drive the current Fallbrook station configuration, B-I-C & Remote.

Did you play in the CQ W.W. SSB contest?

Is NX6T in YOUR Log?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

From JARTS to Pacificon: WQ6X does it all

Several weekend's back, the Pacificon convention seemed to appear out of nowhere (even though
I knew about it in September); the same way Visalia DX conventions appear "out of nowhere" in April. WQ6X plays around in so many different "flavors" of radiosport that it's easy to miss a GiG or two;
as happened with the recent Makrothen RTTY contest.
Oh well, "next year" (as we say nearly every year).

I will have more to say about Pacificon later. For now, suffice it to say, I never attended a Pacificon

I didn't enjoy; the woods setting of the San Ramon Marriot is superb.  Aside from Pacificon, my goal for the weekend was to update the WQ6X lazy 8JK sloper and then play in the JARTS RTTY contest running NX6T remotely from W7AYT, along with dabbling in the NYQP and ILQP state QSO parties.

Radio-wise @ W7AYT I got up early (or at least early
for me) on Saturday morning and reconfigured the Cobra slopers back into an 8JK arrangement; this time with a
coax feed on one Cobra and tuned feeders on the other.

In the end, the coax feed worked superbly, while the tuned feeder idea did not produce the hoped for result; something I will address in 2 weeks for the upcoming November Sweepstakes CW GiG.

After the antenna connections were finalized , W7AYT and
I made our way to Pacificon.  Wandering about the vendor area we paid close attention to the antenna vendors.

A lengthy conversation with Mr. Buddipole (W3FF) himself and his son Chris (W6HFP) resulted in Dennis placing an order for their Buddipole-Deluxe package, anticipating some upcoming portable operations.  I've worked W3FF in many contests; adding an eyeball QSO to the log is always appreciated.

K 3 / 0 REMOTE ACCESS to N X 6 T
 Once the hoopla was behind us, I found time for connecting remotely to NX6T to run the JARTS RTTY contest as NX6T (rather than WQ6X).   This was my first experience running a RTTY contest via the K-3/0 remote connection.  The idea was to QSO party hunt during lull periods in the RTTY contest.

Similar to the All Asian contests, the Japanese JARTS (Japanese Amateur Radio Teleprinter Society) GiG the exchange includes
sending of the operator's age.

 Thanks to N1MM's spreadsheet-like statistics screen, age statistics can be ordered chronologically.  If we compare stats from the JARTS contest to the All Asian GiGs, we will probably see the same age ranges represented in BOTH contests.

The bottom-line is that all but 7 QSOs (out of 190) made were with stations over 40 years of age; over 130 operators were over 60;
over 90 were over the age of 65.

I think it's time to bring some "young blood" into the JARTS contest.  What do you think?

QSO Party-wise, NY was a no-show; in BOTH Concord and Fallbrook. While ILQP participating stations were worked throughout the weekend, as usual, the QSO Party produced a dearth of Illinois stations - wassup with that?


All complaining aside the weekend was a resounding success; antennas were tweaked, K3/0 remote operations were perfected and another pair of contests were added to the 3830 Scores website.
Did YOU play in the ILQP, JARTS or NYQP contests? Is WQ6X or NX6T in YOUR log?