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CQWW SSB 2017 post contest report
Great job Ria!
I would like to return to the subject of your original post - How many of the top ten scorers are using Flex equipment? Other than yourself, no one responded with a top ten score report.
RTTY is my mode of choice for contests. I managed to place in the top ten in my category (SOHP not assisted) in the RTTY Roundup back in January. My Flex is an old F5K driving a Henry 2K. The antenna is a TH3 plus some wires for 80/40.
I hope to be using a new 6600 and Genius XL for the next RR. Got my fingers crossed!
73, Mark K5XH1
Mike VE3CKO Member ✭✭✭I replied Mark, used a Flexadio 5000A RX2-ATU-VU5K, 3 el SteppIR w 40m addon, 80m double bazooka, 160m inverted-L Since then got a 6500 then upgraded to 6700 w Maestro, still have the 5000. 6000 series has helped me get all zones, WAS, 289 entities, 6 band DXCC (almost 7).
I did an informal survey of radios in the top 10. For primary radios there are:
Icom 7800 series (7800, 7700, 7850, 7851)
Kenwood TS 990
Yaesu FTDX 5K/9K
These seem to make up the majority of them. What's striking is that the FT1K is still very popular. It's an older radio but it's a workhorse. Talking to other contesters I found out that they like it because it just works and they see no need to change. However there are some who have been changing over.
There is skepticism among some amateurs who are accustomed to a radio having a knob and a small screen. Flex is only now breaking more into the contesting arena and I expect with the new radios (M series) and the Power Genius XL they will further their presence.
Contesting isn't really a game of cutting edge. It's a game of reliability, longevity and performance. Flex has to show the community that the radio can do these things and do it well.
I do know that many people have been asking me about the new radios. I have people asking me about contest deployments (even before this). I'm not a Flex employee, just a close friend of the company. But I like that trust that I have developed with Flex users. As such my goal is to encourage people to see the benefits of this platform and I am more than happy to help people get into using it.
I think now we are at a tipping point where more people are looking to shift away from conventional radios. Seeing spectrum is a very distinct advantage, even if you run assisted already. Finding holes to CQ in is very, very invaluable. Seeing open bands and how open they are is also helpful. Having multiple receivers to keep tabs on things is also helpful.
I know what the platform did for me. I tried the others like Elecraft, Kenwood TS990, FT5K, Icom 7300 and I still go back to the Flex 6700. Best radio I've owned. Hands down.
Now, there are some issues with the platform. However I believe that the team can work those out and improve.0
Sorry Mike - I missed your reply amongst all the remote operation comments. I knew I should have gone back and re-read everything! Congratulations!!
Ria, thanks for the list. My previous radio was a FT1000 but I would not go back after using the Flex. Just the thought of getting all the interface wiring and boxes hooked up is enough for me to keep it on the shelf!
I have used the Flex in the last six or seven RTTY RU contests and I have never had any problems with the radio. All my problems were of my own making. I ran the last (2017) RR using W10 Pro (and N1MM+) without any issues.1
I should also mention that there is a healthy sprinkling of ten tec radios but they seem to be dying off by attrition. That FT1K though, is very hard to die. With the 1KMP MkV you get 200 watts out and the radio feels like a real radio. One of my friends sold his for an Elecraft K3S and he occasionally complains of regret because that radio had a flow and a feel like a handcrafted instrument. That 1K was a sweet radio. But yes, you are right. The cable mess is bad.1
Varistor Member ✭✭In order to understand why people do not use Flex or Anan, it is important to first understand who the contester is. Virtually all of the discussions here are focused on the radio, not on the human using it. So, without advocating any particular radio, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:
- The #1 rule in contesting is running. You won't win unless you run most of the time. You only do S&P when rates are low. When you run, the actual radio makes ZERO difference, assuming it has a decent receiver. The only thing that matters to the operator is the logger and the keyboard. I do not touch my rig for hours on end. Take a look at this link to understand what rates we are talking about https://www.cqww.com/rates/
- Good contest operators know how to use their logger extremely well. For example, it is much quicker to use the keyboard to go from mult to mult (or from Q to Q when S&P-ing) than using the mouse. You can argue otherwise all day, but I challenge you to grab the mouse, move it, and click faster than Ctrl arrow.
- Great contest operators do a lot of SO2R to maintain very high rates. The practical implication is that they don't have any time to move their hands away from the keyboard. Some ops prefer using two keyboards, one for each radio, but the concept still applies- you just don't have the time to mouse around the screen. To fully appreciate this point, watch and listen (with your headphones) to this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ncFJZqkTA Did you notice how many times he touched the radio?
- Last but not least, SDR radios have the real or perceived reputation of high latency and inconsistent reliability, being prone to software crashes, random freezes, etc.
Mike VE3CKO Member ✭✭✭I know how your friend feels Ria. My first radio was the 1000MP and I sold it to help finance getting the 6500, never regretting getting the 6500 but do regret having to sell the 1000MP. I've gotten over it but not really.
200 watts out also helps with some tube amps, like the 3CX1200D7/A7 based amps. There's no warm up timer but they take more than 100w for full output. Having the Alpha 91B in the shack, now I know what a PITA it is. Especially when you transmit in the wrong band and the entire amp shuts off due to protection. Then you have to wait 3 minutes while the DX goes QRT1
One of my fellow operators at N6RO, K3EST was the head of CQWW for many MANY years. He is still on the advisory board and we speak often. Their ability to screen out cheaters is getting extremely sophisticated.
- Requiring bi directional recordings by maintained by serious competitors
- remote listening stations all over the world
- Computer algorythms to study logged callsign accuracy as compared to local and listening station recording.
There will always be cheaters, and many of them are getting called out. At dayton there were buttons all around the contest dinner that were emblazened with DQ WW.. as many stations last go round were flat out disqualified for cheating.
I really hope they use those SDR recordings to look at some really BAD splatter. Some stations were blasting 10-20kHz.1
I dont think that is a priority. If your looking for clean signals a contest is not the place to hang out ;-). #elbowroom #theydoitonpurpose #overdriven
Although there is always an OO camped out in the mid part of 40m SSB waiting to write up pick slips for US stations that click spots without checkin that take them out of their band plan hi hi.
According to the CC it is a priority now. The bad signals may have been commonplace but that doesn't mean they are acceptable. They should also never be part of one's contest strategy. Whether it is to drive away QRM or to make yourself noticed, it is in violation of operating rules and it is also very unsportsmanlike. I suspect we will see some disqualifications this year like we did last year. There are some things I am privy to as well that I won't get into here, but you can reach out to me privately if you like.1
John - K3MA Member ✭✭Being a 40M band only entry. I can tell you there were about 20 countries and 3 zones that I heard below 7125 but they did not listen up into the 7125 to 7200 band area. So I did not get to work them. Frankly I can't blame them. The band was packed in the US Phone area without a semi clear space available that would not result in QRM to someone else and often time with the Flex I could hear 3 or 4 different stations transmitting within the same 3 khz bandwidth. As a result I did not call CQ except for a couple hours at the end of the contest. What a pile of noise. I am not sure what is worst the band being packed with broadcast stations like it use to be or the constant high buzz from everyone calling over each other.0
Good points. I have had three ft1000d radios, kenwoods, pro 3s, and ts590s but increasingly prefer now not to touch any knobs, as ctrl up and down arrows do work better and I have found it less tiring just using the flex knob or mouse when required to adjust volume or agc or rit. Gave up on so2r with microham top of the range so2r box due to complexity.
However, frs still have a long way to go with ssdr to really make an impact on the contesting front. Its still a bit flaky with n1mm I find, and those of us suffering from the random disconnect problem have that to cope with too.
I still use a ic7800 at a host station I use for dx contests, due to the level of automation and the larger optibeam antennas at the station - but the receiver is not as good in coping with near in qrm on ssb as the flex. My ic7300 is however proving to be up to the ssb qrm job and is more reliable than my 6300 at present. Unless frs can sort out the reliability issues they wont make much impact in the contesting world.
73 Steve gw0gei / gw9j
Were the glitches with the radio Ria or with the way it interfaces with n1mm? I still find (like in this evening's short 80m ssb contest) that when I click in the ssdr window to change filter width or anf, the focus switches from slice one to slice two for no apparent reason. Kept thinking it was my set up of n1mm but I have gone over it again recently and its all set up as per the so2r help sheet. I have put up with the glitches but another random disconnect on the 6300, without any warning this evening, 75% through an hour long short and fast 80m ssb contest meant I lost a precious 5 mins removing the power from the 6300 as it was also stuck in tx, and then waiting for it to reboot (after which it had also lost persistence so I also lost my run frequency). A real PITA and sadly I think this now means the 6300 is going to be boxed up and sold or traded for a second ic7300, which will be put to so2r use for a few months whilst I see how the new flex radios and amp fare out in the wild.
Steve gw0gei / gw9j
DrJ Member ✭✭This does remind me of The offhanded comment made by a mutual ham radio friend that we have, that did wonder how there could be a “leveling“ of the playing field if we have some stations for reasons of geography or reasons that they pay the money to remote into very high-powered stations are on equal footing two stations like yours or mine. I am quite certain in just about every other sport that I have either directly participated in or nearly just spectators, there are multiple divisions made for various competitions such as stock, super stock, modified, heavily modified, whatever. I know there must’ve been thousands of conversations like this but just wonder if the ARRL is seriously going to consider addressing this very important issue that you raise? Either way 3.4 million points! OMG, I am not worthy! LOL0
I don't think they will. Cat's out of the bag anyway. Better to just live with it. That said I have done some low power efforts while waiting for my PGXL to come back from the Flex lab. So far 1st in ARRL DX SSB and 10th in ARRL DX CW. On a roll I guess.0
Results are out. 8th place SO(A)AB HP. Did only limited SO2R. Not too bad for a popgun single tower station2
Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭Congrats Ria!
Here's mine....quite a bit fewer points....
First Place Region 9, 3rd Place North America - 80 Meter Only, SO LP Assisted!
Probably not much competition, but a win is a win!
First time entry for a single band. But I didn't have much time for the contest last year and I was using it to knock off some needed countries for DXCC, which I eventually finished this winter!
Congrats Ken! I've had that happen... let me show you what I did last year in the WPX contest. Sometimes it's a sport in itself to win with low points by category shopping (before the test, of course).
And this is the log:
QSO: 3640 PH 2017-03-25 0219 N2RJ 59 0001 HZ1BW 59 0108
QSO: 3799 PH 2017-03-25 0225 N2RJ 59 0002 CN2AA 59 0499
QSO: 3632 PH 2017-03-25 0226 N2RJ 59 0003 DP6A 59 0104
QSO: 3687 PH 2017-03-25 0230 N2RJ 59 0004 CR6P 59 0061
QSO: 3696 PH 2017-03-25 0231 N2RJ 59 0005 S57Z 59 0240
QSO: 3708 PH 2017-03-25 0235 N2RJ 59 0006 KG4USN 59 0068
QSO: 3714 PH 2017-03-25 0237 N2RJ 59 0007 W3LL 59 0190
QSO: 3722 PH 2017-03-25 0238 N2RJ 59 0008 WX3B 59 0169
QSO: 3725 PH 2017-03-25 0239 N2RJ 59 0009 UW1M 59 0280
QSO: 3790 PH 2017-03-25 0257 N2RJ 59 0010 VE3CX 59 0405
QSO: 3796 PH 2017-03-25 0259 N2RJ 59 0011 CN3A 59 0228
QSO: 3782 PH 2017-03-25 0301 N2RJ 59 0012 W4ML 59 0134
QSO: 3779 PH 2017-03-25 0302 N2RJ 59 0013 W4NF 59 0090
13 contacts total...0
I really dont like the term "category shopping" nor do I find it accurate b/c it can infer some sort of nefarious or less than competitive behavior. These are single band and single band assisted categories. Many contesters choose single bands in advance to take on for the weekend, and many compete in those single band categories with full focus on a win. The single band categories give West coast stations an opportunity to compete for a win, where otherwise proximity to mult rich EU by an east coast station that could do better with a low dipole than a station with 5 elements in Ncal. SIngle band categories well planned in advance can be extremely fun, productive and feircely competitive. with planning can help fit a contest opportunity with folks that have other weekend responsibilities as well.
I don't endorse the practice after the contest. Before the contest, totally fair game. I've done it - this time I think I basically had no antennas, just a single 80m vertical.
I must admit I've toyed with the idea of doing single band so I don't have to burn a whole weekend just to come in 15th (or something like that). However for the majors - CQWW and ARRL DX we do club competition so I tend to do all band for those. This time I did all band for WPX because I wanted to run the PGXL on all bands plus I had some friendly competition with KC1CWF who was using the K1LZ station.
Bear in mind that even on the East Coast it's not as easy as it seems. The Maine remote stations pretty much **** any chance for modest stations on the East Coast to secure a win. They may as well be in Europe because up in Maine the propagation is completely different and the contrast is almost as dramatic as East vs West.0
I will let you take a **** at a contest remote from W6 some time ;-).
Sure, as long as it's JIDX or AA.
This is considered a very good result from out here. it was chosen specifically as a competitive category in advance.
To be honest, 15 meters would have likely been the same here since it did not open up to Europe. I have seen similar scores from East Coast stations doing SO/15. WPX is somewhat of a better contest for west coast because you can work US stations. K7RL does pretty well, for example.0
Sort of. WPX is won or lost outside of the continental US.
looked at 3830 post.. EU was there but just fringe. for us thats Portugal and Spain. and only a few in the log.
Total: 671 Prefixes: 344. Looks like i had a bit of score reduction... probably due to marginal signals.
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