NC QSO Party Results - 2023
by Marty Young W4MY
Chairman, North Carolina QSO Party
Propagation this year for our QSO Party was outstanding as we emerge out of the low end of the former sunspot cycle. Judging from all the very positive soapbox comments, a great time was had by all as a result. We set a new all-time QSO record, just above 59,000. Fully 2,000 more than last year! Thanks to everyone who participated for making 2023 another great success.
As you review the statistics, you’ll notice a big increase in 15 Meters, which is indicative of the increasingly good band conditions. That certainly helped our DX stalwart Laszlo Vegh, OM2VL. Hats off to Laci who wins the plaque for best DX score as well as finishing #1 in the Single Op/Non NC/Mixed Mode category.
Of course, our most popular categories again this year were single operator phone and CW. Not as many mixed operations, but still not small in number. A good 50/50 split between the two modes has stayed pretty consistent since the early years of our tenure, with the actual numbers this year being 51% CW and 49% Phone (SSB). Right where we need to be. Interestingly, it’s the Low Power entries in each of these modes (and across both NC and Non-NC stations) who have significantly more numbers than those operating full smoke. And, wow, look at all the QRP logs submitted. Seems that high power isn't really necessary, but I'm glad the category is available to those that like it. To each his own!
We made some changes to the rules and categories this year, as we usually do. We try to balance keeping tradition and consistency along with the most current trends in ham radio. The committee is always striving to make our event as enjoyable as possible, as well as challenging. We’ll continue to discuss ways of improving both.
Two major changes come to mind that were new in 2023. Digital no longer has its own category. While still allowed as part of a mixed effort, anyone looking at the QSO statistics of the past 10 or so years can see why this is the case. And, unfortunately, FT-4/8 is not maturing in the direction conducive to contesting and state QSO parties in general.
Out with the old, in with the new, how about this year’s new Portable-Single category? Thirteen logs submitted in this inaugural running for this new class! It’s a definite hit! And from what I hear, most of them were combined POTA activations as well. I know of two more, at least. Dwayne, N4MIO, and Marc/Paul, W4MPS/AA4XX, our own committee members, were out there doing it. Both submitted logs, but are recused, of course. I'm sure there were more we don't even know about!
Marc has informed me we had 76 spelling bee sweeps this year. On that subject, let me take this opportunity to thank our 1x1 bonus station volunteers who selflessly offered their high operating prowess to give back to our event. You can see them listed in the Checklog section of the results as they have recused themselves, voluntarily offering the 50 point bonus to others.
The theme for the bonus was this year was the 120th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. As everyone knows, NCQP is keen on latching on to important aspects of North Carolina history and culture. “First in Flight” is surely one of those. We were thrilled to be able to operate from the Wright Memorial under a Special Use permit. We are hoping to continue the good working relationship with the National Parks Service established this year. We thank them very much!
As it is every year, we are grateful to our plaque sponsors who stepped up and really made that process easy for us. We're really getting in a groove with this process. Dwayne and JNS Crafts make this Chairman's job very easy! And, especially so, there was no shortage of willingness to help out with getting our awards sponsored and financed. In spite of inflation, we were able to maintain our cost structure without an increase.
Last, and certainly not least, a big thank you and high five goes out to all the hams in North Carolina who simply got on the air and worked all of our friends in the ether. This event wouldn't be anything without you. ( I haven't forgotten ya'll out there in in the USA, Canada, and DX...thank you too!)
So now on to the results! Enjoy. Kudos well deserved all around.
Mobile: What a spectacular effort from Bert, N4CW, who put in a chart busting score of 259,970 with 902 QSO's! Bert's driver, Jim, W4TMO, is to be credited also. Traversing and churning out QSOs in 28 NC counties is no small task. Well done gents! Roving station K3TD, another NCQP road warrior team of Jim,K4QPL, and partner Tad, K3TD, get the second place certificate. Thanks goes to them as well as the other mobiles running the roads for us. Of note: A lottery ticket has been donated to go to the winner of the Mobile category for a chance at a trip to Turks and Caicos Islands at Harbor Rock Villa – VP5M. This was donated by our second place finisher, Jim, K4QPL, and will go to Bert. Thank you, Jim, and good luck Bert!
Multi-Op Mixed: This category is divided into low and high power entries. The winner of high power group are the North Carolina Kilo Watts manned by Bruce, N1LN, and Laurie, N1YXU. The low power winner, out of a group of seven, was The Cape Fear ARS, K4MN, operating from Cumberland County. A distant, but respectable, second place with 350 fewer contacts was W4W, the Western NC Ham Activators.
Multi-Op Phone: K4OGB, The Stanley ARC won this category making 235 QSO's and a 36,860 point total. The elimination of CW requirements back in the day was the impetus for creating this category years ago. The thinking then was that CW activity would decline and a phone only category was needed for group entries. With the only other entry, KO4TCY, finishing a distant second, this category will probably be up for review next year. As the QSO Party has grown and changed over the years, retirement of this category seems imminent.
Portable/Single: Expeditions have always been an important aspect of NCQP. They have continued to grow in popularity and our leadership team is responding accordingly. We changed the name to “Portable” and broke it into two categories, Single and Multi. The name change reflects the popularity of POTA/SOTA . Having a category with only single operators is also in keeping with POTA. And what a success it is! Thirteen logs in this category alone with the four-county activation of Mike, K4MLY on top of the heap. With just north of 900 Q's, second place, Tommy WZ4M, was back a little, but not far!
Portable/Multi: With the single category so popular, this category was down a bit, but that didn't stop Dean, K2JB, and Howard, W4PH, from winning the Expedition/Multi category operating from the Jackson/Transylvania line Honorable mention goes to the Ashe County ARC, signing K4J, lighting up two counties as well.
Single-Op CW High Power: Dave, N4CWZ, took the top spot with a score of 206,020. He worked 722 QSOs and 95 mults . That's a good score in any set of conditions. It says a lot for the ability of a good op using CW to get the job done. Not far behind was Bruce, N6NT, making a good account operating form McDowell County.
Single-Op CW Low Power: Nyles McKeithan, KS4S, came out at the head of a very large group of CW ops running in the 100 watt range. 604 was his contact total, ahead by about 75 over last year's winner Vlado, N3CZ. Good job Nyles, Vlado is a fierce competitor!
Single-Op Mixed High Power: Now for the category where high power is allowed. This year was a good one for choosing it and Bill, K3WA, took the pinnacle prize over seven others. His six figure score dwarfed the rest of the category. There was pretty good competition in the middle of the pack, with NM4O coming in on the fore end of that to claim second place.
Single-Op Mixed Low Power: The ops that chose to go with the regular output from their transceiver, and go it on both modes, have a little bigger challenge. It’s not QRP, but most can't just blow a hole through the spectrum. But Steve, WA3TMR, found a way to be heard with his one tenth kilowatt signal coming out the winner. Bob, K4HA, operating from Wake came in a very respectable second followed by Dave NC4DA, in third.
Single-Op Phone High Power: Phone operation represented nearly 50% of all QSO's in the party this year and Steven, KT4Q, helped make this happen. He achieved 212,990 points which was nearly two and a half times more than the second place finisher, I think Steve made this one not even close. Bill, AA4R, gave it a valiant effort making nearly 350 QSOs from Moore County, a winning score in previous years. Both of these guys need to be commended with Steven getting an additional gold star!
Single-Op Phone Low Power: This category had 56 contenders vying for first place. To win here means something, Brian Helms, KD4RLD, operating from Montgomery County amassed a score of 111,570 making 484 QSOs and a whopping 115 mults. Good job of pulling those voice signals out and staying in the chair Brian! The story in this category is the second, third, and even fourth place finishers. Have a look at the standings list that follows in this category. Just a tad over 400 points separates second place finisher, and certificate recipient AJ4TW, W2ZDP, and N4NAG. Cameron, AJ4TW, almost had the win with more QSOs than Brian, but fell well short in the mult department. What a great photo finish guys. This one's for the books!
Single-Op QRP: N4HAY, looking at the other end of the power equation with little more power than it takes to light one Christmas light bulb, Dick managed a winning score with 279 QSO's and 65 multipliers for a total of 47,080 points. In the field of six, JJ, KF4VE, took second place with a little over 39,000 points using peanut power. Both these guys hail from Wake County. There must be good soil there to get these small signals launched out into the air! Can't forget to complement the guys and gals at the other end of these QSOs with the good ears!
Single-Op CW High Power: Ed Gilliland, W5TM from Oklahoma made 182 Q's combining 48 NC county mults for the winning score in CW high power among our friends out of state.. In second is David Spencer, N1CGP who did a good job from the furthest New England state of Maine. Looking at this category overall, its good to see QSOs being made from New England to British Columbia, Texas, Florida, the mid west, and even DX. All over!
Single-Op CW Low Power: K9CW, Andrew, is the winner here. What an appropriate call for the winner of this most popular category. Behind Andy was one of our friends out of New Brunswick, Canada, Rino, VE9VIC with less than 20 fewer QSOs. Its a thrill to see such a great effort put forth by our fellow hams outside the USA. One interesting note is that the first nine finishers in this category got all the bonus stations available to them and are eligible for our beautiful sweep Certificate. 25% out of the 82 entries here swept the bonus stations that were available.
Single-Op Mixed High Power: Like the Low Power CW category, the first ten finishers in this class obtained a clean sweep. A testament to them, but also to the outstanding job of the bonus stations themselves. Bonus QSO's were available for those that wanted them! That said, lets look at the first place finisher. Laszlo “Laci” Vegh operating from the Slovak Republic. We don't need our maps to tell us that's a very long way away! Laci is a “QSO machine” knocking out 325 QSOs and a whopping 77 NC counties! I'd love to see his station and antenna farm. Mike, NE8P, did a very respectable second place finish with 217 QSOs, a winning score under ordinary circumstances.
Single-Op Mixed Low Power: My friend, and state QSO party guru, Jeff, N8II, came in first among the outsiders running low power and choosing to go on CW and SSB. No surprise here. When I heard Jeff in there during the contest, I knew he would be somewhere close to the top. He did it making a whopping 262 NC QSOs and 70 county multipliers. Next closest station in this category was David Pritchard, W9QL operating from Illinois, with 173 QSOs and a very impressive 73 county multiplier. I suspect if we can get just a little more activity going here in NC and are able to light up all 100 of our counties fully, these are going to be the guys in the running for the first ever 100 NC county sweep award.
Single-Op Phone High Power: This is the mode that is keeping CW at bay maintaining the 50/50 mode split in the total number of QSOs made by everyone. This is a good thing, by the way. Bob, KZ3P, in first place, certainly helped that out. Our neighbor to the south (SC) he accumulated three more QSOs and one more mult than second place holder John, W3JJL heralding from Pennsylvania. Glad to see these guys both swept the bonus station with only one other in this category. Close proximity was used to their advantage. Being on the right band at the right time certainly paid off.
Single-Op Phone Low Power: With 102 entries, this was the most competitive class in the contest. Another SC neighbor, Scott Hostetler, K4MDI, emerges as the first station listed on the top of this category. As good as Scott's effort is, I've got to recognize Alan, N8CJ, in second place, with one more QSO than Scott, a clean bonus sweep, but 11 fewer multipliers in a close second. Even Tom, AI4DB, the third place finisher here is worth mentioning with only four QSOs down from the winner. Just goes to show that squeezing out every QSO is the way to get a plaque!
Single-Op QRP: The state of Florida is where our repeat winner Tom, K3TW, operated his low power station and garnered nearly 26,700 points from over 160 QSO's. That's what I call sticking to it! The improved conditions are sure helping you out, Tom! The next closest was Mike, WS2E, who was just 11 QSOs behind and a couple of mults. Can we call this a QRP shoot-out? Both got sweeps, maybe so! Honorable mention goes out to K4SAA, AC2YD, and NQ2W all attaining a 5 figure score with only a couple of watts.
Top DX: Of course, its no surprise that OM2VL also gets the plaque for this award. Winning the SO/Non-NC/Mixed/HP puts you in pretty good stead to get this one as well, and Laci did. Congratulations! Honorable mention to our DX stations DL3GA, EA5DFV, HA8IB,IZ4BOY, LA8OM, SM6BZV, SP5SA, SP6JOE, and our numerous Canadian friends, that participated and submitted their log. We thank you for making NC QSO Party a truly international event!
The SPELLING BEE
Our bonus stations are the highlight of the event if your ask almost anyone. We spelled out the word “WRIGHT” in honor of the 120th anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, NC on December 17, 1903. The stations were: N4W Marc Sullivan, W4MPS, and Paul Stroud, AA4XX operating from the Wright Brothers' National Memorial; N4R Steve, W4MGT, and Lisa Jenkins; N4I Marty Young, W4MY, and Bob Starkenburg, W4TTX; N4G The Blue Ridge Amateur Radio Club, W4YK; N4H Tripp Owens, N4NTO; N4T Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club operating from the Battleship USS North Carolina.
I've just had a discussion with Charles, WB4DCM, our eastern NC At-Large committee member. 2023 is to be his last year as a member of the Committee. He has served faithfully and his ham radio and life experience and contribution to NCQP is well valued and will be missed. He still plans to participate in NCQP and submit his log from his vacation home in Hyde County, so look for WB4DCM in the standings next year! We wish him well as he goes on to his next adventures!
Thank you for submitting your logs and letting us know your ideas and comments about this year’s event. We've got a great hardworking team that has brought this to you. A special thanks to Marc, W4MPS, our logs manager and analyst who was responsible for getting all these hundreds of details in a form we can all read easily. I'll be thanking Dwayne, N4MIO, for getting the plaques and certificates made and mailed out. Of course, I can't leave out Andy, AA9P, from this shout-out, for churning out thousands and thousands of lines of code in order to automate our log analysis system and make this all happen quickly, efficiently and accurately! We affectionately call this data automation “Logbot” and consider it to be the seventh member of the committee. Oh, don’t let me leave out Steve, W4MGT, our webmaster, who is responsible for getting these results posted for everyone to see. I can do what I need in WordPress, but Steve is a master at it!
We are already getting ready for 2024. The date is February 25, 2024. Mark your calendars.
Marty Young W4MY
Chairman, NC QSO Party