Category Archives: CW contests

Sweepstakes results — clean sweep

For years my goal has been to complete a clean sweep in the CW ARRL Sweepstakes. A clean sweep is working all 80 sections in the US and Canada, which includes Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Several years I’ve been close with 78 or 79 sections, but I never managed to get the Northwest Territory in Canada.
This year I was fighting high line noise, and wondered whether to even take part. But I started out and started getting some of the rare sections — North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota — right off, so I got hooked.
The contest started at 4 p.m. local time, and by the time I went to bed at 1 a.m. I was close to 400 contacts and had 76 sections. I was missing Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Newfoundland and Northwest Territory.
So I thought I had a real chance for the sweep. On Sunday, I started out with a good run on 40 meters, and after it got light moved to 20 and 15 to look for my three missing multipliers. I didn’t spend full time at the radio, just checking the spots and CW Skimmer every hour or so to see if they had popped up. Around 10 the KH6 stations showed up on 20, so it was no problem to get Hawaii, but I had seen no sign of the other three.
Around noon I was doing search-and-pounce on 15 and saw Puerto Rico pop up on Skimmer. I jumped to the frequency and had him– only two to go. Shortly after that I saw a spot for Newfoundland, and discovered a huge pileup calling him. I used all my pileup busting skills — and got him after about 10 minutes. Only one to go. I went back to search and pounce on 15 watching what was showing up on Skimmer, and suddenly Northwest Territory station popped up. I jumped the frequency and got him on the first call. I think he had just started operating on that band, and I beat the spots and the pileup.
So at 1 p.m. local time, I had my first clean sweep. It felt good. I took a break. At sundown I came back to the shack and ran 40 and 80 for a little while, getting my contact total to 600. Around 6:30 I pulled the plug when I hit 600 contacts. More on fighting the noise later.