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ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 26, No 47 on November 30, 2007
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ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:

Have you ever thought about working 160 meters? This weekend will give you a great opportunity to do just that, during the ARRL 160 Meter Contest. This contest, which is CW-only, is great for both new and experienced General and Extra class licensees, as Generals have privileges on the complete 160 meter band. US and Canadian stations, as well as all US territories in the Caribbean and Pacific, will try to work as many US states, Canadian provinces and DX as they can! In this contest, Alaska and Hawaii are considered US states, and not DX (in some contests, Alaska and Hawaii are considered DX).

While it certainly helps to have a big antenna, you'd be surprised what you can work with smaller antennas. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, said, "I've worked hundreds of stations (including some DX) on 160 meters from my old location in Illinois with just 100 W and a 40 meter dipole run through an antenna tuner!"

ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, might have an antenna solution for your 160 meter woes. He says you don't have to have a 250-foot dipole 300 feet in the air to have fun on 160. There are a number of tricks you can do with antennas cut for higher frequency bands. If you have an antenna for 80 meters or 40 meters, he recommends tying both conductors of the feedline together and connecting them to the ungrounded terminal of an antenna tuner output. The ground of your station can act as the counterpoise. This is an old and useful trick to get on Top Band for a weekend.

You can also extend any antenna by simply clipping a length of wire to it near the end. For a dipole, attach the wire or wires at the end insulators. For verticals, clip the wire on at the top of the antenna - you can make a dandy inverted-L this way. A random-wire stretched out over the bushes and trees will probably play a lot better than you expect. Use an antenna analyzer or your transmitter set to very low power levels to adjust your tuner. If you can't get the SWR very low, just reduce power output from your transmitter. Modern transmitters can output 10 W or so at high SWR and SWR losses in the feed line are very low on 160 meters.

Use your ham ingenuity to get on the air this weekend and start collecting QSOs for your 160 meter Worked All States Award. The best times for stations using low-power and compromise antennas is probably after 10 or 11 PM (local time) when the regional activity is at its peak. There will also be a "dawn enhancement" just before sunrise when stations to the west, where the path is in darkness, become quite strong for 30 minutes or so. Here at the bottom of the solar cycle, conditions will probably be quite good. See what you can accomplish -- you will probably be quite pleasantly surprised!

The ARRL 160 Meter Contest begins Friday November 30 at 2200 UTC and runs until Sunday, December 2 at 1600 UTC. Get on the air and work some stations on one of the most enigmatic bands used in Amateur Radio.


The ARRL Letter Vol. 26, No. 47 November 30, 2007

Member Comments:
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ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:  
by N4QA on December 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article and quite true!

From here in sw Virginia, worked K1JB in Portland, Maine in the ARRL 160m contest while running 400 mW using this rig:

Antenna here made of 17 ga aluminum electric fence wire, 80m long and 5m above ground and endfed via a Heathkit HFT-9-B 'QRP Tuner'.

Doesn't take much to get on Top Band!.

Bill, N4QA
ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:  
by UC1AWX on December 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My friend' nighmare: Quads on 160 :D
ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:  
by KT4WO on December 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
When I tuned into the freq. that I normaly listen
to at night..I said Ohh Nooo!!!
They were tring to talk with about 5 CW signals
right on top of them.
I dont have ANY problem with CW...but...
"Alot"(not all) of the Contesters could care less about QRM'ing there fellow Ham. I cant tell you the number of time that I have been in QSO and had a contester start calling CQ right on top of me!!
Contesters---PLS listen before TX.. and just because you have a Narrow Filter, and you cannot hear the guy on AM,SSB or PSK/RTTY ,etc.. that is 1KC away.. does not mean He/She cannot HEAR YOU!!
AM I a CW/Contest "Hater" NO...Rude Op. "Hater" YES!
There is NO Excuse for what I heard on 160 last night.
Let the "Flames" begin.

Trip - KT4WO
RE: ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:  
by VE2DC on December 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Trip.

You heard 5 CW stations and an SSB station on the same frequency. Who is QRMing whom? You seem to assume the CW ops are responsible...

Anyway... the 160M contest is a lot of fun, and there are only 2 significant ones per year. I really didn't hear much chaos... I worked about 150 stations S&P tuning once slowly from 1800-1850 last night. CW activity was sparse above that frequency.

Worked 2 stations from Hawaii here in Montreal this morning at sunrise. That doesn't happen every day!
RE: ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:  
by W5GNB on December 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
KT4WO is correct, But unfortunately the MAJORITY of contest operators are totally rude and disregarding to anyone else on or near thier own frequency. For this reason I am a CONTEST HATER!!!!

Gary - W5GNB

RE: ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:  
by KT8K on December 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Granted that my ability to hear on 160m is significantly compromised, I noticed most activity was below the 1843 suggested upper limit for CW, but a handful were higher among the SSB signals. With the narrow filters a lot of CW contesters run, some probably weren't aware of the SSB signals around them, especially if they were running a lot of attenuation to keep receiver noise down.

The more congestion a contest creates in the normal subband, the more pressure there is to drive contesters outside the normal subband limits, especially if they are running low-ERP (QRP, compromised antennas, etc.) stations. Still, no excuse, we should all be working to avoid interference to others by listening effectively and operating appropriately. At least the contests aren't continuous ...
Best rx & 73 to all de kt8k - Tim
RE: ARRL 160 Meter Contest (CW) This Weekend:  
by VE2DC on December 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"the MAJORITY of contest operators are totally rude"

That's not my experience. But prejudiced people usually experience exactly what they expect see...
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