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Author Topic: CQ WW Contesting and DX'ing  (Read 1396 times)
K3VAT
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Posts: 701




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« on: October 25, 2012, 03:47:52 AM »

This weekend (Oct 27 and 28) is the CQ WW SSB Contest – perhaps the biggest and badest of all contests.  For 2011 nearly 7,500 logs were sent in although it may be assumed that many more (single) operators participated but did not send in a log.  Some of the popular 2011 DX favorites were AC2AI/KH2, WH2X, ZD8O, VU2PAI, 5Z4EE, J28RO, Z21BB, 8Q7DV, UP2L, DX1M, B1Z, PJ5/SO6X, EY7AD, 9M2CQC, PZ5MM, A61EE, A65EE, TK5KP, 9M6YBG, ZK2X, RI1ANC, and DU9RG.  Activity was present on all bands including 10M with some stellar scores from ZX5J, FY/F5HRY and AY5F who were, in many cases easy catches for stations from NA.

CQ WW SSB provides DX’ers with a unique opportunity to snag some of the rare ones for band fills or even ATNO (all time new ones).  I operate mostly on Sunday from early morning (local time) until the contest end at 0000Z doing S&P (search and pounce) for the band fills that I need.  I always pick up several new band fills and many of these stations use LoTW which makes the QSL process fast and easy.  You can take a look at this site http://ng3k.com/Misc/cqs2012.html to see what activity is scheduled although there will be lots of activity on from individual stations that are not listed – this may help you plan this year’s strategy.

HOWEVER, CQ WW may provide yet another, more fruitful opportunity for DX’ers to pick up that new one.  It goes like this: there are an undetermined number of DX stations that strongly prefer CW or digital modes who crave DX’ing, but stay clear of these big contests.  Where do you find them?  On the WARC bands!  Even some of the big DXpeditions of recent years while placing one or two of their stations on the Contest bands (160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10M) usually have additional stations on the WARC bands.  With literally tens of thousands of operators on the non-WARC bands competing in the CQ WW contest, activity on the WARC bands is much less hectic than usual when it comes to working the good DX.  I’m sure that many of you can site examples where this has happened for you.  You may also find that band fill that you're looking for down in the CW portion of the band (non-WARC), far from the onslaught of SSB signals.

My strategy for the CQ WW SSB contest: for Friday night (local time) until early Sunday morning concentrate on the WARC bands (I stay clear for the first half of the contest when it is just too hectic for me and I my wire antennas are no match for the yagis).  Starting Sunday access the band openings and activity levels on the contest bands and watch the DX Cluster to see if there are any spots from NA stations for the band fills that I need.  If I see hear something that I need then I go for it.  I also tune slowing across those bands that are active trying to locate some rare DX’ing that no one has spotted.  Also starting Sunday while doing the above, I keep my ear open on the WARC bands.  With the increased activity on 12M one might pick up some good DX on this band.  

GL, 73, Rich, K3VAT
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 04:23:33 AM by K3VAT » Logged
NU1O
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Posts: 2612




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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 05:10:08 AM »

My strategy for the CQ WW SSB contest: for Friday night (local time) until early Sunday morning concentrate on the WARC bands (I stay clear for the first half of the contest when it is just too hectic for me and I my wire antennas are no match for the yagis).  Starting Sunday access the band openings and activity levels on the contest bands and watch the DX Cluster to see if there are any spots from NA stations for the band fills that I need.  If I see hear something that I need then I go for it.  I also tune slowing across those bands that are active trying to locate some rare DX’ing that no one has spotted.  Also starting Sunday while doing the above, I keep my ear open on the WARC bands.  With the increased activity on 12M one might pick up some good DX on this band.  

GL, 73, Rich, K3VAT

Rich,

When I was starting out I picked up many ATNO and many band slots during contests like CQWW.  Actually, that was the only reason I participated. I normally will put a few hours in the more popular foreign contests just to give out some points to my overseas friends.  For example, I worked about 200 stations last weekend in the Work All Germany Contest. I do the same for the PA, REF, ARI, RSGB, etc.  The contests are always a lot of fun.  I've also become a fan of the bigger state QSO Parties. The California QSO Party is great fun, very busy, and I've now worked every CA county sans one (Sierra). In the past few weeks I've also been in the PA Party and last week the NY QSO Party. I entered the New England QSO Party this year for the first time and I will now make that a yearly ritual.  

In a CW contest it is absolutely amazing how much your copying speed can increase with 2 days of constant 35 wpm CW. The only problem is if you don't keep the newly attained speed up after the contest you quickly revert to your previous level.

I have also worked the CW bands in a Phone contest and vice-versa and that is a very good strategy.  

I have 314 current countries worked plus 6 deleted for a total of 320. I may pick up a few band slots on 10, 15, 20, 40, or 80 but I'm not going to work a new country.  I also am not going to win my state, ARRL section, or likely even county so other than band slots I'm not accomplishing much in a contest like CQWW.  I really only started working 12 and 17 during the past 2 years and I don't even have DXCC on either so I like this strategy a whole lot. I will spend sometime in the contest but you have convinced me to spend about half of my time in the WARC bands. If I'm doing very well I may spend the whole contest in the WARC bands.

Now that I have a K3, decent beam and 1500 watt amplifier, there is one contest I'm going to work from start to finish to see how many points I can rack up. That is the ARRL 10 meter contest in December. Conditions should be very good and 10 meters is my favorite band.  I've spent countless hours on the band and I know the openings very well.  Although I will not win my section, Western Mass., I really want to see how I compare against other stations with an all out effort.  I have one problem: a bad back and I need breaks every few hours.  Nevertheless, I will give that one my best shot.

Thanks for the suggestion.  It makes a lot of sense and I will give it a try.

73,

Chris/NU1O
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 05:15:03 AM by NU1O » Logged
K0AP
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Posts: 121




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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 08:32:09 AM »

CQWW SSB 2011 will remain in my memories as one of the best contest experiences in my life. The 10m band was covered with stations from 28300 to 29500. Literally you could not find clear frequency to call CQ. I hope this year the bands will be at least half as good as last year. Good luck to all participants and have fun.

73 Dragan K0AP
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KD8IZZ
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Posts: 282




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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 08:57:53 AM »

CQWW SSB 2011 will remain in my memories as one of the best contest experiences in my life. The 10m band was covered with stations from 28300 to 29500. Literally you could not find clear frequency to call CQ. I hope this year the bands will be at least half as good as last year. Good luck to all participants and have fun.

73 Dragan K0AP


I'll second that. 15 meters too. Shoulder to shoulder, top to bottom, the 2 bands were completely full with my little beam pointed toward Europe. Pointing toward South America was also very crowded.
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K3VAT
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Posts: 701




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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 09:06:09 AM »

...
Now that I have a K3, decent beam and 1500 watt amplifier, ... 73, Chris/NU1O

Thanks Chris for the nice posting.  Also use K3 here along with KPA500 and two rotatable dipoles.  Condx should be very good except possibly in the SE USA due to QRN from a nasty storm (Sandy) (lightning forecast and even possible tornadoes).

GL, 73, Rich, K3VAT
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K3VAT
Member

Posts: 701




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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 03:43:38 AM »

This weekend (Oct 27 and 28) is the CQ WW SSB Contest – perhaps the biggest and badest of all contests.
  ...
CQ WW SSB provides DX’ers with a unique opportunity to snag some of the rare ones for band fills or even ATNO (all time new ones).
...
HOWEVER, CQ WW may provide yet another, more fruitful opportunity for DX’ers to pick up that new one. Where do you find them?  On the WARC bands!  
...


So how was your DX'ing experience this past weekend?  Heard some of the amazing stories re: 10M openings into SE Asia lasting hours.

Anyone do any DX'ing on the WARC bands?  Very good activity was also present there.  Picked up several new band fills including JX9 on both 12&17; UN5 and P29 on 30; and my best catch 5T5 on RTTY.  All this with wire antennas.

73, Rich, K3VAT
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WS3N
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Posts: 649




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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 05:23:19 AM »

I worked about two dozen band fills - mostly on 10m - on Saturday, didn't bother yesterday. Contests ceased being useful long ago, somewhere between 100 and 150. Now they're mostly just QRM. As you say, one positive aspect is that they reduce the competition for any DX not in the contest. The highlight of the weekend was working 5T5BV on 15m RTTY for an ATNO, one of the Africans that had eluded me.
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W1VT
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Posts: 811




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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 06:11:29 AM »

I worked 5V7TH as soon as he went to split on 12 SSB--lucky frequency guess for an easy ATNO!  #254 for the year.  P29 was easy on 30/40 CW.

Then I finally caught  up with UA0YM in Tannu Tuva--#199 for Diamond DXCC.  Curiously enough, he  was 599 on 20 CW, but when UA0YAY showed up a little later, he was never louder than 53 on 20 SSB in the contest.  Sure glad I tuned outside the contest!

I got a bunch of easy band fills on 40/80 on Saturday morning/evening--well, they are easy if you live in New England.  Grin
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 06:15:08 AM by W1VT » Logged
N4KC
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Posts: 286


WWW

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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 09:28:53 AM »

Looks as if a lot of us were taking advantage of pretty good condx on 10 meters.  I only need six confirmations (out of 145 worked) to get my 100 on 10 so I was picking and choosing, looking not only for new ones but also those I had worked but not gotten QSLed.  Saturday, the band was great and got a bunch of Europe, Middle East, and Africa.  Sunday, the band was very noisy here, but late in the day, bingo!  Japan, China, Australia, Guam, South Cook, Indonesia!  I got most of those with 100 watts, too, and with not a lot of time devoted to the contest.  And took time Saturday to get P29NI on 12 as well.

But it was late Sunday before I realized that among the 50 or so I still don't have confirmed on 10 were...ready for it?...USA and Canada!  Canada was a snap but stateside signals from anywhere but 6 and 7 were non-existent.  Got several of those, though, and hope at least one of them does LOTW.

All in all, I heard lots of common courtesy, "Frequency in use?", patient ops working to get weak stations, but...to be totally honest...lots of audio compression cranked up to "11."  ("Spinal Tap" fans will know that reference.)

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
 
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WS3N
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Posts: 649




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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 10:43:15 AM »

Got several of those, though, and hope at least one of them does LOTW.

DXLab tells me if a spotted station is a LoTW user. I only made contacts with those, a good way to limit the time I have to listen to all that noise.
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K7KB
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Posts: 605




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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 11:59:42 AM »

No new ATNO's during the contest but a few bandfills on 10 and 40. Also worked the 5T5BV on 12M RTTY and 5V7TH on 17 SSB as added points for our local club DX marathon and the Diamond DXCC awards. So I usually try to keep an eye out on the WARC bands while the contest frenzy is going on Smiley

John K7KB
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