Bryant, KG5HVO, operates in a superstation contest effort

Bryant, KG5HVO, operates in a superstation contest effort

MARC member, Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO, recently joined several other young amateurs to operate the superstation K3LR in the CQ WW WPX SSB contest. Below is his most informative report about the contest station and his experience.

The K3LR superstation is one of, if not the largest amateur radio station in the world. The station is MASSIVE! Let’s start inside. There are 11 operating positions. All radios are IC-7851 transceivers. There are two radios on every contest band except 160m which only has one. One radio is dedicated to running stations and the other is dedicated to searching and pouncing (s&p). Each operating position has logging software and control boxes for both transmit and receive only antennas, rotators, and stack controllers. Each radio has a legal limit amp.

Now the antennas. There are 13 towers at K3LR. He even has antennas on the other side of the road! All antennas are fed with Helix hardline. The reason for the receive antennas on the high bands is the vertical polarization of the vertical array cuts down on interference from the #1 station by 30db which can make the difference in working a rare multiplier.

160 meters Station #1
– 5 Element parasitic vertical Yagi, electronically relay switchable, the array is switchable NE/NW/SE/SW

80 meters Station #1
– Two full-sized phased 4 squares. The squares can be fed broadside (45 and 255 degrees) or end-fire (135 and 315 degrees).

80 meters Station #2
– Rotating dipole at 74 meters (102 feet long). This station can share the 4 square array if needed by using a cool home-brew box called the “Twin Turbo”

40 meters Station #1
– 4L/4L/4L stacked array full-size Yagis. They are stacked at 80m/59m/36m. All three antennas are fully, independently rotatable. The top antenna is the highest 40m antenna in North America and the biggest array in the world.

40 meters Station #2
– 2L/2L = stacked Moxon array. They are stacked at 57m/37m. Both antennas are fully independently rotatable.

– RX Only 4 square vertical array

20 meters Station #1
– 6L/6L/6L/6L stacked array full-size Yagis.  They are stacked at 71m/52m/34m/15m. All antennas are independently rotatable. Top shares rotator with 80m rotatable dipole.

20 meters Station #2

– 6L/6L stacked array full-size Yagis.  They are stacked at 46m/31m. Both antennas are independently rotatable.

– RX Only 4 square vertical array

15 meters Station #1

– 7L/7L/7L/7L stacked array full-size Yagis.  They are stacked at 50m/37m/25m/12m. All antennas are independently rotatable.

15 meters Station #2

– 8L/8L stacked array full-size Yagis.  They are stacked at 25m/13m. Both antennas are independently rotatable.

– RX Only 4 square vertical array

10 meters Station #1

– 8L/8L/8L/8L stacked array full-size Yagis.  They are stacked at 40m/30m/20m/10m. All antennas are independently rotatable.

10 meters Station #2
– 9L yagi then 7L/7L/7L stacked array. The Yagis are stacked at 85m/66m/25m/15m

– RX Only 4 square vertical array

The receive antennas for 80/160m include an 8 circle array (which works better than beverages), 4 square, a rotatable waller flag, and phased loops.

So we competed in the WPX SSB contest. The score is calculated by points times the numbers of unique prefixes worked. In this contest, everyone works everyone, although some QSOs are worth more points than others. Trans-continental contacts are always worth more than contacts with the USA. The category we entered was Multi/2 (Multiple operators using 2 transmitted signals at the same time). Our strategy for success was working as many DX stations as possible and using the second radio to quickly find new contacts. Every radio is interlocked with its band partner radio to prevent transmitting at the same time. This is where team work is essential because the run op and the s&p op have to work together to time calls and CQs. We started on 20m and 40m and ended up making 286 QSOs in the first hour. 40m was the best band the entire contest. We had plenty of EU, VK/ZL, and US stations call that night. 20m was our daytime work horse. The stacks allow beaming in different directions simultaneously. An antenna or two was always kept on EU to the higher point QSOs. The way our schedules were designed always had 3 or 4 ops sitting at the station. The entire worked extremely hard throughout the weekend. Towards the end of the contest our QSO number was closing in on 6,000 but we didn’t think we would achieve it because of how slow our rate was. Well, perseverance pays off! In the last 20 minutes we made 50 QSOs which brought our total count to 6,007. Our original goal was around 4,000. Our claimed score is roughly 23.8 million points. According to 3830 scores, we are #3 in the world and #1 in NA! We even broke a W3 record 2014 when sunspots existed. I must say we had some great coaches! Tim K3LR and Tim W3YQ assisted us in making strategic decisions to ultimately push our score to what it is now. Not only did I find it exciting to operate from a world class station, but it was awesome to be around other youth contesters who share the same passion for this game! We are hoping this will inspire other clubs and multi-op stations to share radio sport with youth hams and mentor the next generation of contesters.  Team Exuberance is extremely grateful to Tim Duffy K3LR, the many go-fund-me donors, and for many others who helped make this opportunity possible.

The operators were as follows:

NN1C Marty (MA) 17 yrs  marty.sullaway@gmail.com

KM4ATT Violetta (PA) 14 yrs  km4att@gmail.com

VE7DZO David (BC) 15 yrs   ve7dzo@gmail.com

HA8RT Tomi (Hungary) 20 yrs  ha8rt@mrasz.hu

K6JO Levi (CA) 18 yrs        levibikely@gmail.com

KG5HVO Bryant (AL) 15 yrs

Our average age is 16 yrs old!

The image below is some of the ops with the world’s largest 40m array in the background. L-R: HA8RT, KG5HVO, K6JO, NN1C

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This is a photo of me running on 20m at the start and KM4ATT picking off multipliers.

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73,

Bryant, KG5HVO