CQWW WPX Contest, SSB - 2019
Class: SOAB LP
Operating Time (hrs): 36
Total: 1641 Prefixes = 732 Total Score = 2,686,440
Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club
I was really looking forward to this outing, as I had gained some good phone
knowledge in the ARRL SSB contest a couple of weeks ago, and had come up to the
mountain house a week earlier to repair the SAL-30 (it was a bad, hurried splice
that failed from a couple of months ago), and to adjust the 80/160 verticals for
the phone bands - that was a piece of cake, just had to uncoil some wire at the
base and tie the 80 m vertical wire closer to the tower to move the resonance
point - I will show how this is done at the Dayton antenna forum talk this year,
the resonance was moved easily from 3525 up to 3725 khz, and will easily be put
back for CW in minutes.
I had ordered FTDX5K mic connectors on ebay for the Mk2R so2r box (which
originally had the K3 DB37 cables), and planned to change out the K3 mic wiring
to have it work for the FTDX5K. My Work week was intense, and I arrived at the
ham station exhausted late on Thursday. I took the mic connectors out of the
pouch from EBAY on Friday morning, and UGH...they were not the proper 8 pin mic
plugs! This was not the stress I wanted before a contest! I scrambled and
thankfully a couple of local hams had the 8 pin connectors. I got the
connectors, did the surgery on the mic connectors, and with an hour to go in the
contest, there was NO JOY- the So2r microphone capability with the headset mic
was not working.
UH OH, with less than an hour to go, I had to rig up a Jed Clampett Beverly
Hillbillies contraption, using a hand mic for the left radio and the boom mike
with a foot switch on the right radio. And I used the FTDX5K inboard voice
memories, and just before the contest, realized that N1MM macros require
different Function keys for each of the 2 radios (or do I have that wrong - hope
someone will help me out).... so this was very sub optimal and stressful! And I
still had problems with spots in the N1MM window, but found the solution in the
middle of the contest (I needed to check the "show unworkable spots) box in
the telnet FILTER window). Yet, its amazing how we adapt to
conditions......after a few hours I got somewhat used to the awkward situation.
I felt very uncomfortable during the first many hours (and my left arm is still
a bit numb from dealing with the hand mic on the left rig for 2 days), and I was
initially very frustrated that I didn't have the SO2R mic working properly. I
was missing the comfort of NR4M's SO2R setup with a simple headset mic and a
single set of Function keys in N1MM for both radios, but my angst were quickly
calmed at the start of the contest when the first QSO t, on 40 m, was with 4L0A
- a rare DX! A good omen!
The SAL 30 worked well, allowing me to hear weak stations on the low bands, and
the 2 el phased array really performed very well in the phone portion of the
bands! I didn't feel as weak as in the Russian DX contest, even though my 100 W
output power was decreased alot on some antenna combinations in the phone bands.
Yet, even with the lower output power on phone, I still felt loud, probably
because WPX has so much to offer at every turn, and its fun catching
multipliers, even when they are in your home country.
One highlight for me in this contest was running at 14.152 on Sunday - the bands
were so quiet, and there was a a rare opening for me in that part of the band,
so I called CQ for about an hour at this sacred space usually reserved for the
Big Guns! I had SV and YM and YJ call me there !wow! Now I know what K3LR and
W3LPL must experience... but the most fun for me during this special time was
when a 2X3 called me, gave me SN 001, and said that he had just passed his Extra
Class exam that morning, and I was his first Extra Class SSB contact on 20!!
YES! That is awesome, and we chatted to congratulate him on this accomplishment.
It was great to see incentive licensing at work, and to share in the joy of the
young man's first QSO on 20m ssb in the "Big Gun" segment. He knew it
was treasured and had worked to upgrade to earn the privileges. Good on him!
Good for the future of ham radio!o
The contest went well, with the first day having much better conditions to EU on
20 and 40, and with 10 opening up for an hour on the 2nd day but with muted
conditions on 20. I hustled in this one, did the best I could despite the very
awkward set up with 2 microphones. Clock management is something I have become
better at with experience, and I used every minute without botching the breaks.
I like the 36 hour format as it gives us a chance to get some rest!
Thanks to CQ Magazine for organizing this wonderful contest, and to everyone for
the fun, and for all the Q's. Really has great participation from around the
Special thanks to Steve NR4M, trustee of the Rappahanock Contest club that holds
NR4AA, for allowing me to use their club call. I found that NR4AA was confusing
to many contesters, and I fear that many people will have mistaken my call as
NN4AA or NR4A (I took great pains to correct all people when they made this
initial error over the air). After this outing, NR4AA will hopefully be a
mainstay in the Super Check Partial files.
I look forward to hearing you in the next one!
73 ted n9nb
p.s. The 80/160m vertical antenna that I am using, and that I designed with
W5JAW, will appear in the May 2019 issue of QST . The article looks nice and
features a photo of the actual antenna as installed on my north tower! ARRL is
bringing some of the preprints of the article to the Dayton Antenna Forum, to
pass out to the crowd.
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