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Author Topic: CQ 160 contest, was it just me?  (Read 5499 times)
W8GP
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Posts: 224




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« on: January 27, 2014, 10:56:42 AM »

 I've been operating this contest on-and-off for 40+ years and it seemed to me that participation was way down this year. In previous years, there was solid activity even above 1900, but this year there were few signals above 1870 or so. At times the band was almost quiet, it was never difficult to find a clear frequency to call CQ. Propagation seemed OK so I don't think that was it. Did anyone else notice this?
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NO9E
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Posts: 439




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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 11:05:54 AM »

I noticed the lower participation too. Also the propagation was down compared to ARRL160 and way down compared to Pre-Stew. JA and KL7 were heard in GA only for a short time on Sunday AM and no copy on KH6. 

Ignacy, NO9E
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KA1J
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Posts: 174




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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 12:35:05 PM »

From Connecticut, I logged about the same this year as last year. I did not find many places to run a frequency without getting into someone else's space, and I had the K3 at 20 Hz filtering until later in the night when the band thinned out a little.

I've a hellacious amount of 25KV line noise from Amtrak 100' from my antenna but found some really good help with the HI-Z triangular array and it helped a lot with hearing EU. In fact, one of the biggest problems with working much DX were the US stations right on top of the EU/AF stations. I felt awkward calling the EU I clearly heard knowing I was going to be doing so right on top of the US station who was louder. Using the twin Rx in the K3, I had the Rx antenna on the sub Rx and the Inv-L on the main Rx but not in diversity mode. I finally turned down the main Rx and listened with the one ear to the HI-Z array and that knocked the US station down so I could call & hear the reply. Because of that I got a lot of multipliers many (I think) stations in there but unheard stateside.

OTOH, I could her a lot of EU and middle east who were working locally and not listening westward. After repeated calling them and only hearing them working local stations I'd tune up the band to find another but there were plenty of EU in there on my end, they were just being covered up by CQ machines. I was called several times by KH6 but did not hear KL7 and did not get a Q with Montana. Did not hear any VK, did hear a ZL but he QSYed or went QRT after  a couple moments of my calling him.

There were fewer Caribbean & SA than last year and I heard no JA. The noise level I have to deal with is really an issue so maybe they were in there at my location but drowned out by the line noise. had a good time, didn't win any records but I thought the activity I heard was pretty good here.

73,
Gary, KA1J
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W3HKK
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Posts: 621




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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 06:46:49 PM »

Here in Ohio, I thought things were "off" from last year, but I finished with about the same number of contacts.   I understand 160 tends to  suffer from D/E layer absorption  during sunspot peaks but improves at  the other end of the cycle.   3-4 years ago I started the contest with a bang, running rates over 100/hr  from 7-10 pm on Night 1.  Sigs held solid until around 1-2 am when they got watery. Night 2 was more of the same.  Slow rates after  1 am.

This year,   Night 1 started ok but not great, but by 9 pm rates were sliding, and from midnight on it was hard work staying around 30-35/hr. We finished Night 1 with 501 qsos, but  due to the snowstorm never made it back to the WW8OH contest station for the second half.

(WW8OH ran 100w to a 70 ft high 160M horizontal loop; plus a K9AY rx loop. We had one operator and two loggers  to keep us awake.  N3HJP logging software.)

Last years  full weekend delivered 784 qsos and 16 countries plus most states/provinces.
This years one nighter delivered 501 qsos, 8 countries, and most states/provinces. Probably about the same results with the 2nd night drop off.

We have operated the CQWW 160 cw and ssb contests for three straight years now.  I've operated the ARRL 160 contest   on and off in the past, and it seems to me that conditions  are best for the ARRL test, next best for the Jan CQWW and then least good for the Feb  CQWW on a fairly consistent basis.

But  variations among the hours  muddle things.  ie  sometimes early is great and late is fair.  Other times early is good and late is better than usual.   

I did notice that among all categories, only about 20 US stations made over 1000 qsos   this past weekend per 3830.com.
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W3HKK
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Posts: 621




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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2014, 06:48:40 PM »

Oh, BTW, we heard  the Carribean well.  SA  barely ( a weak CE1/);   And EU  barely audible.- on our one night of operating.
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K3TN
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Posts: 295


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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 02:24:48 AM »

I was on from K4VV for a little over 6 hours. US activity did seem sparser than previous years, but I think a lot of it was conditions - since most of the time there were very few EUs or even West Coast coming through, there were lots of frequencies "available" below 1840. I think it was sort of like 2, or even 3, contests going on at once - sharing the frequencies.
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John K3TN
NN3W
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Posts: 150




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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 11:42:31 AM »

Gotta remember, we're at the "peak" of the cycle (if you can call it a peak).  A lot of folks' attention is diverted towards high band operations.  When you get off the peak and get three years down the road, expect activity to be much higher.
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W1VT
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Posts: 898




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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 01:38:42 PM »

Not just the solar activity, but FT5ZM.
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N3QE
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Posts: 2422




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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 07:38:25 PM »

I think it was sort of like 2, or even 3, contests going on at once - sharing the frequencies.

Oh, that's what's amazing about any contest. There's a top level of superstations, a medium level of many loud stations, and underneath that is a giant pool of weak stations. The top level is completely unremarkable after you start hearing the lower levels and you just don't hear the loud ones anymore.

In the 160 CQ CW test I had been CQ'ing for about an hour on 1841 when all of a sudden there's this weak station CQ'ing underneath me. I listen and he's UU7J, I work him and I go find a new run frequency :-). He was my only Ukraine mult that whole weekend.
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NO9E
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Posts: 439




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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2014, 07:57:17 AM »

Two a 3 days ago E77 and UU7 were 599 on 160m. This means that good conditions on 160m can still happen despite high sunspots.

Ignacy, NO9E
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