Welcome aboard to new member, John NA6L. John hails from San Diego and is a past President of the San Diego DX Club. His QTH is more than 200 ft. above sea level and overlooks the San Diego Bay. John enjoys the digital modes, especially on 6 and 160 meters.
ARRL sent out a survey on the Sweepstakes contests in late November. Word on the street is that everyone who submitted a 2019 SS log via their web site were sent the survey. I hope that if you received it, you took the time (or will) to respond. It is obvious that the ARRL is considering changes to the contest rules to potentially increase participation. Some things under consideration are shortening the contest, moving the start/stop times to something earlier in the day, combining phone and CW into the same weekend (allowing stations to be contacted once per mode), adding digital to the contest, etc. Those are some radical changes, and I'm sure the contest committee won't do anything drastic without careful consideration. On one hand, many of us don't like to see big changes to our contests. On the other hand, many of us complain about the Sunday doldrums. Interestingly, allowing contacts once per band is not included in the survey. Perhaps that is TOO radical...
Speaking of SS...
What a great turn out we had for the Phone contest in early November! Conditions were still poor, as they have been for a few years now (short 15 meter openings Saturday and Sunday, and nothing on 10 meters really) but still, a great turn out and from the comments, everyone had a great time whether going at it full time or part time. All of your scores add up in the club category, so I hope everyone continues to put in some time in the contests, even if you can't do a full effort. Besides, even those short operating stints are a lot of fun, right?! For SS Phone, yours truly was pretty tied up Saturday and chose to forgo that day completely. Instead, I operated Sunday only and while I normally operate high power, I elected to go low power for this one. My thought was that on Sunday I would be fresh meat and the pile ups would be smaller or non-existent. And I was right. Though, with the solar cycle at this point, 20 meters was pretty packed by day and 40 by night, so I had zero luck trying to generate a run by CQing. Still, I had a great time S&Ping fast and furiously. If you can't go all out, it becomes a matter of choosing your strategy to maximize your fun (and score) in a part time effort.
Comments from the Sweepstakes Phone contest are noted below. SFI 70, A 4, K 3, slightly better than the CW weekend.
Dick, W6TK noted that the bands seemed slightly better than the CW weekend. He thought Saturday was better than Sunday. The upgrade to his SteppIR DB32 (adding a 3rd element on 40m) seemed to make a difference and made 40 the money band for him. While collecting a sweep, he noted that he worked only one station in eight of the ARRL sections. Dan, N6MJ was his only Orange QSO and Dick questioned where were all the other ORG guys. Jim, W6KC did a mostly S&P effort and wishes 10 & 15 had been open. Bob, KF6I thought conditions were better than on the CW weekend. Kent, N6WT was testing his new Flex 6600 and reports that it worked very well. He tried to get the Maestro working but no dice interfacing it to N1MM+ logger. He'll work on that. He missed six sections for the sweep. Paul, W6PNG tested his dual Elecraft station during the contest. Levi, K6JO did SO2R from home for the first time, with some help from NN1C and N9JA. Levi missed NT and NL for the sweep.
Some comments from the CW weekend:
Jim, K6ZH managed a sweep on his birthday weekend, despite going out to dinner and a show. His last sections were PR and MB. Bob, KF6I spent a little time in the contest and decided to go low power to test a Palomar 9:1 balun feeding a 170 ft. long wire up 40 feet. He reports that it seemed to work pretty well. Ken, K6LA discovered S9 noise before the contest and while trying to find the source, it went away. Apparently it was a storm off in the distance. Whew! He recorded a sweep ten hours into the contest. Dana, K6NR reported good conditions on 20 and 40. He missed PR and NL for the sweep. Dan, WA6URY recorded 190 Q's while operating remote from Tokyo! John, W6JBR had fun with the K3 despite the marginal conditions, and reported that 15 was pretty decent for him. Larry, N6NC operated N7LU QRP using a 20m stick antenna poking out a window with a single radial. He estimates that his set up was 2-3 watts ERP! Eric, NC6K scored his sweep early Sunday and may have recorded his all-time high score in SS CW. He reported that 20 and 40 were very good most of the weekend. Marko, N5ZO had fun battling Dave, K6LL on the live scoreboard, and reports that he squeezed past him in the last ten minutes when Dave apparently took that time off. He feels he outdid Dave on 40 but Dave outdid him on 20. Ed, AI6O came home late Saturday evening and had a lot of fun on 40 and 80. Sunday, after church, he put some time in on 40 and 20. Frank, WA6KHK had trouble getting mentally into the contest. His XYL passed away five days after CQP. Our condolences, Frank. Paul, WN6K concentrated on reducing the number of errors compared to last year. He feels he did better in that area this time around. He missed WTX, PR and NL for the sweep. Dave, W6ZL missed NNY, NL and SK for the sweep. Yours truly (NE6I) jumped on Sunday and had a good time S&Ping, all low power. A few tries at running were 100% fruitless!
CQWW CW conditions were about as expected for this point in the sunspot cycle. SFI of 70, A index of 10 and K index of 2. This limited the 10 and 15 meter openings obviously. Sunday presented a nice long opening into South America and the Caribbean with some EU, AF and Pacific sprinkled in. Bill, N6RV reported that 40 meters was hot for him. He racked up 612 Q's there and missed only zones 2, 34 and 40 on that band. Paul, WN6K felt Sunday was not as good as Saturday. He was not able to beat his last year's score. Rick, N6PE was having so much fun that he kept going long after he usually hangs it up at 200 Q's. He managed to work VK9CZ in the last few minutes...great job! Ed, AI6O felt that conditions were pretty good. Bruce, WA7BNM was pleasantly surprised that conditions were better than he expected. He mentioned having a few Asians CQ "in his face" when he could work them barefoot a few years ago. Dick, W6TK had family in early for Thanksgiving but they were gracious enough to allow him to put in 22+ hours in the contest. Very nice! He felt that Friday night and Saturday conditions were okay but Sunday wasn't as good. Mike, KX6A did well with 100 watts and a wire in a tree. He reported doing considerably better than last year. Dana, K6NR operated his desert station remotely and reports that it worked flawlessly. He said conditions on 20 and 40 were very good through Saturday night. He worked some choice DX on 80 and 160, and some JA's on 15 Friday night, something he reports is uncommon these days. Ken, K6LA operated his VY2TT station, recording just over 9 million points in 46 hours. Things kept hopping for him and he didn't take his first break until 33 hours into the contest! 40 was his money band and 160 outperformed 15 for him QSO-wise! Wyatt, AI6V shared the 9A1TT station (as a pair of single op stations) and had an absolute blast. Marty, N6VI reported that 15m was the money band at 3B8M but West Coast contacts were hard to come by. Larry, K6RO made a last minute decision to get into the contest. His rotator was fixed Wednesday but his amplifier gave him fits. Jim, W6YA entered single band 15 meters and said it was quite the challenge. Bill, N6WS operated mostly Friday night and Saturday morning. He was happy about his 80m vertical working well on that band. He hopes to add a range switch to improve the SWR across the entire band. Steve, K0XP said conditions were notablly worse this year compared to last. He had some trouble breaking through to some of the DX but reported working all BY stations heard, rather unusual for him. Terry, N6CW operated from W6XI's Arizona station, and had DXCC in 11 1/2 hours, all on 40 meters! Bill, W8QZA did his usual QRP operation. 26% of his Q's were with JA's! He also picked up entity #94 toward his 80m DXCC. Dan, WA6URY once again remoted in to his home station in LAX from Tokyo. David, N6AN operated QRP from Caltech Pasadena, sort of Field Day style, putting up a 20m half square antenna using trees and fiberglass poles on Sunday. On Saturday, he braved 30 degree weather and snow in the San Gabriel mountains in an attempt to leverage a several thousand foot drop off to the north and east. Chas, W6UM did all S&P with his antenna stuck at 60 degrees (rotator failure). Don, N6IC commented that considering we are at the sunspot minimum, it was a great weekend. He even managed a few 10m contacts. Kurt, W6PH and WA1Z operated VP9I from the QTH of VP9GE, although I think all 8M+ points went to YCCC. Kurt? They reported excellent low band numbers, experiencing quiet conditions on 160 and 80. A short opening to the U.S. on 10m Saturday did not result in as many Q's as they would have liked but hey, with no sunspots, some Q's are better than none. Marko, N5ZO was with a couple of Frenchmen at 6V7A and banged out an amazing 19M points in the M/2 HP category, a score that is likely to stand as the top score in that one. 3830 is showing all of those points going to YCCC (ugh). Hope a third of them will go toward SCCC. Unforunately, they experienced a 3+ hour power outage, or they likely would have eclipsed the 20M point mark. 80m was great the first night for them, and they wound up with more than 1,000 QSOs on the band for the first time from Senegal. Tim, N6GP said 15 was marginal for him and he never heard a peep on 10. 20 was rough for him as well. Dan, N6MJ operated ZF1A once again, and reported relatively good conditions the first day but horrible the second day. He averaged 268 Q's per hour during the first 31 hours (holy cow!) and 113 during the last 17 hours. He tells us he had been training for this contest since July 1!
CQ has published the final results of the 2019 CQ WPX CW contest. Ken, K6LA piloted VY2TT to 3rd place World Single Op All Band HP. Bill, W8QZA operated W6QU and took 3rd place USA Single Op All Band QRP. SCCC placed 7th in the USA with just over 50 million points. Great job, everyone!
CQ has also published the top ten raw scores for each category in the recent October CQWW DX SSB. These are before log checking. VY2TT (op K6LA) appears 8th World SOHP All Bands, just ahead of N5DX. The full list of scores can be found here
And on December 1, CQ published the top ten raw scores in November's CQWW DX CW contest. Dan, N6MJ who operated ZF1A is showing as 3rd in the world Single Op All Band HP, following D4C and TI7W. Ken, K6LA piloted his VY2TT station to 10th in the category. The 3B8M M/M team appears 9th in the world. The full list appears here
ARRL's June 2019 VHF Contest final results are out. Tim, N6GP is the Limited Rover winner in the Southwestern Division. Endaf, N6UTC is the Unlimited Rover winner in the Division. Greg, W6IT took the top spot Single Op, Low Power in the Southwest. And Peter's Unlimited MultiOp effort took 1st in the Division in the Unlimited MultiOp category. We did not get the Sporadic-E openings that we got last year. This year was very limited in the number of openings, and scores reflect that. The January VHF contest is right around the corner (Jan 18-20) so keep the gear ready!
2019 Field Day results have also been published now. Arnie, N6HC placed 5th overall in the Top Ten Scores bracket. He entered as a 5A station. Hey Arnie, send us some pictures next time! (Or now if you have any from the 2019 operation.)
In an interesting promotion, the folks at Contest Online Scoreboard offered some new plaques for CQWW CW last month. The idea is to encourage more contesters to configure their contest logging software to report scoring real time. There has been some concern by some in the contesting community that doing so would place a single operator unassisted into the assisted category, or provide competitive information to competitors. Most of the major contest sponsors have stated that reporting to scoreboards does not
place one into the assisted category. As well, there is not any band specific or other information on the scoreboards to help one's competitor. Most of us that have used them find them helpful in that they drive us to have more BIC time. I hope that more of you will consider configuring your contest logger to report your scores real time. These sites provide help files if you need some assistance setting reporting up. The link to the CQWW CW plaques at Contest Online Scoreboard is here
. I personally like to watch the scoreboard whether or not I am participating in the contest. It's fun to watch the close races, or, if indeed I am participating, the scoreboard motivates me to keep plugging and climbing up the ladder.
Here is a little something that I found and thought I'd share. The New England Film and TV History group put a video on YouTube with recordings of ID's of AM radio stations heard on all 118 AM North American Medium Wave channels from 530 kHz to 1700 kHz, including such famous stations as WOR and WGN. Many of you are probably like me, and have spent some time doing so-called AM DXing. In fact, I credit AM DXing with helping spark my interest in radio. As a young pre-teen and teenager, I of course discovered Top 40 radio and was glued to my little table top AM radio listening to music all afternoon after school. However, at night, I soon discovered that I could hear far away stations if I tuned carefully. In fact, I learned that if I wound a piece of wire around my radio's bar antenna and ran that wire out the window, I could pick up some REALLY far away stations. I remember hearing KOMA in Oklahoma, CKLW in Ontario, Canada, KSL in Salt Lake City and WGN in Chicago, all from my bedroom in San Diego! The bug had bitten and my fascination with radio continues to this day! Enjoy the video here
Here's wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a Happy New Year!
Strange but true...
A lightning bolt generates temperatures five times hotter than those found at the sun's surface!
73 for now,