Tuesday, December 11, 2018

WQ6X Signs up for another SSB Sweepstakes

Last year, events out of my control pre-empted any possibility of participating in the Sweepstakes phone contest. Levi (KK6NON) ran a superb SO2-R operation onsite @ NX6T in Fallbrook.
In addition to listening to Levi run a "rampant frequency". I managed a couple of webcam
pictures of him captured by way of the custom-designed SNAP-Shot software.

This year, in recent weeks I have been making external device changes to the FT-1000mp
operation being maintained @W7AYT's QTH in Concord, Ca. The current complement of
external audio filters (a pair of Autek QF-1A's and a JPS NIR-12) have worked well for RTTY
and Cw operation.  The REAL test occurs during SSB contests where audio-splatter can
dampen AGC circuits and "tear up" the audio passband irrevocably.

While it is empirical fact that no two Sweepstakes contests are alike, there was something

about this year's SSB GiG that found me largely out of synch throughout the weekend. 
To assuage the "Pain" (or was it shock) of the horrible band condx. in my neck-of-the-East-bay section, I turned to my friend, a tall cold "Peanut Butter Stout".  Ironically, a station in Pleasant Hill (approx. 5 miles from me) said the conditions were "GREAT!" at his QTH.  Hmmmm sounds like
proof of my belief that a signal-vortex exists in the vicinity of W7AYT.

For the 2018 SSB Sweepstakes weekend I cannot blame my woahs on rotten Space-WX; the SFI was up (73) and the A/K indexes were all but non-existent.   Unfortunately, the space-wx data only gives us solar-induced data. 

The noise-levels in Concord were quite high; altho probably typical for this time of year, influenced by the dense particulate matter from the raging California fires,
North of the East Bay.
Frustrated with the performance of the "Lazy" 8JK Sloper during the SS Cw contest, I set out to devise the "ultimate" configuration for W7AYT's limited square of Concord Real Estate.  Evenings were spent devouring sections on wire array antennas in a classic (1968) ARRL handbook.

Because the 8JK was a considerably less-noisy antenna,
it was considered for a receiving antenna, transmitting on the CHA-250 vertical, giving a lower take-off angle.
On Sunday afternoon it all came together. Transposing
a diagram from the 68 antenna handbook I devised what
I will call the "WQ6X Cobra Broad-Fire Array".

Immediately the RF which had been floating around the installation CEASED. Lower-angle and lower-noise
are the features of this latest antenna configuration.

During my next trip to W7AYT I will bring a set of 6-watt termination resistors to replace the 1.5 watt resistor sets that [literally] EXPLODED during high SWR tests awhile back.

While WQ6X won't win any awards for the SSB Sweepstakes it was an interesting challenge that opens new opportunities for upcoming operations at W7AYT.

Did YOU work the November Sweepstakes Phone contest?

Is WQ6X in YOUR log?


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