Another contest you say? Yes, another contest I say!

This time: WAE CW. Yes: Worked All Europe. But Europeans don’t work Europe. We work DX. Yes: DX. That means: far away. Which makes it hard. We like things hard. If it’s easy anyone could do it. Actually anyone can do it. But not everyone is crazy enough to do so.

From the archives:

For the record: WAE CW

WAE CW is a bit of a stinker. WAE CW is one of my favorite contests. There you go, once again I exhibit a bipolar disorder.

WAE CW is one of my favorite contests because:

  • It is CW.
  • It is only DX and some nice one.
  • QTC! QTC? Yes, QTC. If you like CW and unpredictable exchanges, this is it.

WAE CW is a bit of a stinker because:

  • It’s almost always hot with a chance of thunderstorms that more often than never come to life.
  • It is not a rate contest and there is a very big imbalance between DX (not much) and EU (a lot of).
  • It can get slow and boring at times. “Slow like WAE on Sunday” is an expression.

 

What’s up with QTC?

Setup HF – SSB and CW Contests

Want to train copying QTC?

QTC Training Sound Files

 

This year it was just too hot. Ridiculously hot. A heat wave ramped up on Thursday with outside temperatures of 37°C and more. I knew this would be a problem in the shack. It would make for some very uncomfortable hours. I even contemplated not playing at all. In the end I decided to settle for a low key casual participation. After the contest I can say that the shack’s temperature was always over 30°C peaking over 32°C on Sunday. That’s inside, where I operate.

 

Another reason why I wasn’t tempted: N1MMLogger. The QTC part is the programmers’ nightmare and I suspected a few bugs this year too. I knew I had to test in advance but I just couldn’t get myself to do that. Also: I don’t like the dedicated QTC window that got introduced a few years ago. Under pressure of the RTTY crowd? Clearly mouse driven operating. YUK. I was very fond of the classic interface using the Entry Window to log QTC. No mouse needed! Never a problem. A few days before the contest I saw a few mails passing from the German contest reflector: QTC logging problems. There you go. I did a quick test of the latest update when I booted the computer late Friday evening. It seemed to work. But you never know…

I knew that I was making a tactical mistake by starting late and sleep the night from Friday to Saturday but I just couldn’t be bothered. First QSO at 0540 utc on 7001.85. Pretty low in the band. That’s 7 MHz real estate reserved for the big gun hotshot contest folks. And me. First reply: NO6T with that distinctive fluttery sound of a more polar propagation path. California Über Alles! Next up: W9RE and let’s shake the tree with a batch of QTC – success! The logger worked and I still could copy CW. The run didn’t last long. After such a late start the band closed for DX so I tried 20m to the east. That kinda worked too: a lot of UA9, a bunch of JA, a VK and I QSY’ed for KL7SB with QTC to boot. I got bored around 0700 utc and took a loooong break. I even took a beauty sleep after lunch. Unplanned and it was longer than it should have been.

The rest of the day (late afternoon, evening and early night) was spent on 20m and 40m. Running, begging for QTC and S&P for multipliers. I did a quick scan of the still unexplored 80m band and went to bed between 1AM and 4AM utc. The bed was empty: the XYL moved downstairs to sleep on the couch. It was much somewhat cooler in the living room than upstairs under the roof. I took a portable fan from the shack to the bedroom to create at least the illusion of a draft and exorcising the devilish heat. Nevertheless I slept deeply and even hit swiped the snooze button too often.

I was QRV for sunrise and found a noisy and deserted 3.5 MHz band. Not much to work and no replies to my CQ. A bit of a shame because the RBN showed my signal all over the globe. It wasn’t much better on 40. That is: the band was good but not many folks to work me. Break(fast). An hour later: back to 20 and 15. Fifteen was very quiet. No propagation. I squeezed out a signal and 10 QTC on 28 MHz: 4Z4AK. This weekend was Cycle 24 at its best in bringing out the worst: closed bands. Don’t care: another cool-down break and another excessive nap.

In the meantime a few threatening clouds tried to cramp my contest style:

 

It was very hot outside and relatively hotter in the shack. I got a peak of 32.5°C in the shack. I did my best to find the fun and I managed to find some consolation: I was working DX, chasing multipliers and getting QTC. I was not putting down a big score but it is what it is. Namely: HOT!

Shout out to my RX loops. They were invaluable for easy listening in diversity mode on 80+40m. And sometimes they were the difference between not making a contact or logging it in the end. The difference when switching between both directions was stunning this time.

Bottom line: WAE CW 2020 is done. Except for the heat is was a good one. No stress, lots of DX and of 1000 QTC logged. Hell yeah!

 

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