CQ WW SSB 2020

I did SB80 four times in a row (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) so last year (2019) I decided it was enough and did SB20. That was a huge disappointment. It didn’t meet my expectations, not by far. Too much stations on the band. No place to run and you couldn’t receive who was answering. Three layers of loud signals from all over the globe.

The 40m band is even worse. And I am not in the mood for an all band effort in SSB (yet?). SB80 again? I talked my plan over with Denis K7GK whose opinion I respect and he thought it wasn’t a bad idea. So SB80 this year again.

Just a thought: 40m is my best CW band but the worst in SSB. Same setup, same operator. So it really is the mode.

The plan was to set up the tower on Wednesday. But the wind blew hard and the gusts were strong. I even had to put the RX loop’s pole back down again after having it put up for winter only a few days before. Stinking winds! So I did all that Thursday after work. It really shows the days are getting shorter. But I got ready with all the work even shortening the 80m CW wire to 75m sideband.

This contest starts at 2AM local time so I tried to get some sleep. I almost fell asleep at 9PM on the couch so I went to bed. But of course once there, I couldn’t catch sleep. The alarm rang at 01.15 AM and I wondered why on earth I would get up. For an SSB contest? Usually that feeling pops up after 30 hours or so. I had a bad temper and managed to get everything up and going in time, including myself.

Keeping a blog is good for looking back. Just like last year’s WW SSB (2019), the sun threw some dirt at us. Read here.

For this year (2020) SJ2W posted an aurora picture (link) and the A and K indices were too high to be good. K was 4… Could be worse, right?

The start was slow. Very slow. You need to get a packet spot if you want rate. Finally someone threw me on the DX cluster. I was able to run two fast hours. I finished the first night with 750 QSO. Of which about 160 Americans. That was not too bad but I was low on mults. There wasn’t much DX and the handful of usual suspects was weak. I can manage to work my way through the big guns in CW but on phone I don’t want to waste my time in the pile ups. So I was glad that later on ZW8T and XE2X called me for two double mults. My moto ‘run and the mults will come’ once again turned out to be true. Shout out to the other nice DX multipliers that called me (A4, A6, C3, FY, KP2, TF…).

The second night included only three good hours, good for about 350 contacts. From then on it was slow. VERY slow.

What can I say? If you pick a category like SB80 with only 1200W and a single wire, you know what you can expect. Lots of EU, not too much DX. But at least it is expected. Last year, I made only 1250 contacts with a yagi on 20m. That was an unexpected disappointment! The band was just too crowded. It never fails to amaze me how big the difference is with CW. Same operator, same setup, total different game.

My dual RX loops (USA and Far East) worked great. I had to switch many times to make a QSO just to suppress a blasting adjacent signal from the opposite side. Bu it helped and it worked. I don’t know how yet, but there might be room for improvement here. On the TX side, I am at the limit of what this QTH supports.

After doing contest write-ups for nearly a decade and a half, I feel I’ve run out of things to say. I keep on repeating myself. Because the contests repeat themselves. So QRU for this one. Already thinking about the next one…

One reply on “CQ WW SSB 2020”

Great to work you on 80 Franki, a great signal as usual. Can you tell me what recieve loops you use? Can’t remember I have read about it before on your blog. I really need a receive option for 60/80m. 73, Bas

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