CQ160 SSB = Filters and Patience

 

K3 in CQ160 SSBCQ160 SSB is one of the most challenging phone contests. With thousands of operators sharing the narrow 160 meter band good filters and a lot of patience is crucial to survive this weekend while producing a respectable score. SM0MDG and SM0MLZ teamed up and logged on via remote to SE0X with the goal of breaking the Multi Operator SM record from 1995. How did it go? Read on to find out. Our goal for CQ160 SSB was to break the SM Multi-OP record from 1995 by 7S3OWG. We made an attempt at the same goal in 2016 but ended up just a notch below. So now this was our second attempt.

Right from the start the propagation was weak. The most used antenna this year was our south pointing BOG which is a clear hint that EU dominate the log. There was very little DX, and only a few of the biggest NA stations where logged in Saturday sunrise.

Second night was even worse, On Sunday morning’s sunrise the only NA coming through was VY2ZM. Jeff was loud as always, it seems bad propagation to PEI is non-existent. The rest of Sunday was pretty slow as usual with mostly grey spots in the band map. The occasional Sunday surprise multiplier saved the day, and the SM record where passed 3 hours before the end of the contest.

The contest was worked from remote as SE0X was not accessible due to current weather conditions. SM0MDG used a K3/0 to connect to the K3 at SE0X and SM0MLZ used a K3/100 as the remote head. The Remoterig remote control setup worked very flawlessly as usual.

Flic-smart-buttonTo avoid the annoyance of loosing focus on the log window when switching RX antennas “Flic” bottons where installed, one for switching between three RX antennas, and a second one controlling a vacuum relay that change tap on the vertical loading coil to extend the bandwidth of the TX antenna. A Flic button is a self adhesive pushbutton that connects via bluetooth to a smart phone app. Using the Flic app a variety of actions can be defined when pressing the button, including http calls which we use for switching RX antennas. Each button can accept three command; single click, double click and click-and-hold. The biggest upside is the easy of use once configured, the downside is that sometime the response time can be a little longer than using the switch web interface directly. And of course it relies on the smartphone being charged and connected the internet.

Equipment:

  • K3 + SPE 1k, about 900 watts
  • N/E + N/W Pennants + South BOG
  • Clifton Labs active vertical for diversity RX
  • Remoterig

How did it go? This time we were more lucky finishing at 168.504 claimed points, a few thousands above the record. Now we cross our finger and wait for the result. Lets hope we got most of it right, quite a few contacts were marginal in the QRM.

Thanks to everyone who worked us, we certainly needed every point this year!

73 de SM0MDG & SM0MLZ