Posts Tagged ‘contesting’

2007 CQ WPX CW Results

March 5, 2008

The results of the 2007 CQ magazine worked all prefixes (WPX) CW contest have been released. I scored 764,688 points, 5.9% down on my claimed score of 812,538. In the single operator low power classes (including both all-band and single-band results) this places me first in South Africa, third in Africa behind 3XD2Z (Guinea) and AO8R (Canary Islands) and, from a brief scan of the results, 101st in the world. There certainly are a lot of good low power operators out there! I’m determined to improve on my placing this year with my new 40m beam. Congratulations to Bernie ZS4TX who (as usual) won the single operator high power class in South Africa with a very impressive 2,159,672.

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ARRL International DX Contest 2008

February 20, 2008

ARRL DX CW was the first international contest I entered (in 2003 as ZS1AN with 131,100 points) and still one of my favourites. For me it is a bit more relaxed than CQWW, WPX and IARU as the bands are not always open to NA from here so it is possible to spend some time with my family and still achieve a reasonably competitive score. The pileups are also noticably better mannered than in some other contests thanks to all the fine NA ops.

Propagation was poorer than last year for the first 36 hours of the contest, with only 40m and 20m opening to NA. My new two-element beam helped me to play on 40m, but I didn’t hear even one NA station on 80m where I have only an inverted L. After taking Sunday morning off, I knew that I would need some multipliers on 15m in the afternoon to turn in a reasonable score. This didn’t seem likely given my total of five 15m QSOs on Saturday, all with big guns.

Fortunately conditions improved on Sunday afternoon and I managed a nice run on 15m, and then continued on 20m until about midnight local (2200 Z). For the last couple of hours I was really struggling to put callsigns together in my head, so appologies to those of you who had to give multiple repeats and thanks for your patience.

Needless to say there was no trade on 10m, although I kept a watch for openings with the second radio.

I didn’t have much opportunity to SO2R as it was rare for two bands to be open simultaneously, except during the 15m opening on Sunday afternoon when I didn’t want to divide my attention as I was desperate for as many 15m mults as possible. Overall I was satisfied with my effort, although I need to try to be a bit more focussed next time (and get more sleep before the contest!).

Here’s a summary of my claimed score:

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Johannesburg
Operating Time (hrs): 28

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Mults
-------------------
  160:
   80:
   40:  603    50
   20:  929    55
   15:  217    37
   10:
-------------------
Total: 1749   144  Total Score = 755,568

The image shows my QSO rate (number of QSOs per hour) through the contest:

ARRL DX CW 2008 Rate


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

CQWW WPX 2007

May 28, 2007

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

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Johannesburg
Operating Time (hrs): 22
Radios: SO2R

Summary:
Band  QSOs
————
160:
80:
40:   17
20:  319
15:  393
10:
————
Total:  729  Prefixes = 367  Total Score = 812,538

Club:

Comments:

A last minute problem with my 40m antenna saw me out in the garden at 3 am (0100 Z) on Saturday morning converting my 80m dipole to 40m. Conditions on the low bands into Europe and NA were poor from here – I could hear you, but you couldn’t hear my puny 100W from a dipole most of the time. 15m was open to Europe much of the day although family activities demanded some down time. 20m
good late afternoon and early evening, but everything closed down around 8pm local time.