M6T (G4PIQ) WPX Report - 31/March/08

on Monday 31 March 2008 - 17:13:50 | by mrsadmin
There's been a bit more life in the Sax swamp.... Pity not to work either Gary or Dave this time!


160 121 0 13 252 2.08
80 807 7 408 2829 3.51
40 469 4 114 1525 3.25
20 2007 30 458 4883 2.43
15 168 2 70 374 2.23
10 0 0 0 0 0.00
TOTAL 3572 43 1063 9863 2.76
TOTAL SCORE : 10 484 369

2 x FT1000MP + Alpha 87A + Titan

160m : Inv-V @ 28m
80m : 4 square + Inv-V @ 20m
40m : Random 402CD / Rotary Dipole @ 30m 20m : 204BA @ 28m + TH5 @ 32m 15m : Extended 155CA @ 25m 10m : 105CA @ 30m (FWIW)

About 290 second radio QSOs

A last minute decision to do this one to get some more WRTC qualification points (is everyone else in the UK just silently chasing these?) without cramming everything else into the Summer! It was also helpful that the antennas were still on the towers after the Russian DX Contest 2 weeks previous and the indoor station was all still together so setup should have been relatively easy. To try and make this as family friendly as possible on a week's holiday from work, I didn't plan to go to site until Friday afternoon to wind the towers up. Unfortunately, when I got there I found some wind damage to the TH5 and 402CD which needed the tower dropping and work on both antennas and feeders. I also took the opportunity to fix (I thought) one of the loading coils on the 402 which has surcomed to the usual corrosion problem. This all took a couple of hours longer than planned and throughout it was wet, cold and windy (Met Office said gusts to 55 mph) - certainly too windy to riase either of the 2 towers which had multiple antennas on. Thankfully about 5pm the wind dropped and I was able to get both those towers up and guyed off and before complete darkness came got the 15m one up to 80% height. After going shopping for food and dealing with a few other jobs, the only remaining antenna work was to re-tune the 80m 4 square to the SSB section of the band. After some adjustments to the station, I was pretty much all ready to go almost 30 minutes before the contest - unusual!

With the focus on low bands and inter-continental QSOs in this one, and the lack of a per-band multiplier, I decided to plan most of my off-time during the mornings where most QSOs would be from Europe on the HF bands, and we haven't got enough sunspots to give a decent JA opening. I operated 0000-0622, 1140-0318, 0505-0619, 0720-0742, 1046-1106, 1206-2359. The short periods of on-time on the second day were an attempt to try and capture some additional mults from areas that might have got ignored otherwise, but were generally a raging disaster where basic scoring rates were nowhere near high enough so I canned them pretty quickly. Was a bad choice to have swapped some LF night-time operating time for them. While tired, I also screwed up my off-time calculations slightly and with the 1 hour minimum off-time rule ended up 5 minutes short of 36 hours operating time.

The advantage of a 36 hour format over the 48 hour format of CQWW isn't that you get more sleep though - it just gives you more time to fix tings that break. During the off time on Saturday I dropped the TH5/402 tower again to try and fix an intermittent problem with the 402. This time found an open circuit on the loading coil on the other side of the reflector, but quite badly corroded. Thought that I had fixed it OK, but unfortunately the problem returned to haunt me. This isn't a good contest to try and be competitive on 40m with a rotary dipole! On Sunday I had an amplifier in pieces during one of the off-times!

Overall I thought that conditions were about as good as could be expected at this point in the cycle - certainly better than in the Russian DX Contest, although I didn't hear a signal on 10 all weekend (didn't look much though!), 15 was very poor with no US opening (other than NQ4I on scatter), very little to Asia (though Steve 9M8Z was very loud Sunday) and, just as reported by DR1A, no USA opening at all night 1 on 40m, and a marginal one on night #2. I therefore spent a lot of time on 80m and 20m! I had some awful periods on 20m where I just got run off my frequencies, including a 42 hour at 1700 on Sunday, but there were also some pretty decent hours to be had there.

This was my second serious outing with Win-Test - better - but I still don't like all of it as well as TR and I found a number of irritating bugs which I'll raise on the Win-Test reflector - however having full control of headphone switching for SO2R from the keyboard and the automation of this into scenarios is very useful, and ultimately, DOS is dead....

Thanks to everyone for the QSOs. Hope everyone else fun - seemed to be some useful UK activity this time. Thanks to Bob, G4BAH for the use of the station again, and to Julie for letting me out to play and looking after our daughter all weekend twice in a month! Should be quiet from me for a few months now!


Andy, G4PIQ