G3YMC in CQ World Wide 2023


CQ World Wide is one of the major contests in the amateur radio year and is run by CQ magazine in the USA. There are several events in the year for different modes and the CW section is always on the last full weekend in November, November 25th - 26th in 2023. With up to 35,000 participants the HF contest bands are busy and it clearly shows that morse code is not dead. G3YMC has entered this contest for many years and it makes a very enjoyable weekend. I was joined by several other members of my local radio club, Bracknell Amateur Radio Club.

G3YMC in action
G3YMC Operating

This was the first all band CQWW I had done for a few years due to various broadband issues - but now with full fibre those days are past. I used my usual QRP station of an Elecraft K2 at 5 Watts and a long wire, with a new quarter wave loop for the 160m band. Computer logging is essential these days and I used N1MM+ for this purpose. I have some remaining QRN issues on 80m and getting a signal out on 160m from this small plot is always a challenge.

The Contest

Having set up everything the day before I arrived in the shack just after 5am on the Saturday morning, initially on 40m then a short while on 80m and 160m before the sun rose. Activity was high and I was soon knocking off the QSOs. After a breakfast break I went down to 20m then a bit later to 15m and 10m as those bands opened. I was having fun.

Generally conditions as forecast were quite good but a geomagnetic storm during Saturday changed things somewhat. 10m was not as open as I expected and I struggled there. In the evening with the auroral flutter on 40 and 80 it was a real struggle and I wondered whether I should be out aurora spotting rather than dxing. Sunday, with the ionosphere returning to normal, was much better and I soon was raking up the QSOs on 10 and 15. The evening on 40 was far far better and my QRP reached 5B4 and 4X which I find normally a struggle. 80m was better but still very slow and operating QRP there is frustrating. Yes some stations went out of their way to try and get my call but eventually gave up. Yet CN3A came back first call! I suspect many have noise issues on 80 which accounts for my poor QRP effort. Top Band, forget it, I did manage a few QSO with the locals but mostly I got no response to calls.

There was plenty of DX to work as in these events amateurs head off to all sorts of exotic places to activate them. I worked a few of the Caribbean ones in Curacao, Barbados and Bonaire, plenty of USA stations who seem to have excellent ears, along with stations in China and Japan. If you are there at the right time it is very easy to fill you logbook with some rather nice things, often one call even on QRP does the trick.

I don't do the night shift these days, so up around 5am both days and stopping around 10pm. On the Sunday I chickened out even earlier as I got frustated with 80.

A local amateur kindly came round and recorded a video of me in action. Enjoy!

The Results

It will be a while until the full results are published but provisional results before checking will be out very soon. But I should score fairly well among the G QRP entrants. Overall it was a reasonable result. In 2012 I ended up with over 400k points so maybe the sunspot peak is not quite here yet.

        Band     QSOs     Pts   ZN  Cty  Pt/Q
         1.8      11      10    2    8   0.9
         3.5      75      84    4   30   1.1
           7     150     181   11   45   1.2
          14     150     180   12   45   1.2
          21     140     200   12   47   1.4
          28     150     285   14   38   1.9
       Total     676     940   55  213   1.4

            Score : 251,920