2012 CQ World Wide WPX – SSB

Contest: CQ World Wide WPX
Date: March 24-25, 2010
Mode: SSB
Period: Starts 0000 UTC Saturday; ends 2359 UTC Sunday

20 / 50 / 43
TOTAL: 50 QSO / 43 PFX
SCORE: 2,924 (TIME ON: 3 H 37 Mn)

SOAPBOX: I knew better than go into this contest running low power, still I took the chance and did it anyway. Part of the reason was because the rig is a loaner from George, K6GT and I have been “babying it” so nothing happens while it is in my possession. The last thing I need is to damage his rig, so the past few months I have used it, its been all low power. Now low power could have been sufficient IF my backyard were full of towers with big antennas, but that isn’t the case. A single 5-band hex beam at about 40′ was what I had to work with and conditions were okay when the contest started.

On top of the low power I decided to work a single band. Ignoring the suggestion from Stu, K6TU to work 15M I decided on 20M, as I hoped it would stay open later to Asia/Oceania. Not sure if it did or not, as I got tired and went to bed before I had a real chance to check the band conditions to that part of the world.

My score and effort were terrible to say the least. I could hear many stations, but at 100w, which was probably more like 60-70w they couldn’t hear me. I did with SJ2W in Sweden, but that was my sole EU contact. There were a few Caribbean contacts, but 92% of my contacts were from NA. One of those was NR6O, or N6RO, Radio Oakley, which is but a few miles down the road.

Instead of working frustrated through Saturday, I had coordinated with Ken, the station owner and Dean, N6BV to sit and listen with Dean. Thankfully Dean wanted to take a break, so I took over the controls on 15M, attempting to work EU. It was interesting to see how Dean made it look so easy, pulling weak signals and their exchange out of the noise. Maybe it’s something I am not great at, as well as knowing many call signs, due to a lack of experience. Still with the tools on Win-Test, even having a partial call sign will allow you to guess that the suffix of the call you are trying to work.

I gave up 15M after about 2 hours and Dean took control. While I was listening in, Michael, WA6O asked if I wanted to listen to 40M. Now during the day 40M isn’t much, except for local area contacts. I spent about 90 minutes listening to noise, with a contact here and there, even moved a few to 10M. Still it was the experience of working as a team, with many more experienced than myself.One of my other disadvantages, not knowing the Elecraft K3. Still I feel it was good experience and thank N6BV for allowing me to watch, work, listen and learn.


It’s interesting to look back and see when I started on HF a number of years ago, all I wanted to do was make contacts using SSB (voice). Now, this seems to be my least favorite mode, partially due to my station. Thankfully I can power on the Alpha 76PA amplifier and put out close to 1000 watts, but that usually results in some adverse effects around the house to the Internet router, phones, television or other electronics.

WPX SSB hasn’t been one of those contests I pay too much attention to. I have participated in the contest since 2009, improving my numbers every year. Last year I spent just under 4.5 hours on 10/15/20 making 143 QSOs. As for band selection and power this year, it will depend on if I make a single band or all band effort. I might try 15M or 20M running low power or high power. I will continue to watch solar conditions to see what we can expect for this weekend.

This year I might spend some with sitting (working?) with Dean, N6BV. He has made this offer a few times and due to my scheduling I have not been able to take him up on it. Nothing like spending a few hours with the experience someone like Dean has. He will be working at N6RO this weekend, where I assume they will sign NR6O.

The only goals for this contest would be to improve on my 2011 numbers. 200 contacts seems to be a nice, round number to shoot for. Not sure how much time I will spend Saturday in my shack, as opposed to sitting at RO. If I could put in 6-8 hours at my home on Saturday, 200 should be a number I go right past.

2012 ARRL DX SSB Goals

Not sure it will be a real big effort this weekend, on the heels of the ARRL International DX CW Contest a few weeks ago. This time around it’s the SSB version, a contest in which I won my section last year running single operator, high power, assisted. This year, still without my low band vertical antenna, I will be relegated to 10/15/20M…again!

It’s not that I don’t like using SSB as a mode, I do. I find it thrilling to actually talk to someone in a distant land. My shack and set up seem to do CW and RTTY much better than SSB. So I found it surprising that 315 QSOs, 113 DXC and a final score of 106,107 was the top score in my category. This year I doubt I will spend 13 hours participating in the ARRL DX. I will put in a few hours at the beginning of the contest, beaming Asia/Oceania, possibly South America.

Conditions have been in decline since the CW version of this contest just a few weeks ago. As of this writing the SFI is 104, SSN of 24 and an A of 14. Not really optimal conditions to operate under, still I suspect I will be able to make a few contacts to start this contest. I am hoping to put up 100-150 QSOs in 3 hours of BIC (butt in chair).

Sunday might be worthwhile, as I am planning on taking the day off from work, but have an 11am engagement. That might give me sunrise and some time after 2pm, in order to finish out the contest. Again, not really looking for any real goals this time around. While it would be great to surpass what last year’s score was, I just don’t think I will find the time to put in a double digit effort. Having the hex beam only about 40′ high won’t help. If I decide to run high power again, the Alpha 76PA will be flawless as always, so I will be able to get a signal out. Then again, as the saying goes, “if you can hear them, you can work them.”

Running low power in the last few contests I have been able to hear many signals, but my problem has been getting a 100w signal out at only 40′. Regardless of what happens I will put in a good effort and look to add a few new DXCC entities on a few bands, namely 10M (if open) and 15M. Strangely enough, 15M outnumbers 20M when it comes to the number of DXCC entities I have worked.


Very surprised to see a manila envelope from the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) today in the mailbox. I figured it was my ARRL Triple Play Award I had finally achieved. When I opened it I was surprised to find I had taken first place in the 2011 ARRL International DX Phone Contest. That means I just might have to taken to March 3 off to participate in at least half the contest.

#150 N3ME Confirmed!

Tonight I confirmed #150 in my chase for the ARRL Triple Play Award. For those who are not hams (amateur radio), this is making a contact with someone in every state on SSB (phone), CW (Morse code) and RTTY (teletype). The award has been available since January 1, 2009 and I have been chasing it since. With the LoTW confirmation today of N3ME, Tony in Delaware I have achieved this award sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

For me, Delaware has always been a challenge to log when chasing states for a WAS or Worked All States award. While I had worked Delaware 21 times, only 6 of those contacts were on phone, one of which was confirmed in eQSL and by QSL card. Unfortunately to apply for the Triple Play Award all the QSOs (or contacts) must be confirmed by ARRL’s Logbook of the World, meaning electronic.

The end of 2011 was not great for me when it came to operating. Along with radio problems, I suffered some antenna problems and didn’t put as much effort into my hobby as I probably should have. The contact with Tony, N3ME occurred during the 2011 ARRL Sweepstakes (Nov 20-22) on 10M. In fact I e-mailed him yesterday to inquire about the confirmation of our contact because I saw he had uploaded his logs to LoTW. The problem was on my end, as I forgot to upload my log from that contest. If I did that at the conclusion of the contest, I would have been granted this award before the end of last year.

I e-mailed Tony this evening to explain my mistake. His response, “Grin – glad I am not the only one who “goofs” from time to time – congratulations!!!” No sooner did I finish that e-mail, I applied for the award through the ARRL website. Hopefully I receive it before the end of the month.