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CQ VHF Worldwide 2011 — A major bust

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I started this contest with the plan of operating exclusively on 6m and making a couple hundred Qs. Of course, I had made the assumption that propagation would be at least as favorable, if no more favorable, than it was for the ARRL June VHF test.

I put the Moxon up the night before and configured N1MM. I had gotten plenty of sleep. I had made plans for operating from 2pm til whenever the band shut down Saturday evening and then to work a little bit Sunday morning and then later Sunday afternoon.

The contest started and there was nothing at all happening. I checked the spotting networks, and there wasn’t any sporadic-E reported anywhere into / out of Ohio. I spent most of my time CQing since I was hearing very little [except for W3BD and W3SO].

All day Saturday it was a struggle to make a Q. Given the lack of Es, the only grids I worked were EM89, EM99, EN80, EN81, EN82, EN90, EN91, FM18, FM19, FN00, FN19 and FN21. I gave up at 2300z.

Sunday I fired up the radio just before 1600z and it was more of the same… nothing. I did work EN73 for a new closer grid. From about 1650z to around 1927z I took a break to spend time with the family. When I got back on, I actually noticed that the band had opened a little bit to the south. From 1927z to 2037z I made 30 contacts, mostly down into Florida and vicinity. I did manage to work CO2WF, XE2S and 9Y4D, my only “DX”.

I turned the radio off at that point, figuring the last 27 minutes wouldn’t yield anything new. Based upon VHFDX.Info emails to me and reports I’ve heard from others, the band opened up to many places right after the end of contest.

It was brutal waiting for the propagation that never happened for most of the contest. I was glad to make as many contacts as I did in grids close to EN90, but I really ended this contest feeling shortchanged. Mother Nature be damned.

Oh well, there is always next year. I took the Moxon down Sunday evening right after I ended the contest, and wouldn’t you know it there was some nice activity later in the evening. And, already this morning there is a very nice opening as I write this. I won’t bother raising the Moxon for it though.

CQ Worldwide VHF Contest
1600z July 16 to 2100z July 17 2011
Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: SOSB/6 LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 4:03

Band QSOs Mults
6: 63 31
Total: 63 31 Total Score = 1,953

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

July 18th, 2011 at 11:31 am

Posted in Contesting,VHF_UHF

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CQ VHF Worldwide Contest this weekend

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I had a lot of fun working 6m in the ARRL June test. I’ve been paying attention to Sporadic-E / F2 skip on 6m the past week, and the conditions seem to be pretty good. Hopefully the conditions will be ripe this weekend for a lot of contacts.

CQ VHF WorldWide 2011
1800z Saturday, Jul 16 to 2100z Sunday, Jul 17
contest rules

This contest is not VHF/UHF but rather just 6m and 2m, and all modes are allowed. So if you have 6m/2m capabilities, especially SSB/CW and horizontal antennas, jump on the bands and see what you can work. You might be surprised.

I’ll be on 6m only, and I hope to work a lot of folks this weekend!

Written by Mike

July 15th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Contesting,VHF_UHF

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CQ WPX CW 2011 Summary

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After having weeks of daily severe thunderstorm activity, Mother Nature decided to cooperate by giving us East Ohioans a beautiful holiday [and contest] weekend. I caught up on yard work, spent a lot of time with the family, and was able to put in what I would consider to be a decent effort for CQ WPX CW.

Any storm activity was far enough away to keep the bands relatively quiet. Propagation during any of my operating time was less than stellar. I didn’t experience a single good opening into EU. SA was prominent on 15m. 10m was dead for the most part on Saturday, but on Sunday there was a little activity — again mostly SA.

From the beginning my intent was to operate SOAB-LP. And, up until the very end of the contest I did operate SOAB-LP. But, once I saw that I had a chance of hitting 600 Qs I figured I’d switch to SO(A)AB-LP, meaning that I was “assisted” by the packet cluster. It wasn’t until I did this that I realized that I should have been focusing much more on snagging new prefixes. There were a lot of needed prefixes showing up in the spots, but unfortunately they were mostly gone by the time I got there or were out of my reach [unable to be heard]. Perhaps because it was the tail end of the contest, a lot of those prefixes I needed may have switched to Searching & Pouncing.

I put in 19 hours, which is more hours than I have ever put in for a single contest prior to this one. I felt good; it felt good. I also garnered more Qs than I ever had in any previous contest. This proves what they say about keeping your butt in the chair.

Do I have any regrets? Not at all. I managed to get some outside chores done and spend a lot of time with the family over the holiday. I wouldn’t trade that time for contesting time under any circumstance. And I improved significantly upon last years’ score and my overall contesting methods.

I would like to try and do the following next year:

  • Put more time in, perhaps 24 hours
  • Call more of the weak stations instead of avoiding them thinking we couldn’t complete a valid exchange
  • Run Assisted for the whole contest instead of just the last two hours
  • Pay much closer attention to picking off multipoint contacts and, more importantly, new prefixes

WPX CW is really a blast. Since exchanges are fairly noncomplicated, you can really increase CW speed. I really enjoyed setting N1MM to 34 wpm instead of 28-30 like I usually do, and I thoroughly enjoyed copying the superfast exchanges of many of the contest stations. Of course, I would always QRS when I was working a station sending slower.

I compared my score with handful of other stations that I like to compare with, and I suspect one or two of them were either running Assisted but not claiming so, or they operated many more hours than I did. There are shitloads of ops who are better at contesting than I am, but there’s always someone I have to question when I see their score submission. Oh well, there isn’t anything I can do if anyone is fudging the facts.

Then only thing that really could have made WPX CW more fun this year is some decent propogation to EU and elsewhere on both days, especially on 10m.

Below is my summary…

CQWW WPX Contest, CW

Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: SO(A)AB LP
Operating Time (hrs): 19

Band QSOs
160: 0
80: 138
40: 172
20: 164
15: 128
10: 25
Total: 627 Prefixes = 302 Total Score = 389,882

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

May 31st, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Contesting

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