Friday, January 11, 2019

WQ6X RAC's one up for Canada and the Stew Perry 160 Contest

K 3 / 0  R e m o t e  O p e r a t I o n
The last weekend of every year brings up the Canadian RAC Winter contest alongside the Stu Perry 160 GiG starting at 00:00z (Fri. afternoon PST) the RAC is essentially over (23:59z on Saturday) just in time for 160 meter signals to waft in from the east into Southern California.

Multiple commitments kept me busy on Friday evening, altho by 07:00z the K3/0 remote connection to NX6T in Fallbrook was up and functional.  Instead of running mixed-mode, WQ6X took the easy route by running Cw only.

The recently acquired wireless headphones brought un-cabled freedom by way of an Autek QF-1A filter to process the audio.  External audio filters provide signal boosting capabilities beyond most APF filters built-in to older HF transceivers.  While the K3/0 DSP is useful, it lacks APF capabilities only an IC-based audio filter can provide.

N 6 K I   O p e n s   S P - 1 6 0   G I G
Having only 3 operators - N6CY & WQ6X (both remote) and N6KI (onsite) - I used the weekend
as an opportunity to test run the Elecraft K3/0 with the MikroBit controller into a higher-speed internet connection.

For WQ6X, the RAC contest did not begin until just before midnight (08:00z).  At such a late hour 80 & 40 meters are wide open to Canada.  While we can work anybody in the RAC GiG, VE/VA/VO/VY stations are worth more points.  Canadian stations with an "RAC" suffix are worth 20 points making RAC stations worth "hunting for".  Because this operation was an assisted CW-only affair the Cw skimmers made it easier to find extra-point stations.  By 11:30z (3:30 AM) there were no new Canadian stations, giving me an excuse to get some sleep.

Restarting @ 17:00z found 20-meters alive with RAC contest participants.  Unfortunately, 10 & 15 meters never materialized for this contest; even 20-meters ran down by 22:00z.  Luckily, (due to the low sunspot cycle) 40 meters was found to be wide open, providing the final 65 QSOs before the contest ended @ 00:00z.

I wrapped things up, by snapshotting the pictures for this BLOG entry and producing a Cabrillo file just in time for 160 meters to open up in time for the Stew Perry Top Band Challenge.  Somewhat unique for 160 contests is the use of our GRID SQUARE as the important part of the exchange.

160 meters was slow to open @ NX6T, however when signals made their way to STN #2 (around 01:00z),  N6KI was in the chair putting QSOs into the log.  WQ6X ran the usual 8:00 - 10:30 "dinner shift" running several frequencies.  By 06:30z, N6KI was back in action until shortly after midnight, giving me a few hours sleep.

Unfortunately, an internet failure kept me off the air until around 11:00z.  Surprisingly, we had experienced an opening to JA; considering previous JA contest turnout, this was something I
was hardly expecting.  I found it useful to keep the Grid square map centered around Japan
and Southeast Asia.  Rick (N6CY) took over remotely at 13:00z allowing me to go back to bed. 
By 15:00z the band faded and the contest was over.

Did YOU work the 160 GiG or the RAC Winter contests?

Is WQ6X or NX6T in YOUR Log?

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