Monday, May 27, 2013

CQ WPX CW contest in the books

This sure was a weekend were the solar activity played a huge role in contest endurance. I entered the contest QRP at 5 watts. I did not turn the rig on Friday evening as I find the start of these contests can get very very busy. I was on and off both Saturday and Sunday. I put in about 5 hours on Saturday and on Sunday it was around 3 hours. Sunday was spent getting household chores done and spare time was on the radio.
Lots of  Solar action
I had a total of 92 contacts my score was 18,800 points and 80 WPX contacts. I did have a blast when I was in the contest and for the first time ever I was contently having to repeat my call and my exchange due to solar conditions.
Some lessons learned
  1. When running N1MM logging program, N4PY rig control software and the Flex Radio Flexcontrol vfo knob all together through LP-Bridge some very very strange things can happen. This resulted in some lost contacts and down time due to software issues.Going to have to get these programs to shake hands and get along.
  2. Funny thing.....I have been practicing my contest CW code with Morse runner and using my laptop. Well it would seem that my fingers became very familar with the smaller keyboard on the laptop. When I contested on my home PC and regular sized keyboard I was making mistake after mistake while keyboarding calls and exchanges. I do have a smaller keyboard for the desktop PC and started to use it towards the end. Going to have to stick to the same keyboard as it seems size does matter.
Some of the joys of the contest
  1. It seemed to me that most of the contesters CW speed was in around 25-30 wpm and I did find that very comfortable. 
  2. At least the bummer conditions were world wide and leaves us all in the same playing field more or less. 
  3. I contacted OQ5M in the contest and soon after he commented on my blog of how good my signal was. This fast interaction is kinda cool. 
  4. My contact with Australia, Cuba and Hawaii. 
  5. The politeness of the op's whom I had to give several repeats too, those who still could not make out my call just said "bad QRM and hope to contact later 73"

10 comments:

  1. Hi Mike, glad you had fun during the contest. I entered it as well even if with few time and conditions were just crap. Did SO80m QRP. My sum up + SH5 of the log will be published soon after the log deadline. I find that the less you depend upon the PC and the better, try to keep less software running (N1MM should be enough). Just my 2cent.
    Stefano IZ3NVR

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    1. Good morning Stefano, with the conditions the way they were it was a very brave move to go SO80m and then QRP to boot. As for the software yes I used to run just N1MM in the past. I now have the Flex knob and it runs along side N4PY radio control software. I like the flex knob as it's down by my keyboard and has some function buttons I can program for spot feature and Mhz, Khz and Hz turning all with the push of a button beside the keyboard. But as you say this is going to be a recipe for software troubles.
      Have a good week.
      Mike

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  2. Hi Mike, again you did a great job in the contest. Indeed conditions were poor but still you made nice qso's. Keep up the good work. 73 Paul

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    1. Top of the morning to you Paul, thanks very much for the kind words. I see the contests as a good time to get on the radio and keep the code up to snuff.
      Mike

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  3. Mike, last weekend tried the patience of any contester but to jump in with QRP, kudos to you! I only made a handful of contacts personally. Funny how lots of this solar activity happens on contest weekends ;0) 73/72! Phil

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    1. Good morning Phil and very nice to hear from you, Funny you should mention the propagation I just finished checking and had seen the K index at 0....figures! I had a great time and for me to punch out 5 watts during a contest is rather high. When conditions are good I am in the 1 watt or less mark and still make loads of contacts. With the conditions the way they were I wanted to give it all I had...:)
      Have a good week
      Mike

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  4. Even with the strange propagation and CW sounding like fingernails on a blackboard I had my best score ever QRP !!! 144 Qs , 139 mults for 68,249 40 meters single band .... LOVE QRP !! Elecraft K1 was great during the whole test !! de George , N2JNZ

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    1. Good evening George, very nice work getting 144 Q's with QRP power!
      Mike

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  5. Mike,

    Kudos on sticking out the CQ WPX CW contest this year. Conditions were as have been reported by everyone were rather challenging.

    I did manage to better my score from last year but last year I only participated part time and only single band 15m. It took me all weekend and all bands to better what was easily accomplished last year.

    Indeed, CW speeds did seem to be slower than usual. This too is an indication of the poor conditions.

    As to, DX, South and Central America stations were everywhere and relatively easy as were many US stations but surprisingly some were not so easy. I found Europe was mostly non-exisitent until the last five to six hours of the contest when conditions improve in that direction.

    My best DX this contest where working Spain on 80m QRP (I forget which evening but late, local sunrise in Spain) and NN2DX also on 80m which according to QRZ is Hawaii but I have not been able to confirm. As much as anything else, it is a matter of luck and being in the right place at the right time.

    It was a long weekend as I put in a lot of hours but it was fun non the less. I used to spend time playing in just about every contest that was going on. I have become more selective lately and tend to only play in the BIGGER ones.

    cheers, Graham ve3gtc (near Ottawa)

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    1. Good afternoon Graham, always nice to hear from Ottawa! nice that you were able to improve on your score considering the condition of the bands. I was able to hear more of Europe than either South America or even the States! Now contacting them was another story.
      Well tomorrow is Friday and have a great weekend.
      Mike

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