Monday, March 30, 2020

#CQWW WPX SSB 2020 review

Event: CQWW WPX SSB 2020
Section:  Single Operator All band SSB low assisted
Logger: N1MM+ newest version
TRX: Icom IC-7300 100W
Antenna 1: Inverted-V 2x20m @12m apex
Antenna 2: Multiband vertical @16m
Antenna 3: 4 elem. 10m LFA beam @14m

Tradionally the last big contest of the season for me. I hate to complain but it was really a struggle to me in the end. Normally you have a good chance to work the rare DX at the end of the contest but not this time and so I called endless times to DX I really wanted to work without being heard although some of the DX was really 59 here. Not that I didn't have my luck, I did make it to 5Z4/G3AB from Kenya and 5T5PA from Mauritania. And a whole lot of USA and Canada. Once again VY2ZM came back on my CQ on 160m, not the first time, if you sneeze on 160m Jeff will hear it for shure! I was glad the 10m band opened on both Saturday and Sunday and spend a lot of time there, although Saturday was way better. Made 53 QSOs on 10 including a lot of South America. I had some runs on 80m like always but it didn't hold on unfortunately although my signal was really strong obviously, ask fellow blogger OQ5M Franki ;-) I worked him on 160m and 80m. Especially the last hours Sunday evening didn't went successful, it was like my signal vaporized although nothing was wrong....stations were all S9 but it was just too busy on the bands, too much splatter, too many calling. Is it a psychological game? If you think your signal isn't heard it will happen...well that's SSB's difficult.

 Not shure why the analyzing site did take 5Z4 as ODX. I made several QSOs to Brazil and Paraquay at about 11000km. Also worked Japan which is 9000km from here.

Heard ZM1A on both 40m and 20m, but unfortunately no luck this time. Not blaming him as he was in a constant pile up. Same counts for KL7RA who was really strong on both 40m and 20m but too many calling. However I heard a lot of stations from China who were only calling but despite their strong signal couldn't hear many. So that brings my question to the use of a big amplifiers...I heard many stations with big signals but rarely hear them replying to any stations. What is it worth to use a lot of power if you don't receive most of the stations?? It is only causing QRM making it only hard for others. It would be really much more fun if everyone was using moderate power like 100-400W. If you can't hear it you never work it, even not with 2KW.

But who am I to write about that. I have reasonable receive, a lot less noise compared to a city station. But never used more as 100W power. I think the antenna is much more important...if it radiating well and propagation is good 100W or less is more enough to work all over the world.

Enough complains. the CQWW WPX SSB is always a fun contest with lots of DX that can be worked, even with a modest station.
It is really great to hear so many voices on the band in this age of FT8 digimode. It is proof that SSB isn't dead yet!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Benefit of doubt - Ascension Island

I've been trying to work ZD8SC for months now. Since there are always big pile-ups I didn't contact him yet till yesterday evening. After trying to call for about an hour I finally got a free spot in the waterfall and a response. However like many times before someone else is transmiting right at my frequency when in QSO, probabely not receiving my signal. FT8 purists would say this is not a valid contact because ZD8SC didn't come back with a 73. However, we exhanged reports which a valid enough for a contact. I think I transmitted RR73 for at least 50 times after this till he transmitted ZD8SC QSY twice. I think he must have seen my RR73 but didn't want to disrupt next QSOs. I've experienced this kind of contacts a few times before and always was in the log. So I wrote Steve an e-mail if he could confirm I'm in the log. However I know internet on Ascension Island is difficult. I hope he will respond in the end anyway....till then I have logged the contact for a new one on 60m and an ATNO.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

#CQWW WPX SSB 2020 - COVID-19 Virus

I was just thinking ahead towards this weekend. One of my favorite international contests of the year will be on. The CQWW WPX contest is all about prefix hunting. In the past the PE4 prefix was special but at this time there are several more that have this prefix. So listen carefully for my call, I'm not PE4B, I'm PE4BAS "Papa Echo Four Bravo Alfa Sierra".

I just checked the CQWW WPX website and discovered I was nr. 1 in the Netherlands last year. Not a bad accomplishment. I hope to equal last years score this weekend....all depends on propagation and time...

The contest is something very welcome as distraction. COVID-19 takes a heavy toll on everyone including my family. Although I doubt everyone takes this seriously. Most HAMradio operators are "old timers" and they are very vulnerable to this virus. Still some people think it is no more as just a flu. Yes, old people are dying of flu as well, but COVID-19 is a virus and if we don't take precautions a lot more people will die compared to the flu. Young people are affected as well, be warned, nothing is shure in this world now!
On the other hand: It is a law of nature, the strongest will survive. However the human race is the only species that takes care of the weak and try to heal them whatever it takes! Strange isn't it?
There are some more strange things and my wife are still working despite the risk of contamination. You read about isolation and what people do in their unexpected free time everywhere, but most people are still doing their daily jobs here. The strange thing is that young people keep their distance, do understand the importance......but old people don't seem to get it. That at least is my observation and experience right now...the question is why?? They are the most vulnerable....
More strange things.....although I have a technical repair job I wear gloves all the time now. We did take precautions, only one customer at a time in our repair shop, regulary cleaning everything customers touched and more precautions every day. My wife works with elderly people.....but her management does not find it important to take precautions as long as she or one of our family is not ill. She doesn't have to wear a mask or gloves.....strange....
Well just a few strange things we encounter, I'm shure there are more....
I hope, you readers and everyone else, will stay healthy and wish everyone all the best....