My 10,000 Hour RadioSport Challenge | 9,436 – 21 = 9,415 To Go

2012 CQ World Wide DX CW Results

Good afternoon from the #hamr zone where a winter storm is raising a little havoc outside the shackadelic sliding doors. On the other hand, the stoke rages on after a sensational last weekend logging DX in the pilot’s seat at my mentor’s shack. I want to thank John, W6SL for the time on the high bands because several new entities and one additional zone went into my computer logger.

Changing The Game
N1MM contest logger function keys were fixed and what a difference maker versus sending callsign from the paddles then pressing an Icom 756Pro function key to send my exchange. Instead, with a fully operational keyboard, I sent our exchange with enter send message (ESM) or using F5 key for partial callsign with question mark.

The F5 key made a difference when a cluster swarm simultaneously pounced on my transmit frequency.

I’m not a qualified electrical engineer but I don’t think a receiver filter is designed for or capable of handling signals driven by cluster technology that is simultaneous ‘clicking’ of tens, hundreds, or thousands of band maps pointed in the direction of one multiplier.

Cluster Pounce
I’d like to cite an example of cluster pounce gone out of control. It was mid-Sunday morning and I was spinning the dial when a swarm of signals exploded on a Zulu Sierra One in South Africa. Perhaps, for many of us, this station was a double-double that is new zone, new multiplier. Africa is difficult enough from zone three and, a double-double, was seriously significant.

I felt for the operator thousands of miles from the Five Cities of California. The swarm was out of rhythm with the Zulu Sierra One therefore throwing out the rhythm for all of us. The moment was cataclysmic because the operator simply could not manage the cluster pounce — too many signals arrived at once with their callsigns sent immediately toward South Africa.

He tried. I was frustrated. And the double-double multiplier in South Africa vanished from the listening frequency.

Stormy Paths
On the other hand, propagation paths into Asia and Europe seemed short lived for this season whereas Saturday was better than Sunday. I enjoyed stable 15m conditions into Asia on Friday night with two hours of 60 plus Qs going into the log. However, 20m was search and log, with 10 minute bursts of rate toward Asia as well.

Twenty meter antenna is 6 elements at 50 plus feet and 15m system is 6 elements at sixty five feet on the left hand tower. Each antenna was manufactured by KLM of late 70s and early 80s fame. Additionally, ten meter antenna is 5 elements, at 60 feet on the right hand tower.

Saturday is everything in RadioSport with the polar path into Europe reasonably stable between 25 and 30 degrees on 15m and twenty meters. I established a decent rate frequency on 15m into EU while mostly searching and logging on twenty meters.

In the meantime, Central, South America, and Caribbean multipliers and zones pumped 10m numbers however; I missed additional multipliers on the same band as Saturday conditions were locally notable.

Overall, RadioSport’s ‘big event’ delivered serious ham radio fun through last week despite stormy conditions and short lived paths toward major continents. I spent more time searching and logging even though my band map was populating with multipliers. Instead, I watched one cluster for band openings and put that information to use, as spotting efficacy is oftentimes sketchy at best.

I recommend spinning the dial starting at the high end of the band and work’em as you descend to the lowest end of the band. Additionally, if using assistance, think about using that information to spot when a band is opening toward a specific continent. I’m sharpening my search and log technique as band maps tend to draw my attention away from the frequency dial.

Contest on!    

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