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CQ WW SSB 2015 Results

Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
I just finished the Contest and am preparing to post my scores by email.
My back and backside are really sore and tired!  
I was on vacation this week, so I had a few more hours to play.
I put in 25:22 Hours, which is about 5 hours and 10 minutes more than last year.

Here is my score summary.

(Pts = Points, ZN = CQ Zones, Cty = Countries worked)

This is 70% more contacts than last year!
and the score (unprocessed) is 173% higher than last year!
The new antenna, and better band conditions combined to make for a much better result.
Another year of experience with the Flex-6500 and N1MM+ helped, too!.

Let's see some more scores, guys and gals...
Celebrate the continued evolving of a very capable contest rig.

Ken - NM9P



  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    It has been years and years since I contested.  I'm not sure family and life would allow it.  It was fun today peaking at the panadaper and seeing just jam packed bands.  

    Congrats Ken.  It sounds like you will be a powerhouse with the new rig, antenna etc.  I have no idea if your score is good or not.  But 173% more is certainly worth bragging about!  Nice job.

    I don't think I will have the antenna or persistence for a while to complete in these contests.  Maybe in a year or so.  For now I'll try to add a contact to two for you guys and watch my radio go crazy with activity while they are going on.

    I love my 6300.  While I know the 6500 and 6700 have more slices and more SCUs I can't imagine needing more than I have in my 6300.  But then again I've spent more on ham stuff in 6 months than I figured I'd spend in 5 years!

    I started building an Rx and Tx but they sit unfinished on my table.  Just no time and the first test of my Rx failed pretty badly.  Rx building is an art and one that I don't have the skills for yet.  I've built Tx before and had not much trouble but frankly I'd spend way more than $2600 of my time on both and have a far less able radio.

    I bought a 600w solid state linear but I think I'll buy myself a 3-500Z and build a tube amp for fun to keep me warm this winter.  I just have to make sure I don't **** myself in the process.  I always hated those voltages!

    Anyway good work Ken.  You are proof that the Flex will be the wave of the future in contesting I think!
  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    I forgot to mention my category: Single Operator, low power, assisted. I used N1MM+ and only one panadapter & slice for the most part. I had enough to mess with. I may try SO2R or SO2V next time. My goal was to beat 600 contacts and 500,000 points this year This is probably an upper-mid tier level score for my region. I have a long way to go to break into the top-tier with the big guns. Ken - NM9P
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited October 2015
    Well Ken,

    In my book you did just great!  Nice job!
  • Mike NN9DDMike NN9DD Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    Well done Ken. I knew the beam would up your score. Now I need one that is a huge limiter for me I scored 582,416 in bout 25 hours as well. About a 20% improvement from last year Mike N9DFD
  • Asher - K0AUAsher - K0AU Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    Ken: you and I have been building out our stations at the same time.  I ran single op high power unassisted this year.  Didn't some smart person say "Life's too short for QRP."  I don't care what anyone says: 1500 watts gets through when 100 watts does not.

    Just to compare notes: I had a few other things I needed to do on Saturday and Sunday so I lost some daytime operating.  On the West Coast I can run a frequency with JAs on 10 and 15 in the afternoon my time.  On 20 I can usually get through pileups but can't run EUs. On 40 I'm still learning the ropes with my new antenna.  On 80 I mostly listen to noise. 

    This year from my QTH 10 was great to South America and JA .  15 was solid during the day with strong openings to EU during my morning before their sunset.  20 was ok with some strong polar paths after dark to OH and UA0.  40M at night was like 10M during the day: hit or miss to EU with great Pacific openings before my sunrise.  Africa was tough on all bands- got CN, ZD7, D4 and ZS.  South Asia was completely AWOL.  More VKs.

    CQ WW SSB is probably my most fun contest.

  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Nice job! Ooooo. You almost beat me! Ha ha!
    You did this without a beam? Nice!

    I would have scored more if I had remembered K6TU's advice... It's all about RATE! I tended to make several errors...

    1) wasting time turning the antenna between contacts as I went up and down the band. S&P. Instead of setting the antenna one direction and quickly working all the stations in one quadrant, then turning the antenna and going up and down the band again, working those I can work in the new direction.

    2) getting stuck in the "I can break this pileup" mentality, spending too much time trying to work a station deeply buried in a pileup. My rate went up when I would just try a couple of times and move on, coming back later then the pileup shifted.

    3) spending too much time focusing upon multipliers. I later found that if I just worked up and down the band, hitting everyone I could, perhaps taking double the time on good multipliers, then my rate went up some more, and my score rose more rapidly. The multipliers came naturally.

    4) feeling that I needed to "milk" the higher band dry before I moved down to the next band. Had I shifted from 10 to 15 earlier, I would have scored better. Likewise for the shift from 15 to 20. I missed some good DX by waiting too long. By the time I got there, the band had shifted.

    Eventually I got into a better rhythm and the rate began to rise. Next year I will do even better.

    I didn't get to run any frequencies for long. It seems that high power or better band timing is needed for that. So until I get an amp, I am a S&P contester.

    Any of you big guns want to weigh in on my assumptions? I have the station...now I need to go to "Contest University." I have been home schooled long enough!

    Ken - NM9P
  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    As you can tell. The beam kept me active on 10/15/20 and I didn't get to 40 for much. I went to bed about 2 pm each nite and was not an early riser the the pre-sunrise DX on 40. That cost me, but I was really worn out. With only a vertical and dipole on 40/80 I wasn't competitive on those bands. An amp would have helped a lot there. An inverted 'L' on 80/160 would have as well.
  • km9r.mikekm9r.mike Member
    edited October 2015

    Not a contest big gun but one through four sound like good areas of self critique.

    #1 I was discussing this with another on a separate interwebby page but he appeared to have his hackles up over the topic of directivity is both a blessing and a curse. Overall directivity has appeared to enhance your score greatly. You could do your quadrant approach or you could play the numbers/best propagation game. Things always slow down as the contest wears on so perhaps running the numbers into the heavily populated EU/JA is best for Sat and seeking quadrant multipliers is best for Sun.

    #2 I have found much better scores not falling into that trap. Two to three calls max then I am on my way especially while operating qrp but the principle applies the same .

    #3 Keep an eye on your 1 mult = xQs calculator in the n1mm score window. Never really thought about it but if #2 is worth say 3 attempts then 1 mult = 1.8Qs would be worth 5 attempts.  A good understanding of when your propagation into that area is strongest helps a lot as well. I volunteer to do qsl cards for a local big gun and you would be amazed how times and bands and specific areas of the world repeat over the years.

    #4 Many will simply use rate to determine when it is best to change bands vice milking the band dry. Say your sustained rate was 50/hr for the the past 3 hours but now it has dropped to 20/hour. You get the point. Say you started on 10 rate has dropped and you have moved to 15. Once you see the rate drop on 15 then on to 20 or perhaps a 30min re visit to 10 if it should still be open especially to a new quadrant then hit 20 till rate drop and do a 30 min re visit on 15.

    70% more contacts is something to be very happy about.

  • km9r.mikekm9r.mike Member
    edited June 23
    I do not do many phone contests. What mic were you using, what Flex SS processor options were you using and do you remember any unsolicited replies of good audio  ?
  • Mike NN9DDMike NN9DD Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I started using my Hiel Proset 6 but seemed to be repeating a lot of exchanges moved over to using the PR 781 and tweaking the highs for more punch and it seemed to help break through. Not sure what to do next go around, I like the ergonomics oh the head set but it was slowing me down with repeats. I am open to suggestions

  • km9r.mikekm9r.mike Member
    edited October 2015

    I wish I had more knowledge. I am limited to factory hand mic and use the factory hand mic dx setting while sticking my toe into the world of  phone contests. The best I know is overall that works well and I have gotten some good unsolicited replies but every now and then I will push it too much with the mic gain and get an appropriate report that I am borderline distortion.

     I too prefer a good headset but have not heard of any solid recommendations to use with the flex.

  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I mostly used my DXNarrow as demonstrated in my second tutorial video "a tour through my audio profiles." I wasn't after "great audio" comments, which I often get when I use my usual DX profile. But I wanted maximum intelligibility this time. I tried both, but seemed to get through better on my DX Narrow profile. Rolled off at 300-2700. Some emphasis on 1500-2500 Hx. PROC in DX+ mode. Mike was PR22UT on a boom.
  • km9r.mikekm9r.mike Member
    edited October 2015
    Thanks. No I was not asking from the standpoint of extended ssb hey great audio but just like you described clean, strong punch contest audio. I too will limit the top to 2700 but have left the bottom at 100. I will try 300 next time. Again thanks.
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited October 2015
    We use RadioSport Headsets for contests at NX6T contest station Much better quality than any Heil. They are available with multiple different elements so you can experiment and determine which element combination gives your voice the best contest punch. Interestingly enough different peoples have different voice characteristics so the need for different elements. I have a collection of maybe 10 different elements that I accumulated over the years. I find that I use very different elements and very different EQ settings for Ragchewing, DX and Contests. I get superb audio reports with the 6700
  • km9r.mikekm9r.mike Member
    edited October 2015
    Thanks Howard. I know you put a lot of effort and thought into comparison testing @ nx6t and your findings sure do help in preventing the reinvention of the wheel or costly trial and error especially since I have about zero baseline in this area.
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited October 2015
    Unfortunately I missed the big contest radio shootout we had planned for this years CQ WW SS SSB because of an important family obligations (I am taking my Grandson to the Tesl Factory in Fremont on his 12th birthday) and the fact that we could not get a sample Maestro to run against the K3's.

    FYI. We use the Radiosport's with the Flex and K3.'s.

    EQ adjustments and choice of elements are extremely specific to each operators voice. We try to target a contest voice to sound a like a female as that tends to have the best contest punch.
    However even that rule of thumb does not work for everyone. Ultimately it takes a lot of experimentation to find your contest voice sweet spot. I should add that you very different voice characteristics for running (which can have lows) vs Mults for S&P (which needs a lot of highs)
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited June 23
    The other thing we do is make a plan and then work the plan. We know from previous years that bands play the same way at different times of the day to different parts of the world. So we setup a plan of operations to capture Mults at different times if the day and on different bands. On a run station we know we can say work JA's on 40M for an hour before sunset to an hour after sunrise. So we point the 40 M beam to JA and collect points. - easy to do since the JA are so disciplined in a piileup. Middle East is usually good on 20M middle of night - great place to collect Mults. .
  • km9r.mikekm9r.mike Member
    edited October 2015

    Interesting that you see different results for running vice S&P wrt voice characteristics. I would have never considered that. Almost a welcoming aspect vice an attention getting aspect. Good food for thought.

    I know so very little about eq settings but do understand that they can be specific and unique and now have a better understanding that is dependent upon the individual voice characteristics and the actual sweet spot may vary from op to op depending upon the quality of their voice.

    From a state of the art standpoint, I would imagine the Tesla factory is a must see.

  • km9r.mikekm9r.mike Member
    edited October 2015

    I am learning in the world of very tight results , a knowledge base like that is key. I am trying to gleam insight from my elmer but he seems to  guard his secrets very closely or perhaps it is just his teaching style or perhaps he is withholding tips until he knows exactly what will help the best.

    I too am a firm believer in make the plan work the plan. I even have predetermined times allocated to bands but they can be variable +/- . While I concede my plans are probably less detailed than yours, I agree that they are key in building the knowledge base that I mentioned earlier. While things can be very fluid from test to test, a reference provided by a plan helps me ascertain areas that I need to improve from test to test.

    It really is a fascinating pursuit of goal and trying to exceed that goal. In the big scheme of things other things are more important like quality time with your grandchild but at the same time contesting is a far better use of my idle time than say running a **** lab just for example. While a **** lab probably has a much greater financial return for investment than contesting, a single **** lab has destroyed more lives than contesting ever will and I can not numb my conscience to do that.

  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I had to chuckle at your flow of consciousness from contesting, to grandchildren, to **** labs! I would imagine that the DXing plan would be much different in Indiana than it is in San Diego due to the different geography and time zones. One thing I noticed was that on all bands, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America were hot most of the time at the same time, making it difficult to know where to aim the antenna. But This was the first time that I noticed the potential of targeting different regions. It sinks in more readily when you must turn the antenna a lot rather than using an omni antenna. Now I understand why many big gun stations have fixed antennas pointing at their favorite areas and simply switch between them. It would have been simple to just push a button to go from South America to Africa to AK/VE7, etc. There was a time period that I could have kept a good rate going simply working the Brazilians. There were a ton of them. Someone must be having an effective ham radio recruitment program down there! The same for former Soviet block countries. I worked several JA's but never cleaned up on them. I guess I quit too early. Not much In the way of Vk, ZL, and other Oceania. I DID work a station in CHINA, which was a big one for me. It took about ten exchanges for him to get my call correct, but it was more satisfying than just the points. Signals were very weak, but I would never have heard him on my dipole & vertical. Well, I learned a lot about the performance of my antenna system that I would not have learned without this contest or the RTTY test last month. Simply from sheer numbers. Sure the reports were all fake 59, but I could see the signals on my own rig and draw some fairly accurate conclusions. It was very interesting to swing the beam and watch the relative signal strengths rise and fall across the panadapter. This was especially interesting as a band was dying. There were times on ten meters where no signals were showing until I turned the antenna and found the active zone by watching the pips pop out of the noise. How cool is that?!? Now I need to compile my thoughts and begin making my localized plan for the next contest. The exact times may vary due to band activity, but the east-to-west pattern shift should be somewhat steady. There is certainly a lot more involved in breaking the 500,000 point barrier, and ultimately the million mark, which will be next year's goal. There is probably a practical limit to the achievable score for a single op low power running without SO2R....... Ken - NM9P
  • Asher - K0AUAsher - K0AU Member ✭✭
    edited March 14
    Ken, thanks for starting the thread.  From the West coast I can point the antenna to 60 degrees and get reasonable performance to EU (20 degrees) and Carribean (100).  Doesn't take long to rotate to dig out a weak one when I need to.  Pacific side 250 degrees is a good compromise.  140 degrees works well for SA and Caribbean.

    Even with strong signals all my China Q's took multiple repeats.  Not the same skill level as the Russian and East bloc ops.  Those guys are good.

    Did anyone else notice the Pan slow down from time to time?  No crashes but occasionally slowed down for a few seconds.  Not sure if cause was long operating sessions or lots of signals.
  • dlwarnbergdlwarnberg Member
    edited May 2019
    I tinkered, put in maybe 4 hours total, I know the operating period shows more but I just never shutdown the program....  but found it VERY easy to bust a pileup and make a contact with the 6300, and finding a nice signal to contact was also very easy (love my 6300).. anyway, most contacts were 10 meters for me on my 29' vertical (in an HOA so have to hide it) also I attempted to make a contact in every CQ zone rather then total contacts... as I said was just playing.

     KK4QOE's Contest Summary Report for CQ-WW
     Created by N3FJP's CQ WW DX Contest Log
     Version 4.8  www.n3fjp.com

     Total Contacts = 101
     Total Points = 27,398

     Operating Period: 2015/10/24 12:32 - 2015/10/25 14:41

     Total Contacts by Band and Mode:

     Band       CW   Phone     Dig   Total       %
     ----       --   -----     ---   -----     ---
       20        0       8       0       8       8
       15        0      25       0      25      25
       10        0      68       0      68      67
                --   -----     ---   -----     ---
     Total       0     101       0     101     100

     Total Contacts by State Prov:

     State       Total     %
     -----       -----   ---
                    97    96
     AK              3     3
     HI              1     1

     Total = 2

     Total Contacts by Country:

     Country                      Total     %
     -------                      -----   ---
     Brazil                          10    10
     USA                              7     7
     Federal Republic of Germany      6     6
     Venezuela                        5     5
     Argentina                        4     4
     Mexico                           4     4
     Portugal                         4     4
     Spain                            4     4
     Alaska                           3     3
     Aruba                            3     3
     Chile                            3     3
     European Russia                  3     3
     Morocco                          3     3
     Sicily                           3     3
     Canada                           2     2
     Canary Is.                       2     2
     Cyprus                           2     2
     Ecuador                          2     2
     Hungary                          2     2
     Ireland                          2     2
     Japan                            2     2
     Uruguay                          2     2
     US **** Is.                    2     2
                                      1     1
     Aland Is.                        1     1
     Bulgaria                         1     1
     Cape Verde                       1     1
     Ceuta & Melilla                  1     1
     Colombia                         1     1
     Curacao                          1     1
     Czech Republic                   1     1
     England                          1     1
     Finland                          1     1
     France                           1     1
     Hawaii                           1     1
     Iceland                          1     1
     Latvia                           1     1
     Mayotte                          1     1
     Netherlands                      1     1
     Poland                           1     1
     Puerto Rico                      1     1
     Serbia                           1     1
     Sint Maarten                     1     1
     Slovak Republic                  1     1

     Total = 43

     Total Contacts by Continent:

     Continent   Total     %
     ---------   -----   ---
     EU             36    36
     SA             31    31
     NA             20    20
     AF              8     8
     AS              4     4
                     1     1
     OC              1     1

     Total = 6

     Total Contacts by CQ Zone:

     CQ Zone   Total     %
     -------   -----   ---
     14           19    19
     15           12    12
     09           10    10
     11           10    10
     08            6     6
     13            6     6
     33            6     6
     03            4     4
     06            4     4
     01            3     3
     05            3     3
     12            3     3
     16            3     3
     20            3     3
     04            2     2
     10            2     2
     25            2     2
     31            1     1
     35            1     1
     40            1     1

     Total = 20
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Something I noticed, post 1.5 us simply depressing the mouse button, just trigger button down event freezes the pan momentarily. There could be other innocuous operator or even data actions that would slow it down.
  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    I checked my ACLog this morning and discovered that I had worked 105 different countries over the course of the contest.  WOW, I don't think I have ever done DXCC in one contest before!  Of course many of them will not QSL via LOTW, which is the only way I QSL any more.  But I thought it was another milestone for my contesting effort! 

    Ken - NM9P
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    And a distinct benefit to having an 11 ele lp even at 38'. You'll be shocked at the results when its at 55+.
  • Ross BiggarRoss Biggar Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Thanks to you all for your comments. 
    My first SSB contest and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I only worked 24hours. It is more difficult from down here, trying to compete against you all, working into EU or Asia. But the  new 4 element Steppir and the Acom 2KA helped. It was nice to see 10 wide open, and 20 showed up as wall to wall signals on the 6700, it was hard to break in.
    418 QSO's, 30 zones and 69 countries.
    Next year another go and I will have a beam on 40 as well.
    Best wishes, congratulations
  • Mike NN9DDMike NN9DD Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I also had 105. We were pretty close I knew I should have not hit snooze that last time. LOL Mike N9DFD
  • dlwarnbergdlwarnberg Member
    edited October 2015
    you might test out a hex/spider beam.. I'm hearing many many guys using them with great success.....  This was also my first contest outside of the "rookie round up"... man if I would have had access to a flex-6300 during that contest.. holy smokes...   :-)

  • Mike NN9DDMike NN9DD Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I have been seriously considering it. Just don't want to upset the neighbors. The wires are well hidden in trees. There will be no hiding the hex beam. Decisions decisions Mike N9DFD
  • dlwarnbergdlwarnberg Member
    edited October 2015
    talk about jam packed... yes id say a couple qso's there...


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