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.