The QCX challenge is our monthly operating event to encourage operators to get on the air with their QCX (or other) radios and enjoy the pleasures and benefits of CW. It started in early 2019 with a discussion on the QRP-labs reflector when Harv K2PI asked “why don’t we have a QCX QSO party?”
Good idea! So this is it. Its designed to be a fun and friendly opportunity to get on the air with your QCX or QCX-mini or QCX+ (or QSX as soon as it is released) and explore its potential. All were designed from the outset to be superb CW radios and they do not disappoint.
CW is a wonderful mode and it is truly amazing what can be achieved with relatively low power even under poor propagation conditions. Transatlantic and intercontinental QSOs are perfectly possible with these amazing little radios using even relatively modest antennas like dipoles or end-fed half-waves.
Although QRP is nice, the QCX Challenge is not limited to 5W, you can also use the QRP Labs 50W amplifier, or any other (homebrew) amplifier in the 50W range (+/- 3dB which would mean 25-100W).
The QCX Challenge is for everyone, experienced contest operator or cw beginner. And you don’t need a QCX to take part:
The three one-hour sessions are timed so that most people in the world can join in and each is scored separately.
When: Last Monday of the month 1300z to 1400z, 1900z to 2000z, 0300z to 0400z (note, this is the LAST session, it is technically Tuesday 0300-0400Z, but will be Monday evening local time in US).
Bands: 20m 40m 80m
Frequencies: when operating QRP, suggested frequencies are 1 to 3 kHz below the QRP calling frequencies (14.060, 7.030, 3.560 respectively). When operating QRO, suggested frequencies are 3 to 5 kHz below those frequencies. If your region has other QRP calling frequencies, adjust accordingly.
Please spread out and use spotting aids (see below) to see where people are.
Of course, QSOs anywhere on the band can be counted.
- Any QCX/QCX-mini/QCX+/QSX running with or without an external amplifier of up to 100W = "a QCX operator"
- Any other qrp radio (QRP up to legal max, but it is not advised to use more than 100W)
- Any radio (up to legal max)
- Use of high gain antennas is allowed
- Spotting is encouraged. QRP signals can be weak and it helps to know where to look.
- The Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) is an excellent tool (http://www.reversebeacon.net/), and this interpretation of RBN data helps to see where people are on the band (https://dxcluster.ha8tks.hu/rbn_ct1boh/). Use the sliders to narrow down the frequency range.
- To increase the chances of finding each other, it is advised to use this QRP sked page:https://discord.com/invite/
GdZzmhuU8p (on a PC, you can use the browser, but on a phone or tablet, you must install the Discord app). The first time, you have to accept the "invitation" by Joe N3XLS. Then you must provide an e-mail address, select a password, and enter your screen name in the format "Name Callsign" (e.g. Luc ON7DQ). Then join the #qrp-operating channel (see left column).
- Any feature of the QCX/QCX-mini/QCX+/QSX is allowed – specifically for the avoidance of doubt this includes the use of message banks, keyer, the inbuilt decoder and any other standard functionality
Power: to keep things fun, it is advised not to use more than 100W
Exchange: true RST, name, rig, power (optional info: QTH, antenna, WX, …)
If signals are good enough; please specify your model of QCX:
QCX Plus or QCX Mini (or QSX when it’s available).
Scoring: *** NEW for 2021 ***
- Work a non-QCX operator – 1 point per QSO
- Work a QCX operator, but one or both stations in the QSO are using an amplifier – 3 points per QSO
- Work a QCX operator, and BOTH sides are using QRP power – 5 points per QSO
Note: scoring is for fun, this is a party, not intended to be a serious contest!
Scores: please submit your score to 3830scores.com, and give some detail of your station, power, antenna, etc. in the comment field.
Logs: Not required.
Remember, the important thing is to be active, explore the limits of your QCX and have fun on the bands.
The QCX QSO Party manager is Luc ON7DQ.