P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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CQ 160 CW





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Originally the intention of my trip to Aruba was to have a holiday-style operation, having some fun at the radio and simultaneously enjoying the Caribbean sun and nice beaches together with my girlfriend. But sometimes it comes different than expected.

Although P4 appears exotic, I assumed that P4 is not a real rare one. So my intention was to focus to low bands and on difficult paths to EU and AS. And I considered the CQ 160m contest more as an opportunity to help some people getting a new one rather than a chance to win a contest. For the two nights before the contest, the condx were quite good, and I was surprised how well this station played on low bands, and particularly on 160m. And the beverages performed excellently! Additionally, it came to my attention that another operator arrived on Aruba, and planned to operate in the CQ 160, too. And first reports confirmed that the P40XX had a similar signal strength to me, and in the US sometimes even stronger. “Competition is good for business”! So my ambition raised fast.

It was first time for me to run a contest outside of DL. But I normally operate the 160 m band at DF0HQ at the CQWW CW. So I’m experienced on 160m where you have to have the ability to listen for the weakest signals rather than running super fast rates.

Propagation the first night was good, worked 120 per hour rates the first hours and plenty of zone 16 and 17. Maybe not that good as the days before, but I was very happy to have more than 900 Q’s in my log after my first sunrise. This was truly more than expected.

At sunset on the second day I experienced exactly the “twilight” phenomena described by PJ2T in his contest story. Still at daylight and until one hour thereafter a lot of EU signals were extremely loud here. But nobody came back or replied to my calls. First I thought that something was wrong with the station, but obviously there was just a different signal/noise ratio at both ends of the propagation path. After 23Z things got back to normal, EU was weak, but now I was called.

It is rather normal that rates the second night drop drastically, but often nobody called in for a long time and I feared that I can’t reach the SA record. Then suddenly the band opened again and rates were much better for a while. This alternated multiple times.

The second day at 9Z offered a special thrill. After a long time of almost no QSO I was called by a very weak station. I copied “..UYB” out of the background noise. “UYB”? If you are a serious contester, you know this only can be JH4UYB! And after some trying, I got him in the log. Same procedure for “FXK”. Shortly after I confirmed JF2FXK. I had the feeling there were plenty more JAs desperately calling, but I was unable to pull any more stations out of the QRM.

Before the contest, I was told by John, W6LD, that JA is almost impossible on 160m from P4. Encouraged by knowing JA IS possible, I tried the next nights to have special focus to JA. There was good propagation on 80m to JA, I managed to get appr. 150 JAs in my log, but on 160m no beep from JA. After I already disconnected cables from the station to leave next morning, I got several mails from JA asking to have another try. So I decided to do so, and finally I was able to make 10 more JAs happy on 160m. Right after the opening, I left the station to catch my plane. That is timing!

At the end of the contest I reached a score of 1.6M. If my log is clean enough, this would be World #1 at SO HP assisted and new SA record. I had not even dreamed of that before.

Thanks John and Andy, for letting me work from this excellent station! It was a great experience for me, and I enjoyed the face-to-face contacts with Cris and JP and Andy, K2LE, very much.