In CQWW 160 CW this year the goal was to improve my score and to try to be competitive with the multi-op contest stations ranking top 3 in SM last year. Unfortunately band was not as “hot and willing” as it was a year ago. I guess the best TB season during this bottom of the solar cycle was 2010 and now its time for higher bands to improve. (As I write this the solar flux hits 113 which is the highest value since September 2005).
To be able to improve the score this year I decided to enter as assisted using the cluster and plus a local SDR/Skimmer feeding the band map with workable spots. This helped a little initially, but not as much as one would expect.
The band was at times very crowded and it was hard to find any space for a run wider than 200-300 hz, but the paradox was that it felt like there were fewer stations to log compared to a year ago. Maybe there where fewer stations active, but with longer operating hours and bigger signals they where filling up the band anyway.
Initially the QSO rate was OK, but at the end things got very slow. On Sunday night it was really hard to stay awake during endless CQ calls, non-productive S&P and band maps filled already worked spots.
At the end a total of almost 1.050 contacts where logged, about 70 contacts less than last year. But the real difference was a much lower number of multipliers, especially the NA states where fewer, most probably because of weaker propagation this year. The final score landed at 507.567 points, about 110.000 below my #1 SO achievement of CQWW 160 CW 2010.
Finally I did beat one of the contest stations mentioned earlier, but it was not a fair deal as it was a single op effort with few contacts according to his claimed score. The two other stations still had the upper hand with more operating hours and bigger antenna farms. To summarize the contest result was a little disappointing as I did aim to increase the score, but as usual it was a fun and challenging contest as usual.