Monday, April 1, 2013

Beaming Over North Pole Twice for Europe And Later Finding I Took A Continent!

April 1st RTTY QSO's on 20 Meters from KL8DX to Europe
I had high hopes of actually working some of the CQ World Wide WPX SSB Contest this past weekend. Those plans were changed once the solar wind picked up and absorption whet through the roof. I tuned the high bands for a large part of the weekend and from Friday to Sunday morning, I did not hear much of anything. Sunday morning the bands started to come back to life but it was short lived. By Sunday afternoon, I went from hearing some stations to hearing none. I knew my 100 watts would not make it out of the state of Alaska. I'm not much into SSB contests anyhow but compounded with the poor conditions, it was not hard for me to focus my attention on other things. I've worked tough contest weekends before but this one was a bust, from my location at least. Some of the other Alaskan efforts I've seen posted are a small fraction of what those stations normally work. I sadly flew the white flag of defeat for this contest.

In speaking of the WPX contest, there was a small window where I was hearing a few West Coast stations but those signals were not very strong and were accompanied by lots of QSB. One of the highlights for me was listening to 9 year old Emma, the daughter of Andreas, KU7T. I always enjoy listening to the "younger crowd" and Emma was doing a fantastic job! I listened to her for approximately 10 minutes and she sounded like a seasoned contester. She was CQ'n and picked up a few stations during my presence on the frequency. I only wish the band had been a bit better for me to be able to QSO with Emma. Maybe next time! I hope Emma enjoyed the contest and I sure hope to hear her voice again on the radio. We need to do what we can to encourage  younger generations to get involved with our hobby.  Awesome job, Emma! Keep up the good work!

2012 ARRL DX CW results for ARS KL8DX
The graph at the top of the blog gives a graphic illustration of my 20 meter RTTY contacts this morning. I had my antenna fixed to the lower 48 but was hearing some European stations. I saw it was about Greyline for that part of the world and I noticed TF3IG/2 had been spotted on the DX Cluster. I turned my beam and found TF3IG with a respectable signal into Alaska. I went from decoding him on my rig to firing up MMTTY and working Ingi. I had a few stations call me after I worked Ingi (it was his frequency) so I QSY'd up a few and called CQ beaming Europe. I was surprised to find a handful of stations coming back to me. One thing led to another and I eventually had enough stations calling me that I needed to work split. Sadly, I had to shut down, even with stations calling, but I enjoyed the short burst of activity. I worked the band for nearly 1.5 hours.

We made our weekly trip to the Post Office and a large white envelope found a home in our Post Office Box. It was from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and my wife was sure it was more wallpaper. When we arrived home, like a kid on Christmas morning, I opened it first. The certificate above is what I found in the envelope. I really like the new design and it has already found itself in a frame and will be hung on the wall tonight. What I'm most excited about is NO SCORE REDUCTION! Yea, I was just shouting out loud. If you look at the score on my certificate and the score on my 3830 submission, they are both the same. I strive for the "Golden Log" with each submission but I rarely get it. Practice makes perfect and I will continue to attempt to "get it right the first time." The other neat part of this certificate is being a "Continental Winner." That just takes this wallpaper up a notch. I've been lucky enough to do this two years in a row. Anyhow, I went into the archives and pulled up my 3830 submission and it's listed below. 

ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: KL8DX
Operator(s): KL8DX
Station: KL8DX

Class: SOSB/20 LP
QTH: Alaska
Operating Time (hrs): 17.75

Band  QSOs  Mults
  20:  828    57
Total:  828    57  Total Score = 141,588

Club: North Coast Contesters


I started out on 15 meters but needed to move to 20 due to line
noise in the direction of the lower 48. The aurora on Saturday
 ended my daily effort but led to some beautiful displays

overhead. Sunday, things were slow in coming back but finally 
propagation got a bit better during the last 3 or 4 hours of the
contest. I had several DX stations call me over the weekend 
probably not knowing we were DX in this contest and not a state.

A more detailed breakout of my effort can be found on my blog. 
Thanks for the QSO's and patience! Contacts will be uploaded to
LOTW today. 

Phil - KL8DX
Denali National Park, AK

For my signal to make it to Europe, it has to cross over North Pole not only once, but twice!  This is the secret to some of my European success stories I'm sure. The double North Pole crossings actually lead to an increase of signal strength by at least 2dB. Even though my amplifier has bit the dust, I realized quickly that I really do not need it. My shack might be a few degrees cooler but my electric bill has dropped significantly. And my European path is, and always will be, my secret weapon during contest weekends, due in part to my double North Pole crossing. 

As we enjoy this first day of April, my thoughts can only be on spring. By next month, I will be planning our camping trips and hitting the campgrounds early. As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I feel that 2013 may send us on some new adventures. We are looking forward to our favorite campground outside of North Pole opening up for the summer. Even though my blog may have a bit of an April 1st twist, it just so happens that the "other" North Pole has a Zip Code of 99705. It actually does not increase my signal strength by 2dB, but I point my HF beam that way for a large part of the winter and I camp there during several weekends throughout the summer. I love camping and I love radio and to combine the two, well that just better than...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Phil, so unfortunate WPX didn't turn out to be a succes for you. From what I see your signal flew right over my QTH. I was watching out for you but didn't hear anything from Alaska this time. 73, Bas