Monday, November 18, 2013

WQ6X & N6GEO achieve another Clean Sweep for 2013 Sweepstakes Phone

2013 Sweepstakes phone for W6K is literally one for the log. 
Teaming up again with N6GEO from his home QTH we made Sweepstakes phone an SDR (Software Defined Radio) affair.  We originally setup a FLEX-1500 on a Vista laptop and a more robust station using a FLEX-1000 on a super desktop running Windoze XP. 

The FLEX-1500 was capable of multi-channel voice keying by way of N1MM. 
We couldn't make the audio link between N1MM and the FLEX-1000 work.  The only voice keying came from the one recording available from the SDR software.  We ran both radios thru a bevy of amplifiers to run as close to 150-w as possible.
For Sunday operations we used the FLEX-1000 exclusively.

Antenna-wise we ran the TH3-jr again with a new Yaesu G-400 rotor, which rotates jr yagis rather quickly.  The 80-meter whip on the 6-BTV vertical was upgraded with another 80-meter whip that also sported a 160-meter "inverted-L" wire to give us 160-meter access.  The vertical worked fine for 40 & 80 but failed after an operating attempt on 160; evidently the 80-whip pressed into service failed, even though the SWR on 160 was a mere 1.2:1.  We lost 3 - 4 hours of QSO opportunities from that problem.   From the reports I've read, many California stations experienced a deficiency in 40-meter contacts Saturday evening.

Propagation wise, along with a solar flux of 175 we moved into Sweepstakes weekend with a declining K-Index (from K-4 down to K-1).  10 meters was wide open on Saturday afternoon, giving us our highest band QSO total.  Unfortunately on Sunday 10-meters became solar-noised out by 22:00z.  15 and 20 meters then became the focus.  By 4:30 pm on Sunday (00:30z) we took refuge on 40-meters and finally 75, to make up for the lost local QSOs on Saturday. 
I like to end November Sweepstakes on 75-meters in the last hour to snag any leftover Calif./W-7 "local" stations.  I was disappointed that only a few stations thought to do the same thing.

While not an easy task, we managed a clean sweep in the last 4 hours of the Sweepstakes thanks to W6TK (SB section), VO1KTV (NL section) and AF7Z (UT section) to claim all 83 ARRL sections.  TheVO1 station was the only NL section entry, meaning that there will be less than 600 clean sweep log submissions.

We welcomed over a dozen new stations to the Sweepstakes.  As a "run" station while it is nice to work stations at a rapid clip, when "newbies" stumble onto our contest we are duty-bound to slow down and explain to them how to make a Sweepstakes exchange.  Who knows, next year they may turnout to be full-fledged operators in this wonderful contest.

Did you play in this year's November Sweepstakes phone?
If so, how did it turn out?  Did you manage a Sweep?

1 comment:

  1. To be fair in my reporting of events, while we thought we received a sweep for this event, evidently the Log Checking Robot (LCR) dinged down one or more QSOs that gave us a new section, costing us the sweep (but not the 1st place for East Bay).