[3830] CQ160 CW W2GD Multi-Op HP

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Mon Feb 1 14:53:07 EST 2016

                    CQ 160-Meter Contest, CW

Call: W2GD
Station: W2GD

Class: Multi-Op HP
Operating Time (hrs): 31.5

Total:  QSOs = 1326  State/Prov = 59  Countries = 65  Total Score = 662,284

Club: Frankford Radio Club


West Creek, NJ - 20 miles north of Atlantic City
300 foot tower in a salt marsh adjacent to Barnaget Bay
K3 x 3, OM2000 Acom 2S1
Win-Test Logging Software
2 ele wire array NE and West @ 240 feet
Beverages NE, E, N/S, SW, W, and NW
Hi-Z Four

We had another terrific 160 meter contest weekend at the Jersey Shore. The team
has worked harder than ever this season making incremental station improvements
and even some unexpected last minute repairs.  This marks the 30th year of W2GD
multi-op entries in the CQ160 CW.

The highlight of the weekend, especially for many of our longer-term team
members, was operating a 160 station that has achieved virtually total in-band
isolation between RUN and MULT operating positions.  After more than two
decades diligently working on this technical problem, this weekend clean
in-band operation finally became a reality....a big YAH HOO to the team on this
major accomplishment!

Six days ago the USA east coast suffered through a blizzard that dropped 18
inches of snow and blew 65 knot winds along the NJ coastline.  Our snow and ice
coated delta loop reflector wire snapped from all the stress in the high winds
at it's apex @ 240 feet.  An emergency work party the day before the contest
successfully made a critical repair....four of us working in the salt marsh
waters were blessed with clear skies and virtually no wind during the three
hour repair session.  Disaster was once again averted on "Murphy

The previous weekend's storm also took down numerous trees (including several
on the access road to the station).  The team cleared away most of the on-site
debris and more importantly slogged through deep snow in the forest/fresh water
marsh checking 6000+ feet of beverage elements for damage.  Fortunately only one
beverage antenna had significant damage which was easily repaired.

Friday evening when the bell sounded conditions seemed "punk"....even
nearby stations that are normally 20 over 9 were just S-8. Despite the obvious
absorption our rate didn't seem to suffer very much, it was well over 100, and
as the evening progressed conditions improved somewhat...but never to the
levels we'd hoped for this weekend.  

Signals from EU the first night were particularly weak....even beacon stations
like E7DX, 9A1P, DR1A, UA2F, 9A5Y, OE2S, etc. were just above the noise level
much of the time and clearly not hearing USA stations very well. EU runs Friday
night were never more than a few stations long and we noted just minor
enhancement at EU sunrise.  On the other hand, signals from SA and the Carib
Friday evening were relatively loud.  CE3CT and CW5W were both S7 or louder but
could not hear well through local summertime storms.  The loudest Carib area
station by far was 4V1TL, an honest ten over nine for long periods, joining
PJ2T, HK1R, KV4FZ, KP2M and others continuously pounding away.  VK6VZ was
worked right at our sunrise but we didn't hear a JA or ZL.  Despite the
relatively poor conditions we racked up 58 Prov/States, 60 countries, 895 Q and
348K with 117 ten pointers and 64 five pointers the first night.  We still
needed WY, LB and KL7.

During daylight Saturday morning our daytime crew of W2OB and WS2C persisted
for a few hours to add another 30 local QSOs.  We also repaired a backup
inverted L which had been damaged by the prior weekend's storm.  Weather was
unseasonably warm for this time of year.

We were pleasantly surprised to find conditions improved somewhat Saturday
evening.  Our first EU contact was Nigel, G3TXF at 2319Z  and later the best
runs from EU occurred between 0300 - 0700 UTC. Again, very little if any signal
enhancement at EU sunrise.  We added WY (twice) Saturday evening but KL7
remained elusive.  The appearance of VP8SGI stirred things up somewhat but
their visits were fortunately short-lived. In our opinion, major Dxpeditions
should avoid causing chaos, limiting themselves to S&P during 160 contest
periods.  The HK0NA operation a few years ago is a good example of this
operating technique.   

We finished contest operations just after sunrise Sunday morning and went off
for our traditional post-contest breakfast and debrief.   At the end we'd
worked 319 ten pointers, 81 five pointers, and added five additional countries
the second night, missing only the 7Z and VP8 which were heard but not worked. 
No JA, VK or ZL heard at sunrise the second day.

It was our pleasure this weekend to have Joel, W5ZN as a guest op.  He shared
with us a wealth of information about his low-Z 8 circle RX antenna design, and
current data on how his system compares in performance with an equivalent Hi-Z
Eight that he has installed side by side.  Upon arrival Friday morning we put
Joel right to work helping with TX antenna adjustments, and walking beverages. 
Joel enjoyed his share of chair time during the contest and was quite impressed
by how things sound so different from the east coast.  Thanks again for making
the trip OM....and sharing your 160 meter experiences with us.

This event would be far less enjoyable without the hundreds of operators
worldwide who participate on a more casual basis, giving out one or two hundred
QSOs, quite often using antennas not designed for 160 meter operation.  Thank
you for your efforts and please come back again next year!

It is seems to us that few contests inspire the extraordinary efforts made to
prepare stations for this battle.  For weeks proceeding the CQ160 CW social
media was alive with accounts of stations building new TX and RX arrays.  Our
own team had two work parties following the TBDC to get things ready.  This
shows interest in Top Band remains very high, and many teams are just as driven
(as we are) to overcome the unique technical challenges posed by operation at
1.8 Mhz.  We applaud your efforts and sacrifice!

The South Jersey DX Association (SJDXA) TEAM will operate the station during
CQ160 PHONE.  They've enjoyed success in recent years we hope you will make
time for a contact with them next month. 

And finally, we sincerely thank the owners of WYRS-FM for continuing to offer
us the opportunity to enter 160 meter contests from this most unique location
year after year.  


John, W2GD
For the 160 CW TEAM

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