CQ 160-Meter Contest, CW
Class: Single Op HP
Operating Time (hrs): 27
Total: QSOs = 831 State/Prov = 57 Countries = 44 Total Score = 319,867
This was my Eighth in a row portable operation for the CQ160CW. It was my fourth
time at the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Since I mostly work evenings and
weekends I don't have much opportunity to participate in other Contests, but
this one always turns into an adventure.
Most of us have experienced a visit from Murphy during a Contest. By going
portable for a 160m Contest Murphy is not going to visit you - you are visiting
This year the weather started off being fantastic, but that changed on
I set up the transmit vertical and the RX 4 square on Thursday. Under the best
conditions my setup takes about 5-6 hours. After about fiver hours of work,
there was no time left for any testing or tuning, as I had to go back home in
the afternoon to see my 6 year old Son perform at his School.
I returned on Friday with a trailer and the Radio Equipment. The first thing I
managed to do was to somehow lock my keys inside the truck (it happened back in
2006 during CQ160 too). It won't happen any more, as I permanently modified a
The conditions on Friday were clearly lacking and not comparable to previous
years. The signals were low, there were no early EU signals other than CR2X.
After a while I realized I have a problem with my receive antenna. The W8JI RX
4 square works great, but I had problems with my setup just about every year. In
the 2009 ARRL 160 some big animal got tangled in my coax and messed it all up,
shorting out everything. I was hoping this was not the case today, maybe a
vehicle damaged the cable. I decided to go out and try to fix it, if I am
lucky I will loose maybe 30 minutes and get back before the EU sunrise. I
take a Machete with me - you never know when you are going to run into a
Mountain Lion. It turns the problem was at the actual antenna, and it was dark
out there. After correctly diagnosing the one antenna with the problem, I got
my bearings crossed and I wasted some 30 minutes working on the wrong unit. It
took me almost an hour and a half before I get back to the radio. No EU
By morning I yet again find that my signal is seriously deficient into Asia.
The BY's, BV1, HL's, HS0 slip by, XU7 copies me ad N7DD. I Was called on my CQ
by 3 VK's and 3 ZL's. I only have 40 JA's worked - not a good sign for the
I sleep about 3 hours and than get up and go to work adding some 40 or so
radials from NE to NW. The first 20 radials from NE to N don't make any
difference in the SWR plot. When I add the rest of the radials to the NW, the
plot shrinks and shifts - AHA! I finish just as the weather gets worse.
I make some 10 QSO's when - ARC FAULT! The amp shuts down. In a reprise from
last year I find that I am experiencing the same problem - a salt mist soaked
and shorted the insulator at the top Lighthouse rail. A trip to the top to
clean it, dry it up, cover it with a makeshift skirt, and I am back on the air
in less than 30 minutes. This was actually a lucky event as it happened in
The first EU I find coming through is EA6URA calling CQ. Not much luck with
him here. I kept coming back to call him for the next 2 hours until we made
it. It was pretty tough finding EU stations as the band was tightly packed.
After reading some of the posts I see that I missed quite a few multipliers. No
problem understanding EE1R here, but the feeling was not reciprocal. I also
tried to call CQ on a clear frequency, hoping to get some of the S&P EU's.
Worked 4 G's on CQ and than the slow locals started coming back to me. I tried
calling CQ DX and CQ EU, but this does not seem to make any difference to some,
so I bailed and gone back to S&P.
Some comments call this EU opening as the best ever. Quite possibly. It was
definitely a good one. I think It was shorter in duration and more
concentrated than in 2009. In 2009 I worked 52 EU (over 2 days), this year 32
I get a big kick out of the Packet pile-ups. There were several instances
where there are a bunch of USA stations calling some OM, or HA and a few KHz
away there is another one calling with no replies to their CQ's. Call me
uncompetitive, but I go for the easy one. Call me whatever, but to me Assisted
is when someone saves you operating time by bringing you food, coffee and beer.
Kidding aside, I think that activity is up because of the Single Op Assisted
Category, and that is great!
The Asian part started much better QSO wise than the night before, the added
radials definitely made a difference, but the storm crashes made a hard copy.
This night I put 60 JA's in the log, some of the BY, BV, HL I missed the night
before also make it. Was KF6ZWD/HC2 a surprise or what? How about NH6AH in
zone 30? I guess we log what he sends.
My log was set up not to work dupes, it seems that was a mistake as several
stations kept calling again, and claiming not in log. I can understand if you
are a dx and not sure of a contact, but loud w7's? making repleted QSO's? Is
this a packet phenomenon? The insistent ones I logged again with dupe
appended to their call. I am not sure how to handle the submission.
My SO2R attempt did not go well, just not enough isolation from the TX
vertical. I need much more improvement here. I used the SDR-IQ for visual
display, and the band was packed!
There was no doubt when the Contest was over:
I sleep some 3 hours and than proceed with the tear down. This time I get some
assistance. The family shows up and my kids are "helping". But when the rain
picks up they split to the car, or maybe was the Coyote that accidentally ran
into them that did it. It is always good to have at least one change of
clothes with you.
I really feel that I could have done better, but I had a great time as always.
I would do it again next weekend, and the next.....
I am very grateful to Boucher for letting me do this again. If you ever find
yourself driving on Highway 1 by Hearst Castle, stop for a tour the Lighthouse.
It is now open to the public:
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bakersfield/Programs/pbls/tours.html The staff
is mostly people who volunteer their time for the preservation and restoration
of this historic place. And if you do, make sure to ask them about the Radio
Missed: Dc, Lb, Nb, Nt, Nu, Yt
Country Prefix 160 80 40 20 15 10 Total Percent
------- ------ ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
1 Taiwan BV 1 - - - - - 1
2 China BY 1 - - - - - 1
3 Bahamas C6 3 - - - - - 3
4 Chile CE 1 - - - - - 1
5 Portugal CT 1 - - - - - 1
6 Azores CU 1 - - - - - 1
7 Germany DL 4 - - - - - 4
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina E7 1 - - - - - 1
9 Spain EA 1 - - - - - 1
10 Balearic Islands EA6 1 - - - - - 1
11 Canary Islands EA8 1 - - - - - 1
12 Ireland EI 4 - - - - - 4
13 Estonia ES 1 - - - - - 1
14 France F 1 - - - - - 1
15 Martinique FM 1 - - - - - 1
16 French Polynesia FO 1 - - - - - 1
17 England G 8 - - - - - 8
18 Isle of Man GD 2 - - - - - 2
19 Wales GW 1 - - - - - 1
20 Hungary HA 1 - - - - - 1
21 Ecuador HC 1 - - - - - 1
22 Dominican Republic HI 1 - - - - - 1
23 South Korea HL 3 - - - - - 3
24 Italy I 1 - - - - - 1
25 Japan JA 100 - - - - - 100
26 Mongolia JT 1 - - - - - 1
27 United States K 606 - - - - - 606
28 Hawaii KH6 6 - - - - - 6
29 Alaska KL 3 - - - - - 3
30 U.S. Virgin Islands KP2 2 - - - - - 2
31 Puerto Rico KP4 1 - - - - - 1
32 Czech Republic OK 1 - - - - - 1
33 Slovakia OM 1 - - - - - 1
34 Denmark OZ 1 - - - - - 1
35 Aruba P4 1 - - - - - 1
36 Netherlands Antilles PJ2 1 - - - - - 1
37 Brazil PY 1 - - - - - 1
38 Poland SP 1 - - - - - 1
39 Asiatic Russia UA9 7 - - - - - 7
40 Canada VE 42 - - - - - 42
41 Australia VK 3 - - - - - 3
42 Bermuda VP9 1 - - - - - 1
43 Hong Kong VR 1 - - - - - 1
44 Mexico XE 5 - - - - - 5
45 Indonesia YB 1 - - - - - 1
46 New Zealand ZL 3 - - - - - 3
K3, SDR-IQ, FT1000MP
Lighthouse supported vertical - 1/4 wl.
Niko - AC6DD
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