Multi-One Low Power in WPX SSB

WPX SSB a year ago, in 2014, was a success for SE0X. Propagation was fabulous and we where able to set a new SM record in the Multi-Two category. This year we wanted to try something new and decided to enter in Multi-One Low Power where there presently is no Swedish record. Reaching the current EU record would be a stretch with the current propagation, but we like a challenge so we chose this as our goal.

The team gathered early Friday morning in Stockholm and stocked up on supplies before heading off to the SE0X station. The team this year consisted of TF3ZA Jon, SM0MLZ Patrik and me, SM0MDG Björn. We where one man short compared to the original plan, but we received support with pre contest planning from DD1MAT Niko who helped us putting together the plan. Most of Friday was spent preparing the station for the action.

In addition to setting up the radios and configure N1MM+ on the logging computers, we added an Arduino based hardware PTT interlock to secure that only one station at a time was transmitting.

SE0X interloc

SE0X homebrew interlock based on Arduino modules and the original idea of PY8AZT.

To add high takeoff angles for EU on 40 and 80 meter we decided to add dipoles in addition to the verticals we already have in place. Arriving at the station we found the 80 meter T on the ground and the 40 meter vertical array with a broken connector. The compromise was to fix the 40 meter vertical array and replaces the 80 meter T with an inverted V with its apex tied to the tower. A two element parasitic vertical array over water for 20 meter was also added to support the beam.

After a few hours of antenna work in pouring rain, the team enjoyed a nice pre-contest dinner prepared by master chef SM0MLZ.

Very few North Americans were logged during the first night, most of the time was spent on 80 meter. On Saturday morning we had good openings to Asia and the Pacific region on 10/15m which gave us a much needed run to Japan. Saturday afternoon provided som decent runs with North America.

Around 10:00 UTC on Sunday the rate hit rock bottom and we decided to divide the hour in 10 minute segments. Station one and two alternated between filling the band map with spots while the other station worked through the previously filled band map in rapid pace. This was done on 15 and 20 meter and it helped get the rate up in the 50’s.

WPX SSB 2015 - Continents

SE0X continent breakdown in WPX SSB 2015.

On Sunday afternoon the rain and wind picked up resulting in high static bursts and collapsed fiber poles putting the 20 meter vertical array out of business. Losing the 20 meter array was no problem as the beam provided sufficient signals for most paths. But the static bursts totally wiped out 15 and 10 meter several times during the afternoon and we were forces to move to lower bands where the signal to noise ratio was slightly better.

On Sunday evening we got some efficient runs going on 40 and 80 meter. They weren’t long, but at least they provide a welcomed spike of action in the otherwise slow 2nd day. At the end of the contest Sunday turned out to be pretty good despite the challenges. 45% of all contacts where logged Sunday.

The final claimed score at 4,1 million is around a 1,8 million below the present EU record. Its below our goal, but still very good considering the weak propagation and our Northern location.

        Band     QSOs     Pts  WPX
         1,8      31      69    9
         3,5     337     730  185
           7     384     949  130
          14     493     735  229
          21     572    1416  319
          28     153     371   88
       Total    1970    4270  960
       
                Score : 4†099†200

We are very satisfied with the final claimed result and we had a great weekend. We also gained several experiences that will will be useful in the next multi effort from SE0X. The team thanks everyone in the log!

73 de SM0MDG, SM0MLZ & TF3ZA