CQ WPX CW 2013

Good Preparation Paid Off

The last two years I have had so much fun taking part in the QRP class in the CQ WPX CW from our Bornholm holiday location. In order to improve the result even further I have been investing a lot of time as well as money in order to optimize the station setup as well as operating procedures.

The improvements have been the following:

  • ‘Decent High-Band Antenna’: The 2-by-20m dipole antenna used during the last years didn’t work to well on the higher bands. So, I decided to get myself a portable version of the famous spiderbeam. I did some additional mechanical improvements to considerably lowering the setup times. They will be described later in a different article since they are not yet finished.
  • ‘Low Band Antenna’: Additionally, the dipole antenna for the low bands has been lengthened to 2-by-30m. So, it should work better on 160m.
  • ‘Band Switching’: The manual antenna tuner in the shack has been replaced by a remotely controlled automatic antenna tuner (AT-502). This shortens the time needed to change bands since no time consuming manual re-tuning of  the antenna tuner is needed. Additionally, not having the ladder line in the shack should keep the HF where it belongs…
  • ‘Call Sign Readability’: OZ/DK3WE is a quite long call sign for a serious contest afford. Especially, when taking the qrp class into account. It just takes longer to finish a QSO. So, I filed for a shorter call sign with the Danish Authorities and received ‘OU2M’ quite similar to my German contest call sign ‘DM2M’.
  • ‘Logging Software’: I always had problems with different logging software. So, I bought a WinTest license and made myself familiar with the program and operating procedures.
  • ‘Internet availability’:  In order to have good internet availability I invested in a Surf stick with OZ roaming data flat rate.

Normally, we arrive at our holiday location Thursday before the contest in late afternoon. So, setting up the station is always quite a challenge since it leaves me only Thursday late evening and Friday before the contest to set up the entire station. We arrived at our vacation home about 6pm local. I rushed to unload the car and was allowed by the rest of the family to set up the antenna by about 8pm. Luckily, the sun sets well past 9pm and there is some light till about 10pm in late May. So, I was able to finish the low band dipole that night. Additionally, I already started setting up the station and tuning the AT-502. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any tuning values for 160m. It seemed that the antenna C wasn’t sufficiently high to match the antenna impedance. However, I could match the antenna with the AT-502 antenna set to its maximal value and add the manual tuner in the shack. The latter has been used as antenna switch between spider beam and low band antenna as well.

Erecting the spider beam took a considerable effort on Friday. Luckily, the weather was perfect, i.e. sunny, warm, and moderate weather. I worked all day long especially since it was the first time everything came together and the setup procedure wasn’t optimized yet. Additionally, I was distracted by the family and had to join them on the beach. Eventually, I finished at about 8pm local with the antenna working Ok. The final set up of the station took another hour and I was ready to go. I checked bands and worked on 15m VP9 on the first call and some South Americans made it in the log, too. So, the antenna seemed to work.

So, I went to bed pretty happy only to find the conditions deeply deteriorated here in the North when I woke up around 02UTC. The conditions on the high bands stayed that way until Sunday afternoon, when they slightly improved. For instance, there has been no 21MHz opening towards the US on Saturday. Nevertheless, QSOs trickled in all the time and I was happy being able to work more than 900 stations from all continents but Antarctica.  I worked mainly by ‘Searching & Pouncing’. Calling CQ didn’t really lead to significant QSO rates.

Conclusion: I’m pretty happy about the result despite the bad band conditions. The technique worked almost flawlessly but the internet access. The latter crashed a few times due to weak signal strength caused by heavy rain. All the antennas played very well especially the spider beam allowed for quite some nice contacts into Asia. I guess it will be again part of the 2014 expeditionary force.

Outlook: Now I know what is in principle possible with a decent high band antenna. I will carefully analyze my logs and those of my competitors and hope to improve my score next year. The vacation house is already booked. So, see everybody again in WPX CW. Lets hope for better ionospheric conditions.

Highlights: Working VK6DXI, VK3TDX, VK6LW, and ZM1A from the other end of the world …

Low Point: The absolute low point has been when calling ‘KH7X’ and just getting a ‘?’ reply. These guys had a quite solid signal on 20m with no takers but me calling…

Preliminary Result:

Call:  OU2M
Class: SO All Band Assisted QRP
Rig:   K3 (5W), 2x30m dipole, spider beam 
QTH:   Bornholm (IOTA EU-030), JO75NA

Summary:

Total Score: 2005 * 532 = 1.066.660

Band   QSO   Dupes   Multi    Points
------------------------------------
160     16      0      11        31
 80    154      3      93       329
 40    274      1     144       693
 20    317      4     226       633
 15    137      0      55       309
 10      4      0       3        10
------------------------------------
Total  902      8     532      2005

Downloads:

This entry was posted on Monday, June 10th, 2013 at 8:46 am and is filed under HF Contesting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “CQ WPX CW 2013”

  1. DK3WE Says:

    It seems that the tremendous amount of work paid off and I’m at 3rd place in the claimed score list. Hope this doesn’t change after log checking.

    2013 WPX CW Contest
    Claimed scores as calculated before log checking. Last update: 2013-06-09
    
    Listing shows rank, call, score, and operators. Checklogs are not included.
    
    CW / Assisted QRP All Bands / World
       1  OK3C............1,761,984 (OK2ZC)
       2  OK6RA.(T).......1,625,871
       3  OU2M.(T)........1,055,628 (DK3WE)
       4  HG6C..............806,750 (HA6IAM)
       5  HA6PJ.............660,968
       6  E77TA.(T).........539,392
       7  UX1UX.............535,500
       8  SM0THU............423,752
       9  W4QO..............415,650
      10  UR5FCM............381,821
      ...
  2. DK3WE Says:

    Yesterday I got my certificates from the CQ magazine. It states in large letters ‘#1 Denmark’. The important stuff can be found in the lower left corner: ‘#3 World’. So, I’m zhe winner of the bronze medal in my category ‘All band QRP Assisted’. Wonderful…

    Here you can see the certificates I and II.

  3. DK3WE Says:

    The UBN report and the corrected log have been uploaded.

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