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Author Topic: Leaderboard Insanity with HK0NA Operation  (Read 9421 times)
NU4B
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2012, 05:06:34 PM »

I heard Taiwan fairly loud last night on 15. So that's in the neighborhood. But a fairly substantial increase in solar activity would be helpful. I've got XX so I will probably just watch from the sidelines.
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N6OIL
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2012, 06:21:18 PM »

I'm bummed I didn't work them, heard them many times during NAQP and I thought I had another week. Snooz you loose!!
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NI0C
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2012, 05:49:26 AM »

W2IRT wrote:
Quote
That chart doesn't really reflect the leaderboard issue; I'd say it's more reflective of DXCC Challenge band hunters.

I agree with Peter on this.  There was a lot of demand for band fills for Malpelo.  Although I'm not a "Top of the HR" operator (I'm close to the bottom of the HR), I did have just two QSO's with Malpelo prior to HK0NA.  One was the 1990 HK0TU operation; the other was HK3JJH/HK0M during 1999.  Both of these were on 20m-- one on CW, the other on SSB.  Note that both these operations occurred prior to the DXCC Challenge award.  If there were other operations from Malpelo, I wasn't aware of them.  For me, HK0NA was an opportunity to acquire many new band entities.  I have some regrets about missing 80 meters, but I chose not to take down my 160m antenna so soon in the season to replace it with my 80/40 meter vertical. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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KD6KWZ
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 11:44:37 PM »

Quote
I'm bummed I didn't work them, heard them many times during NAQP and I thought I had another week. Snooz you loose!!

Too bad, Rocky. On 2 of my HK0NA contacts, it was pass around the mike to all in the room who wanted to QSO them, once at HRO, then at the Red Cross Radio Room monthly opening. At the Red Cross, I repeated what they were saying at HRO, that Malpelo probably won't be on the air again for about 10+ years, that got the attention of even those not heavy into DX.

Quote
I worked them several days ago on 10 SSB with one call using about 50 watts to a mismatched vertical (small Bravo 7K setup for 17m at the time).  They were begging for contacts at the time.

I did get them at the end, when most of the craziness had died down, with my only personal HF rig that only does 10 meters, & with just 22 watts. It made no sense to me to try CW with HK0NA since I had 3 SSB contacts on different with them.

Now that I think about it, it would be interesting to see HK0NA's longest QRP contacts.
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N5UD
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2012, 08:59:33 PM »

Since I use a vertical antenna, I hear a lot. I still heard guys calling HK0 on any band I heard the HK0. That's right up to bitter end.

Sadly I could hear guys calling and HK0 just call another CQ. Then go QRT. The last QSO I had on 80 CW, they still had pile ups. It was nearly the last day, if not the last day. On 80 CW they were still working Europe really well.

The insanity has got to hurt the little guys during a small operation. Like E44PM. I have posted here before about QSO's, big guns, and logs from past DX-peditions to same location. Why do you need duplicate band fill QSO's ? You can't blame that on DX Marathon.

73 Tony N5UD
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WW3QB
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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2012, 09:10:44 PM »

Why do you need duplicate band fill QSO's ?

I'm beginning to understand. I am not a big gun. All my antennas are dipoles. I have found that as I have over 200 entities confirmed and six types of DXCC's, I am finding less opportunities to work a new one. A ham wants to use his radio and a DXer wants to compete for DX, so for many the urge to work all DXpeditions all ways becomes irresistible. I am not there yet, but I may become like that in a year or two.
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N1UK
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2012, 03:59:38 AM »

After spending terrifying hours working up on my tower and vast sums of money this is my reward for all that pain.


Mark N1UK
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N3OX
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2012, 07:05:00 AM »

The insanity has got to hurt the little guys during a small operation.

I personally think the thing that's going to hurt the "little guys" the most is this insistence that their success mainly depends on the actions of others rather than on their own actions.

Little stations should work to make sure they have no glaring deficiencies in their antenna systems leading them to throw away 6 or 10dB extra because of something dumb like feedline loss, and then they should practice pileup breaking while recognizing that the MAIN reason not to get through is that they're not calling on the right frequency at the right time.

If the DX is S9 and running a kW to a beam and you're only running 100W, you'll still probably be S7 at the DX location, and if it's some remote rock the noise floor might not be so bad... certainly only natural noise.   I have had SO MANY DX contacts on Pacific islands, etc., where it was clear they could hear me really, really well despite the fact that I was just barely digging them out of the noise, and I was only running 100W.

I think the little pistol should keep something very important in mind when they encounter a pileup that stretches over 30kHz++ with thousands of insane callers:

On phone, only the stations in a particular 3kHz chunk of that pileup are your real competition.  On CW, only stations in a 500Hz or so chunk are your real competition.  And even then it's probably a subset of those people.  That ham who is just ALWAYS there guessing the right frequency just like you and beating you?  THAT ham is your competition.  The people who are calling and calling 100dB down the DX station's filter skirt?  They're gamblers, and not your competition if you don't gamble.

IMO this always matters  more than power and antenna, provided your power and antenna meet a minimum threshold.  But that minimum threshold, in my experience, is the point at which you call in the clear and the DX CQ's in your face.  There is no other situation where you have proof that you were not loud enough.

I'm not trying to paint a sappy picture where "you can do anything if you put your mind to it."  That's not my intent.  But I deeply question the assumption that peppering a pileup with a few hundred people who are seeking large numbers of contacts somehow PREVENTS small stations from getting their contacts.  Antenna and power are important.  Big stations will be able to do things small stations can't, for sure.  But if you are a small station with good copy on a DX location, and you don't have really tight time constraints and you aren't in the sad, frustrating situation where you can't find the DX listening frequency because you can't hear a single caller, you can get through no matter how many people there are in that pileup.  Many of them take themselves out of the running by not calling in the right place at the right time. 

The little pistol needs to do everything possible to call in the right place at the right time every time.

If you're not in the DX station's passband more often than you're not, it doesn't matter if you're 5N0OCH with a massive rotatable broadcast array or sitting at your picnic table with a FT-817 and a hamstick... you're not getting through.
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
KY6R
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« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2012, 07:22:51 AM »

The insanity has got to hurt the little guys during a small operation.
I think the little pistol should keep something very important in mind when they encounter a pileup that stretches over 30kHz++ with thousands of insane callers:

On phone, only the stations in a particular 3kHz chunk of that pileup are your real competition.  On CW, only stations in a 500Hz or so chunk are your real competition.  And even then it's probably a subset of those people.  That ham who is just ALWAYS there guessing the right frequency just like you and beating you?  THAT ham is your competition.  The people who are calling and calling 100dB down the DX station's filter skirt?  They're gamblers, and not your competition if you don't gamble.

IMO this always matters  more than power and antenna, provided your power and antenna meet a minimum threshold.  But that minimum threshold, in my experience, is the point at which you call in the clear and the DX CQ's in your face.  There is no other situation where you have proof that you were not loud enough.



I agree 100%. I have snagged 329 entities in the last 10 years and have missed 3 all time new one's that I needed. All 3 were during the bottom of the cycle - one I never heard once, and the other two were just barely popping above the noise.

My pileup skills have been fine - but I needed an extra 3 dBd (probably) to work the one's I missed.

I have completely revamped my antenna system and between adding 3 dBd gain on all bands over what I used to have, I also increased the height - and minimized losses for another 2 dBd of gain. This 5 dBd gain increase would have made the difference at the bottom of the cycle. (It doesn't make as much difference with decent conditions . . . BTW).

I also did an extensive analysis of my QTH using HFTA, and now know which directions are going to be rough - regardless of propagation or gain, and that (luckily) my "sheer wall hills" in the SP directions have much better paths in the LP direction. Since I am very adept at morning grey line LP DX-ing - I now understand why I was able to snag something like TO4E (Europa), D6 (Comoros) or FH (Mayotte), but failed miserably trying to even hear FR/G (Glorioso).

And my super secret weapon has been 40M and sometimes 30M during the evening or (especially) morning grey line - when I don't have competition from the rest of the US.

Come to think about it - the only reason why I have several of the toughest entities is because I had no other US competition - besides West Coasters during AM LP grey line openings. Even the West Coast competition is nothing - because if you look at how the AM grey line lines up - you'll see that San Diego to Seattle have VERY different AM "enhancements".

The evening grey line is much tougher - because then we have competition from the rest of the US. Also - the bands are noisier at my QTH.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 07:24:25 AM by KY6R » Logged
K0OD
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« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2012, 07:30:45 AM »

What about "success" for VHFers who crave just one Q with Malpelo and suddenly find a bazzillion HFers calling for their SECOND band/mode-fill on six meters during a 10 minute opening. 

Wonder how U.S./Euro leaderboard junkies would feel if a brief North Korean operation would QRX to work a mob of JAs on six-meter phone and then six-meter  CW???  Most would be furious!

Not much fun for us when the leaderboard is filled with JA's.
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KY6R
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« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2012, 07:43:07 AM »

What about "success" for VHFers who crave just one Q with Malpelo and suddenly find a bazzillion HFers calling for their SECOND band/mode-fill on six meters during a 10 minute opening.  

Wonder how U.S./Euro leaderboard junkies would feel if a brief North Korean operation would QRX to work a mob of JAs on six-meter phone and then six-meter  CW???  Most would be furious!

Not much fun for us when the leaderboard is filled with JA's.

Heck - just trying to work Caribbean 160 or 6M from the West Coast when you have the rest of the US in the pileup (with easier access) is a bitch. I always have to wait until the rest of the country has had their "fill(s)".

And I am sure its vice versa regarding OC/PAC dx stations . . . which are chip shots for West Coasters.

I think the playing field gets leveled that way.

I worked HK0NA on 80M as the sun was up in the East Coast - but at 3 AM PST - before the sun hit Malpelo - and before many others from the West Coast were up and competing with me.

Sometimes all you can do is try to slip in when there is less competition.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 09:46:19 AM by KY6R » Logged
NU4B
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« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2012, 10:49:35 AM »

What about "success" for VHFers who crave just one Q with Malpelo and suddenly find a bazzillion HFers calling for their SECOND band/mode-fill on six meters during a 10 minute opening.  

Wonder how U.S./Euro leaderboard junkies would feel if a brief North Korean operation would QRX to work a mob of JAs on six-meter phone and then six-meter  CW???  Most would be furious!

Not much fun for us when the leaderboard is filled with JA's.

Sometimes all you can do is try to slip in when there is less competition.

The best time to work DX is when there is nobody else there. I got HK0NA fairly early in the expedition on 80 because I got up early. I know what time the vast majority of the east coast kilowatts get up. I just have to be there before the you know what hits the fan.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2012, 12:10:17 PM »

In addition to the very well-made comments by N3OX, N1UK and KY6R, I'd hasten to add that this is a case of managing one's expectations. If you're a pipsqueak DXer and choose to remain at that level then be content with one or two Q's on maybe one or two bands in the case of a major international operation. In the case of a couple of guys on rocks in the ocean, over a polar path, at solar minimum, you have to expect a very rough go of it and a very distinct possibility that you won't hear them. When you do, you have to make yourself heard as much as your gear will allow. If you've hobbled yourself with low power and low wires, then make up for it by scanning the pileup for open spots, being on when nobody else nearby is, maybe even asking a friend to use his better array to find a QSX, etc. Being a good DXer is a learned skill. It's more than cluster-clicking.

Kure was on in 2005 about a month before my tower and array went up. I had a nearby friend string up a sloping dipole for 20m into a conveniently-placed pine tree and managed to work them on 20 SSB, for my only contact with Kure. I tried other bands/modes and was disappointed that I couldn't get through, but I managed my expectations, knowing I had a crappy little wire and only 600W.

In the case of a moderately-rare entity that's activated for 10 days, and that's not via a polar path, there's no reason why a station in NA shouldn't be able to bag at least one single QSO, provided they have more than 10 minutes a day to play radio. A good case in point is the upcoming 3C/3C0 operation from west Africa. These guys have been on a few times in the past. They're notorious for not listening for North America when propagation is open, instead they generally run Europe continuously because those are the only loud signals they're hearing. A modest 100W station in NA should be able to finagle at the very least one QSO for an all-time new one with them. If lucky, maybe a few more, but one should absolutely be workable. The pileups will be atrocious and the eurolids will be on their worst behaviour without a doubt, but still, it should be possible to get through once.

And just like there's no crying in baseball, there should be no whining in DXing!
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N3QE
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« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2012, 12:27:24 PM »

Sometimes all you can do is try to slip in when there is less competition.

That's incredibly relevant to a station like mine. Others here view working DX as a way of testing their station's ability to break a pile-up. To the extent that several here view DX'ing as EXACTLY the same as busting a pile-up.

But I know for sure, that if I wait till the end of a well staffed DXpedition, I can pick up any band I want with a minor amount of effort and just a little thought as to timing (band open + not too much competition). With HK0NA I got them on all bands 10M-160M, and that's a huge testament not to my puny station or even my cleverness, but to the DXpedition's efforts.

And I know I can pick up the non-DXpedition DX on CW, by watching reversebeacon and having my radio on.
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N5UD
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« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2012, 01:24:38 PM »

"Others here view working DX as a way of testing their station's ability to break a pile-up. To the extent that several here view DX'ing as EXACTLY the same as busting a pile-up."

Evidently working DX is not what it used to be. I never considered this effort as a contest. CQWW, SS, etc are contests. I must admit much has changed since 1965 when I was first licensed. Back then and for another 20 years working DX was about listening for most of them. No DX clusters, no spotters, no skimmers, no reverse beacon, no chat room schedules, and so on.

Generally if you could hear them you could work them. It did not matter if you had stacked yagis or just a dipole. Things did get hectic when a rare Dx-pedition would come on the air. The stacked yagis sure helped. But there were no band slots to fill etc. Originally all we had for DXCC was PHONE and MIXED. CW did not even count for a separate mode. So the rare DX would be on the band that was open most of the time to the most parts of the world. You worked them one or two times, and you were done. Usually 20 and 15 meters.

Of course today we have a different DX environment. It is no longer about being able to work a DX station, but to break the world wide pile up too. Sure an operation that went as long as HK0NA did, then most got through. Especially so for east coast. But a small op like E44PM, then few NA got through except the top stations. I had previously pointed out, from past logs, many of these were just repeat band fill QSO's. It was even worse for the European top stations.

Looks like the days of rag chew QSO's with the remote DX guys is over. I have had these ops complain about it. Even when they try to rag chew, they just can't. People breaking in, being rude, causing QRM. Not gentlemanly behavior

So I guess DX today is what is.  A continual contest. Too bad.

73 Tony N5UD
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