Patrik has not been bitten by the “top band bug” yet, but he has a nice station with a nice location for DX’ing and contesting. His topband antenna is an inverted L with 10-12 radials, perfect for picking up multipliers in the big contests, but not really competitive for Topband DX’ing. As Patrik is “in between amplifiers” I had to borrow one and was able to source a FL-2100Z from SM0NOR Ulf, not the most powerful box on the block, but at least an S-unit over the barefoot K3. I also added a N/E Pennant in addition to Patrik’s N/W Pennant.
With this rather modest setup I was ready for a though fight in what could be the most challenging SSB contest of the year, especially in SM where we are restricted to use only 35 kHz of the 160 meter band between 1810-1845.
It was natural that DX suffered, in addition to three NA states worked in Zone 5 I also logged some DX in Zone 17, 20 and 33 but that was it! Longer distances where not possible with the current propagation and my setup. In general I was able to hear better than I was getting out which shows that on Topband a good TX antenna and enough power are vital element of success.
As an experiment the station was hooked up for remote access and the last hours of the contest was logged via the remote interface. To make it even more challenging the remote setup was based on a TS-480, only 100 watts and no RX antennas. 21 stations where logged using this setup, and despite its limitations the low number of stations logged is more likely due to the fact that there were very few left to log at the end of the weekend.
The final result for the weekend ended up at 340 contacts worked in 39 DXCC, 2 US states (ME and MA) and one Canadian province (POI). The total time active was 17 hours. This was considerable less than in CQ160 CW, probably because activity on the band was less and nighttime shorter than in the CW contest a month ago.