NORTH COAST CONTESTERS
Supporting Ham Radio Contesting Since 1989

Supporting Ham Radio Contesting Since 1989

NORTH COAST CONTESTERS

NCC News

NCC Wins Gavel in 2016 ARRL International DX Club Competition

In this year’s ARRL International DX Affiliated Club Competition, the North Coast Contesters have won the Medium Club gavel with a massive win over their competitors.  NCC amassed over 70 million points from 27 entrants to beat second place DFW Contest Group by over 40 million points.  In November, Great Lakes Director Dale Williams WA8EFK sent Tim, K3LR a message of congratulations on this achievement and mentioning that the winner’s gavel would be forthcoming from the ARRL Contest Division Director Bart Jahnke W9JJ.  Congratulations NCC warriers!

Band Condx Challenge NCC Ops in 2016 CQWWDX Contests

Some of the worst band conditions anyone can remember made the 2016 fall contest season extremely challenging for NCC’s multiop stations.  Both the CW and SSB weekends saw what can only be called awful conditions, affecting all stations but especially impacting NCC members who are generally located several hundred miles further from Europe than the other leading US stations.

In the SSB weekend, K3LR still managed to claim the number one spot in the US and beat out East Coast rivals WE3C and W3LPL with a score that was down some 60% from 2015!  Tim’s ops managed 6,910 contacts but this was nearly half of 2015’s total of 12,593 (claimed score basis).  The only band which saw an increase in QSOs was 160, where 508 contacts (versus 468 in 2015) were made.  10 meter QSOs fell by 77% while 15 meters saw a drastic decline from 3,222 to 1191.

Over at K8AZ, things were even worse.  Tom’s veteran ops K8NZ and N8AA commented that they had never seen such terrible conditions in northern Ohio in their entire careers.  Realizing that they simply couldn’t fight against dead bands, Tom’s ops tuned in the Cleveland Indians’ World Series games and gave up their seats to less experienced ops since an all-out effort seemed futile.  Tom’s crew still managed a fifth place finish in the US with a score of 2.4 million. But this was a far cry from their number two USA score of 8.8 million in 2015.

NCC’s other multi-op station W2FU did not submit a score in this year’s WW SSB event.

Among single ops, Alex LZ4AX operating the K3CR superstation managed another first place US finish in the SOAB LP category with 1,136 contacts and 1.4 million points.  In 2015 Alex made 2,211 contacts for 3.7 million points, so it is clear that Alex faced the same terrible conditions that everyone else faced this year.  Other members submitting SSB scores for NCC were NW2K, K8ZT, N2CU and N2ZN.

The CW weekend was just as tough for the K3LR crew.  Tim’s ops amassed some 6,189 contacts – actually a little more than the SSB weekend – but this was 3,600 Qs less than 2015 and 6,800 contacts below their 2014 total!  There would be some solace if, as normally happens, great low band conditions somewhat offset the poor high bands, but this year every single band came in behind the 2015 totals.  Qs on 160 totaled only 160 against 329 during 2015!  10 meter contacts at 211 were below 160 meter contacts and were less than 10% of the K3LR 2014 10 meter total!   The poor conditions affected all US stations, of course, but the geographic disadvantage with East Coast rivals could not be overcome.  The K3LR superstation claimed scores places them 10th in the world and second in the US behind long-time rival W3LPL, compared with fourth place finishes in the world in 2014 and 2015.     

The CW weekend at K8AZ was better than the SSB weekend but their score was just a little more than half their 2015 result, reaching 5.4 million points against 10.4 the year before.  Tom’s great collection of ops were unable to overcome the Ohio disadvantage and K8AZ placed fifth in the US.  In comparison, Tom’s crew placed number three in 2015 and number one in 2014. 

Up in the Buffalo area, the W2FU crew managed an impressive second place USA finish in the multi-two category, finishing behind only the KC1XX gang up in New Hampshire.  W2FU competed in the MM category in 2014 and 2015 so we have no comparison figures with those years, but doubtless their 4,310 contacts were well below what they would have achieved had they been multi-two in previous years.

It should be mentioned that Jim W8WTS was one of the ops at PJ2T.  It appears that a portion of his score will go to the club.

Among NCC single ops, LZ4AX again managed to place first in the SOAB LP category in the US with a score of 2.6 million points and 1,845 contacts.  In 2015 Alex’s score was 5.9 million!  Congratulations Alex for again placing first in both SSB and CW in the SOAB LP category.  This is an amazing achievement.  Other NCC single op CW scores were submitted by K8CX, AA8OY, W1NN, N8TR, N2CU, WW3S, K8LY, ND8L and K8ZT. 

According to CQWW CW whip W8CAR (who operated at K8AZ), the club’s score for the CW weekend was just short of 40 million points! 

Let’s hope that 2017 brings better conditions on all bands, and if we can’t have that, at least let’s have some outstanding low band conditions.

W8CAR and W1NN Mentioned in WPX Write-up

The November, 2016 issue of CQ Magazine carried the results of the 2016 WPX CW Contest and two NCC members were mentioned in the second paragraph of the results article:

Thunderstorms are a part of life in the springtime.  Rain began to fall before the contest in France where W1NN had set up operations in a 300-year-old windmill (see Photos A & B).  OK1LL found he had to “park” his tribander among the flowers in the garden for protection from lightening (see Photo C).  In the states, W8CAR was forced off the air after lightning struck his tower.

It was quite a coincidence that the two NCC members were mentioned in the same context although they were operating on different continents.  Of course, for Dan, this is not the way anyone wants to be mentioned in a magazine and his station sustained considerable damage (see the NCC News article published on July 20 for details on Dan’s recovery from the strike).  Hal spent the hours before the WPX trying to nap in his car amidst a tremendous lightning storm, but survived to complete the contest and place first in the SOAB LP category for France.  And CQ magazine carried two pictures of Hal’s operation.  Pictures of Dan’s lightning strike and Hal’s operation can be found in the Photo Gallery

NO3M Places Fourth in September NA Sprint

The September 2016 NA Sprint saw NCC’s NO3M in fourth place in what is probably the most competitive CW contest in the world.  Eric’s was the top score east of W7 and was only surpassed by N9RV, N2IC, and N6MJ, who all enjoy a propagation advantage over a station located in WPA.  Eric’s score was undoubtedly assisted by his mastery of SO2R.  Eric counted 144 band changes in the four-hour event!  Congratulations, Eric.  (Note that the scores are provisional.)

Here are the individual scores from the joint NCC/MRRC team organized by Tim, K3LR.  The asterisks indicate LP stations:

NO3M    TY PA 99 130 101 330 47 15,510 144
KW8N  BOB OH 84 102 91 277 44 12,188 27
K3LR     TIM PA 80 107 92 279 43 11,997 8
K3UA * PHIL PA 67 89 90 246 43 10,578 2
N8EA *   JOE MI 72 92 86 250 42 10,500 14
NW2K DEAN NY 59 91 84 234 43 10,062 2
W8WTS * JIM OH 56 89 67 212 42 8,904 87
ND8L      RAY OH 62 68 70 200 43 8,600 2
W9PA *   DAVE IN 40 71 54 165 40 6,600 2
K9NW *    MIKE OH 42 77 0 119 38 4,522 5

(Columns show call, name, state, 20M contacts, 40M contacts, 80M contacts, total contacts, multipliers, score and number of QSYs.)

In addition, two other NCC members who did not make it on a NCC/MRRC team posted very respectable scores:

K8MR   JIM   OH    89    96    90    275   43    11,825   14
N3SD  * GREG PA    30    45    58    133   38    5,054    2

The date for the next CW Sprint has not been announced but it should take place on Saturday night local time, February 4, 2017.

NCC Diddlers Set New NA Record in CQWWDX RTTY

A new low power M/S record for W/VE appears to have been achieved by a team of NCC members operating at K3LR in the recent CQWWDX RTTY Contest.  See the pictures in the photo gallery.  We asked Ray, ND8L, who was one of the instigators of this campaign, to give us some background on this operation.  Here is Ray’s report:

Well since you asked…this was the very first CQWW-RTTY contest run from the K3LR Super Station. WW3S and I have been putting a bug in Tim’s ear for years and earlier this year, he agreed to listen to a presentation on our vision of a Multi-Single Low power effort.

One of our selling points was that the RTTY Team would provide all of our own radio and computer gear and when we left on Sunday night after the contest, it would be like we were never there.  All we would use would be his antenna farm and internet access…this was the reason for low power.

While Tim’s station is not exactly engineered for this type of operation…antenna switching challenges were easily overcome.  Selecting and pointing the various arrays was done by someone in the shack, who was not operating at the time.  Sounds kinda clunk…but it worked pretty well.

Tim didn’t operate, but did provide the Team with much needed advice on selection of bands, propagation and optimal use of his antennas.  We wouldn’t have achieved the score we did without that help.

Our final score was a little over 3.5 million, crushing the former North American M/S-LP record of 3.1million.  There is an Italian team with a claimed score of 3.6 million…we’ll see how things shake out after log checking. As much as we would have liked to be #1 World, this year’s effort was a bit of a shakedown cruise and Jamie, George, Eric and I will be comparing notes to see how we can do even better in 2017.

Equipment was three Elecraft K3’s…and microHam digital interfaces.  We used N1MM logging software seamlessly integrated with MMTTY and 2Tone RTTY software.

We had two Run stations on the same band…’one CQ-ing and one sweeping the band looking for Q’s.  What made that work so well was the lockout device that NO3M designed and built especially for the K3’s. We also had a mult station.

The Team consisted of K3GP, WW3S, K3LA, K3LR, K3UA, K8IV, N8NB, ND8L and NO3M.

73, Ray

August NAQP CW Results

The preliminary results of the most recent NAQP CW contest were recently announced on the NCJ website and the combined team from NCC and our friends the Mad River Radio Club placed 8th in a field of 94 teams.  And our second team placed 17th.  Well done!  The individual scores from our top team were as follows:

NP2X(K9VV)     167,365   935   179 KP2
NA8V                  149,760   832   180 MI
W1NN                 139,896   804   174 OH
W8CAR               115,830   702   165 OH
K8AJS                   12,200   200    61 OH

Unfortunately, something came up for John, K8AJS, and he was only able to spend three hours in the chair.  Had John been able to operate full time and add another 100,000 points to his score, our combined score would have put us in third place overall.  Maybe next year!

The four NCC/MRRC team scores and their participants were:

NCC/MRRC Superops (NP2X,NA8V,W1NN,W8CAR,K8AJS)                       585,051
NCC/MRRC Fantasticops (K3UA,K8ND,K8YM,AF8A,N8SS)                      280,498
NCC/MRRC Ultraops (N8EA,K9NW,NF8M)                                                      98,776
NCC/MRRC Superiorops (W8KNO)                                                                        1,679

Over in the M2 category, the gang at W2FU once again tromped the competition to place first in this category.  Here are the scores from this time.  Note that the team produced an amazing 1,666 contacts in the 12 hour event.  This was the W2FU team’s seventh win in the last eight competitions.  These guys really know what they are doing.  Congratulations!

Multi-Two Scores
W2FU 377,274 1666 227 NY
(K0SM,K2TJ,N8KH,NW2K,W2FU,W2GN)
NC4KW 238,788 1206 198 NC
(AA4FU,N1LN,N4GU,N8BR)
WW4LL 215,460 1138 190 GA
(KU8E,N2WF,N4PN,N9DFD,WW4LL)

See you all in January, 2017!

 

 

 

 

The preliminary results of the most recent NAQP CW contest were recently announced on the NCJ website and the combined team from NCC and our friends the Mad River Radio Club placed 8th in a field of 94 teams.  And our second team placed 17th.  Well done!  The individual scores from our top team were as follows:

NP2X (K9VV)  167,365  935 179

 

 

NA8V           149,760   832   180 MI   

W1NN           139,896   804   174 OH   

W8CAR          115,830   702   165 OH   

K8AJS           12,200   200    61 OH  Unfortunately, something came up for John, K8AJS, and he was only able to spend three hours in the chair.  Had John been able to operate full time and add another 100,000 points to his score, our combined score would have put us in third place overall.  Maybe next year! 

The four NCC/MRRC team scores and their participants were:

 

NCC/MRRC Superops (NP2X,NA8V,W1NN,W8CAR,K8AJS)                       585,051NCC/MRRC Fantasticops (K3UA,K8ND,K8YM,AF8A,N8SS)                     280,498NCC/MRRC Ultraops (N8EA,K9NW,NF8M)                                    98,776NCC/MRRC Superiorops (W8KNO)                                           1,679

 

See you all in January, 2017!

K8MR QSOs with Wild Pokemon at Marconi Site

Apparently hoping to befriend the ghost of Guglielmo Marconi, K8MR recently completed a pilgrimage to South Wellfleet, MA, site of the first transatlantic QSO between the US and the UK in 1903 conducted by the famous Italian inventor.  Jim carried his Elecraft KX3 transceiver and a portable 160 antenna on his bike and spent several hours attempting to make contact with the apparition.  Jim refuses to say whether he completed the QSO but the smile on his face suggests that something happened.  Your webmaster believes that Marconi preferred longer wavelengths and that Jim needed an antenna resonant below the BC band.  It is more likely that his contact was with a Wild Pokemon monitoring 1830, which, of course, is no mean achievement.   See the photo gallery for a shot of Jim behind Gugli’s bronze plaque and for a second photo showing how Jim rewarded himself for his historic QSO.

The 2016 Annual NCC Summer Picnic

The 2016 version of what has become the Annual NCC Summer Picnic at K3LR’s beautiful QTH is now history.  Approximately 25 members and friends showed up for the good food, fellowship and station tour.  A highlight was the filming of the fifth K3LR flyby by W8WWV, who surpassed himself by preducing another fantastic aeriel video of Tim’s station.  See the article on this video posted earlier for the link to “WWV’s video.  We have posted a bunch of photos of the picnic in the photo gallery.

New Flyby Video of K3LR Posted on Youtube

On the occasion of the annual NCC picnic at K3LR on July 29, Greg W8WWV created a new flyby video of the K3LR superstation using HD quad copter.  This is a professional-grade video showing the station and the neighborhood in both daylight and again around dusk when the tower lights and the neighborhood lights come on.  The stability of this video is absolutely incredible – Greg is a master videographer!  Be sure to see this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibFyTukErUE&feature=youtu.be

W8CDX 1930s FD Setup at NO3M

I am constantly amazed at the things our talented members are doing behind the scenes.  Eric NO3M, who has become a major league contester in recent years, has another side of his personality that will surprise many:  he is a major ham radio nostalgia buff and has spent considerable time and energy in recreating the kind of amateur equipment that the first generation of American amateurs were using long before we were born.  Eric has occasionally put his 1920’s equipment on the air in 160 meters contests with good results and wondered what it would be like to put a 30s type station on the air in Field Day.  2016 proved to be the year this was accomplished.

For this year’s FD, Eric had to brew up a new transmitter for 40 meters and he invited a bunch of local ham friends to join him for this inaugural event.  The group was excited to see this brand-new old-time station rack up over 150 contacts on Saturday afternoon, all keyed with an old Vibroplex bug and all contacts logged on paper.  Participating in this most unique FD were:  Mike, WA3TTS; Mark from Pittsburgh; Bob, W3BBO; Gerry, W2FD; Dave, KD3EM; Steve, WA3JJT; Barry, WA3GSH; Bill, KB3PLS; Laura, KB3UIG; Larry, N3BWP; and Ted (callsign?) and Austin.

We have added some pictures of this amazing event to the photo gallery (who would have imagined such a thing back in the 1930s??) but there is much more on Eric’s website at http://no3m.net/2016/06/w8cdx-1930s-fd-setup-at-no3m/ including a couple of really fun Youtube videos created by WA3TTS.  There are links on Eric’s website to these videos as well as plenty of other interesting content on this website.  Don’t miss this!

Solar Data
K8ZT Useful Links
NCC member K8ZT has a website full of useful links and resources. See the following: http://www.k8zt.com/contesting http://www.k8zt.com/dx http://www.k8zt.com/propagation http://www.k8zt.com/maps