DX Contest Gunslinging From Outlaw Territory Steve London, N2IC August 31, 2013
A Few Hints, Tricks and Secrets For The Single Operator, All Band Contester Who Wants to Win DX Contests From Outlaw Territory
Yes, Outlaws Can Almost Win 2012 CQWW CW 2012 CQWW SSB
But…I’m not a Bonafide Outlaw N2IC * My QTH is 12 minutes east of Phoenix
The Real N2IC 4 el 40 @110’ 2 el 80 wire @ 100’ KT-36XA @ 75’ 5 el 20 @ 60’ 6 el 10 @35’ 3 el 15 @ 35’ 6 el 15 @ 32’ No Stacks – Just Single Monobanders
Staying in the chair Arrange for pet and SO care for the entire weekend Have food and water within arm’s reach Straws work well in phone contests Small cooler next to chair Chair should be comfortable, but not too comfy Monitor should be slightly below eye level Don’t sleep during middle-of-night JA
I Do Sleep Wake up at the usual time Friday morning Take a 2-3 hour nap Friday afternoon Operate from the start until Saturday evening Sleep 3-4 hours Saturday evening Begin sleep when 15 and 20 close to JA (~02Z) Wake up just in time for EU sunrise (~05Z-06Z) Stay awake until contest ends All antenna and shack work done before Friday ! Use K6LL’s checklist
Run, Run, Run ! Don’t Miss Running Opportunities JA Europe UA9 But, How Do I Know I Can Run ?
When Is It Runnable ? When it’s 03Z, on 20 meters, and there are loud UA9’s and UN7’s Run ! • Are the big gun JA’s S9 or stronger ? • Run ! • When you are S&Ping Europeans and they are coming back to you, 1st or 2nd call • Run !
Common Mistakes Start of contest 20 meters is loaded with South America, Africa, other rare DX Bzzzt…You should be on 10, and then 15 meters running JA until those bands die. Do not get suckered in by 20 meters at the start of the contest. Sleeping anytime between 08Z-Sunrise Bzzzt…You should be on 40 running Europe and JA 40 is often best to Europe well after their sunrise (08Z-10Z) Big hardware not required
Common Mistakes Saturday and Sunday Sunrise Suckered in by DXing on 20 meters You should be on 15 (or even 10) meters looking for the European running opportunity 15 and 10 can open very suddenly (or not at all !) Again…If you are successful doing S&P to Europe, you should be running Saturday and Sunday Afternoon Running when you should be S&Ping This is when you should be S&Ping South America, Caribbean, Africa Not enough of them to try running
Common Mistakes Working USA A weak KB8XYZ calls you and being a good guy, you answer him and give him a contest QSO He comes back, proceeds to tell you he is not in the contest, and that you have his call wrong. Spends the next 30 seconds correcting his call. • You’re hosed in so many ways • He is worth 0 points • He is weak, so any DX tuning across the frequency doesn’t hear him (and you) • He is inaudible to the W9 who tunes across, and now steals your run frequency
Common Mistakes So, what’s Mr. Niceguy to do ? Don’t respond with his complete call, but explain “DX only” “The KB8. Sorry DX only for this contest. CQ Contest…” For every KB8XYZ that calls you, there are 5 more KB8’s just listening, and if you work KB8XYZ, they will now all call you Remember, this weekend’s nuisance is next weekend’s Sweepstakes contact
Common Mistakes Lack of Situational Awareness Constantly keep asking yourself “Am I on the right band doing the right thing to maximize my final score ?” The band seems runnable, but I am not getting answers to my CQ’s. What is going on ? Could there be someone else on/near my frequency ? Does my signal stand out compared to stations around my frequency ? Watch for other clues (timing, dupes, etc.) After the contest, compare your log with the regional winners
Band-by-Band 10 meters Never assume that just because there are no sunspots,10 meters won’t produce Besides the usual South Americans, be alert to openings to, and across equatorial areas YB, DU, 9V Long-path over South Africa to BY, JA With a solar flux above 130, there’s no meters like 10 meters !
15 Meters Our Money Band ! Regardless of sunspots, we own 15 meters Never shut-out to JA It only takes a modest amount of sunspots for good Europe
20 Meters Without very high sunspot levels, 20 is often a difficult band from here Too much daytime absorption Too low nighttime MUF Best just before and during our local sunrise Sometimes good over-the-pole after sunset
40 Meters We love JA – sunspots or no sunspots 40 Phone is a zoo, but there are a few tricks 7128 is the lower edge – Only 72 kHz to play with 40 CW is a great band Often best to Europe after their sunrise (08Z-11Z) Spray RF to Europe and JA at same time
80 Meters 60-80 countries in a weekend 200 total QSO’s JA openings run up the QSO numbers JA openings can happen anytime between 09Z and sunrise (13-14Z) Don’t forget you can work VE in CQWW Don’t get caught DXing when you should be running on 40 If you have SO2R, keep checking 80 for new arrivals
160 Meters (Almost) Strictly a multiplier band If you have a big signal and can hear, it can be a fun band Don’t get caught DXing when you should be on another band If you have SO2R, keep checking 160 for new arrivals If CQWW, beware that single-op and multi-single DX stations may only be there for a short time, and only on the first night
Conclusion DX contests can –almost- be won from Outlaw territory Stay in the chair Run whenever possible Watch out for the common mistakes Stay aware of what is going on around you Know the bands