Wednesday, 29 March 2017

#cqww WPX 2017 contest review

Event: CQWW WPX SSB 2017
Section: LOW power SSB
Logger: N1MM+ latest version
Station: Icom IC-706MK2G at 100W
Antenna 1: 84m horizontal loop @7m agl
Antenna 2: Coppertape vertical (7,1m)  @9m agl
Antenna 3: 10m HB9CV @6m agl

A litte late with the review, just didn't have the time to review the log and things. I didn't spend all the time at contesting. It actually was less then expected. Therefore I probabely missed some nice openings on 15m. The weather was great and there were some chores that had to be done. My little girl already asked if I would build the trampoline again for her and so it had be done. After that I had to play with her of course, a lot of fun. I really don't know how on earth I managed to make 455 QSOs after all and reasonable DX as well last weekend. I attended a rock concert at friday and was back home at 01:30 local time in the morning. Up 06:30 local time (5:30 UTC) and started with the contest. Propagation was great on 160/80/40.

I managed a New Zealand QSO on 40m with ZL4YL Xenia, absolutely my best DX this weekend. She made many operators happy, although she was very very weak her high voice was cutting through like a knife making many QSOs to Europe. I heard her on Sunday morning as well. Unfortenately I never heard a whisper from S21 or E51 not even on other (WARC) bands as well. So, no ATNO this weekend...however I made some nice DX even on a almost dead 15m band.

The propagation on 20m, 15m and 10m was on and off. Like bursts. The only station I heard on 10m the whole weekend was 9A1A but I was not able to make any QSO there. When I tuned over the 20m band Saturday evening it was already completely dead very soon after sunset. But later on around 22:30 UTC it came to life again when I heard and worked several USA and Canadian stations. It was difficult to get into the shack at daylight but when I sometimes did for 5 or 10 minutes I luckely worked some DX. Sometimes the DX station was the only one on the band strange enough, like there was a pipeline between us. I noticed many strong stations were S9 at one moment and 5 minutes later they were covered by noise and signals were decreasing very fast. The low bands were much better, I even heard a few stations from the USA on 160m SSB although I was not able to get my tiny signal through and make a QSO. I noticed A lot of stations from the USA now between 3,6-3,7 MHz, they suddenly discovered this part of the 80m band? Or is it a change in restrictions? In the years past I always worked USA split were they transmit above 3,8 MHz and listen between 3,6-3,7 MHz. Propagations were indeed great sunday morning as most of the USA stations were S9 here on 80m. Last contacts were made on 80m sunday night, I struggled to get to 400 when suddenly I was spotted by good friend PB7Z, followed by a huge pile-up getting my 72 QSO extra in the log that hour. Tnx Bernard!

There are several ways to analyze the log. I have choosen a map per band worked to view:

15m only propagation tp the south and especially Africa. Daylight propagation when I had not much time playing radio.

20m always the DX band. Best DX with Japan

40m was exceptional good. Best DX New Zealand

80m was very good as well with some transatalantic contacts

160m was in very good shape for Europe. Although USA has been heard here
Last year I did the 100 DXCC QRP within 100 days challenge. I was in this contest with QRP, only 5W from my Yaesu FT-817. After I submitted my log at the CQWW WPX site I obtained my certificate for last year and discovered I was number one in the Netherlands ;-) Happy with the result!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Alpha Charlie (Air Cadets) again

Last chance for dutch stations to work these rare blue ham exercise air cadet station. Is it legal? That's a question that has been asked due to the posts and my activity on 60m. Yes, in the Netherlands at least it is legal to work these stations as the transmissions were directed to radioamateurs. Both militairy as radioamateurs are allowed to transmit and make contacts on the 60m band.

So, this weekend was the CQWW contest and in between I wanted to try to work some more and shoot some video from this rare event. Unfortenately I only heard a few MRE stations and they were weaker as last weekend. However, I managed to work some of them and shoot the video I wanted. It shows the difference in calling. This video is certainly a lot better compared the my previous one.

I didn't qualify for a certificate unfortenately. Only a few have made more as 25 contacts needed. Wish they send a certificate for at least 5 contacts made, it's difficult enough!

My results from their site:

Contacts for PE4BAS = 6
MRE71(5.395), MRE31(5.403), MRE41(5.395), MRE65(5.404), MRE31(5.395), MRE65(5.398),
Contacts for PE3BAS = 1

MRE21 logged me wrong, it doesn't matter. I can imagine you make a mistake if you're not used to listen to SSB signals. And MRE21 certainly was a young cadet and not a experienced HAM radio operator.

A map of their contacts from their site:

Thursday, 23 March 2017

#cqww WPX SSB 2017 what's interesting?

Well, in the weekend that our time changes from winter to summertime (or vice versa) it's contest
time. So is this weekend. I've been looking at the announced operations for this contest. So far the
only interesting DXCC that's a ATNO for me personally would be E51 (South Cook Isl.) and S21 (Bangladesh). I will look out for them definitely. If I would plan a major DXpedition I would always try to do that during the biggest contests weekends, it gives so many more QSOs. However propagation is a bit low but chances for DX are always there. I will not be on for 48 hours but slip into the shack whenever possible, probabely most times during the night and early morning. The PE4 suffix is not that common so I expect some nice pile-ups.

Hear you on the air!