I’m a little late getting to posting about this past weekends CQ WPX SSB ham radio contest. There was a lot of anticipation that the conditions were improving and that activity would be high and it seems like that was indeed the case. The contest started Friday night and ended Sunday night. Single Ops could operate 36 of the 48 hours but that wasn’t an issue for me as I wasn’t able to operate in a true full-time effort, especially on Fri & Sat evenings.
For those that don’t work the WPX contests, anyone can work anyone else, and the prefix of the call sign is the multiplier so a K2 & W2 are 2 different multipliers. Multipliers are counted once across all bands and not once per band. Also there are more points for contacts made outside your own entity so Canada contacts are more points than US contacts and contacts on a different continent are worth even more.
Fri night I operated around 3 hours and started on 15m where there was already activity not just Fri night but all weekend long. I was able to log a Hawaii station right away. After 15 mins I moved to 20m and worked S&P through the band. I worked S&P the entire weekend and never called CQ once. 20m was already wall to wall with loud and often times overlapping signals. I spent most of my evening there and moved to 40m and 80m for a short time to get anyone I could hear before calling it a night with around 80 contacts in total.
Saturday’s time on the radio was again all S&P and started around 11am local time 1500z after some errands and a much needed haircut. Most of the first part of the day concentrating on 15m and 10m. 10m seemed to have some activity throughout the daylight hours and 15m was more like 20m has been with wall to wall signals throughout the day with a bit less chaos than 20m. 15m had a lot of the typical South America stations booming in but there were also plenty of EU stations and even Africa stations coming in. I spent a lot of time tuning the dial on 10m looking for new stations to log. Again, the South America stations were coming in strong as they do whenever I’m hearing 10m stations. The Caribbean stations were all loud as well. You can see from the 10m map below that the SA stations I made contact with were primarily on the coasts. I also had no problem logging a contact with a ZS station in South Africa on 10m at a distance of 8000 miles. This was my 2nd South Africa 10m contact since being on HF.
I did pop over to 20m on Saturday to spin the knob up and down to log stations, but I did head back to 15m and 10m and spent more time there. I was more interested in logging new countries on 15m and 10m than just increasing my total number of contacts for the contest. As the sun started to set I again spent some time on 40m and 80 thought 20m was active up until I got off the radio that night. I ended Sat night with 332 contacts in the log. Compared to 2010 CQ WPX SSB contest where I finished with 671 Q’s I figured I was lucky if I’d even approach 500 on Sunday.
The rest of Sunday was spent scanning up and down 20, 15 & 10 though I spent much more time on 10m. Yes it was much less productive but I wasn’t going for large numbers. When the contest came to an end I was pleasantly surprised I had logged 563 stations with more contacts on 10m than on 40m or 80m. I ended up working 81 DXCC entities which is 10 more than last year with 110 or so less total contacts. I also worked 26 different CQ zones, not that that those are a factor in this contest either. I worked 7 different stations on 4 bands but none on 5 which isn’t surprising since I spent very little time on 80m. 17 other stations were worked on 3 bands. It was a very enjoyable weekend so thanks to all for hearing my 100w.
Here are maps of the contacts made. The first map shows all contacts and the second map shows the 10m contacts made. Click on the images to open a larger view:
Here’s the score summary for the weekend:
Band QSOs Pts WPX 3.5 34 103 27 7 65 176 33 14 202 482 127 21 186 470 115 28 76 190 40 Total 563 1421 342 Score : 485,982