Tuesday, January 29, 2019

WQ6X joins NX6T for CQ-160 with a few Surprises

The final contest weekend in January every year is the CQ-160 Cw contest.  In recent years (2018, 2016 & 2014), joining up with NX6T resulted in 1st place finishes (for W6).  Recently, NX6T turned
in  1st-place scores for the ARRL-160 and Stu Perry Top band challenge (TBC), leaving us with this weekend's Cw event.

This year was my 1st time joining NX6T's CQ-160 contest operation with an Elecraft K3/0 instead
of the usual RCForb remote access software.  My personal operating goals including perfecting the
K3/0 remote operation from Alameda.  Additionally, I wanted to give a classic ICOM IC-R71A receiver a thorough workout, using nothing more than a minimal S/W antenna (more-or-less 5.5 feet of vertical wire).

While the R-71a is a 35+ yr old receiver, it is incredibly sensitive; yet throughout the evening the
R-71 served "merely" as an over-the-air sidetone (instead of using the K3's built-in Cw monitor)
when running a frequency.  It was also interesting listening to 160 from the SF bay area as well
as from the San Diego area.  Some signals were even loud enough to be heard in BOTH locations.  As a receiving antenna, the 5' of wire actually acted as a low-noise vertical (beverage-style) antenna.

N 6 K I  +  W M 6 Y
The pictures for this BLOG entry were made possible by NeuroLogiK Solution's SNAP-Shot software, designed by none other than, myself.  SNAP-Shot enables screen captures under all versions of Microsoft Windoze.  The webcam shots were easily captured by SNAP-Shot; as easy as capturing screens under windows.

W Q 6 X  R u n n i n g  R e m o t e l y
The onsite operators were N6KI (Dennis) & WM6Y (Phil).  N6NC and WQ6X remoted in to keep things going during the dinner hours and after 09:00z until sun up (local time) both mornings.  Unlike multi-band contests, for single-band GiGs like this one we are at the mercy of evening band condx.

Luckily, there were no major solar storms for this contest weekend.

Altho the SFI was up 5 points, it was
still low enough to make 160 quite
viable throughout the contest.

While signal levels were often weak,
we can't blame that on poor solar condx. necessarily; sometimes weak signals are just that - weak.

Because NX6T ran 1350+ watts, we were often heard by stations who we could not hear; it was not until later that we found
out they could hear us.

When running a frequency, some operators like Paul WN6K like to read novels in between CQ calls.

Because the K3/0 setup does not technically support dual receive (like my
FT-1000mp) I found time for doing a WN6K by enjoying a comedy spoof
on American history.

Country-wise, we managed to work 20 countries.  Included in the list was: C6, CM6, FM, KL, HI, KP2, KP4, V31, XE2, OA4, P40, PJ2, PJ4, HK2, EA8, CN2, CT3, D4, JA & UA9; not bad considering the antenna was nothing more than an inverted vee.

When it was all over, we managed to submit a 115k point log.
While our score was hardly a winner overall, it DOES seem that we took 1st place for W6 and Zone-3.

Did YOU work the CQ-160 contest?
Is NX6T in YOUR LoG?

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