[CQ-Contest] WPX CW Observations

Randy Thompson k5zd at ultranet.com
Mon May 26 22:04:44 EDT 1997

Not sure if I am supposed to talk about actually operating a real contest 
here or on the 3830 reflector...

K5ZD WPX CW Part Time

I was only part time this weekend but wishing I had been more serious. 
 Turned on the radio about 30 minutes into the contest expecting to find 
just a few W and South Americans on 20m.

Instead the band was packed!  Heard KC1F calling CQ and stopped to listen. 
 RK9CWW called him and almost pinned the s-meter.  That's when I knew that 
things were not 'normal'!

It was impossible to find a CQ frequency.  It has been a few years since 
20m was open to so many places at the same time with such big signals.  I 
am not easily intimidated and yet I could not find a hole.  I was forced to 
S&P up and down the band.

Went to 40m and it was pretty good as well.  Didn't think activity was up 
to last year (no surprise given how good 20m was).  I didn't even try to 
get in the bottom 25 kHz and ended up around 7035!

80m was OK but not great.  Worked a few guys but it was obvious the 
activity was limited.  80 and 160m were quiet here so no problem hearing. 
 Worked 9A1A and S50U on 160m.  Called S52ZW a bunch of times but he 
couldn't hear.  Went to bed about 05Z with 40 and 20m still open to EU.

Woke up Saturday morning about 1230Z and found 20m kind of so-so.  Decided 
to listen on 15m and wow!  S50A was the first station I heard and he was 30 
over 9!  Started running guys about 100/hr.  Band was spotty but open to 
most of EU.

About mid day (~16Z) it sounded like 15m was going away.  The loud EU were 
all down near the noise level.  I left the radio and did some yard work.

Came back about 20Z and radio was still on 15m.  Heard HB9DCM at 599+20 so 
decided to try CQing.  Did another 100+ hour where it felt like I had the 
band to EU all to myself.  Hard to believe so many guys in EU were on so 

After 15 slowed down, I decided to check 10m real quick.  I have heard 
these late afternoon conditions before and usually 10m opens.  Sure enough, 
worked a couple of LU's and a PY.  Then I heard GW3YDX.  When first heard I 
had the beam on EU and he was S1.  Easy QSO!  A few minutes later he was 
louder with the beam southeast (maybe he was beaming South America).  With 
YDX in the log I had Europe QSOs on 6 bands.

Ran some guys on 20m which was in pretty good shape.  At one point HZ1AB 
was pumping my receiver from 1 kHz away.

About 2240Z I decided to try 40m.  Called CQ on a clear 7005 and got 
nothing.  A few more CQs and was called by a VK3 long path!  Next QSO was 
VK6RZ.  Sure didn't expect those.

Later on, I was tuning across 15m about 0130Z.  Heard the usual South 
America and Pacific stations.  Then a surprise -- EA4ML was 589!  I think 
15m was open from here to EU from at least 1230Z to 0130Z on Saturday. 
 Pretty amazing when you consider how bad the band has been for the other 
DX contests so far this year.

Didn't do the low bands Saturday night.  Got up about 1030Z Sunday and 
worked JA1YFG on 40m.  That is about 1:45 after our Sunrise!  Started 
running EU on 20m and was called by a JA.  Turned the beam North and the JA 
signals were amazing.  Real loud and not as much flutter as usual.  Too bad 
there isn't more QSO volume from there!  [note: I definitely feel my K5 
call hurts when trying to run JA.  When the band is open from JA to W1, 
they don't waste their time on K5's!]

Kept expecting 15m to show some of the life it had on Saturday, but no 
luck.  Very weak EU all day but never really over S2.  Quite a change in 
just 16 hours.

Rest of the contest was back to 'normal' with endless CQing on 20 and a 
little run on 40 at the end.  Did work about a dozen EU on 80m during the 
last 15 minutes of the contest.

Funny story.  Not sure what happened to the S52ZW op on Sunday afternoon. 
 He called CQ just below me about 500 Hz.  Then moved up to my frequency 
(14009) and called CQ.  Then moved up some more.  Finally he stopped just 
out of my passband on the high side.  Real loud and pumping the receiver. 
 Then I started hearing him send "KG1D KG1D LID LID ..." He went on to do 
this for over 30 minutes.  Not sure who got where first but it was quite a 
display.  Since S52ZW was 'walking' the band looking for a clear spot, I 
can imagine how it all got started...

I don't think I could have matched the N2NL/KQ2M scores, but with 
conditions like they were on Saturday, it would have been fun to try!  My 
wife commented that it was different to have me talking about how good 
conditions were instead of how bad.

Randy, K5ZD

Randy Thompson                Amateur Radio Call: K5ZD
11 Hollis Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

H (508) 278-2355             E-mail: k5zd at ultranet.com
W (617) 461-9100 x-150

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