Not a great contest here either.  It was shaping up to be a repeat of the 2016 snooze-fest when I couldn't crack 2000 points.  Saturday was a lot like the recent June ARRL contest with fluttery, sub-30 second 6m openings that let you know someone was there but not sustained enough for an FT8 QSO.

Good 6m Es conditions emerged on Sunday. Many/most ops still haven't figured out that FT8 is a weak-signal mode. I imagined them entranced by a tapestry of multiple, brightly-colored traces splattered all over the waterfall display.  With CAT enabled, it takes one click of the mouse to hop back and forth between FT8 and FT4, which I did frequently. I managed a couple of nice FT4 runs that were probably on par with the best I have ever done on ssb.  Decode, click, log. Zero errors, no repeats.  It's remarkably fast and efficient.  The east coast stations seemed to get it, the California guys not so much.  Very little FT4 on the west coast despite perfect conditions for it; did get a decent ssb run there.  Tried FT8 on 144.174 throughout the weekend and saw nothing.

I had 6m Es to most parts of the country at some point during the contest, except for the FM and FN grids.  Scored two new DXCC which is kinda nice, although I'll be starting from scratch in about a month. SSB activity in Albuquerque metro was almost non-existent.  I had to jump on 2m FM to make sure I'd work my own grid!

Claimed score:
6m: 176 QSOs, 103 multipliers
2m: 11 QSOs, 8 multipliers
Total: 21,978 points

6m: 5-el at 41 ft, kW; 2m: 9-el at 53 ft; kW+


On 7/21/19 7:40 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

This was, by far, the worst CQWW-VHF conditions I've seen since moving west.  Bad, as in poor 6M conditions, and bad, as in who else was working what, while I had nothing but marginal Es for short periods and difficult scatter conditions.  The DXmaps application flowed brightly with red lines of sporadic E east of the Mississippi River all weekend, with front range W0's coupling in on not only 6, but also strong 2M Es.

When 6M Es conditions did manifest themselves for short periods, it appeared most stations were on slow rate modes like FT8.  There were several periods when stations on SSB were very loud and commenting on how loud I was, but there were no decent runs to be had.  I can only assume everyone was on FT8 running 30-40/hour (if that...I actually made an attempt at running FT8 and am pretty sure it would be almost impossible to maintain that kind of rate for an hour straight).   FT4 appears a bit better, but that remains to be seen, as there were very few running that mode.  The bottom line is that high rate on 6 is becoming more and more difficult to attain.

Anyway, the results.

236Q  259 pts  140 grids => 36,260
6M Q's: 213
6M grids: 120
2M Q's: 23
2M grids: 20

6M - KW + 7el @ 65', 7el @ 45' & 5el fixed at 35'

2M - 600W + 5W/L antenna @ 50'


Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

Join to automatically receive all group messages.