For the last 15 years I have almost always operated CQWW SSB from M4A in the multi-single or multi-two categories. It’s one of the highlights of my year. However, with the current coronavirus situation limiting our ability to meet up, I found myself limited to a single operator entry this year.
I decided to go for the SOSB(A) on 20m category, both since I can fit a 20m dipole into my garden and also the fact that 20m is closed overnight, thereby allowing me the chance of at least a bit of sleep! And (controversial opinion follows…) of course I went for the assisted category, because I don’t see why you’d want to make life hard for yourself by denying the existence of the DX Cluster!
Running just 100W into a dipole hastily constructed the day before the contest, I set myself a modest target of 200 QSOs for the weekend. That wouldn’t be enough to win anything but I could at least feel that I had made a meaningful contribution.
- Elecraft K3
- 20m dipole at about 7m AGL
- DXLog.NET for logging
- Waterfall Bandmap, fed from a FunCube Dongle Pro+, taking the K3’s IF feed, for panadapter (My set up instructions)
I was actually very surprised! Although it was certainly hard going with relatively low power, I had made my target of 200 QSOs by Saturday late afternoon. This was entirely search-and-pounce, and I spent a lot of time chasing multipliers. That said, by the end of the day, I was still missing entities and zones that should have been fairly easy, like Asiatic Russia.
I didn’t expect to get very many more QSOs on the Sunday as I suspected I had worked all the easy ones, but to my surprise there were plenty of Europeans still to work. I quickly decided to adopt a strategy of trying to get as much of a rate as I could S&P, so that I could optimise my score after focusing on DX the day before. This strategy paid off, and by the afternoon I even found a clear frequency where I could try running. I could only hold a frequency for about 15 minutes at a time, but it was enough for a few countries I might otherwise not have got (such as 9H and GI) to call me.
I was somewhat surprised how late after sunset the band stayed open on Sunday evening (I didn’t declare the band dead until 21:30 UTC) and this allowed me to get several more US stations and even to get my best DX of the contest, PX2A. Thanks to all the stations who struggled to pull my weak signal out.
As for the dipole’s performance, I was very impressed. Although I didn’t manage to work them, I heard VK3, YB and 9G, so it certainly worked well. I didn’t manage to hear any JAs, even though I was aware from the cluster of a good opening to them on Sunday morning. I suspect this was because I’d deliberately orientated the dipole to fire to the North-West and South-East to optimise paths into Europe and the US. As you’d expect for my low power setup, 82.2% of my QSOs were in Europe, with Italy and Germany the main countries.
Contest : CQ World Wide Callsign : M0BLF Mode : SSB Category : Single operator Overlay : --- Band(s) : 20 Class : Low Grid square : JO02BG Operating time : 29h 10m BAND QSO Z C DUP POINTS AVG ------------------------------- 160 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 80 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 40 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 20 493 14 62 2 667 1.35 15 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 10 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 ------------------------------- TOTAL 493 14 62 2 667 1.35 =============================== FINAL SCORE: 50 692 Operators : M0BLF Soapbox : Created by * DXLog.net version 2.5.0 by 9A5K * http://www.dxlog.net