The 2008 M6T CQWW SSB halucination experience......

on Wednesday 29 October 2008 - 20:24:00 | by mrsadmin

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: M6T
Operator(s): G4PIQ
Station: G0KPW

Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 43
Radios: SO2R

Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 275 14 59
80: 933 23 88
40: 830 29 95
20: 1865 37 113
15: 859 31 99
10: 25 3 20
Total: 4787 137 474 Total Score = 6,255,418



Rig : 2 x FT1000MP + Alpha 87A

160 Dipole @ 26m
80 4 square + Dipole @ 23m
40 402CD @ 30m + Vertical
20 204CD @ 28m + TH5 @ 28m
15 “ Extended 155BA @ 30m + TH5 @ 28m
10 105CA @ 30m

This didn't turn out to be a great contest for me. I had hoped to do at least a little work on the station before the contest, but I had a dreadful week at work with late nights, early mornings and senior escalations and didn't get clear of all that until nearly midday Friday - in fact for most of Friday morning I didn't even think I'd get to do the contest - I could see a weekend of work looming, but then we got a plan!

So, with all that clear I drove to the G0KPW contest site and started to
wind up the 4 towers. All this seemed to go well enough and by 1700 I was able to send a text mesage saying, all antennas up and working and was feeling pretty positive. I then turned to the shack to fix a few small faults which needed attention. During this testing I found that one of the FT1000MPs was about 10dB deaf and couldn't really detect band noise on a quiet HF band, so swapped the filters out of that radio into another one.

About this time however I also found that a fault had apeared on the 20m yagi and realised that the 20/10m tower would have to come down and get luffed over and worked on. I still had no food for the weekend (having wanting to make the most of daylight for antenna work) and had left some critical items at home in the late morning rush to get out, so then had to take 2.5 hours out to drive to late night shop, get food, drive home and then drive back to site.

Once back on site it was time to take down the tower and fix the antenna and then wind it back up. I completed all this just about on the stroke of 0000 UTC. The it took me about 30 minutes to finish configuring the station and make a start at 0031.

I chose to start on 80m and that ran well with 123 QSOs to EU and the US in
first 29 mins to the top of hour and then at about 0110 I saw that 40 was still really pretty well open to the US and went there and ran pretty well there to the US until about 0300. By this point I was already starting to suffer the halucinations of a lack of sleep - not a good sign on night #1 so had to take 15 minutes out to make a flask of tea to keep me going and sort out some other domestic things - had just not had a any time to get
this straight before the off. Back then to 80m to US/EU with a dip out to 160m around dawn. For me 160 wasn't in super shape - only a handful of the big gun East Coast US stations worked and none very loud – none of the West coast stuff reported by Tonno. After a quick trip back to 80 and 40, it was off to 20m at 0730 and a useful spattering of JAs amongst the rest of Asia and Eu. I also tried a bit on 15m but it didn't run well for long and of course kept checking 10m, although the lack of stubs on the 20m system (something else I had planned to fix, but timed out on) made it impossible to listen on 10m while transmitting on 20m since the antennas were only 2m or so apart.

The US opening came on 20 and brought decent rate. There were also US signals on 15, but not enough to make it worth scarificing the rate on 20. Up until about 1400 I'd been able to make decent use of the second radio, but now - mid afternoon unusually - the tierdness really started to hit me - I felt ill, had a headache, didn't want to eat and just wanted to go to bed! I struggled on working Ws, but almost in my sleep some of the time - falling asleep at the keyboard, and there's over a 4 hour period in my log where I just ran on 20 (at reasonable but not great rate) and didn't touch the second radio - many lost opportunities for mults there. To clear my head a little and allow me to carry on pushing through to the early hours I took a couple of 20 minute breaks in the 1800 hour and then knuckled down again. 20 stayed open until about 2000 and I then tried to go to 40m, and after a little struggle I managed to make some progress, mostly working Europeans. Again - I wasn't feeling up to using the second radio much, but I found the JA
double mult on 80 more or less by accident as I just switched the headphones over to use the second radio on 80 at one point and there was JR5VHU calling CQ!

From about 2200 I started to run the US well on 40m and I pushed on at that until about 0100 when I went and ran a load more on 80. All along while I was feeling shattered I had a plan to push through to 0200 and then sleep until 30 mins or so before sunrise at about 0630. I could see that the bands looked in better shape on that second night and I'd have liked to have stayed on, but I just had to get some sleep.

I woke up about 0600, felt much better, made another flask of tea and came
back to the bands about 0620 and found them again in better shape. Had a
good short run to the US on 80 then went to 160 for sunrise. Here I heard a
load of mults I couldn't raise (HC8A, KP + 3 or so other Caribbean I forget
now) but worked YV4A, HQ3Z, PJ2T and others. I need a better 160 Tx antenna.

Receive 160m on the 80m 4 square was a great help, but eliminated any chance of doing SO2R between 80 & 160. A return to 80m brought some good West Coast QSOs with W6/7 and VE7 and a little string of 5 ZL stations, but I didn't see 160 in decent shape to the West (which Tonno, ES5TV reported) and couldn't persuade any of the ZLs to go to 160. I left 80 at about 0745 to go to 40 for 30 mins and then went straight for 15 to try and fill some of holes in my mult table.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the band open to JA and I stayed running on 15 until about 1020 when it had got a bit quiet and I went back to 20 to work Asia and then onto the NA opening. During the start of the NA opening I was hoping that 15 would open and release me from the hell of 20m QRM, but it didn't look promising when at 1330 KC1XX was only S9 on 15. However, the next signal I came across was W3LPL who was peaking 30dB louder and so it was clearly time to go to 15. This opening seemed quite selective with the W1 and W2 folks seemingly being behind a curtain. This gave some of the best instantaneous rate of the contest with a perfect pile-up for a while and
500+ last 10 rates. Of course, it never lasts and the volume wasn't 500+ there to
sustain for more than 15 minutes or so. I stayed with 15 through to 1642 where it went slow and quiet and returned to the 20m for for a couple more hours of log filling. The 1900 hour saw a return to 40 with some pretty reasonable rate and some very loud JAs. Also managed to move both VK zones to 80 in this slot. and then ran a bit of 80, but only really to Eu until 2105.

At this point the 160m log was looking very neglected so went there to work some of the obligatory missing easy mults and stayed with good rate for nearly 2 hours before going to 80 (mistake) and then to 40 for the last 45 minutes and a useful pile of extra 3 pointers. Most interesting set of QSOs of that period was a 6 band move from 160 through to 10 of OH0E with good forward scatter signals on 15/10 over the optimal 1500km or so path - thanks for that!

So - overall - good fun - though it didn't feel much like it on afternoon / evening 1, but rather disappointed with the final result. Had I been on better form I'd like to think I could have been in the mix with Tonno, ES5TV & Ben, DL6FBL/SV9CVY around 7M, but I wasn’t and I’m not and congratulations to them for great results - each within their own station / propagation limitations. As to Toni CU2X/OH2UA - wow - I expected a big score - and he sounded commanding every time I heard him over the weekend - but a new Eu claimed record with no 10m is a great result. It makes trying to do SOAB for WRTC qualification points from this bit of Europe a bit of a waste of time though!

Comisserations to Ranko $o£a as well - cut off in his prime.

Looking forward to seeing who else has a big score too.

Usual thanks to Bob, G4BAH for the use of the station, to Jiri, M0ITY and Petr M0WTF, for fixing the 40m yagi after WAE SSB, and to Julie for looking after Anna all weekend again. Thanks also to everyone for the QSOs and moves.

73 & see you in some form for the CW leg

Andy, G4PIQ

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