I guess I more and more like CW contest. I used to be SSB only, did some CW and RTTY but with the smaller antenna`s it is more fun on CW even I´m not far as good as I could be 🙂 but that´s just because I´m to lazy to practice more.
As I recently moved to a new QTH I installed some ropes with the help of KZ4M to hang my wire´s a bit higher. Still no permanent installation but I was on air. I installed a 80m quarter wave GP with 2 elevated radials feedpoint and radials are only about 3ft high. 40m also a quarter wave GP with 3 elevated radials, feedpoint about 18ft high, this antenna could be permanent at this tree. 20m a Deltaloop (not premanent) pointing to EU, feedpoint 18ft high, APEX 40ft at a tree. 2 weeks prior to the WPX a new HyGain AV-640 arrived and I installed it at 6ft in the backyard, it should cover 40-6m but still needs some tuning so only used it on 20-10m. It´s a compromise but at least it´ll give me some bands on a small footprint.
A couple of days before WPX my new Flex 6600 from Flexradio arrived here, I wasn´t sure if I want to try it with no experience in WPX but I was to curious how it works so I gave it a try, more later.
I recognized that during daytime most bands, 40-10m were USA only while once its dark 40m and 20m was good into EU. Asia is a different story from here, very hard to get heard in BY and JA while OC (VK and ZL) works okay.
The contest started on 20m with DQ5M, my clubmember from C25 in Germany. I did mostly S&P von 20m and after Sunset on 40m for 6 point DX QSOs.
I experienced problems with the new Flex. It stopped receiving, I had to reboot it several times and it was so anoying that I quit after 5-6 reboots at 8utc. Also I had a busy week in QRL and no rest I was already 23 hours awake.
I came back 12:30utc and was bouncing on 20-10m but just NA 1 point QSOs. The Flex kept quiting on me every now and then and I closed the station 18 utc and heated up the grill 🙂 WX was just to nice to deal with the drop outs of the radio, it really pulled me down but I came back after an early dinner at 21utc. Still mostly NA on 20m but EU got stronger and I got some into the log. At 22utc EU was very good and I could log mostly EU, even call CQ with answers from EU and it became fun again but … the radio kept quitting on me. I tried to find the cause, I did remove connections to radio, installed a choke, reduced power but it still happened. I was not thinking to realy compete anymore, I switched off at 4:20utc. This night was mostly NA on 40m no comparisson to the first night were I got more EU but still good and fun.
I set no alarm and came back to the station at 10:20utc, no Asia or OC, just NA. Most of Sunday was like that, doesn´t matter which band I tried. I think bigger antennas and an amp might help 🙂 I kept going with some small breaks for lunch and dinner. And the fun began with a nice EU opening on 20m. First only S&P but after finding a CQ frequency ABOVE 14100!!! the rest was occupied, I could get a nice run to EU. I planned to go to 40m for the end but I stayed until I closed the station with the good EU signals on 20m. I closed the log with 1200 QSOs and about 1.5 Mio. points at 23:23utc and about 29 hours on air (I guess not really 29 hours as I was trying to find the failure on the flex).
The cause is still not discovered but I found that the PTT kept on even after the keying from N1MM should stop, also ESC which usually stops keying did not help. Only toggling PTT in Smart SDR on and off brought my RX back. So restarting the Flex and my computer all weekend was nonsense but it works, just took longer. I´m curious what the cause is, I heard a friend in DL experienced the same. Lets see what we can find. But the Flex was great with the sharp filters, the spectrum is amazing and with N1MM+ spectrum and a DXcluster it even show´s the call above each CW peak. I still have lot of things to learn but the first test was quite nice (exept the RX problem).
Thanks for all QSO, even with the RX problems and the mostly 1 point QSOs it was still a fun weekend on the radio. I planned 25 hours on air with 1000 QSO and 1 million points end ended with 29 hours, 1200 QSOs and 1.5 million points. I already have some ideas for the next one 😉
Matt – NU4E
Here are a few statistics from CQ WPX: