CQWW WPX Contest, CW
Class: SOAB HP
QTH: Ibaraki Prefecture
Operating Time (hrs): 35
Total: 1700 Prefixes = 641 Total Score = 3,215,256
This operation was from the station of Shigehiro Kinoshita, JA8CCL/1, located on
the edge of Lake Kasumigaura about 50 miles northeast of Tokyo. Kinoshita-san?s
station was selected to host the commemorative station 8J1ITU for six weeks
during April and May, and the WPX corresponded with the final weekend of this
operation. His QTH is on top of a small hill about 1,500 feet to the west of
the lake and is at the highest point in the area. The hill seems to be about
300 feet above the surrounding terrain and his towers are close to the edge of
This station is not designed with contesting in mind but his 2-el 80-meter and
2-el 40-meter antennas are certainly enough to make a contester?s mouth water.
He also has a vertical for 160 that reportedly performs very well. He has a
tribander for the high bands. Shigehiro is the distributor for Force 12 in
Japan so naturally all antennas are of that brand and his station makes a very
good showcase for these antennas. The antennas are mounted on three 70-80?
crank-up towers, and each one sports some kind of UHF or VHF antenna on top.
WPX is clearly not the contest to take advantage of the strengths of this
station, but that 40-meter antenna certainly was nice to have.
I arrived on Friday night and had a few hours to get familiar with the station
(contests begin at 9 AM Saturday in Japan). In addition to his extremely good
physical location, the QTH also seemed to be extremely quiet. There was no
perceptible noise on any band on Friday night and I was able to get nice pileups
going on 80-15 very easily. I was especially happy to have large numbers of
weak EU stations calling on 15 as late as 10 PM local. Based on a couple of
hours on the rig Friday night, I was hopeful of doing pretty well in the
It?s been many years since I?ve operated the WPX, and summertime conditions have
always been something of a mystery to me, so I decided to take most of my
off-times during the daytime when I figured absorption would kill the bands.
This meant taking my first break after only a little more than two hours at the
rig. Naturally, I was not in need of a nap at 11:15 AM local, so rather than
try to sleep, I went out to lunch with some of the guys, getting back on the
radio at 2:30 PM local. This may have been even too soon to get back on, and
the rates were below 60 until around 6 PM local time. It probably wouldn't do
much harm to take the first six hours of off-time at the very beginning of the
contest and begin around 3 PM local.
In hopes of taking advantage of that big 40-meter antenna, I moved to 40 at 3:35
PM local on Saturday (0635Z) but it was probably too early. I had read in some
East Coaster's WPX writeup that they began running JA's on 40 at 0700, so I was
hoping for something similar, but I only worked a handful of east coast stations
over the next two hours. I think perhaps the thunderstorms in the US may have
made the bands too noisy for a lot of Ws. Since I was sharing antennas with
some of the other guys who were handing out 8J1ITU contacts on SSB, I couldn't
QSY back to 20 when my rate didn't pick up, so I was stuck on 40 for a while.
These two hours yielded about 70 contacts, with about half being six pointers.
Conditions on 15 and 20 seemed to be quite good much of the weekend with lots of
loud signals from both EU and NA, but somehow I just couldn't get the rate up.
The best hour I had during the whole contest was 83, and there were only 8 hours
over 60. This is much in contrast to winter contests that I?ve operated in
Japan when there are usually at least a few 150+ hours. Much of the time
signals on 20 and 15 were coming in from both the US and EU at the same time,
but the antenna seemed quite sharp and pointing it due north didn't work very
well. It seemed like I was constantly turning the antenna one direction or the
other. There are about 90 degrees between the optimum positions for working the
US and EU, so if the antenna is on NA, EU is off of the side and vice-versa.
This seems to be mainly a summertime problem, and I suppose the solution is to
split your signal between two antennas (or, if you have a stack, put the top on
EU and the rest on NA), but of course this was not an option this time.
The main problem of the weekend was a nasty S8 noise that developed on 15 on
Saturday. The band had been so quiet on Friday night but something in the
neighborhood clicked on at the start of the contest and was a real annoyance
throughout the weekend. There were times when I had real pileups but I simply
could not copy many of the callers. My apologies to those who called but
couldn?t get through.
I had expected that the 8J1ITU call sign would give me an advantage, but I'm not
sure now. Whenever I was S&Ping, I had to repeat my call for over half of the
stations, sometimes three or four times. Many came back to 7J1 and a few to
9J1. There are other JA calls beginning with 8 so I really don?t understand why
people had so much trouble with this one, but they sure did. It didn?t seem to
be a problem when running, but of course I have no way of knowing what the
callers were putting in their logs. The call probably did benefit me in working
JA prefixes (84), probably because they wanted to get a QSL card.
One of the most interesting parts of the weekend for me had nothing to do with
the contest: observing the 6-meter EME experiments that were being conducted at
the operating position beside me by Kazu, JA1RJU (recently returned from
operating the 6- meter position at the 3B9C Dxpedition). Lacking elevation
control of the six-meter stack, Kazu was restricted to the two times each day
when the moon was within a few degrees of the horizon. The procedure was to
send and receive for alternate minutes over a period of an hour or so. The mode
used is a kind of digital signal that is actually well below the noise. I
learned that EME has become pretty routine on frequencies higher than 144 Mhz.
but that it is still quite difficult on six meters where skip interferes.
Finally, on his last try late Sunday night, Kazu succeeded in confirming a
contact with a station in Italy for his first six-meter EME contact since this
mode became legal for 6-meters in Japan in January. After watching him work at
it all weekend, I was almost as happy as he when the Italian station finally
confirmed the contact.
The WPX sure is a fun contest, both because of the exchange and because of the
challenge of late May band conditions. I love those high numbers late in the
contest ? it?s amazing how easy it gets to copy numbers at high speed after a
little practice. It?s also interesting to have something different for
multipliers, although it would be cool to have more incentive to operate 80 and
160. I?ll bet 12 points for intercontinental contacts on 80 and 160 would bring
out more activity there.
It was really a fun weekend and I enjoyed meeting all the hams who trooped
through the shack all day and night on Saturday and Sunday and having the chance
to operate this amazing station. My sincere thanks to JA8CCL for allowing me to
monopolize his station throughout the weekend.
QSO BREAKDOWN BY CONTINENT
contest: CQ WPX Contest
160 80 40 20 15 10 total
N America: 0 9 169 294 63 0 535 (31%)
(1%) (31%) (54%) (11%)
S America: 0 1 12 12 8 0 33 (1%)
(3%) (36%) (36%) (24%)
Europe: 0 0 124 223 140 0 487 (28%)
(25%) (45%) (28%)
Africa: 0 0 1 2 2 0 5 (0%)
(20%) (40%) (40%)
Asia: 0 37 229 158 141 11 576 (33%)
(6%) (39%) (27%) (24%) (1%)
Oceania: 0 1 16 22 18 4 61 (3%)
(1%) (26%) (36%) (29%) (6%)
FT-1000MP + VL-1000 (Yaesu 1,000 watt amp)
160 Force12 EF160V
80 26mH 2el yagi Force12 Mag280C
40 20mH 2el yagi Force12 EF240/230
20-10 22mH Force12 C31XR
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