Re: WB2FKO short contest report


Well done Mike,

I finished with 229 Q points and 105 grids for 24,045 total.

I had a good time and didn't take it too seriously.  It was a good opportunity to learn MSK144 and FT8 as I had nobody else around to do it.  Reflecting what Keith W9RM had to say and my experience with you, I may have some disconnects in my log:  I set the logbook reminder in WSJT  and logged a QSO anytime that popped up.  Some times that happened before completing the loaded messages, so I am confused as to what it takes to complete on FT8.  No problems on MSK144.  I didn't use any spotting service on digi; Ping Jockey or other and that gave me some periods when I saw you and others working when nobody answered my CQ.

I was not able to get WSJT-x and N1MM to quit fighting over the radio interface so it was pretty uncomfortable to bail out of a  digi run to finish logging in N1MM.  Also did not have the 6 and 144+ computers networked and that became pretty cumbersome as well.  My fault.

I put up a 432 yagi on a 20 foot pole because Keith wanted a Q but it was far more useful than that. I worked 5 stations in Phoenix as well as Keith on 432 and used it for contacts with Duffey as well.  Longest was K7KMR west of Phoenix at 400.3 miles, CW with 50 watts on both ends.  I'll send a note for the web site posting for that one.  Worked all those guys on 222 and 144 as well.

The new Elecraft amplifier was used on 6 meters and I ran it at about half power on digi modes.  That power setting was used to keep the temperatures down and avoid the high fan setting. It's a great legal limit phone amplifier but not up to the task on digi modes for 6 meters.  It'll probably be OK on HF.

I worked four rovers, the ones you mentioned as well as WA6BJH/r.  Good to see that many in NM.  There was another briefly in the NW corner but I wasn't able to hear him.

Good to hear K5RHR on.  Did you work him?  He asked to work on 1296 so I had a wire antenna and placed it just outside.  We worked on 1/4 watt.

All in all, pretty fun.

73 Bill W7QQ

On Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 12:45 PM Mike WB2FKO <mph@...> wrote:

6m was exasperatingly bad on Saturday.  Plenty of puny openings coming in from all directions that were too weak for ssb and too short for FT8.  Propagation was in and then gone in less than 30 seconds.  Found the NMVHF chat page useful for coordinating with ops who were within tropo range including several in Arizona, WE7L in Colorado, and K5LA in El Paso.  Made some meteor scatter contacts after the sun went down then called it a night with 64 QSOs.

Meteor scatter conditions on Sunday morning were superb. This produced 21 more contacts, all but one on the 6m calling frequency.  Patchy, short duration 6m Es openings persisted for most of the morning with an FT8 contact about once every 5 minutes on average.  I checked SSB and cw frequencies periodically and heard only silence, so spent majority of Sunday on 6m FT8. 

Sustained 6m Es finally happened Sunday afternoon.  As the FT8 waterfall filled with signals, I jumped down to ssb and found very little on tap.  Did some S&P and got a few multipliers.  Parked on 150.140 and sent out a string of CQs to no avail.  Same on 150.125. I occasionally heard local AA5B on ssb so maybe he fared better. 

Perhaps because I have a moderate station deep in the city noise, FT8 is where I found the action on 6.  My run rate actually wasn't much different than in past June contests when on phone.  Fortunately and much to my surprise, most digital ops were using contest mode with FT8; that means a QSO happens in 3 exchanges lasting 45 seconds. Yes this is still almost 10x slower than traditional ssb, but FT8 does have some advantages for VHF contests even when there is good propagation: i) I can work stations that would be hopelessly inaudible on ssb, invariably in a new, distant grid; ii) I can see everyone's grid locator and make strategically advantageous calls/replies that add multipliers, not just single points. If I had stuck to traditional analog for this contest, I'm certain my score would have been far lower.

I decoded and was decoded on 6m FT8 in JA and EU during the contest, but did not make any DX QSOs.  Worked 3 New Mexico rovers: KK6MC, W0AMT, and AA5PR, but try as I might could not find the latter in DM83.  Was tracking Duffey via APRS on Sunday, but still missed him in 2 grids. Did not do any FM or 432 this contest. Apologies to the locals for the QRM.

I was single-op, high-power:



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