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Author Topic: Single Band HF contesting  (Read 5575 times)
ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« on: June 24, 2013, 02:32:28 PM »

Well finally plucked up courage to ask this question.  I know we would all love 5 150' towers with stacked whoopy beams on them that cover everything from DC to light.  But I certainly cannot afford that.

Having reached the time in my life when I have a bit more time for contesting, am thinking of sort getting back into it a bit more seriously, but age means the stamina of those day and night non stop efforts is long gone.

Is there any point in going 20m mono band contesting?

I can get up a 4 ele at 50' and 3 ele at 35'  plus a big square for those local to me contacts (3D2 T30 ETC).  This plus a 1kw should give me a reasonable signal.  Not big gun, but in comparison to others in ZL1 a reasonably fair shot.

Is it worth it, or am I just going to end up another also ran in the single op single band tables?

Know it is a difficult question, but would appreciate some input.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
WX7G
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Posts: 6129




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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 05:43:48 PM »

There are several contests with single band categories and there are five 160 meter only contests. Those five are the CQWW 160 meter CW, SSB, Stew Perry (CW only), and the ARRL 160 meter (CW only). You would be very popular in the 160 meter contests but be ready for some horrendous summer QRN being that those contests take place during your summer.

The CQWW DX contests have single band categories as do the CQWW WPX contests. The ARRL DX contests have single band entries but I don't think the IARU contest does. The JARL All Asia contests have single band categories. And of course there is the ARRL 10 meter contest.

http://www.cqww.com/rules.htm

http://www.cqwpx.com/rules.htm

As far as I know there are eight major DX contests (counting CW and SSB) in which you can chose to enter on 20 meters only. You can check the scores of previous years to gauge your contest prospects and strategy.

Looking at the scores for the 2012 CQWW DX SSB I see 11 entries from Oceania for 20 meter single band. The top station worked 411 QSOs in 11.3 hours for a score of 102,505. You could beat that and be #1.

http://www.cqww.com/scoresph.htm
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 05:59:24 PM by WX7G » Logged
K0OD
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Posts: 2558




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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 06:49:31 PM »

Great topic:

I know you asked about 20 but I recommend single band 40 CW for the antenna challenged. A 4-square vertical array will win lots of certificates. One 33' vertical will do almost as well.

From the U.S. I love the idea of starting the CQWW right after work Friday evening. Sleep from about 3 AM to 6 AM and from 9AM to 4PM. Not a bad deal;.

40 offers plenty of variety. From Missouri, I've worked well over 100 countries and 36+ zones in better weekends. Short path and long path. Unlike higher bands, 40 is almost never a propagation washout and major lightning storms are rare here in November. 
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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 08:16:07 PM »

One issue that I should have mentioned, is that although retired officially, in actuality very tired.  I rear 150 beef calves from August through until mid/late November and am pretty busy then.

The thought of 40 had occured to me, and have done well on that band.

I have a 80m vertical that is going up (slowly) so could always fill in as one ofer on 80 and see how it goes.

I know this may sound awful, but it would be really nice to see your call at the top of the list for once, sort of a bucket list thingy I guess.

Now where is tht 3cx10000 for the amplifier  Smiley
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
PD2R
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2013, 08:01:07 AM »

You could always start on 40 meter. Build a nice 2 or 3 element yagi or/and a four square. Ad a couple of beverage antennas for receiving and you will be one of the big guns.
First do high power, then low power and after that perhaps even QRP. Of course you could also start with QRP and move your way up the power ladder.

If you have reached your goals, i.e. got a couple of nice plaques for getting first place in you class, you could always use the aluminium from you 40 meter yagi an build a couple of nice 20 meter yagi's. When you have set records for 20 as well, move down one band and try your luck as a single operator on 15 meter. After that.., well, you get my point.

I think it's a great idea. Just focus on one band. Get to know that band from A to Z. Know everything about the propagation. Know which mult's can be found when and were.
Definitely sounds fun to me.

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M6GOM
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2013, 12:52:51 PM »

As I find it hard to put in the hours for an all band single op entry now I contested last year where possible as 10m single band entry. I can start an hour or so before sunrise and pack up an hour or two after sunset unlike running 20m or 40m where you need to be on the go 24hrs to get the best out of it.

Last September I made a 10m Moxon beam and put it up on a 20ft pole with a cheap rotator and with 100W worked more DX in one weekend in the CQ-WW-SSB contest at the end of October than I had in the 3 years I've been licensed, being just 9 countries off getting DXCC in 16hrs. Even worked China longpath from the UK that weekend busting through the wall of Europe calling him. Got first in country with a new country record certificate arrive in the post this week for that one!

I've several contest certificates including first in world. My antennas I've used for those are a G3TPW Cobwebb at 32ft and a 75ft long inverted L with the flat top at 26ft. All done in Single Op LOW classes. The class is as important as anything. Choose one that is best for your station's limitations.

Here's my Cobwebb and you can just see the wire going to the pole from one end of the inverted L
http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn9/computershack/Amateur%20stuff/20130304_115737_zpsd647d9cc.jpg

Here's the 10m Moxon and you can see the other end of the inverted L
http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn9/computershack/Amateur%20stuff/89fb9288-66e3-4eb3-a3af-a3a9c2185159_zpsa0f10c11.jpg

My operating station just after finishing the CQ-WPX-SSB contest this March where I did another 10m entry
http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn9/computershack/Amateur%20stuff/20130303_235842_zps55c599a3.jpg

And here's some certificates and a couple of DXCC awards. There's the CQ-WW one that arrived this week not in the photo.
http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn9/computershack/Amateur%20stuff/20130304_000408_zps64936bff.jpg

So as you can see, it is possible to do OK with a limited station, just choose the class that caters best. I stick to LOW power <150W classes because once you go to the High Power ones you've no chance as there's a lot of real big guns. In the low power category, operator skill plays a large part in it.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 01:05:53 PM by M6GOM » Logged
ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 03:59:15 PM »

Have been looking at what could be in the timeframe for me:

cq ww 160 CW: January 25 - 27, 2013

ARRL Inter. DX Contest, CW   0000Z, Feb 16 to 2400Z, Feb 17

CQ-M International DX Contest   1200Z, May 11 to 1159Z, May 12

CQ WW WPX Contest, CW   0000Z, May 25 to 2400Z, May 26

all asian cw (June 15-16,2013

Oceania DX CW early October

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW   0000Z, Nov 23 to 2400Z, Nov 24

Stew Perry Topband Challenge   1500Z, Dec 28 to 1500Z, Dec 29
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
K7MH
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Posts: 339




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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2013, 07:40:23 PM »

Quote
Is there any point in going 20m mono band contesting?
Sure, it's fun!
You also don't have to stay up all night on 20. At least not here anyway.
In the recent ARRL DX phone contest I did a 20 single op and ended up with just under 500 contacts and I think it was 84 multipliers. I didn't work at it as hard as I should have but it was fun!

Quote
Is it worth it, or am I just going to end up another also ran in the single op single band tables?
Hard to say how well you will do. Anybody's guess. Check out score results from the last couple years for a contest to see what your competitors did and judge from that.
Some just want to win so will pick a category that no one else will be in. They get a certificate, but if they were the only entry for that category, who cares?? I just decide what I am going to do based on time available, equipment I have, and if I think it will be fun or not. I don't care about the certificates, I have a bunch of them in a folder in the closet. Some are from when there was some decent competition and some not.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 07:58:29 PM by K7MH » Logged
KD8IZZ
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Posts: 282




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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2013, 07:15:27 AM »

During this year's Virginia QSO party I could only hear them on 40 meters so I went single band and got second place Ohio. I used a simple dipole, a beam probably would have propogated right over them.


But without sunspots I would go for a 20 meter beam for the big international contests.
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W3HKK
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2013, 01:37:10 PM »

Im 71 now and the old back isn't what it used to be, so Ive been working with a very small contest group ( often just 3-4 guys).  It reduces the  operating time, the company stimulates me to keep going, and the spirit of competition makes me try harder than if I were  single op.

40M is a great single band for many contests.  If no yagi,  its easy to put up a phased array or  a 4-square and  make a hole in the  noise.  Plus propagation is amazing at times.

If you are  distant from other hams and thus cant do a multi-single  entry,  a single band  set up allows you  time to   get plenty of rest. as well as operate.

But, Ive really discovered the joy of multi-single  contesting these past few years.  The other guys keep me going, and I keep after them to  improve their rate becaue Im chasing them!
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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2013, 12:50:38 AM »

Well here is an update, just bought a brand new never erected still in the box 204BA beam, so that is coming up from further down ZL1  soon.  We are really hamstrung here (like the word) freight costs from USA are horrendous so have to look out for what is available locally.

Anyway just checked CQ WW site and am amazed  Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

http://www.cqwpx.com/claimedcall.htm
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2013, 12:52:10 AM »

Woops it did not work
Listing shows rank, call, score, and operators. Checklogs are not included.

   World: #97 of 138

  92 XE1CT............24,472
  93 EE7A.............22,310 (EA7CIX)
  94 IW7EEX...........22,264
  95 UR5PG............20,160
  96 WB3CII...........18,786
  97 ZM1BBW...........18,174

  98 UT9IO............16,952
  99 EY7BJ............16,685
 100 EA1CS............16,380
 101 DP4M.............16,272 (DJ4MH)
 102 YO5AXF...........15,936
 [all scores]
   Continent(OC): #1 of 2

   1 ZM1BBW...........18,174

   2 DU2BOQ............1,064
 [all scores]
   Country(ZL): #1 of 1

   1 ZM1BBW...........18,174

 [all scores]
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
WD4ELG
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2013, 09:36:03 PM »

Fascinating.

So I have a question: DX cluster spots are considered ASSISTED category.  But is CW Skimmer considered ASSISTED?
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WD4ELG
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2013, 09:39:46 PM »

Never mind.  It's considered ASSISTED.  http://www.radio-sport.net/cqww-puts-cw-skimmer-in-assisted-category-other-contests-still-evaluating-ve3nea-software/

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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2013, 01:25:29 AM »

No different than having a spotter, working for you, its assisted.   Never could get it work here anyway, Smiley our internet is too slow.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
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