CQWW WPX Contest, SSB
Class: SOSB10 HP
Operating Time (hrs): 31.2
Total: 2872 Prefixes = 1163 Total Score = 8,751,575
Club: Frankford Radio Club
Back in December after operating in the 10 meter contest, I was feeling stronger
and somewhat healthy again for the first time in three years. I was looking
forward to a possible competitive SOABHP operation in ARRLDX �" my first
since 2005. But with my underlying health issues being what they are, I was
not sure that the “good times” would last. Sure enough they didn’t. I
got three decent weeks and by New Year’s eve I was sick again. The multiple
systemic problems re-emerged and by early January I was literally starving
because I was not able to eat or digest even basic food. I fought hard for the
first month, but in mid-February, I became so depleted and debilitated that my
weight and body crashed. Between mid-January �" mid-March I lost 20 lbs
essentially through starvation and without being able to sleep much from the
pain and discomfort of many vicious health problems, I had no energy. I missed
both modes of ARRLDX and the fabulous conditions, which just added to my
frustration. Even if the wx had not been extremely cold and snowy this year
(with a record 9 !! ice-storms at my qth), I would not have had the strength
to battle in the woods to fix all the antennas torn to pieces by the Winter
In Mid-March, my health and my weight began to stabilize. I now weighed 12 lbs
less than when I got married 20 years before! (Think about how much you
weighed when you got married and what you weighed 20 years later �" and
you will realize how unusual that is.) My favorite contest, WPXSSB was coming
up but I had no idea whether or not I would be able to operate. An all-band
effort was out of the question because I had no ability to fix my antennas and
I had no stamina, and practically no voice. I considered a part-time 10
�" 20 meter effort just to play around, but realized that I could not
stay up late �" which would be necessary to take advantage of 20 meters.
I worked hard at my recovery for the next two weeks and two days before the
contest my voice and some energy started to come back. I knew that I could
operate now, just not enough to be competitive. With cndx on 10 being quite
good, I decided to do a SB 10 meter effort. Just to get on and have fun was my
On Thursday afternoon before the contest, I was amazed to hear DR1A S9+ on 10
meters at ~ 21z. There were top-of-the-cycle conditions! He later told me
that I was still S9+ at 2145z �" and I heard him and the JA’s at the
same time, which is exceptionally unusual for New England on 10 meters even at
the top-of-the-cycle! Now I was VERY excited about operating! On Friday
afternoon, I prepared all of my food/medicine so that I would have them ready
during the contest. No breaks when 10 meters is open! 10 was still open to
some DL/G/EA stations at 21z and at 2130z the JA’s came in.
LOUD JA’s!!! I had a pileup on JA’s on 10 meters! A rarity in New
England! Working 3 per minute, I knew that my time to work them was very
limited. Dave, KH2/N2NL called in at 0005 and HL3EHK at 0012z followed by
HL3AMO at 0017z and DU1KA at 0026z. The run briefly stopped as a W6 moved in
500hz away (REALLY! 500hz is enough separation on SSB?!!!). I qsy’ed and
the run picked up again with expansion from JA1/JA3 to JA2/JA4/JA0. RA0CGY
called in at 0050z and a brief VK “run” started at 0119z. The JA’s were
completely gone by 0150z. That’s all the JA’s you get during an EXCELLENT
10 Meter JA opening in New England. From that point on it was South America, a
few West Coast and a couple of ground wave W1 stations. Then I noticed that we
just had an M2 flare at 0127z, just 4 hours after an earlier M1 flare. DAMN!
10 meters came back and I began to hear really loud South American stations.
At 0230z, 10 meters got weird and I had to turn my beam SOUTH to work NH7A
(normally 300 degrees). In 40 years of contesting, I have NEVER worked a
Hawaiian station on 10 with the beam South. To the West he was inaudible!
Same with VK6WX who I worked at 0243z. S9+ with the beam South and inaudible
to the West or North. I was in S & P mode with occasional brief cq’s
until ~ 0315 when 10 meters finally faded. My first three hours were 134/78/54
q’s �" and I ended the evening with 280 q’s and 158 mults - better
than I had expected, but I knew that poor cndx were on the way.
Even when you do a single band operation, you don’t get a lot of sleep. I
got to bed ~ 12 AM (04Z) and was up at 5 AM. I made my food for the day and
got ready. 20 meters was screamingly loud to Europe and at 09:45Z, 15 was
opening to EU and UA9. By 1030z I began to hear some EU on 10; but like in the
10 meter contest, 10 would proceed to tease me for the next hour. Repeatedly
threatening to open and then close right back up, but I had to point my
antennas to 160 degrees to hear anything (EU normally 45 degrees). As time
passed, I worked an occasional South American, but even they were weak. I was
monitoring the NOAA Space Weather websites and I did NOT like what I was
seeing. Several EU stations were up to S7 but NO ONE heard me; they just
cq’ed I my face. Even the SA stations didn’t hear me. I began to go up
and down the band calling EU and SA stations �" every few minutes I would
get a brief “peak” and an EU station would hear me. Interestingly enough,
the Russian stations were the loudest of all, but I could not get one to come
back to me. By 1115z, I was having a little luck with S & P but could not
even work one per minute. The stations were still peaking ~ 135 degrees now
(as the opening progresses the direction that you point your antennas to work
them moves further North) and sounded like they were coming through a tube! At
1130z, someone “flipped the switch” and I had a two station run. Then more
teasing with an occasional caller like ZR9C at 1133z, ZS2NF at 1140 and CN2AA
at 1149z. Finally at 1156z, a run sort of started �" this was
predictable because now the stations were peaking at 75 degrees, not too far
from the normal 45 degree peak beam heading. At 1211z, the crawl moved to a
walk and then at 1222z the run finally began. It was already significantly
late for a band-opening to EU and that was a bad sign. I noticed that some EU
stations were just as loud at 165 deg as they were at 60 deg, a very odd
occurrence. With a K of 2 and A of 8, and a likely CME on the way, I was not
very sanguine about the rest of the weekend. The DL stations were louder on
the 5L at 37’ than any other antenna or combination of antennas �" and
this elevation angle change coincided with a rush of DL/F/G callers. The band
was FINALLY open! At 1246z, 4V1JR was the highlight of the 12z hour which
ended with 88 q’s. The rain and wind picked up outside, adding a constant
layer of qrn on top of the qrm.
For the next three hours it was a battle to dig out stations through the qrn,
qrm and a variety of truly bizarre noises that sounded like CB’ers,
Over-The-Horizon radar, RTTY signals and “ squiggles ”. There were also
some repetitive alternating tones and then a broadband hash several hundred kc
wide ( different from phase noise ) which left and came back repeatedly. I
have never heard so much audio garbage in my life! And THEN there were the
badly over-modulated EU signals with 5kc wide splatter plus the loud stations
that cq’ed first and listened later, if at all. It was a real fight to dig
out any signals from 12z �" 15z. And even when you said “ The G3
station only �" what is your call? “ the poor G3 would be buried under
an avalanche of IZ8, RX3, LZ1 and 2 or 3 other stations calling. WHAT A MESS!
The 13z hour rewarded my hard work with 185 q’s but almost no Northern Europe
or Russia �" a very bad sign. In fact, it wasn’t until ~1410z that 10
started to open further to the East when UA7GU called in followed by A65BD at
1412z, 4L6QC at 1413z and 4K6FO at 1435z. Only about 15 - 20 Russians called
in from ~ 1415z -1600z instead of the usual 100+, and there NO Asiatic Russian
stations. 4L8A was worked at 1606z and by 1620z Russia and Northern EU was
gone. Although the last 10 minute rates peaked in 330 range, the last 100 rate
never got past 211. Between all the qrm/qrn qsb and assortment of bizarre
noises together with the rain/wind hash, the best that I could do was
185/198/180 q’s for the 13/14/15z hours. Normally the rates in WPXSSB are
reduced because you have to get the serial numbers correct �" and asking
for fills slows you down as compared CQWW, and with all the unusual accents it
is sometimes very tough to understand what even a loud station is saying.
While I was pleased with the fact that there were many EU stations to be
worked, I was surprised by the lack of US callers. As the rate slowed in the
17z/18z hours, I used the FT1000MP vfo to take quick listens in between cq’s.
I noticed that that band was absolutely packed up to 28.9 mhz and it seemed
like everyone was running! There was no doubt that many guys were enjoying
running stations on their own freq. rather than calling me! At 17z, the
signal strengths began to pick back up as the mid-day absorption waned. By now
it was primarily Central and Western EU callers with an occasional US station.
At 1733z a fluttery TO7BC called in followed by a LOUD VU3ONE at 1734 �"
the first of many VU stations. Then at 1747Z SILENCE! HUH? Where did the
band go? UH OH! HZ1PS and 3B8CW were welcome at 1750z and 1801z with 3V8BB
at 1813z. I was working EU again too, but I had a bad feeling about the band
completely disappearing for 3 minutes from 1747z �" 1750z. . Every so
often a SM, or OH would call in �" TF2MSN was quite loud at 1804z and I
became optimistic that it mean that cndx were improving to the North. WRONG!
At 1805z I found out that we had gotten got SLAMMED by an M8 flare! To recap,
my rates were 128/145/145 in the 16z/17/18 hours. Although 10 meters had
bounced back and I was now running loud DL/PA/F stations, a weak and watery
OG9X at 1859z and equally weak OG6N at 1931z confirmed that there would be
little or nothing to work to the North tonight �" likely meaning I had no
chance to work any of the JA/UA0 prefixes that I needed. In New England,
Saturday is the KEY night for JA/Asiatic Russian prefixes because Friday night
you only get 1 �" 1 ½ hours of opening from the start of the contest,
and Sunday night in the US it is already Monday morning in Asia. So Saturday
night COUNTS BIG and if the band isn’t open then, you are out of luck! As if
to emphasize that point, a quick check of a space-weather website showed that we
had had an R3 or Strong Radio Blackout. But cndx continued to improve after
1930z and I began to hear loud ON, YU and G stations. I was amazed to hear a
LOUD UD1A at 2000z followed by UR5E at 2001z �" but then I saw that the
Auroral oval had dropped to 1 and that explained it! (its lowest reading on a
scale of 1 to 10) T32TM called in at 2004z and then a few more Russian/LA and
SP stations but then the door abruptly slammed shut on EU ~ 2045z, just as the
Bz (Earth’s magnetic field) went negative allowing the Solar Wind to stream
into Earth. My run abruptly died with only an occasional VK/ZL or US caller.
I reasoned that if my run was dying fast then other stations would have their
runs die as well and that would mean additional S & P’ers who would now
be looking for me. I was using all 4 antennas now �" pointed in different
directions to attract attention. Although the rate was mediocre, I was getting
called by a lot of new prefixes �" mostly South American and close-in US
stations. With Sunset here, all the local W1, W2, W3 and W8 stations were now
experiencing a grey-line peak and we could hear each other. I continued the
slow but useful run and continued picking up prefixes, changing frequency often
and occasionally calling other stations. The 19z �" 23z hours provided
I finished the first day with 1756 q’s and 869 mults for 3,928,749 in 16.8
hours. It was a very good score given all the challenges and I knew that I had
a good chance at setting a new US record �" but without a band opening to
Asia and CME’s on the way it did not look good promising.
At 0000z there were NO JA’s. Not even a whisper of one. No KL7, no UA0,
nothing North of California, and even California was weak! A check of the HF
Radio website showed why: The solar wind was on the rise at 444 @ 6.0 protons.
With a SW > 400 there is trouble for New England to the North on 10 meters.
But the 6.0 protons was just awful news. A quiet Solar Wind is ~ 330 @ 1.0
proton meaning quiet and predictable cndx. A 444 SW by itself was potential
trouble, but the 6.0 protons it meant the possibility of a proton storm
�" basically having the same effect on propagating radio signals that you
would get from throwing a wet blanket on a fire. That explained the complete
lack of JA/Asian signals. Swinging the antennas to the West and South, I went
S & P for SA and US and occasionally tried running, with not much luck.
Then, I heard a POP and smelled something really foul and acrid. I saw a plume
of smoke rise from the portable heater in my basement �" running all
weekend to keep me warm while I operated.
My heater arced and was about to catch fire when I dashed over and yanked out
the plug. Even though it was only ~ 30 seconds later, smoke was pouring out.
I struggled to get to the windows in the basement (which had frozen in place)
and it took me five minutes to get them open �" the air in the basement
was noxious and I had to leave. So much for working anyone!
An hour later the basement air was less noxious but, without a heating source,
it was freezing cold, aided by the damp and windy 35 degree air outside. I
decided to operate anyway, wrapped in a blanket, and make the most of my run
(which lasted only 15 minutes); but cndx were lousy and there was little to be
worked. I went qrt at 0200z with 1795 q’s and 882 mults. for about 3.7 Meg.
WN1GIV was still running South America but I had no run and I had already worked
everyone on the band. I left the basement windows open all night to clear out
the last of the odor and went upstairs to bed.
Up again at 5 AM (09z), 20 meters was wide open to EU. I made my food for the
day and stretched upstairs to loosen up my back. Overnight I saw that what
had been an M8 flare, had been upgraded to an X1 flare. That’s like saying
that the 4 alarm fire that you saw was now called a 5 alarm fire based on the
additional damage that was seen. This was really BAD news for 10 meters. Sure
enough it took until 0945z for 15 to open to Europe, but then at 1001z I heard a
weak TC3D direct path on 10. At 1026z I heard lots of Northern EU also DIRECT
PATH �" a very good sign! Then I started to hear Russians slightly skew
path ~ 70 degrees. I worked ED3F at 1032z but could not get anything going.
All over the band Northern EU was LOUD, and louder than yesterday, but they
were all peaking further at ~ 160 degrees. Huh? I called RM4HZ, RK9UE, RJ4P,
SB6A, RC6U, RL2DDM and OH0JFP �" NONE OF THEM HEARD ME! DA2C was 59+ and
when I called him he just cq’ed again. At 1049z I heard an S9+ JO3JIS
peaking at 170 degrees. He could not hear me, also repeatedly cqing in my
face. It was hard to understand how this was possible. As I struggled to work
other S7 �" S9 Northern Europeans, I realized that they were LOUD when I
beamed South but they sounded like they were coming through a tunnel. They
sounded normal but much 4 �" 6 s-units weaker when I beamed straight path
(Northeast). I heard other loud JA’s but none of them heard me. The best
that I could do was work a few EA’s shortpath. Finally, at 1109z, I worked
JH4UYB then JO3JIS at 1110z. He was s9+10 and could barely hear me! JA3AOP
was worked at 1114z and finally I could run EU at 1123z. JH3PRR called in at
1131z but that was the last JA station from the South. It was an opening with
amazingly loud signals for 15 minutes, but only 4 stations! When the first
Russian station (RG22RQ) called in at 1131z, I KNEW then that the record would
be mine! Although it was not a great opening to Russia, the band was open and
if it stayed open, I would likely work many of the stations that I did not work
the day before. UI2K called in at 1134z followed by a UA4, RV3, RX3, UA5 and
EV6M in the next 15 minutes with RV9LM the first Asiatic Russian at 1157z. I
had started running high in the band thinking that I would have a quiet freq.,
but then I discovered that there were all sorts of bizarre noises and qrm
higher up, making those frequencies anything but quiet. I moved back down into
the “Mess” and quickly called by 4K9W at 1217z, RN9N at 1223z and a slew of
other Russian stations. Band cndx were MUCH better than on Saturday with
Russian stations peaking correctly at ~ 35 degrees, and even though we the SF
and SSN numbers were dropping, the K of 1, Auroral Oval of 2, positive BZ and
dropping SW and proton numbers told me all that I needed to know. 10 was going
to STAY open! Unfortunately, our terrestrial weather wanted to have a say in my
score. The rain and wind intensified adding even more hash and now rain static
to the variety of man-made and natural noises. Signals were loud, but so was
the QRM and QRN. If you weren’t at least S9, I could not get your call in
one transmission! Not to worry, the band opened even better to Asia with
RK9LWA at 1239, UN7QF and UN5GAV at 1247/1248z and then more UA9’s and
finally an opening to YB0NFL and YB0COU at 1257/1259z. The 11z hour had 73
q’s but 12z had 142 q’s as the band opened wide �" and, even more
importantly �" opened to areas of the world that I had not yet worked
�" meaning more q’s and prefixes for the log!
A huge and roaring pileup greeted the 13z hour that provided another 130 q’s.
RL9I started it at 1300z, followed by EX8MK at 1306z, UA0SEP and RTOR at
1308/1309z, 7Z1OO at 1313z and YB0OHG at 1327z. Hamad 9K2HN called in at 1337z
followed by UN7RL at 1347z and RA0AM at 1350z and UP0L at 1359z.
With all the qrm and rain static and other noises, I had to constantly change
the antenna stacking to hear anything �" at times almost nullifying the
pileup of deep Russian stations that I was struggling to work. Many callers
were impatient too, disappearing after only one or two tries (no doubt leaving
my freq. to work lots of other stations that could hear them better!). Sorry
to be an alligator �" I was trying my best to work you given all the
noise and crud and bad weather at my qth! Then 10 got GOOD! A solid 59 HS0ZLU
called in at 1403z with YC0IEM and SV9MBG at 1407/1409z and RX3AGD with an S9+20
signal at 1410z! HS0ZIN @ 1413z, R8IA and RO9A at 1414/1415z and YB0NSI and
YB1TJ at 1447/1454z and with that qso I had broken the US 10 Meter Unassisted
Single Band WPX SSB record! It was almost impossible to copy anyone with all
the noise and qrm so I went moved up to very high in the band, but struggled.
I then tried moving down but still kept struggling to run. On some frequencies
there was broadband crud, on others there were oscillating carriers with
changing tones, still others had the squiggly noises and in-between was lots
and lots of qrm and splatter. I lost valuable time trying to find a good run
freq. and had only 115q’s in the 14z hours despite excellent conditions. My
choices appeared to be 1) a freq. with heavy qrm and splatter but better rates
lower in the band, versus, 2) quieter frequencies with intermittent commercial
noise, foreign government transmission/radar jamming and poorer rates up above.
This was very different from what I had experienced in the 2013 CQWWSSB where
quieter frequencies were always better. It was confusing for me to decide what
to do but in the end I opted for the qrm and better rates. It was hard to
understand why I was struggling to run with 20 elements on 10 with 5/5/5/5, but
the reality was that because stations were loudest on my 37’ antenna it meant
that everyone was loud with lower antennas negating my height and stacking
advantages. It was a slugfest of operating where, because of excellent
conditions, almost everyone was able to run! At times, I was reminded of the
incredible cndx I experienced in the 2011 WPXSSB when I operated SB 15
Unassisted and had an amazing over-the-pole opening to all of Asia on Sunday
morning. 10 meters was not quite that good, but for a few moments it was
almost as good!
As the 15z hour opened, I skipped around the band trying various run
frequencies but was still called by YB2CPO and RW9JZ (who was an incredible
59+20!!!)at 1503/1510z then 9M6XRO at 1519z and then by Champ, XW0YJY at 1535z
on my new and better run freq. YB1LZ followed at 1536z and VE3TKB/VY0 at
1539z. 9W2LWO created more excitement when he called in at 1557z! Although I
only worked 70 stations in the 15z hour, it sure was interesting! The rain
static at times had almost obliterated the callers regardless of which antenna
or combination of antennas that I used. It sounded like someone was
rhythmically hitting a snare drum for about 30 minutes, making it physically
painful to try to listen!
At 1605z, both YB0IBM and RT0B called at the same time qrming each other and
underneath them was A61ZX. I had to pinch myself to believe this pileup!
Propagation began to change with EU weakening as the US Mid-West and West Coast
starting to call in. After working RX9CCJ at 1623z, I noticed that the W6’s
(to the West) were loudest on my lower antenna at 23’ which was pointed NE.
YES, the West Coast was loudest on my lowest 10 meter antenna even though they
were in the NULL off the back! The VU stations were all S9+ - VU3Ull at 1637z
and VU3KPL at 1658z. An occasional Russian station still called in along with
Mid-East, Northern Europe, etc. With cndx this good it was hard to understand
why the hourly rate was staying only in the 70’s, except by 1659z, many
stations were taking off-time (only 36 hours max operating for Single Ops) and
I had worked 2407 q’s and 1055 mults for 6.7 Million points. I knew that
cndx usually improved after 17z, so I redoubled my efforts to work everyone
moving all the antennas in different directions and continually changed the
stacking so I would be putting a signal in almost every corner of the globe
every few minutes. Unfortunately, this seemed to attract the commercial
carriers with the constantly changing tones and together with the rain static
and general level of audio crud, made it very difficult to copy anyone. EU
stations continued to call in with a smattering of US and occasional Russians
but it was easy to tell that I was running out of stations to work because so
many stations were apparently running themselves and not tuning around.
Fortunately, 9M4DX called in at 1751z along with a small group of LA and SM
stations. I finished the 17z hour with a respectable 92 q’s and broke 7 meg
At 1815z a loud VU2GRM called in as the band opening began to shift to the
UK/PA/ON and Scandinavia. The big excitement for me was working PA5ELZ who had
an echo AND reverberation on his signal. This meant that not only was his
signal coming around the world more than once, but it was also traveling around
the world in multiple directions with different path distances making his audio
hard to copy because it was out of phase! �" Around the world AND
multipath - definitely one of the coolest things that I can ever recall
hearing! Only 55 q’s in the 18z hour but 84 q’s in the 19z hour. OH6RX
called in with an astonishing loud signal 59+30 at 1900z �" this is as
loud as I have ever seen a European station on 10 meters on my FT1000MP meter.
With VU2ABS following at 1906z, I expected a big run, but it was just
stragglers. Notable was RV1CC at 1955z. Apparently the band was still open to
Russia but either I had worked all of them, or no one was around to call. If I
had any doubt that cndx on Sunday was so much better than Saturday, KL7RA
calling in the NULL of the antenna at 2006z put that to rest. Just for kicks I
rotated one antenna at him and his signal went from S3 to S9! That was the cue
to swing the antenna North (about 15 degrees) to work the OH/LA/SM stations who
should be workable. 10 meters being 10 meters, I did not hear any OH/LA/SM
stations, but a few more Russians called in UX7BV at 2024z and RO1B at 2031z.
The moment to moment changes in the band were fascinating �" one moment
EU was loudest on the top antenna at 100’, the next moment they were loudest
on the bottom at 23’, and right after that, it was the middle two loudest at
37’ and 65’. With propagation that unstable it meant that high angle
signals were predominating which was a reliable forecast for a memorable JA
opening, and, just a few minutes later, the band opened to Japan. JA1QS was
first at 2052z and then immediately after him came a steady stream of district
1 JA’s. Even better news was the immediate expansion of the opening to
district 8 and then districts 3 and 5 where I needed many prefixes. In the
late afternoon, if I can work JA on 10 then it means that the band is also open
to Africa, so I swung one antenna due East and was immediately called by
I should mention at this point that I was running the JA’s mostly BAREFOOT!
In early January, I had bought an ACOM2000 and I decided to use it in the WPXSSB
contest. This turned out to be a BIG mistake because hundreds of times during
the weekend, it immediately shut down for a multitude of reasons: Arcfaults,
transmitting too early, high swr (too sensitive to my switching stacking while
transmitting �" not a problem with my AL1500) and a number of other error
messages. The result was that I was often transmitting barefoot and not
realizing it! I estimate that almost 20% of the time during the weekend I was
operating barefoot. Usually when the run disappeared all of a sudden, it was
because the amp had put itself on standby. As the weekend wore on, I began to
figure this out and anticipate what it would do and what to do about it, but as
I got more and more tired (I was still seriously ill and weak and much more
subject to fatigue) I got fooled more and more and wound up operating barefoot
more and more! So here I was at 2100z running JA’s barefoot and they were so
loud that I didn’t realize that I was operating barefoot again! Even more
incredible was the fact that while many of the JA’s were now S9, I was still
copying EU S9! I prepared myself for the rarest of all contesting experiences
�" running JA and EU simultaneously at 2100z on 10 meters �"
something that I had done only once before in contesting, in the 1991 WPXSSB.
With GW9T still S9+, I was all set for the run; except it never happened.
Although the JA’s got even louder �" with JA1NVF and 7M1MCT now S9+20!,
I never heard another European station. So my dual JA/EU run didn’t happen.
But it COULD have happened �" and that was almost as good.
The beginning of the 21z hour saw me break 8.0 million points, and with more
than 1100 mults now, each non-multiplier US station that I worked counted for
another 1100 points �" it was quite fun and motivating at this point
watching my score rapidly and I wanted to work every 1-pointer I could get. I
finished the 20/21/22z hours with 68/66/64 q’s, steadily picking up the
JA/US/Canadian mults. A few KL7’s called in with DS5TOS at 2216z and HL5BLF
at 2240z but it was basically a JA run and little else. Unfortunately my fun
JA run was almost terminated at 2230z. The rain became so heavy outside that
it sounded like someone was beating a tom-tom against my head. The S9 JA’s
were completely uncopyable on the top 10 meter antenna. No matter what filters
I used and no matter where I swung the antenna, I just couldn’t copy them.
DAMN! I wracked my brain for a possible solution, and then I had an idea.
Swinging my 37’ at JA (which has NEVER been as strong to JA as the 100’
antenna), I decided to transmit on the 100’ antenna and listen on the 37’
antenna, switching manually back and forth after every transmission for about
30 minutes. I had learned long ago that usually the top antenna has the worst
rain static problem (although this weekend oddly enough it was the 65’
antenna that was the worst) with the lower antennas having less of the static
buildup. This seemed to work until propagation changed with the 100’ and
37’ peaking Japan in different directions �" the 100’ peaking Japan
at 340 degrees and the 37’ peaking Japan at 10 degrees and the noise on the
100’ now reaching the level of sounding like someone was incessantly
hammering. Even the 37’ now had a noise problem but I was still able to pull
some JA’s through. By 2251z I had to give up on the run �" just too
much qrn and qsb. I crossed 8.5 million points and started to S & P for
Asian mults. Moving up the band I found loud BY2AA and BY4SHX, HL2DBP and
VK6IR will a group of JA’s. At 2325z I finally worked 4H1T but several more
loud BY stations simply did not even hear me despite being S9! Moving up and
down a few times, I was amazed at the stream of new cq’ers, and found B4L,
RT0F, DU1AV and then an incredibly loud 59+20 BY5CD! My final three qso’s
were HL5YGX, VE7TJF and ZM90DX.
Final Score: 2,872 q’s, x 1,163 mults = 8.75 million points before UBN,
demolishing the old 10 Meter US Unassisted record by 45%!
I had worked so hard all weekend battling all types of qrm, awful rain-induced
qrn and a variety of other irritants including four major solar flares, a
charred heater and the constantly shutting off ACOM2000, that there were only a
few really enjoyable hours of operating. Thankfully my body held up as did my
voice and it was very encouraging that I was able to operate both days.
I knew that this might have been “last hurrah” for 10 meters this solar
cycle so I was disappointed by the erratic conditions, especially since I had
missed the outstanding conditions in ARRLDX when I had been far too ill to even
go downstairs to the shack. However, the JA opening on Sunday evening was truly
memorable with some of the best signal strengths that I can ever recall.
After the contest, I noticed some very unusual things. I worked 357 DL
stations but only 179 UK. Normally I would work a lot more UK stations than
that. Even stranger was working 147 Italians and 136 PA ’s! PA stations are
overtaking all the other countries in EU except for DL. And 77 SP stations!
I worked 221 JA stations. Simply astonishing! I have never worked that many
on 10 meters. EVER. and I have almost never worked that many on 15 or 20.
And 90 PY stations! Incredible activity from them!
But only 46 Canadians? Where were they? US stations were 513, also less than
The prefix breakdown was just as surprising: Disappointing was the only 212 US
prefixes (I expected more like 300 �" 350), but AMAZING was the 111
different DL prefixes! I had hoped to work more than the 69 JA prefixes but I
know that I would have if the band had been open on Saturday. Russian
prefixes? 68 different ones beginning with R and another 53 beginning with U!
And, in possibly the biggest surprise of all, without trying and without the
usual Dxpeditions to the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific, I worked 115
countries in 38 zones!
It was quite a contesting experience. It was 10 meters - what more can you
It was wonderful to say hi to old friends and to see and hear the incredible
level of activity in my favorite contest. I was very touched by the many
stations that said to me “ It is nice to hear you on again ”.
Thank you for all of the qsos and mults! I hope to see you in WPXCW!
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