Travelled the 2 x 700 km to and from our contest station last weekend again to take part in this year’s CQ WPX SSB contest. Uwe/DL3BQA and Peter/DM5DX had done a small multi OP activity during Russian DX two weeks ago and had set up an 80 m groundplane about 100 meters away from the main antenna towers with big help of Heiko/DG1BHA. It was still up so Uwe decided to be active as an SOSB80 entry with the special event callsign DR5ØDIG (50 years Diploma Interests Group).
I was not sure what category to choose initially. To be honest I rather took the opportunity to take part in the contest to get away from it all and free up my mind from all the current QRL stuff as well as relocation preparations (we will move from Cologne to Hamburg in summer as I’m changing QRL). So I took it leisurely having a good night’s sleep Friday night before starting into the contest well relaxed on Saturday morning. 😎
As the 80 m GP was far enough away from the other antennas we did not have any interstation interference this time and I could make use of all other bands in parallel to Uwe. Quite nice for a change. 😉 So I started handing out points on 40 & 20 m with Fourty providing most of the fun (and QSOs) especially during the midmornings and early afternoons both days. Great to be called by juicy DX like ZL, BY, YB, etc. with just a simple dipole. 😎 Condx on 20 m were not too good and 15 m was basically closed on Saturday. The latter saw a nice Sporadic-E opening Sunday morning with great signals from OH, UA3, EW, etc. and even a few South Americans later on. But activity was sparse, seems nobody expected it thus not many people checking the band regularly (a common problem during sunspot minimum). Unfortunately the E-skip MUF didn’t rise up to 28 MHz although I checked 10 m regularly, too.
This time I also remembered to switch on the QSOrder application to record the contest QSOs again 😉 (except the first 4 or 5 as I had initially chosen the wrong soundcard as the recording device). All the QSO snippets have been uploaded and are available on the QSOrder Cloud Search page.
As in “real live” appetite comes with eating 😉 so the more I was into the contest the more fun I had and soon set the goal of 2 mio points, exactly what I needed to reach the BCC’s Frequent Contester Goal with WPX-SSB already. As 20 m was not very productive concerning QSO numbers as well as North America openings (the NA’s normally provide about 40-50% of the prefix multipliers) it indeed took until Sunday evening. When I finally reached it and thought of closing down Uwe dropped by into my shack (we have two separate rooms) to tell me he was too tired to continue until the end and would go home now as he needed to get up very early for QRL Monday morning. So I used the opportunity to also do a few QSOs as “fresh meat” on 80 m. Made 180 QSOs in 1 hour … boy, THAT was fun! 😎
A few minutes of the 80 m pileup:
Even maintained a 30 min rate of 200/h and the 10 min rate meter was up to 220 once! While I did rates > 200/h even for 2 and 3 hours in sunspot maximum on 10 m during WWDX-SSB contests in the past (good old times, sigh) it is much more difficult in WPX-SSB with serial number exchanges and no prefilled CQ zones. Quite an adrenaline rush … definitely did not have any signs of fatigue when driving back to town afterwards. 😀
CQWW WPX Contest, SSB - 2019 Call: DH8BQA Class: SO(A)AB HP QTH: JO73ce Operating Time (hrs): 26:30 Summary: Band QSOs ------------ 160: 62 80: 185 40: 818 20: 385 15: 50 10: 0 ------------ Total: 1500 Prefixes = 738 Total Score = 2,422,116 Club: Bavarian Contest Club