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The 2007 CQWW DX Contest

The last report I wrote was triggered by an NAQCC challenge. That was the CQ WPX contest back in May. I put in an effort in that one because of the challenge of getting as many QRPp QSO's as possible in May. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have done much at all in the contest.

Well, that's true again for this contest. I first got in it because I wanted to make a second list of words for the NAQCC Thanksgiving challenge strictly from DX stations worked in the CQWW DX contest. Other than that I didn't have much interest in doing a serious effort at this low point of the sunspot cycle. I got spoiled by making 500-600 QSO's in this and the ARRL DX contests back at the peak of the cycle. Making 100 QSO's now just wasn't as exciting. I knew that was about all I could get under the current conditions.

So I made up a work sheet for the challenge as described on the NAQCC web site, and started out Friday evening. The usual huge pileups at the start of a contest kept me from making but one QSO - FS5KA on 40M. However that provided me with 7 letters for my words. If you're not familiar with the NAQCC alphabet challenges, you can use a letter from a call twice for the words you are making. So I used FS5KA for 2 each of the S, K, and A. There was only one F in the words (in mayFlower).

After doing my usual early morning work on the computer, eating breakfast (brunch), etc. I got back on the air Saturday morning just before 11:30A local time. I found the bands as expected. Only a trace of a few weak signals on 15, nothing on 10, and a smattering of DX stations on 20M that I started off working. 5 of my first 6 QSO's were EU stations and all contained letters I needed. About that time I decided I'd work any somewhat unusual prefixes I heard in case they might be new ones for me. I worked EE2W and OF8X and both of those calls also contained challenge letters as well. Also in the mix was YT3M which was close to the farthest into EU that I worked in the contest. I was not hearing much at all from eastern EU, and what I did hear was very weak.

A couple other stations I grabbed mainly for the prefix were GW8GT and AM5R although I think I already have those worked and/or confirmed. I haven't checked yet. In tuning around, I heard SV9CVY weakly near the very low end of 20M. I've only worked SV9 a couple times so I thought I'd give him a try. An easy QSO resulted, and also gave me the letter S for one of the remaining words I needed to finish. I think that was the very farthest into EU I worked.

Just after that, AF started coming in strong. QSO's with CN3A, CN2AW, and EF8M went in the log rather easily, as did CU2A which is actually in EU, but near NW Africa.

A strange thing happened around this time. I worked OH1VR/VP9 and when I tried to enter his call into GenLog, the program crashed. I didn't lose anything, but it just refused to accept that call for whatever reason. So I entered it as just OH1VR and made a note to correct it later and notify the author of GenLog W3KM about the problem.

5J0A was worked for another new prefix. I'm pretty sure I do need that one. I believe that is San Andres Island although GenLog gave it a zone 09 instead of 07 which 5J0A sent. That's no fault of GenLog though as HK0 stations can be in either 07 or 09.

I was frustrated by not being able to break the huge pileups on 20M chasing 3X5A. That would have been a new overall country for me, but....well, maybe on Sunday the piles will dwindle.

I completed all the words for my challenge at 2:27PM with most of the last hour being taken up looking for an L which I finally got from VE7GL. I did count VE's as DX for the purpose of the challenge and did use 4 VE stations for the challenge, but I think I will go back and see if I can replace them with true DX calls.

With that, I shut down for a while - actually about 3 hours, coming back on at 5:30PM and immediately working EF8M and EA8/OH4NL on 40M. I only worked a handful of stations at that time, then was off most of the time until 1:00AM Sunday. I hadn't tried the wee hours of the morning in a contest recently and wanted to see what it was like. I stayed on until 3:00AM and those two hours provided some interesting QSO's.

Of course there were many zone 08 and 09 QSO's on 40M. However I also worked our 50th state for the first time in a while catching KH6YR on 40M. One of my top 5 QSO's though occurred at 1:45AM when I easily worked ZM3A on 40M, my first New Zealand station since I can't remember when and a new prefix to boot. Oceania had quite a representation, some stations quite strong, but ZM3A was the only one I worked besides Hawaii. One interesting one was E51A. I'm not sure what country that is as the E5 block was not listed in the DX book I have in the shack. I'll have to check that later along with the prefixes when I get done writing this. I wanted this story to come first while everything remains relatively fresh in my mind.

A stop down on 80M provided a couple nice catches. H7/K9NW in Nicaragua which may be a new band-country for me, and CN2FB which definitely is a new one, #39 on 80M with my minimal QRP setup, I believe. I also heard KH7X and ZB2X, both of which would have been new band countries (and KH7X a new band-state also), but I couldn't get them despite them being fairly free of any pileup. Then coming back to 40M I caught a second Hawaiian in KH6LC.

After sleeping a couple hours I got up again around 5:00AM and found the bands in pretty much the same condition. I still couldn't work the Oceania stations on 40M though, and most of the stuff I was hearing on 80M had pileups. I only worked 3 stations, all on 40M - YW4D, V47NT, and 6Y1V. I went back to sleep again and didn't get back on till around 10:30AM.

15 meters was somewhat open at that time, but all I could work was HI3A so most of the time was spent on 20M. I started with TM2Y, then ZF1A, HI3A, and HP1/DJ7AA. It was nice to work DJ7AA again. I had worked him several times from his home station. A run of 12 EU stations interrupted only by VP5W followed. Possible new prefixes included DR1A, DP4T, and ED8A plus IQ2CJ.

At 11:30AM I went back to 15 meters. There I found 3X5A quite strong, but still with a big pileup. I called about 20 minutes but each time someone else won out so I never did work him. Strangely though I worked D4C twice from the same general area of the world aroung that time on 15M. Twice because I think the first time he logged me as K3WWW, and I guess I was right because he accepted me as K3WWP about 15 minutes later as a new QSO, not a dupe. Then of course it wouldn't be a DX contest without me working some CT's in Portugal and/or Madeira so to keep up the tradition, I worked CT8T and CT9L. Hey, there's an L to replace VE7GL, too.

The rest of the day was just a bit of mopping up. Usually on Sunday afternoon the piles have shrunk and it's easier to work stations with my QRP, but not this time. It was very hard to add any more QSO's after local Noon. I only worked the two aforementioned CT's and 7 other stations.

My totals were one challenge completed, 94 QSO's including the D44C dupe - all outside the USA (well, except the 2 KH6's), about 90 multipliers, and I don't know how many countries yet, but I'd guess around 30-40 perhaps. I have no idea about my score since I wasn't really working for a score, but I think I saw something around 23,000 flash on the GenLog screen before I closed it.

It was a case of long periods of boredom interspersed with some excitment now and then - working SV9CVY, ZM3A, CN2FB, for example. Frustrating in not getting 3X5A. Also missing the ZB2 on 80M and not having AH7C hear me at all despite him being very strong here. There were a few others I wish I could have worked also, but couldn't. EB1ISN (I believe it was although I can't remember for sure) because I never worked any EB prefixes before. The KH7 on 80, the E51 on 20, ZS4TX on 20. Overall the fun aspect won out though, and now I'm looking forward to the ARRL DX test in February. Conditions should be a tad better then, and all the DX will have their beams pointed at the USA for that one since as you know if you are interested in reading these reports, it's the World working the USA in that one rather than the World working the World in this one.