This was the most tiring contest ever taken part even though the 48 hours gone fast. The noise and the QRM made real headache by the end but this level of activity can be reached only on SSB.
My last WW-SSB was in 2016 and the difference could been sliced with knife in propagation and the ease of operation. Each new zones literally needed to be fought and despite I heard (or rather saw the new doubles) all 40 zones could not get through to 6, 7, 10 and 12 via the pile-ups. On Sun the QRM was on extreme level with no clear running spot and even the strong NA signals needed to be digged and get the calls repeated. Apologies to the callers and thanks for the persistent repetitions. When I lost the running freq it took n x 10 minutes to find another one slowing significantly down the QSO revenue generation. There was an unusual opening towards to the East on both days from 00UT which resulted a bunch of far Eastern contacts very early, fact the band was closed to West completely.
Funny (rather sad) moment of the contest… I camped down on 14112 @08UT and had a fairly good run to AS. Around 12UT I decided to turn toward NA as the sun started to enable that part of the globe as well. The freq was clear the spots were there but around 14UT it became suspicious that only VE’s are calling from NA. Unfortunately it took almost 2 hours CQing in the wrong segment to figure out that no USA stations are below 14150. Started to check the bandmap for USA callsigns and as I know K3LR always takes the first KHz of the band segments I knew I made huge mistake with this spot. I moved higher on the band and voilà the US stream started immediately. I know this is pathetic after all but I have not heard about this restriction yet. Not a single allocation table I found for region 2 which represents this. The long story short, …lesson learnt.
Signed up to the cqcontest.net online service for the first time. Beside the fun factor it was pretty instructive as well. I heard/read many times the ground rule “if you don’t run you lose” but now I saw it with my own eyes sometime in unbelievably intensive manner. Happened couple of occasions I was very proud of myself seeing the closing gap between the next-up stn but the sad point came when I realized that only longer update periods were used at the other stn… :-D
On Sat @07 UT I found out the rotator stopped working. There was a mechanical failure at the gearbox. I lost an entire hour but the blessing in disguise I could fix it and could continue the show.
Conclusion: 160m SSB? No way!
Thanks for the contacts.