Going 160M

Last Updated on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 12:13 AM Written by N1WQ Wednesday, December 8, 2010 12:11 AM

With my original dipole, there was no way I could work on 160M. However my new sloper is supposed to work on this band. For the first I was very skeptical about it though. Still I was able to tune it for 160M, although in very narrow range.

Then, one day, I gave it a try, called some PA station working their QSO party in CW, and… he answered me! OK, no big deal, abnormally good propagation, it happens. Forget it.

But then I did one of the craziest thing I could imagine: I called some Canadian station during CQ WW SSB contest. Yes, SSB on 160M with 100W and 60 ft sloper. And yes, he answered. Then two more Canadian stations also answered. OK, they are big guns with the antennas bigger than our city watertower. Forget it.

But then ARRL 160M contest was coming. And I’ve started thinking: why not to give it a shot? Have some fun, work a dozen of nearby states. OK, let’s do it!

Guess what? I worked 49 states, a few Canadian provinces, and a few DX stations from Caribbean region. Almost everybody I was able to hear, could also hear me. Of course I could not hear Europe or Oceania at all, and I barely could hear KH6LC, so I missed Hawaii.

I realize, that I worked mainly superstations, well-equipped contesters with kilowatts, arrays and beverages, but still… 49 states! Almost 160M WAS! Well, unfortunately only “almost”, and I guess working Hawaii is going to be a challenge: this one is a real DX.

This contest also put my Kenwood TS-570D(G) on the edge. It is a fine rig, of course not DX-er’s or contester’s choice, but so far using installed 250Hz filter, DSP, and noise reduction, I was able to handle most of the problems I encountered during my CW operations. Not everything though, and not as a serious contester.

However on 160M almost all my stuff did not work. The band was crowded with strong signals, my 250Hz filter could not handle it, and additional AF-based DSP filters were not helping much. Still I was able to work most of the stations I heard, even under strong interference, but I did not feel very comfortable.

Well, I will upgrade my rig, when the time comes… or when the time and the money come, which is more correct statement. Meanwhile I think I can have enough fun on 160M even with my good old TS-570.

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