CQ WPX RTTY 2022 – An Amazing Suprise!

SZ1A CQ WPX RTTY Contest 2022
SZ1A in the CQ WPX RTTY Contest 2022

Long ago, Dimitris SV1CIB insisted that we participate in the CQ WPX RTTY Contest properly and urged me to take our participation seriously. Dimitris loves this competition very much and enjoys running it, having from time to time made very good scores. And because he’s a very good friend, I promised him that we will do it.

Two weekends before the contest, we had planned to upgrade the 40m tower and reposition the 40m antenna. The purpose was to have it available for the RTTY contest. CQ WPX is a strange contest. Multipliers are the prefixes, which are many and count once, and not per band. As a result, 20m and 40m are the main bands that one must be really good at. So we really wanted to have the 40m yagi available.

Vasilis SV1DPJ – Kostas SV1DPI

Unfortunately, the installation of the antenna took more time. So we spent a second full weekend on the antenna and got very tired. I remember that my back and legs hurt on Sunday night and Dimitris’s feet hurt …. Leaving the station last Sunday before the contest I apologized but I probably would not be able to be there for a third weekend (the actual contest weekend). The 80m dipole had a SWR of 1.8:1 due to the new size of the tower, so it was not available for proper use on 80m, and the rotor cable of the 40m yagi no longer reached the shack! Dimitris, however, said that he would participate, even if that meant him running the contest alone.

On Wednesday I received a notification from Panagiotis SV8PMM that he would like to participate in the competition with us. We had rested for three days and, had time to collect and recover from the hard work, so we started to feel differently about participating seriously. We also talked to Vasilis SV1DPJ who said that he would try to come even though he will know last minute on Friday. Somehow we decided to take part, even without an antenna for 80m.

Finally, we stole some time and managed to go to the station on Friday afternoon, so that maybe we could try and fix the 80m dipole. We spent many hours at it, and all we could do was move it to the other tower, as it refused to tune up on the higher tower! So, we temporarily placed it on the other tower and unfortunately relatively low at about 14m up, and it tuned just fine. Only there was no time left for us to rest.

Panagiotis SV8PMM – Dimitris SV1CIB

Then in the shack, we had problems with the inband station … Our Yaesu FT990 refused to cooperate and we finally set up an FT-1000MP Mark V in this position. Again, somehow we had no time left to rest, while Panagiotis and Vasilis arrived after 9 pm, they too were exhausted…. Of course, we started chatting away, and before we knew it, it had gone 2 am in the morning and was time to start the contest.

In the beginning, we are all there. We were curious how the 40m yagi would work on the new tower. The first half-hour was amazing and the antenna was performing amazingly. But fatigue led us to our beds, leaving Dimitris SV1CIB alone to run all night.

In the morning when we woke up, we found in the log about 500 contacts! an Amazing number. I told the guys “we will do well”. A pileup on 15m and an opening to Japan, gives us a lot of multis from there. Panagiotis SV8PMM continued on the keys until Dimitris SV1CIB woke up again.

Vasilis and I (SV1DPI) decided to deal with the SZ1A skimmer that has been having problems lately. We still did not believe that it was worth taking the contest too seriously. So we fixed the skimmer antenna, installed a new computer and called Costas SV4FFL for help. At the end of our communication and while it was around noon on Saturday, we asked Costas how to configure N1MM+ to publish our live score on cqcontest.net. So in a little while, we started to send our score live.

The Radio Room / Shack of SZ1A

And there we had our first surprise. We were in 4th-5th place at that time in the MS HP category we were participating in and we had the most QSOs of all! So because of the nature of the CQ WPX Contest, which is a contest of constant rhythm, we believed that more multipliers could come. Somehow, on Saturday at noon, we started to deal with the competition more systematically. We saw that we could break our previous record, which is always our goal. In 2015 we had 2404 contacts and 6,217,530 points. This was also the SV record until 2020 when J42L broke it with 2229 QSOs and 6,616,512 points.

We quickly moved up and ranked second on the online live scoreboard, quickly approaching our friends at J42L who were coming in first. From then on and until the end of the contest, there was a unique derby between us. From one moment to the other we each ranked at first place, each team was in a head-to-head race for first place.

On Saturday afternoon, North America closed early for everyone, something that favoured us since, due to our position and the obstacle we have towards NA, it always closes early for us. We went to 40m and started working in Japan frantically. We quickly moved up and ranked second on the online live scoreboard, quickly approaching our friends at J42L who were coming in first. From then on and until the end of the contest, there was a unique derby between us. From one moment to the other we each ranked at first place, each team was in a head-to-head race for first place.

The derby for the first place score on cqcontest.net, the blue line is the J42L, and the orange one is SZ1A

On Sunday night after a new opening towards Japan, we shot into the leed but not as much as we would have liked. We knew that for J42L, North America would open earlier and we had to make a big sprint to get far ahead. Finally, we competed chest to chest for first place. N1MM+ showed that we were first with a small difference but when the contest ended and we synchronized the logs, unfortunately to our surprise it showed 17 fewer contacts and 9 less multipliers, dropping us down to second place, with a very small difference. In any case, these are preliminary results, and the official log checked score will clarify everyone’s final position, but that matters little because we dearly enjoyed our participation and the competition with the guys and our twinned team, J42L. Many Radio Amateurs enjoyed it dearly and the comments on social media were monumental.

The competition also helped us to rank in very good positions worldwide, achieving an amazing score. Congratulations to the guys for the amazing score and thanks for the game. I hope we are well and give many such friendly “battles” again in the future.

the final score that N1MM+ “decided” that we have….

What is certain is that we will break our previous record, as will our friends at J42L. Both have claimed over 8 million points! No matter how many mistakes we have, a final score of over 7 million is expected. The competition also helped us to rank in very good positions worldwide, achieving an amazing score. Congratulations to the guys for the amazing score and thanks for the game. I hope we are well and give many such friendly “battles” again in the future.

Looking back we are very happy with the result. Everything at the station worked to perfection but at the same time, there are things that will help us make an even bigger score next year! We had a few handicaps this time which we will fix, for example, the 80m antenna was tentatively installed and needs to be improved. The antenna for 20m could be higher up, since it was at 16m while the tower goes up to 24m! The 40m rotor that did not work in the first hours, made us lose precious QSOs. Maybe the use of another logging program will help us …

Good luck to all for next year… and a big thank you to everyone who called us!

The statistics of our participation, as always, can be found here

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