Well, it’s that time of the year again!
For those that live under a rock, or don’t have an antenna in the air, you probably don’t know what’s about to hit you this weekend!
It’s the CQ WPX SSB contest weekend!
The CQWPX SSB contest is one of the biggest contests in the HF contest calendar and is a lot of fun. Everyone works everyone and multipliers are gathered from working as many unique prefixes as possible. More points are awarded per QSO when you work a station out with your continent. For example, if I was to work a station in the US, it would count for 3 points on the higher bands (20,15,10) and even more on the lower bands (160,80,40).
The contest runs from midnight tonight (Saturday 00:00 UTC) until Sunday night (Sunday 00:00 UTC). Expect all contest bands (160,80,40,20,15 and 10) to be extremely busy in the SSB portion. If you’re predominantly a CW or Digital Modes operator, expect the SSB QRM to creep into the narrowband areas of the band and into your territory. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable!
Whilst there are many that don’t like contests, for a variety of reasons, this contest does bring in a large amount of exotic DX that you are unlikely to hear any other time of the year. For this simple reason, the contest allows modest stations to chase DX and fill the log book with new ones. It also gives your station an opportunity to test itself. Just how far can your signal go, given the current propagation? Are there areas of the world which are easily workable and others that aren’t?
For me, the big contests (CQWPX SSB and CQWW SSB) are fun. They allow me to operate pile ups, which develop my RX skill and my patience and bring in a competitive element, which I love.
Normally, I am active from my club – The Stirling & District Amateur Radio Society (GM6NX). However, this year, my friend Colin (MM0OPX) and I thought it would be a good idea to operate from his station and enter the contest as Multi-One (Multi-Single) High Power as MM0OPX. This means we will be running the UK limit of 400w on all bands for 48 hours. I still have no idea how two people are going to man a station for 48 hours, but time will tell!
Colin has a great set-up, with an Acom 1000 amplifier that will comfortably run 400w along with a Kenwood Ts-590s and a 6 band Hexbeam by SP7IDX (20-6m) at around 30-40 feet. He also has a horizontal delta loop for 80 and 40.
If you’re going to be taking part in the contest, look out for us. If you aren’t into contests, I urge you, give this one a go.
I will report back on Monday if I’m still alive with a full contest report. In the meantime, I will be active on my Twitter account throughout the contest (@MM0KFX). Be sure to follow me!