Archive for November, 2007

CQWW CW Contest 2007

November 26, 2007

I’ve had my eye on the South African CQWW SOAB LP record of 582,920 points for a while. I came close in 2004 as ZS1AN with wire antennas but wasn’t able to mount a proper challenge in 2005 or 2006. Now with an 18m tower, C-31XR tribander and OB2-40 40m beam (installed a week before the contest), I was determined to break the record at last!

I started late, at 0130Z (3:30am local) due to a violent hailstorm that damaged my rotator. Fortunately I was able to turn the antenna using the “CW” and “CCW” controls, but the direction reading was random so I had to run into the garden
to see which way the antenna was actually pointing! So I adopted a simple “follow the sun” pointing strategy – Asia in the early morning, Europe during the day, and North America at night!

Conditions were much better than anticipated. 40m was rocking, and the new two element beam made a huge difference – previously, 40m has been a very frustrating experience from here, consisting of spending literally minutes at a time calling the same station until I’m eventually heard, or give up and move on. Now all of a sudden it felt like 20m, and I was able to S&P effectively and even run occasionally.

After a break for another thunderstorm (fortunately no hail) in the early morning, I was able to run on 15m to Asia and Europe almost nonstop from 10am until 8pm, averaging over 100 QSOs per hour. So much for the “almost zero”
sunspots editorial in QST! I must admit that I didn’t even look at the other bands, as my SO2R ability currently stops somewhere short of the 60 QSOs/hour rate. That evening I added a few on 20m and 40m before taking a nap.

Starting at 3am local again on Sunday, I was hoping for a repeat performance. After working 40m and 20m for a few hours, 15m opened again at about 0800Z, although conditions did not seem quite as good as Saturday. This gave me time
for some SO2R, S&P on 20m while running on 15m. At about 0930Z I idly checked 10m on my S&P radio. I heard a few stations, and when I called them they came back to me, so I switched my run operation to 10m in the hope of picking up a
few more multipliers. The propagation was sketchy, with lots of fading – a station would be here one minute, gone the next, and back again a moment later. However I managed to run on 10m for about 2 hours, picking up 228 QSOs, mostly
to Europe. (In retrospect, looking at the DX Summit spots database, I see that ZS4TX was also active on 10m on Saturday, so I should probably have been more vigilent). 15m closed earlier than on Saturday, and I spent some time S&P on
20m to address the imbalance in my band scores – I had worked many stations on 15m and 40m, but few on 20m, and didn’t want to overlook some easy mults.

Then it was back to 40m, with some S&P and some runs – although running was hard due to the crowded band (can’t spread the pile-up), weak signals and local band noise. I eventually quit at 2230Z (0030 local) as I had to go to work the
following day, and in any case the dits and dahs were no longer joining themselves up to make letters and callsigns.

Call: ZS6AA
Operator(s): ZS6AA
Station: ZS6AA

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Johannesburg
Operating Time (hrs): 39
Radios: SO2R

Summary:
Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
——————————
160:
80:
40:  738    24       76
20:  461    24       67
15: 1348    20       72
10:  228     6       33
——————————
Total: 2775    74      248  Total Score = 2,642,010

CQWW CW 2007 Rate