Clive Whelan clive_whelan at btinternet.com
Tue Apr 10 19:14:52 EDT 2001

Here is Steve's account of the recent WPX operation.

This will also be archived on the web site shortly


gw3njw at gw7x.org
Contest Cymru-GW7X


WPX SSB 2001  First Operation of GW7X   (GW4BLE)

Although the 2001 WPX SSB Contest was some two weeks ago, the
log mailing deadline is still with us (May 1st), so hopefully
this brief resume of operation from the GW4BLE station will
still be of topical interest. Note that although the operation
was from my station it was not with my call, but that of the
newly formed Contest Cymru ( go to http://www.gw7x.org for

The weekend prior to the WPX contest I had no particular plans
for a serious entry in this year's event. For major contests, I
always plan well in advance, managing work and family
commitments such that I am not just ready for the contest
weekend itself, but at least a week prior to the event.
Although my station is in daily use, there's no reason to be
complacent when it comes to big events like CQWW or ARRL. Those
niggly things that tend to appear during normal day-to-day
operation will manifest themselves ten-fold during a contest
weekend. Murphy had already paid two tentative visits to my
shack in recent weeks - there was an intermittent receive
problem with the DSP malfunctioning on the FT1000MP, and my
computer keyboard had decided to seize up whenever the letter
"J" was pressed.

Monday morning, 19th March, I received an email from Clive
Whelan GW3NJW to say that he had some good news and some
not-so-good news for the group. The good news was that the call
GW7X had been issued to the group, the not-so-good news was that
at this late stage it was unlikely that we would be able to pull
anything together in time for WPX as any operation would have to
be from Clive's location (despite owning a microphone, Clive is
not a great aficionado of SSB!) and the Radiocommunications
Agency would require seven clear days notice for operation
elsewhere. However, I do have a certain rapport with the local
agency staff and was confident to be able to negotiate clearance
to use the call from my location if needs be. In view of my
comments in an earlier paragraph, my current state of affairs
was not really conducive to a serious multi-op entry.  (A couple
of years ago a few of the locals and I got together for a "fun"
  multi-single entry from here , but it was just that, i.e. "fun"
and it had already been agreed in principal that any Contest
Cymru operation should always be more than that and my station
is not really built for a serious multi-op).  That having been
said, there were no other takers within the team wishing to
operate the event with any serious intent so it was down to me
to give it my "best shot" come the weekend....

I had a busy workload in the days leading up to the contest, in
addition to some family commitments to clear before the weekend.
However, by late Friday afternoon the desks were cleared
(literally, as I work from home these days) and I even had
chance to post a very late notice of the operation onto the NG3K
website  (an excellent source of information on planned contest
operations). Clive was also able to pre-empt the inevitable QSL
avalanche by updating the GW7X QSL information (via GW3XEJ) on
the buckmaster and QRZ.com servers.

So, finally to the contest itself. I decided to enter the Single
Op All Band Low-Power category. Having performed well in the
CQWW contest last year, which was my first shot in the low power
section, I was confident to do well in WPX. The call itself
would  be an attraction, although granted that every third
contact in WPX is, on average, a new multiplier, the GW7 prefix
on HF was unique. The set-up here consists of an FT1000MP with a
Hy-Gain TH7 at approx. 40 feet and a Cushcraft 40-2CD two
element 40 metre stacked 9 feet above it. For 80 metres there is
a dipole hung in a neighbouring tree and my tower is shunt-fed
for top-band.  Certainly nothing exceptional.  What *does* work
well from here though is the location, the ground slopes from
West through North and is clear apart from a slight ridge
obscuring the outlook just South of West. VP8 is about the most
difficult shot from here!

With reasonable HF conditions I can run North America and Japan
almost on a par with the big-gun QRO merchants from Europe, 40
metres also plays well to the States but 80 metres can be a
struggle as the higher power definitely helps, even with the GW7
prefix!   As the GW7X log is available on our web site I do not
intend to give a blow-by-blow analysis here, besides it really
is now only of historic interest, however the following snippets
taken from the CT.not (note) file gives some flavour of the
event as it started to unfold over the weekend. These are mostly
taken on Saturday, indicative of the upturn in conditions to

00:14 80m - burned off by UT7E . i'm too weak here.
02:49 40m -  40m yagi is FB!
04:00 80m - some guy said my call was coming out as G4W7X - I
must be getting tired...
09:05 15m - slow going, band open to JA. but signals weak,
10:14 10m - called by TO5T, where is he ...?
10:15 40m - bands VERY poor
11:26 20m - band sounds really weird
13:57 15m - wkd serge M0SDX at UT0U
17:58 15m - getting stomped on now - 100W too low to keep freq
19:34 10m - wow 10 !!
09:57 15m - kq2m worked beaming ja/zl - early
10:11 15m - sticking J key on keyboard   (n.b. see my earlier
observations on this!)
13:21 10m - wrking we9a, beaming 240 degrees
16:29 10m - rushing noise on band - solar noise?
19:35 10m - getting local noise level up to s9
19:59 10m - n2ix 5 watts and dipole!
20:32 10m - still 10 over in colorado

Oh yes, this is the bottom line :

160     12     6
80      234    150
40      146    91
20      193    68
15      1284   388
10      858    154

ALL     2727   857

WPX Score:   6,252,672


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