Business commitments kept me in Alameda over the weekend, giving me an opportunity to join
up with NX6T from our Anza Super Station, while in between getting to put WQ6X on the air remotely
from Nashville; all controlled by the recently debugged Elecraft K3/0 Mini radio (plus the RRC-1258 interface box). I opened the DX contest from Anza, eventually moving on to remoting into Nashville
in between Anza OP shifts.
Unlike remotely-run RTTY GiGs, the weekend being a simple CW contest allowed me to run the Elecraft audio out through the Stereo-CW system setup at the Alameda location; a near-exact recreation of the basic Stereo-CW setup in use at W7AYT's QTH in Concord. One difference
added to the Alameda operation is the idea of using an old MFJ-751 Signal Enhancer in-between
the Left/Right Autek QF-1A units; in effect, a crude recreation of the "Center-channel" concept
known to stereo audio buffs. Tuning the FREQUENCY control on the 751-unit in effect shifts
the balance between left/right, further pronouncing the stereo effect.
from WA6TQT's QTH). Throughout the weekend, Dennis (N6KI) elmer'ed me on the fine art of working the hidden camera system in Fallbrook, all so I can see the colored louvers disappear, indicating the A/C has been successfully turned on in the amplifier den of the wiring morass in Fallbrook. As weird as it looks, we win contests with it.
Thanks to ROTTEN QRN (Low-SFI, High K-Index) I had to dance around the noise. The secret to making it all work on the high bands was to point the 3-el Stepp-IR to SA, open it up BI-directionally to include Asia and then just Call CQ. Occasionally KH6 or VK/ZL would creep in adding to the fun.
Sunday morning, noticing that all 3 Russian Beacons were alive on ~7.039,
pointing the antenna towards Asia, I put out a CQ on 7018.18, keeping things
alive for the next 2.5 hours. As it turns
out, this time period produced the highest run-rate EVER for WQ6X in the ARRL DX Cw contest.
Knowing that 40 was wide-open to Asia, when I took over the 09:00z shift at NX6T, after S&P'ing
on 80 & 160, I settled in on 7017.17 and more-or-less repeated the exercise from the Anza station, with even more/bigger signals. When N6CY relieved me at 13:00z, he kept the pile-up going for nearly another hour.
For me, the amazing surprise was the Northern Europeans
and Ukraine who managed to creep thru from time to time, even tho the
40-m antenna stack was pointed directly at Asia. I want to thank the
pileups for standing by and letting their S-3 signals flutter across the
into the Fallbrook location; quite south, when you think about it.
While I love the simplicity of the ARRL exchanges, I get frustrated by the clueless stations who BARREL
THRU with their callsign. I send a proper exchange and he sends his callsign
then, Nothing! HuH? It took 3 exchanges to make ONE 3-point QSO. This happened repeatedly. Remember: if you don't know the rules - READ 'EM. If you DO know the rules then: PAY ATTENTION!
Because we encountered horrible Space-WX during the contest, I was continuously AMAZED by
the number 0f 5-Watt Asian stations who made it into the WQ6X & NX6T logs; not just on 20 & 15, but on 40 & 80 as well. On the low bands, many times the QRP stations were as loud (or louder) than the KW stations; you can be sure they were NoT running wimpy-dipoles only 5mh.
When it was all over, there were a BUNCH of STATs to sort out.
The continental breakdown for NX6T was NoT surprising. It may well be
that antennas had something to do with it. Available at our disposal included:
- a 160-Meter TRI-Square
- an 80-Meter FOUR-Square
- a 40-Meter Stacked Array
- 20/15/10 Stacked arrays and Stepp-IR's
Running as WQ6X from the Fallbrook location I had available to me:
- a pair of Coaxial Inverted VEE's for 80/160 - 13 mh
- a 2-el Shorty-40 for 40 Meters - 13 mh.
- a 3-el Stepp-IR for the high-bands - 13mh.
The difference in receiving antennas on 40-meters between NX6T and WQ6X was noticeably different. While a DOZEN 5-watt JA's stations made it into NX6T's 40-meter log, only FOUR QRP-stations were heard in Fallbrook (2-elements in Fallbrook versus a 40-meter STACK in Anza)..
While our scores were WILDLY divergent, I had a LoT of fun putting the Elecraft K3/0-Mini thru
all of it's paces into Anza and Fallbrook. Altho there was an occasional 1.5-minute internet outage
(in Fallbrook) and the pulsing internet-breakups were frequent, overall it was a successful operation from Alameda. The K3/0-Mini FINALLY redeemed itself.
DiD YOU participate in the ARRL DX Cw contest?
Is WQ6X or NX6T in YOUR LoG?