Re: W9RM January VHF


Bill
 

Hi Keith,

Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet our goals.
  • 2 meter contact off the moon
  • 1296 FT8 contact
  • Improve on last year's score
Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8 and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.

I worked 45 contacts on 144 through 10 GHz .  I made a few FT8 and MSK144 contacts on 144 and fewer still on 222. after trying and failing on CW. Best DX on 144 and up were contacts to DM33 and 34 in AZ.  I worked 8 stations in AZ on 144.  I thought band conditions were not as good as June 2018 or even January 2018.  There was more local noise and no enhancement at all.There were a lot of CW and FT8 contacts that started hopefully but never completed. Long contacts on 1296 had deep QSB as normal, and the 600 watt power did not overcome QSB. Nature wins...... Saturday afternoon I lost rotor control of the 432, 902 and 1296 antennas while pointed south, so there's work to do on that tower. I have a lot of tower/antenna work to do so that'll be a good excuse. We heard nothing off the moon on 144.  I had assumed that terrain blocked the moon until it had risen to 10 degrees but that was a bad assumption because it was well clear of terrain by the time it got to 10 degrees.  I was noting with Mike that I had not heard Duffy the entire contest, though I heard many stations working his rover station in AZ. Almost on cue, Duffy appeared and I worked him on 144 SSB and 222 on CW in DM55 in the last 15 minutes of the contest.

Bob, K5WO brought out his 10 GHz station and we worked him in DM75 and DM65; both fairly short contacts.  Thanks Bob.

Art, KC5EFM drove up to the 10k Trailhead on Sandia Crest with his 10 GHz station but found the snow level too high to see over and packed with kids enjoying the great snow. Art decided not to irradiate them to make a contact. Thanks for trying Art!

There's plenty of work to do here at W7QQ to recover and improve station capability.

We finished with 121 contacts and 77 grids on 6 bands, 11,551 points.

73 Bill W7QQ

On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 10:12 AM Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
ARRL JANUARY VHF CONTEST

6: 74Q x 60M
2: 28Q x 26M
TOTAL SCORE:  8772

January - say no more.  No openings....well, maybe one for 5 minutes on 6 to
TX...no enhancement...January.

Now that WSJT-X co-exists with all the 'funny little numbers' guys, it's easy to
use and quite effective in contests like this where there is no enhanced
propagation of any kind.  Depending on how much you wanted fight fading and
other powers out of your control, there were signals to be seen on 6M FT8 almost
the entire contest.  Now, most were not really workable and the ones that were
only resulted in hourly rates in the (maybe) teens, but there were signals there
!  Signals heard, which equated to 'butt in chair' time, since one didn't want
to 'miss' that potential opening (which would probably never come).  For me,
breaking 100 Q's in January is something I haven't done for years, mainly
because I wasn't interested in sitting listening to nothing but noise for long
stretches.  Now, at least I can hear SOMETHING !  And, just maybe, it would be
something cool !

I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of FT8 on 2M.  I worked several
guys at 400+ miles, across terrible terrain.  Now, these guys were NOT small
stations, to be sure and could very possibly have been worked on CW, but....

This mode has potential on 2 that has yet to be realized.

Yes, I'm praising WSJT modes, which might come as a surprise to some.  But, I
have ALWAYS been keen on the technological aspects of these modes, ever since
they appeared in the 90's and it was obvious you could work things 'you couldn't
hear'.  My gripe, and it still exists strongly, is the improper use of these
slow, very much weak-signal modes during CONTESTS, when signal/noise conditions
are good enough to allow QSO's on CW or SSB at a rate 3-5X faster.  I heard (or
read - it might have been on a chat page) a guy say "Oh, there is a
sporadic E opening starting and signals are getting strong - I better get back
on FT8".  THERE is my gripe - right there !  Signals are strong, it's a
contest weekend and you need to get on FT8.  What ???
-W9RM

Keith J Morehouse
Managing Partner
Calmesa Partners G.P.
Olathe, CO

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