Thursday, December 13, 2018

WQ6X joins crew-NX6T for ARRL 160 Contest

E l e c r a f t  K 3 / 0 + D X - 1 6 0 Spkr (1972) + H K -1 H a m K e y (1982)

The final month of every contest year brings us the ARRL160 meter contest followed by the ARRL

10-Meter contest (at the opposite end of the HF spectrum). For the 160 GiG I joined up with the NX6T crew remotely. Dennis (N6KI) was mentoring PJ - WM6Y in the art of Cw contesting.  They put NX6T on 160 during the primetime hours and WQ6X kept 160 active from 09:00z to sunrise on both Saturday and Sunday.

The ARRL 160 contest is different from other contests in that it begins at 22:00z (2pm PST); a distinct advantage to E-coast stations.   The 1st 160 QSO made it to the NX6T log @01:22z.  By the time I took over (09:20z) the major work had already been accomplished.  While starting out with LU5CR on 160 would normally excite me, the multiplier had already been worked, making this just another QSO.

Because we rarely hear JA stations on 160 (until around sunrise), I was surprised to put a strong JH7XMO into the log @ 10:11z.  Several additional JA stations made it to the log over the next hour.  My goal was to put e-coast stations (just waking up) into the log, with whatever DX I can finagle. Finally, at 14:43 I put W6YI into the log and shut things down - 160 was done for the morning.

Saturday, at 22:47, WM6Y & N6KI were back at it.  At 01:29z the band went long putting back-to-back QSOs with NP2X & KP2M into the NX6T log, followed minutes later by YV5JDP & XE2MVY.
In the next hour NP4Z made it to the
log; not bad for A W6 QTH.

From the San Diego area working Europe (except maybe EA and CS3)

are all but impossible; working Africa is an unfulfilled dream.  For me, the BiG disappointment was that no VK/ZL activity made it up the hill to NX6T's Fallbrook location.

N6KI & WM6Y finally gave it up at 07:00z.  At 09:00z (1am) I rolled out of bed, made an enormous
pot of coffee and was in the K3/0 OP-chair by 09:30z.  More JA stations immediately made it to the log.  Because the evening shift mopped up most of the domestic QSOs, I looked for e-coast stations just waking up who decided last-minute to work the 160 contest.

A total of 53 QSOs made it to the log before the band abruptly faded @13:00z.  Technically, there were 2 hours left in the contest.  They were for South Pacific stations to wrap things up.  While 689 QSOs is not a lot, it is a rather incredible accomplishment for only 3-OPs and a double-bazooka inverted Vee.  Granted, the 1350 watt amplifier made a big difference.

As you can see, the Space-WX was technically not our friend (A-Index=12, K-Index=3).  Surprisingly (at least during my OP shifts) noise was not much of a problem.  Even MORE surprising was the K3's NB-Dsp ability to knock out most of the noise that was there.  While I am BUMMED by the rather lengthy sunspot cycle low, I am concerned that as the SFI finally moves out of the "cellar" we will loose what 160 activity we have.  Will that happen?  Check back with me in 5 years.

Did YOU work the ARRL 160 meter contest?

Is NX6T in YOUR Log?


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