Mark just received his new call – KW1X – on Friday.
Bands opened to Europe within minutes of sunrise on both mornings. Things got slow in the afternoons when it was all South America and stations in Colorado and Texas. Weird that the opening to the Pacific Northwest never seemed to get very good.
We did well on chasing multipliers. Best QSO of the weekend was having JE1CKA call in on Sunday evening after dark. Another thrill was getting a very weak VY1JA through a huge pileup. With the 6-el, I really have to move it to work JA, KL7, and VY1.
Nice to see the sunspots bringing higher MUFs.
No big monster rates. Just a continuous stream of callers or S&P QSOs.
We used N1MM+ for the weekend at Mark’s request. First real contest I have used it. Definitely some challenges due to keystrokes and software behavior not being like my usual software, but we lived through it.
Very happy with how the 10m array was working all weekend.
6-el @100′ 4-el @63′ 4-el @32′
Spent most of the time running Europe on the lower two antennas.
10M CW 10M PHO Total %
NA 629 606 1235 61.7
OC 11 12 23 1.1
EU 473 165 638 31.9
AF 5 5 10 0.5
AS 4 1 5 0.2
SA 30 60 90 4.5
The contest began a week before on Saturday with a 3am departure from home to make a 5:45 am flight out of Boston. Met up with N2NT in Miami and on to St Kitts. We got right to work and in 3.5 days had fixed some antennas and added new ones. It was warm and humid. We then spent another day getting the shack arranged with new antenna switching automation from Green Heron Engineering. I dropped Andy off at the airport on Thursday at noon so he could fly home and then join the K3LR team for the contest.
I spent the rest of the day fighting software conflicts and peculiarities. Things that seemed simple at home are not the same once you have taken them apart and tried to reassemble them in a new environment. One discovery was that the Green Heron server needed to be started before the Microham router.
I had to use DXLog because it worked with the Green Heron switching. I took a crash course in learning the software the week before I left home. It worked flawlessly. The main issue was the op not being able to type fast enough or falling asleep between QSOs.
I got good sleep during the week but was feeling the effects of the station-building efforts as the contest approached. Decided to power through the first night and then make the decision if I would sleep the second night. In retrospect, I could have skipped two slow hours for a 90-minute nap and made up for it during the high rates on Sat morning. I started to get loopy on Sat evening around 0100z. I kept zoning out in the middle of a QSO. Even so, it looks like I worked more than a hundred QSOs that I don’t really remember.
Bands were slow to open on Sat so got to spend an hour or so on 20, then 15, and then finally to 10m. Kept working between 10 and 15, but probably should have committed to the endless stream of stations on 10m. Sunday was better with 10m open just 30 mins after sunrise.
Rates were incredible. QRM was the biggest limiting factor. Had a great frequency on 10m Sunday morning until TM0DX decided to land about 5 Khz away with his 10 Khz of splatter.
Some line noise had appeared as we were setting up on Wed afternoon. The power company came out Thu (amazingly!) and was able to cut the lines until they found the source. It was down the road, but the noise was radiating the most from the dead-end pole closest to the station. The noise was annoying on all bands except for a period on Sunday morning, but I could usually find an antenna that could hear. This did make me a bit of an alligator on 20m.
Always amazing how many YB stations call in. It seems that path is open across all bands at any time. Even worked one on 75m.
Even though I had two radios, DXLog reported only 120 S&P QSOs. I was almost entirely in run mode and used the second radio to scope out frequencies for band changes.
On Sunday morning I was starting to feel pain in my throat from all the talking. Tried to use the voice keyer more, but still had to say all the callsigns.
Where were the Africans? Mostly worked EA8 stations + CN3A and a 5R. That was it!
One of the new antennas we put up was a Double L for 160m. We had hoped to hang it from an 80′ tower but discovered the top of the tower was too rusted to safely climb. Decided on hanging from 60′. The SWR curve was perfect. We did work two Europeans on Wednesday evening. But, conditions on 160 during the contest were terrible. I worked all multipliers that I heard but did not feel loud. Need another contest to determine if this antenna is a keeper or not.
Hard to complain or make excuses about a contest where you make 9500 QSOs! Even so, sure would like to have made it to 10k. A bit less line noise and it may have been possible. High level contesting is all about hearing the weak guys and it was tough at times.
Thanks to Andy N2NT for allowing me to use the station. He has done an incredible amount of work to build and maintain the place. It is a dream radio location on a 1200′ hill just a mile or so from the ocean with a horizon view from North to East.
The station is very isolated. After the contest, I packed everything up and was ready to come down to town, but the jeep would not start. V44KAI saved the day by driving up and cleaning the corrosion off the battery cables. Whew. Would have been a tough place to get AAA…
Looking forward to seeing other single-op scores from the region to see what I may have missed. Doing 45 hours of running, you get a very small view of the full contest activity and propagation. I had a blast doing the contest and will be very happy with any result. Thanks to everyone that called in.
The full contest was recorded and is available at the link below. You can enjoy my struggles with the QRM and line noise while hearing how your station sounded on my end.
I was looking forward to this contest. Conditions are improving as the sunspot numbers rise. And it was a good chance to evaluate the results of 6 months of antenna work (new 2/2 stack on 40m). Very happy with the results – the antenna seems to work better than my old 2-el.
The contest started well. After a nap in the wee hours, woke up to bands that seemed broken. 15m was really a struggle to work anything. Almost quit, but took a break and decided to get back in the game.
Conditions improved dramatically through Sat afternoon. Sunday was very good with even a 30-minute opening on 10m to southern Europe. Nice to work so many loud JA on 20 and 15m.
Spent (wasted) a lot of time calling HS5NMF on 20. Couldn’t get through the European pileup.
I had intended to sleep from 02-04z on Sunday, but when the alarm went off, I decided sleep was more fun than grinding QSOs. I woke up late, worked an hour, then went back to bed. So I felt great on Sunday but gave up some low band points and mults.
Enjoyed watching the scoreboard race between AA3B and K1LZ. I could keep up with them for QSOs, but they just kept getting farther and farther ahead for multipliers. Shows the value of having access to spots.
I was CQing as much as possible. Often on 2 bands when there were two open. That really helped the rate although I never had any giant hours. It is kind of like playing a video game with the occasional mangled callsign to figure out.
My biggest surprise was working a KL7 on 80m. Followed by having VJ5W call in.
The only state that I missed was MT. Never heard one. Thanks to K1AR for moving to 10m to give me NH on that band. Missed CT on 10 and 15.
I continue to be impressed by how RTTY operating is becoming more and more efficient. Except for those loud guys that insist on sending their call 6 times (all of them printing perfectly…).
A very entertaining contest. Summer conditions always offer a few surprises and this contest had lots of them.
My summer project was to replace one of my towers (see https://k5zd.com/tower-replacement-project/). Things are not completely rebuilt, but I had antennas for all 6 bands. This contest was to be a test of the new 40 and 10m beams. Happy to report they appear to be worth the effort.
The contest started well with 10 and 15m open. It got slow in the mid-day and then just kept getting better as Europe turned its attention to the West.
Our town had its 4th of July fireworks show Saturday evening. I took a break to walk the 1.8 miles to the show and back. Was a perfect evening outside and the walk cleared out the contest fatigue. Lost just over 2 hours of prime low band mult hunting.
15m produced some deep Asians late in the evening and 20m was great all night.
Then 15m really opened the last 2 hours of the contest with the band open deep into UA/UA9!
This was intended to be a casual fun effort. I started the contest calling JAs on 15m rather than running on 40. Once I did get to the low bands and started running, I was blown away by the rates.
Got to 160 at 0305z and called CQ. Could not believe how loud the Europeans were. It was a continuous run for the next 40 mins.
40 did its usual thing of staying open to Europe well past Eu sunrise. As a result, I stayed awake too long. So only got 90 minutes of sleep before I was up again. A quick sweep of the low bands and then arrived at a wide-open 20m at 1109z. Three straight hours over 200!
I was watching the scoreboard and keeping tabs on AA1K and K1ZZ along with AA3B. I seemed to be keeping up with them so that doubled my motivation. I had intended to stop around 1700z but had such a pileup on 20 that I couldn’t leave. Then was going to stop at 2000 QSOs, but still, guys were calling. Finally, took a break at 1849z with over 2300 QSOs. I guess you could call contesting an addiction for me…
Cooked dinner and had intended to go for a walk, but a snow squall came through. Looked nasty outside so got back on the radio. (Of course!) CQing on 20 with a steady rate and finally some time to use the second radio to tune for mults.
It is frustrating to tune around because no one seems to send their call anymore. It is just a steady stream of stations sending “TU”. Not a problem when operating with the cluster/RBN, but definitely a challenge without. I would work stations and try to get them to send their call. Sometimes I would have to wait several minutes to figure out who I had worked. Argh. (I have to confess that there were times when I had big pileups that I just sent TU at the end. It is a time-saver, but once rates slow down there really is no advantage.)
I was looking forward to getting going on 40, but another snow squall was generating so much static that I couldn’t hear anything. Spent 20 minutes watching the Olympics while waiting for it to end.
Was feeling pretty tired since I had not really planned my life around a full-out effort. Took a 3-hour break at 0200z. Came back on at 0500z to find 160 again in very good shape. Gave me another good run of stations including a lot of 100W guys and even a few QRP. 80 was good late with some Eu stations calling in almost an hour after their sunrise. 40m seemed a bit muffled, but still had stations to work until I finally stopped at 0830z.
Another short sleep and back on at 1030z. Worked two JA on 80 straight away. That woke me up! Got to 20m at 1043z and it was already packed with signals. By this point, I was looking competitive on the scoreboard so I focused on running as much as possible. 20m was open deep into Asia. Made the jump to 15m at 1224z and it was off to the races again.
10m had been open on Saturday morning. Mostly for calling the few south Europeans that showed up. Sunday seemed a little better. EF7N was loud and calling lots of unanswered CQs. I tried CQing with the second radio but not much luck. Did have HB0A call in so that was a good one. Since it didn’t seem like it was going to produce any rate, I turned my focus to running on 15 and 20.
Took a break at 1815z to make lunch and go for a walk. Nothing clears the cobwebs like 4 miles in 30-degree weather! Back on at 1955z to chase mults and eek out a slow run on 20m. One last break at 2130z and then it was a push to the end.
40m started out well, but then I just ran out of stations to work. Many unanswered CQs. Not much going on 80 either. Discovered the JAs were loud on 15m so used the second radio to chase them.
What had started out as a part-time effort with a goal of maybe 3000 QSOs ended up a pretty intense effort with over 4200! Much of it is thanks to the incredible activity from Europe. Especially the high number of QRP (5W) callers. And the ability to track the competition on https://contestonlinescore.com/
Bud AA3B has proven he can whip me in any RTTY contest so I was looking to try something different this year. With the improving solar cycle, I was hoping the high bands would be good enough to support some fun operating as low power. Unfortunately, they weren’t that good.
Started 30 minutes late. The contest was a grind from the beginning. Very few sustained runs all weekend. Spent a lot of time calling people. Lots of guys CQed in my face. Meant to stop before the end to watch the Super Bowl pre-game, but did that while operating. Some good mults called in during the last hour on 40m.
It felt like activity was down, but you wouldn’t know it from the QRM on 20m. I know my station is very loud on 20m. I couldn’t make a dent. Band was loaded from 14078 to 14150. Skip was short so the Europeans were having their own contest. I tried CQing high and low with no real success. Ended up calling a lot of guys.
Best part of the weekend was the openings to Japan. 15 meters was great both Sat and Sun evening. Even better on 15 than on 20.
As always, it was fun and motivating to watch the online scoreboard. The scores in WPX go up exponentially so when you get behind, it is hard to catch up!
Kudos and respect to all you guys that do RTTY contesting with 100 watts. I don’t think I have the patience for it. 🙂
CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW - 2021
Class: SO(A)AB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 41.8
Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 124 16 58
80: 564 25 87
40: 1323 32 112
20: 1426 32 113
15: 1115 29 115
10: 77 19 38
Total: 4629 153 523 Total Score = 9,082,736
Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club
Another amazing CQ WW CW! So much activity from so many interesting places.
In the days leading up to the contest, I was not sure which category I wanted to enter. I considered SO, and SOA, even QRP. In the end, I decided that having fun was the most important so Single Op All Band Assisted was the way to go.
The bands did not sound good at the start. I actually began the contest doing S&P on 80m, then on 40m. I finally landed on 3535 as a run frequency while making second radio QSOs on 40.
I got to 160 at the end of the second hour and found plenty of European signals. As usual, they were mostly working each other, but I got lucky with a few. At 0230 I finally made my first QSOs on 20 – with South Americans – before returning to 80m.
I just kept cycling through the bands. Trying to call CQ as much as possible while also chasing multipliers that were spotted. 160 continued to provide QSOs. I heard the other single ops CQing on 80 and figured I was probably losing out, but just didn’t seem to be able to get much going there. Besides, the goal was to have fun and working mults was fun!
The 05z hour was great on 40m working Europeans. This continued until about 0630z when the rate really slowed down. I managed to stay in the chair until 0840z when I decided it was now or never for grabbing some sleep. I have learned that taking a 90-minute nap during these slow pre-sunrise hours pays off during the high rate times as the high bands are opening.
I came back on a little earlier than I had intended at 1035z. 40m was still open to northern Europe! Worked two JAs on 80 ( a rare treat)! Got to 20m around 1100z and it was open, but not great. Tuned up the band calling stations for 20 minutes until I found a hole at 14037. Then it was off to the races! The pileup was incredible. I barely had time to chase a few multiplier spots on the second radio.
20 just kept going deeper and deeper with European and Asiatic Russians calling in. It really helps the scores when we get access to all the Russian activity.
I was able to squeeze in some second radio QSOs and mults on 15 meters during the 12 and 13 Zulu hours. This is where the second radio really pays off because I could know the band was open, but not quite enough to abandon 20. I finally made the jump at 1334z and enjoyed another great pileup. I tried a few minutes of CQing on both 20 and 15, but the pileups were too much (and my skills too limited) to pull it off.
The rate was so good, and there were so many mults on 20, that I didn’t even think of listening to 10m until 1449z where I heard CR6K and some other southern Europeans. It wasn’t great, but spent some time with the second radio since I wasn’t sure 10 would open again on Sunday. In the meantime, 15m just kept producing QSOs.
I finally got back to running on 20m around 1719z. Lots of Europeans went in the log while I also chased cluster spots on 15m.
By 19z I was worn out and hungry. Took a break to grab some food and stretch my legs. On returning, I tried a few CQs on 40 meters and was rewarded with a nice run of Europeans. This is a great time to be a W1 as we seem to have the band to ourselves while the rest of the USA is still on the higher bands.
By 2120z I hit my usual dilemma of having 20 and 40 on the same mast and rotator. Do I stay with 40m to Europe, or turn the beam toward Japan and go to 20. Again, with fun in mind, I took the choice to go to 20 and see what kind of Asian QSOs I could find. With the low beam to Europe and the top antenna to Japan, it resulted in a nice mix of QSOs. Plus the odd VK/ZL on LP calling in.
By 2300z things had slowed down and I was back to 40m. That didn’t produce so was forced down to 80. The contest halfway mark is always a low point. The rate slows down, you are tired, and you face the realization that there are still 24 more hours to go! Ugh. Time for some dinner.
The rates are slow and packet spots are starting to get a bit unruly. I decided some sleep would be good so took a nap during the 03z hour. It costs a few QSOs, but is well worth it in the mental health department. I came back on at 0400z and chased what I could find on the low bands.
I like to watch the contestonlinescores.com scoreboard during the contest. It has a mode where you can mix the SO and SOA scores together. Gives me more people to chase. I selected K1ZZ as the guy I wanted to use as my standard. I could see I was doing well, but not sure it was enough to win. Back to focusing on fun! Luckily, 80 and 40m kept producing some rate. 40m was amazingly good with Russians calling in well after their sunrise (sometimes 2.5-3 hours after). After a long run on 7022, I finally called it quits at 0745z to get some sleep.
Back on at 1105z my first contact was LA1MFA on 80m. Whoa. That was followed by VR2KW on 40m long path. He seemed to be the only one that could hear me in that direction. Then found ZM4T on 160. Great ears on his end. Those 3 QSOs are the way to wake up and get back in the game!
20m seemed a bit slower to open than it had on Saturday. Got a good run going around 1130z. Lots of Russians again. Second radio mult chasing on 15m during the 12z hour. I often like to stay on 20 a bit longer Sunday morning. Gives a chance to work more deep Russians while the QRM is down with most of Western Eu headed to 15m. I made the jump to run on 15m at 1303z. Big pileup!
10 meters opened earlier and better on Sunday morning. No rate, but different big guns from each country would show up and go in the log. All while still running on 15m. This continued until 1550z when I made the jump back down to 20m. The rate was excellent and gave me some time to “relax” a bit. <F1>, type call, <insert>, <+>. Repeat.
Around 1800z 20m started to lose its mojo. Band was open, but you run out of people to work. This provided lots of time to engage in some hard-core cluster pileups on Africans, South Americans, and the Caribbean. It’s like being locked in a cage match with the same dozen hyper-aggressive guys pileup after pileup.
After grinding it out for a few hours, it was time for one last push on 40m. The band produced more QSOs than expected and I was able to run almost to the end of the contest. One of the things I like about using the cluster is seeing JW7QIA spotted on 160m at 2300z and being able to work him! Then a few minutes later GM3POI for another 160 mult.
It is always fun to race to the end of the contest and see what the final score will be. My goal in the morning had been to get to 8 million. I then raised that to 8.5, By the end, I was pushing to see if I could clear the 9 million mark. And I did it! Amazing how quickly you forget all the pain and suffering of the early morning hours when you reach the end of the contest.
The CQWW is always an amazing experience. The activity levels and variety of DX are unmatched. Thanks to all that traveled to activate countries and improve all of our scores.
Class: Single Op HP
Operating Time (hrs): 23.2
Total: 1236 Sections = 84 Total Score = 207,648
Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club
Exceeded my goal of 1000 QSOs. 45th consecutive year of doing so…
First 8 hours was truly fun. The last 8 hours was not fun at all.
Lost my motivation on Sunday morning when it was so slow. No matter what I tried, N2NT and AA3B kept getting 1-3 more QSOs per hour. There was no off-time strategy. Took breaks when I couldn’t take it anymore.
Felt like I had more dupes than usual. Lots of guys must have busted my call the first or second time. I worked all who called.
This contest puts a premium on good copy. Almost hated to work some guys when they were weak knowing they would be loud on another band later. I was looking for KL7SB on 40 when he called me on 80. That is not a band where you want to try to copy the exchange of a new/rate multiplier. I called him later on 15m for insurance and he said worked before. The same thing happened with VY1AAA.
First QSO was very marginal. Second time I could hear him much better and he would not work me again. Would hurt to “work” a guy twice and lose the mult if I missed the number. Such is the game.
Great contest. Nothing needs fixing except the activity level. We just aren’t making CW traffic handlers like we used to.