Canadian Advice Appreciated - Ontario QSO Party

Discussion in 'Contests, DXpeditions and Special Events' started by W0JKT, Apr 1, 2021.

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  1. W0JKT

    W0JKT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Pre-Covid I frequently traveled to Toronto (Etobicoke or Mississauga) for about 10 days at a time and done so for about 20 years to escape the Phoenix summer heat. Also, enjoy Victoria BC (Saanich) and Montreal. Since I can't be there physically without 14-day quarantine (just got 2nd shot) I enjoy trying to talk to these cities by radio!

    I plan to participate in the upcoming mid-April Ontario QSO party.

    I use remotes as described in my bio on I am torn between using remotes either near Seattle on Camano Island, or Northern New York - Schoharie County (Assume this better than from the coast of Maine). Both have huge antennas and full power on all bands. I only use SSB.

    From some night listening NY seems to have a higher noise level than Seattle, even though it's in a remote area at 2100' ASL with over 100' towers. I will keep monitoring
    Seattle might be best for long haul 20m (or 15/10 if open) and NY better for short/medium-haul 75/40/160.

    In the contest rules remotes are allowed. However, I have talked (by email) to the contest folks and agree with them even though it is not in the rules, kind of ethics say only use one remote location, so I will.

    If you had this choice, would you use the Seattle or New York remote?

    Question 2:
    Why during contests do so many Canadians (and others in global contests) stay down below 3.800, 7.175, or 14.225 where we mere U.S. Generals can not work? Is it a prestige thing or just normal since probably less crowded down there other than during contests?
    In the WPX SSB contest where I would think moving up to our mere General allocations could result in more contacts. However, lots of serious contest stations globally were not workable by us US Generals.

    For the Ontario QSO party, they do have a FAQ to listen up into our General band but the suggested frequencies for QRP, etc are unreachable by us.

    Yes, I want to get the extra but since I have been off the air for 40 years, my knowledge is from back in the tube days of the 1960s and 75% of what I am studying is brand new to me :)
    I note the upcoming "Sprint" contest is interesting where a station can not hog a frequency but everyone has to keep moving around. So point and bounce (which I normally do) is often the preferred method.

    For the Ontario QSO party, may try calling CQ at the lower end of General bands as well as hunt and pounce.
  2. W9CQG

    W9CQG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Answer to Q 1: I think you are correct in that NY location would work best on 40 and 80. Depending on when you were on the air, I get great signals from the US West Coast on 20 and lately on 15.
    Answer to Q 2: In the last CQ WPX contest I did stay a great deal in the less crowded lower part of 20 that is off limits to US stations. There was just so much QRM and splatter elsewhere that I couldn't compete against the big pistols from the US. But it's certainly not a prestige thing...just less saturated with 3000 watt signals! lol 73 de VA3CQG
  3. W0JKT

    W0JKT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the comments. It's kind of a toss-up between NY or Seattle. I did work a strong portable station on POA VE-1541 (Crawford Lake area SW of Milton) on 20m today (I was very strong). The Seattle remote which has a bit more power and larger antenna was in use so worked him from Portland OR remote. He was a relatively new Ham that didn't have OR for WAS yet so that was nice.

    He also has a Streetsville connection. I liked ex-Mayor Hazel and the 2 Guys from Italy Restaurant. Not sure after Hazel retired if still there and need to look up the restaurant to see if it has survived!

    Since I am point and bounce, I can understand if you not a big gun station why it's saner down where we can not go :)

    I listened around a bit from different locations and bands back in Dec for the RAC Winter party but seemed to hear more from Nova Scotia and BC, then Ontario.

    Hopefully by the July All Canada Day party maybe I can be there!
  4. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm not a heavy contester but I would agree with W0JKT for using a NY location on 80 & 40. I've been on Vancouver Isl. twice and both times I didnt hear nearly as much traffic as I do here, however Asia is pretty easy to work.
    The last contest did appear to be for those with hi power, still I did work all over 20M
    At my location, my pattern doesnt favor BC, especially the island, Mainland isnt too bad.
    I recently used wspr to look at where I was being heard on several bands. Main areas for 20 & 15 were south west right to California & beyond) and east to Europe, but not much above the border BC and beyond.

    A lot of this depends on your system, here I am only using wire antennas, sure a beam and more power would help
    Maybe try wspr to see where you are being heard at both sites.
  5. W0JKT

    W0JKT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I wish there was a wspr for SSB as after passing 13 wpm for General in 1964 have never used it since. I can remember my call sign in CW but that is about it :( I admire all your expertise and projects. Too bad I don't have a remote in Idaho or So Dak for your projects! Love your dog....\

    There is a receive-only remote near Milton on another system so I may do some testing and see how well I can hear myself from different locations, although obviously depends on daily/hourly propagation conditions.

    The Seattle remote I am considering (for 20m and up if open) is on Camano Island. Fortunately, I am willing to afford to use superstation remotes. The Seattle location for 20 has stacked 6 elements at 110' and 45" for different angles of attack and running 1KW. Likewise huge antenna systems on other bands. Therefore propagation is more critical. Obviously, the greatest station is useless if the propagation and our dear old sun doesn't bless you.

    My N. New York option is also almost as big. But too close obviously for 20m+, while probably great on 40/75.

    On 40 beams are 4/4 at 122' and 72' so might be able to get the Western side of Ontario (for Ontario contest) but thinking not into the Toronto side.

    Then my challenge is to get you Canadians to tune-up to our US general allocations! I am using the Anki flashcard system and some other sources to study for the extra but so much is new since I was building radios with tubes or using them back in the 1960s!

    I fondly recall the days when you could work great DX on 10m with basically 5 watts into a coat hanger :(

    Since appears you are near London - that is near my favorite area to talk to - GTA. Also have enjoyed the beautiful BC area. Have taken the ferry from Washington and have flown into Victoria but many years ago. Also, have friends of friends on some of the Islands.
  6. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    thanks Dave, Rooney just turned 1yr old yesterday. Using wspr certainly confirmed what I thought about my 20M signals and as of this morning, (with pwr=20W) show favoring europe, eastern USA and a few in VK land.
    You could do the same thing on other modes and manually map contacts. Theres likely a program out there to do that, and qrz's logbook sort of does that.
    Those stations are impressive for sure. Operating on the west side of NA would certainly give more rare dx stations, but in a contest I wonder if there would be more stations bordering the atlantic.
  7. W0JKT

    W0JKT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Happy BD to Rooney:) Love dogs but lost a German Shephard about 5 yrs ago and haven't gotten another!

    Your map make sense. I also use 3 superstations near NE tip of Maine high over the Atlantic with huge antennas. About 3-4AM my time - 6AM-7AM in Ontario, I often check it before going to bed (am a night owl). About half the time Europe is booming in and I've been told a few times I had the strongest signal from North America. But for Ontario, it might be too far perhaps for 80/40 ..or not... And of course too close for 20m at least for GTA area.

    I am not going to seriously work the contest just spend a few hours depending on propagation etc. I may check out conditions at the beginning from various sites before I set up for which one I want to work it from.

    Now just need to get the Ontarians to not ignore us up up up in the US General band :) I am on the contest reflector ... or whatever it's called on slack and closer to the contest am going to make a post about hey look up higher for folks like me!

    The contest rules do nicely make mention to check up band for us mere US Generals.
    W9CQG likes this.

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