there is interesting comments to CQ 160M CW Contest by John, ON4UN. It seems to be still interesting althought its a bit an historical article I guess...
1996 CQ 160M CW Contest
ON4UN, Single Operator, High Power
By John Devoldere
CQ WORLD WIDE 160M CONTEST -- 1996
Call: ON4UN Country: Belgium
Mode: CW Category: Single Operator
BAND QSOs Points States Countries
160 1275 8995 47 79
Final Score 1,133,370 Points
The contest starts as usual with trying to work a JA. In these years of low sunspot activity this is much easier than in the "high" years. After having worked the multiplier, I start cleaning up the European stations. No point in wasting time trying to work JA's. A DX is worth only two European stations, and you can work them much faster.
The XV7 station is said to be active in the contest (from Hanoi), but he has only one frequency, 1827. I still need him for a new country, but don't think we will hear him with all the contest QRM. Anyhow it's S9 plus QRM all around 1827...
The conditions seem to be "fair" to the USA, but pile-ups are moderate. Around 03:00z the Mid-West starts coming in and from then on the skip lengthens to Texas, New Mexico etc. At 05:22 Mike, N7ML is the first W6/7 worked, followed one minute later by N6DX, and a few minutes later by Bob, W7LR also in MT. All were really loud! No more West Coast was worked, and the only multiplier before sunrise was 6D2J. At 07:50 I am off to bed for some sleep.
At 15:30z (45 minutes before sunset) I am back. It's working European stations until my first DX at 19:00z (EX8W) followed shortly later by a good signal from VK2BJ. Some of the rarer Europeans are worked (Z3, LX, ZA, GU, GD). At 19:30z the band is wide open to Japan (2 and a half hours before their sunrise). I work a string.
I worked Mark, ON4WW from his home QTH on Friday evening. He was leaving for 9X on Saturday early morning, and gave me a sked for Saturday evening. At 21.00z sharp 9X4WW calls me for a nice multiplier. In the next half hour I work two other African stations: 6W6JX (very strong!) and 7X2VZK. Mark, 5N0MVE was the only other African station worked.
I run across a huge pile up for 1A0KM. Wonder if this is the "real" one? Anyhow, hordes of Europeans must have worked him.
The first W is worked at 22:40 (W2VO). The band starts opening really well to the states at 23:30z the mid-West starts coming in at 00:30, and KS (W0CM), AR (K5GO) are added to the multiplier list. At 01:08 N6SS in Arizona calls me with an excellent signal. This is early! The band remains excellent to the US all through the night until sunrise, but never really stretches all the way to the West Coast. The only W6 worked is Glen, K6NA, and KX7VG in Utah. In total two W6's, and four genuine W7's (two in MT, one in AZ and one in UT) were worked.
My last multiplier was PT7BZ at 07:30z, just on my sunrise.
Being single op non-assisted, I am forced to switch between working pile-up and do some search and pound across the band looking for pile-ups where the rare multipliers are. While doing so, I call every station (DX or European) that's not yet in my log. One very amazing thing happened to me in this contest. On at least 20 (TWENTY) occasions, the station I called came back with "wkd B4", while this clearly was not the case. This can happen once or twice in a contest, but not 20 times! With some stations it took a bit of convincing to give me a "real" QSO. This happened ONLY with European stations. I wonder what happened? Did the computer let me down? Maybe it did not log some contacts? After the contests I listened to the entire recorded contest, and ALL QSO's were in the log. Maybe someone wanted to harm me and worked a bunch of European stations with my call while I was running a pile-up somewhere? Who will tell?
I have only one funny story: UR5KDX. kept telling me to move out of the DX-window ... As I did not react, he started jamming me. Hell, I can understand the purpose of the DX window (it's great), but if the DX (that's we ??) must also stay out of there, who is going to work who ??? ... Maybe we have to explain the poor man what's DX for the US organisers of the contest.
After the first night, ands in view of the local "factory generated" QRM, I was convinced this year's results would not be as good as last year's. But the much improved conditions to the US on the second night soon made it clear that maybe I would break the 1 Mi point barrier after all. And yes, almost 3 hours before sunrise we went through the 1 Mi point barrier. I ended with approx. 150 more QSO's than last year (1275 QSO's) and with 1.13 Mi points, which is nearly 20 % better than last year's score. Last year we worked 340 US + Canadian stations, this year 460! I nevertheless worked fewer multipliers (80 countries and 47 states, vs. 82/47 in 1995). In the US, I made all W1,2,3,4,5,6,8 and 9 states, missed N and S.D. in the W0 district, and missed all but AZ, MT and UT in the 7th district. From Canada we worked the easterly provinces (VO1 through VE3).
No sign of the XV7 station, nor from 9V1XQ who's been on 160 in the week prior to the contest. From Europe I missed GJ, HB0, 3A, but worked a number of the rarer ones: EA6, HV, OH0, C3 etc. No EA8, nor CU! Besides the 460 US + Canadian stations I worked from N/S America: 6D2X, 8P9DX(very strong but deaf like hell, half of Europe called him, and I had to call for at least 20 minutes before getting through!), JG3KIV/6Y5, PJ9Z, PT7BZ, PY0FF, TO5T (strong), TI1C (Strong as always), YV1OB (who else), P40WA (deaf like 8P9DX), P40I (got mMike on my first call!) and 9A3A/4U.
Without the chemical plant QRM I am sure I would have been able to dig into the proverbial "third layer" of North American stations which would undoubtedly have given me a few more W7 stations. Maybe next year we'll have 160 m contest without handicaps?