So this past weekend I did 40 hours in the chair, came up with 3.4M points assisted SOA and about 2400something QSOs. Based on current 3830 scores I'm about 6th place (USA) but it isn't over until CQ publishes the results. Here's hoping it holds!
I should note that I don't have a large station with multiple stacks. I have basically one high band antenna and a field of low band antennas. However I live in a decent-ish location with nice drop offs to Europe and Africa and a bit of a hill (high point state park and stokes state forest) toward JA. I thrive in conditions where the low bands are better, and the high bands are lower. I do run limited SO2R but that will change when I get the Power Genius XL and complete some other antenna work I've been putting off due to time commitments so I will run full high power SO2R with no lag between band changes.
I won't say that it has been flawless with the Flex but it has actually been quite good. There were a few quirks such as minor delays when switching SO2R but those are easy to work with and work around. I did not use Maestro as I am more of a point and click operator and 99% of my focus was on the N1MM+ logger, with the spectrum display which is supported in v2.0 of SmartSDR now. Who needs knobs? Some ops do, I don't. I do have a flexcontrol but it got little use.
Rates were pretty amazing and I found myself often doing 360+/hr rates for several minutes, with sustained hour rates around 170.
Anyway, this may be little pistol by some people's standards, but it's my best score ever in CQWW and I hope to improve. My goal was to get points for my contest club so we can win this year again. See you in sweepstakes and CQWW CW.
Great job. I heard you on many bands. I thought, "Hey, there's Ria."
I also heard you during the first night of the Worked All Europe contest when band conditions sucked and I felt the same frustration as I heard in your voice. I worked 4 stations in WAE that first night and gave up.
This was the second time in the CQ WW SSB as SOAB HP. Using my 6500, a KPA-500, a hexbeam and wires, I improved my score 30% over last year and my QSO count by 15%.
I'm not in your league (yet) but I'm improving. And I can't imagine contesting with any radio but my Flex.
Vy 73 - Gary W4EEY
One thing that seems very strange to me the that remote operating does not have a seperate category. I think that is is completely wrong that someone (or a group of someones) can build a remote station and then operate from the comfort of their own home and be categorized as working under the same conditions as everyone else.
To take it to extremes, what is difficult about setting up, for example, two remote stations, one on the East coast and one on the West coast to take advantage of different propagation conditions ?
I remember logging for a Ham in the 60's, we operated from his little terraced house with a homebrew G2DAF RX and TX and a 400watt linear and a cubical quad for 10/15/20 and coming 3rd in the UK.
Far cry from what is possible now. In those days it was a real achievement to do that well, these days, and not to belittle your efforts Ria, it seems so much easier now.
I did look at the bands last weekend and 20 and 15 were jam packed all of Saturday and Sunday. Could take any active part because my voice is virtually non existent due to the Radiotherapy I having at the moment. Maybe next year it will be better.
Steve gw0gei / gw9j
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 K5XH
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.
My hope is next contest season I will have the second SteppIR up along with the slopers for 80 and 160. I will be able to do true SO2R with the 6600M running on one band and S&P one the other. That is why I bought it. I have been burning it in for 3 weeks. I had one Blue Screen of Death and I had to reset the computer. That was the day before Easter. So far no other serious issues other than getting over the culture shock. It is much more difficult to find things in SSDR than PSDR and the buttons and knobs are too small for an old timer.
What I would suggest would be a nice double sided laminated Quick Guide. I am looking at the one that came with the FT1000MP MKV. The Japanese are very good at concise step by step procedures. Americans are too wordy.
I admit that the Single-Op category is much tougher than the Multi-Single category in any of the major DX contests, but I have managed 5 top ten finishes in the ARRL DX Contests since 2014 using my Flex 6500 (Multi-Single, High Power category).
2014 SSB HP Multi-Single - 7th place
2015 SSB HP Multi-Single - 8th place
2016 SSB HP Multi-Single - 10th place
2016 CW HP Multi-Single - 8th place
2017 SSB HP Multi-Single - 8th place
I am very fortunate to be competitive from the deep south in Louisiana (40 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico) having only two 75 foot towers with a 4 element SteppIR on one tower and a DB18 SteppIR on the other tower. Only an elevated vertical for 80 meters and no antenna for 160 meters. The Flex 6500 has been the contest radio in all of these contests.
As for a geographical handicap, don't hold your breath. I brought this up years ago and never heard anything back from ARRL or CQ. I feel there would be a lot more participation if there was a formula that adjusted for geographical location, club stations, super-stations, stacked yagis, number of towers, antenna height, wire antennas, etc. Dream on.
Worked you from our club station (VE7SAR) and commented to nearby members that I know you from these forums and that you were running the new amp (which the club wanted to purchase but was over budget). Excellent signal in strength and quality. With that combination you may qualify as more than little pistol.
From the West coast, Europe is much further away but Japan is closer - many call signs but few mults.