Looking back to WW SSB

I’ve been reliving the contest this week. Same story as always. Outnumbered by bigger stations in better locations. Outpowered by more RF Watts than what I can pump into the air. I am not blind for the factor ‘operator skills’. Yes there are far better operators out there. But I don’t think that accounts for the difference between 1800 QSO and 5000-6000 QSO. I’m not even talking about the extraterrestrial 9450 QSO made by one ‘man’ N5TJ from CR2X.

What to do against 6 element stacks on 15m long booms on 40m high towers? What to do against gain and directivity on the low bands? What to do when you’re ‘QRO’ with less than 1kW in a world where 2500W amps have become the norm? The only reasonable reaction is to build a station like that myself. It’s hard to steal one  😉

Now, it’s not my ambition to build and maintain and pay for such a killer station. That is more than a one man job! I considered some improvements though. But I soon bump into practical limits. I lack the real estate for TX antennas with gain on the low bands. Multiple towers and monobanders are impossible either. The easiest way to do ‘something’ is buy a bigger amplifier. But I’m already at legal limit.

Bottom line is: just be happy with what you have. My station plays wel for what it is in CW. 90% of my operating is done in CW. So let’s not hold still for too long here. Just keep everything working and make QSO’s. Let go the thought of more power. And remember that CQ WW SSB is the worst contest regarding to QRM/splatter/dirty signals/occupied bands.

There has been another thing on my mind since the contest. Saturday morning, while I was pathetically trying to work USA on 80m, I got called by 8P5A. How cool is that, this peanut being called by a double mult in SSB. So I asked for a confirmation. Sure enough: 8P5A, double mult, in the log. But as the contest went along, I realized I didn’t work 8P5A on any other band. Not did I see spots for him on the cluster. There were however many spots for 8N5A. I was pretty sure I worked 8P5A. The op sounded American. The signal sounded coming from there. It was the right time for 8P and not JA. I asked for a repeat and he gave the call again confirming the QSO. Only today I learned that he was forced off the air by hurricaine Tomas. Bad luck!

Yesterday a contesting friend sent me a sound clip of me calling him while he was active from Central America last week. You can clearly hear me calling him, he picks me out of the pile up, calls me and the next thing you hear is YT7W calling out of turn over me. Result is that he needs to call me again before we can sucessfully finish the QSO. He says:

Yes, from the “other end” it really slows things down and makes things difficult. There were many times on 15, 20 and 40 that I just left or turned the antenna to USA because the Euro pileup was so unruly, despite my best attempts to control it.

So the next time you wonder why the DX does not (want to) hear you: there you go!

Three weeks left to get 80/160m fixed and improve it for CQ WW CW. Actually I scheduled 2 weeks since I really would like to do the LZ DX contest. A fun contest and a good dry run for the Big One!

4 replies on “Looking back to WW SSB”

Hi Franky
Nice reading !
I support youre expierences during ssb contest, especially during the cq ww. The ww is not my favorite.
Try this one: SOSB LP 40 hi. I was thinking now that 40m band is two times wider that there would be place for
one more little pistol ….. at times I left my station to let disapear funny noises in my ears and head …
I see on the internet score board that a S5 station was + 40 hours qrv as SOSB 40 LP.

This afternoon there is Ukrain Dx contest , can be fun also.


Yes Dirk, for people like us with ‘normal’ stations, the smaller contests are much more fun. CQ WW is not my favorite either. It’s WAE CW for the QTC and the 24hr contests like UBA DX, RDXC, IARU. And of course CW is much more productive and efficient with the spectrum compared to SSB.

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