ARRLDX SSB NK7U M/2 HP
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Thu Mar 8 23:29:15 EST 2007
ARRL DX Contest, SSB
Operator(s): NK7U, K7ZO, KL9A, KL2A
Class: M/2 HP
Operating Time (hrs): 48
Band QSOs Mults
160: 24 19
80: 185 60
40: 250 61
20: 987 116
15: 279 58
10: 7 3
Total: 1732 317 Total Score = 1,620,504
Well -- I hope this last weekend officially marks the bottom of the solar cycle.
The story of the weekend can be summed up in one number -- 1,732. Our QSO total
is the second lowest ever for any M/2 operation in any major 48 hour DX contest
at NK7U. The only worse showing was during the last solar cycle bottom in 1996
when we squeeked out just 1,616 QSOâs at a partially completed station with
about 1/3 the antennas that usually make up a NK7U complement. Heck we almost
always do better than this in a 12 hour NAQP. And, the NK7U gang had 400 more
QSOâs in ARRL DX CW edition two weeks ago with fewer operators. We also only
had two hours over 100 QSOâs during the whole contest. We did have 15 hours
under 20 QSOâs to add to the misery.
The last ARRL DX SSB from NK7U was in 2005 as the station was dark last year.
How have things changed since then? Following are NK7U's band breakdown for the
past six years. It shows a pattern matching the changes in propagation as the
sunspot cycle winds down.
Call 160m Q/C 80m Q/C 40m Q/C 20m Q/C 15m Q/C 10m Q/C
2007 24/19 170/60 250/61 979/116 274/58 7/3
2006 No operation~
2005 23/18 129/42 401/75 872/118 580/95 117/39
2004 20/15 169/63 452/89 1117/118 997/113 108/44
2003 13/11 107/41 382/74 663/112 1206/111 271/74
2002 8/7 43/25 348/60 667/106 1402/124 1308/112
As compared to 2005, our 2007 results in three band groupings are
160-40M: We had 20% fewer QSO's and 4% greater mults
20-15M: We had 14% fewer QSO's and 18% fewer mults
10M: We had 94% fewer QSO's and 92% fewer mults.
Looking at the bands we seem to be in a rut on 160M. Basically we just work the
bigger Dx-peditions in the Carib, central America, and northern South America.
Joe will have up his 4 sloper 160M system by the time the fall contest season
rolls around. We will see if we get to the next layer of stations.
80M shows we had a pretty good year. Close to our high in mults and at a qso
high. We had a pretty good opening to Europe the first night and put 20
Europeans in the log. Not bad from the west coast. We had a total of 2 in the
2005 edition. ON4UN was nice enough to send Joe a .WAV file of our QSO with
him. The second night was a total wash out to Europe. We had a total of 77
QSOâs with JA. Though putting these in the log felt like a real struggle it
was our highest 80M JA total in the last 4 ARRL SSB contests. We did have 125
in the 2006 CQ WW SSB for an unexpected peak. The challenge we have is the
developing practice by JAâs to call CQ in their small SSB sub-band and listen
split. This effectively takes over the sub-band by the their big-multi ops. In
the past when they operated simplex it made it easier to share the bandwidth
with others -- it was still bedlam yes, but you had the usual movement of
stations in and out.
40M was in hindsight now that we look at it, really disappointing. Our QSO and
mult total was well down compared to 2005. It could be we had the MUF drop
below 7 MHz for substantial period. We had 43 QSOâs with Europe, a little
down from the 49 in 2005. The highlights there were a couple of 5-7 QSO
mini-runs that KL2A managed. It is always an accomplishment when we can run
Europe on 40M. What really killed us was that we only managed 134 QSOâs with
Japan. This is 120 QSOâs less than we had in 2005. In the memorable 1998 ARRL
SSB we had an epic year and logged 325 JAâs on 40M. Those were the good oleâ
days. Since then we seem to be on a continual reduction in JAâs worked on
20M was the money band for us like everyone else. Wow is all we can say about
K3LRâs totals. We had hoped to break 1,000 Qâs but couldnât quite pull it
off ending up at 979. This was higher than 2005 and is reflective more of the
lack of 15M band openings than an overall improvement in 20M. We did have 116
mults which was not bad. Our last mult, H7A, went into the log as the clock
stuck midnight right at the end of the contest.
We learned a valuable lesson regarding our 20M operation this year. Right
before the contest started KL9A and I were comparing signals on two of Joeâs
FT1000MP Mark Vâs. One of the radioâs, our main 20M rig, âjust didnât
sound rightâ. We did a quick A/B comparison and it did seem like the S meter
was reading 2-3 S-units lower than the other. We ran out of time to really
diagnose it and we plunged into the contest. During the contest we really
struggled on our 20M runs. Signals were really weak and we constantly had to
pull calls out of the noise. When the contest was over we looked at it again
and confirmed the problem. Since then we diagnosed the problem as a bad roofing
filter that was knocking signals down 15-20 db. No wonder we had a hard time
hearing everyone. Lesson learned -- check the rigs out better before the
contest and trust your intuition when something just does not seem right.
15M was about what we expected. We did get reasonable openings to JA and
managed 87 JA QSOâs on 15M which was actually higher than what we had in last
fallâs CQWW SSB. The path to EU was marginal with only 35 QSOâs in the log.
Notable were our favorite OH6âs. We usually have a high band afternoon
opening in OH that is better than the usual morning Europe opening. This year
OH6QU started things off at 2114 the first day when he came through loud and
clear. Earlier, at 1925, we had a qso with regular OH6NIO on 20M. We mentioned
âsee you later on 15Mâ. He didnât give us much hope as 15M had been dead
all day for him. Yet, there he was and got into the log at 2146. On Sunday
afternoon OH6QU was booming in for 30 minutes or so -- with signal strengths of
59+10 at times.
10M was, well 10M. We had a couple of short weak openings to PY and LU and we
managed to squeeze 7 QSOâs into the log. It can only go up from here.
See everyone next time.
Scott/K7ZO for all the ops at NK7U.
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