Category Archives: ARRL DX contest

ARRL DX contest

I had a good time this wekend with the ARRL DX contest. We’ve had sunspots the last month, so it appears propogation is finally improving.
I managed to make contacts on 15, 20, 40, 80 and even three on 160 last night. As a result, I wound up with over 400 contacts in about 10 hours of operating. I had a great time.
With a DX contest such as this, you work different parts of the world on different bands at different times. There is enough activity, that you can really hear the propogation changing and get a better understanding of where in the world a band is open to at a particular time. You use your knowledge of how the bands are, to pick the right bands at the right time. If it all works, it’s great.
The contest also sold me on the K3. It is just the nicest contest and DX radio I’ve ever used. I switched to the Icom 756 Pro III for a short period last night, but soon went back to the K3.
On another note, the line noise that has plauged me most of the winter seems to have subsided. Both the electric and cable company have been working on the lines in this neighborhood, and my hope is somewhere during that process the faulty insulator, or whatever was causing the problem, was replaced.
Now that I’ve said that, the noise will probably return. All I can say is it wouldn’t have been much of a contest this weekend with the noise present.

DX contest

I spent some time working the CQ Worldwide DX contest this weekend. I learned a good lesson — keep checking the bands.
The contetst started Friday night, and I tuned around on 40 meters. I could hear a few Europeans, who were being swamped by hundreds of US operators calling them. That wasn’t the contest I remembered, so I went upstairs and did something else.
Saturday morning wasn’t much better. I worked a few Asians on 40 meters to get started, then moved to 20. There I heard just a few Europeans, again being hounded by hundreds of US operators. With my vertical, I don’t stand much of a chance in that situation. I made a few contacts, but soon gave up and did something else.
Then late afternoon I went back in the shack and listed on 15. I could hear Asians, and made contacts. Then I ate dinner, and came back down to 40 meters. There were the Europeans, all over the band. I spent the night working them. It’s still a thrill to hear that faint signal from half-way around the world, and to hear them answer with your call.
I worked the contest off and on during the evening, and Sunday morning came down and there were the Europeans on 20. Again, I started working them, and really got into using CW Skimmer to spot for me. It scans the band, and feeds the stations it’s hearing to the bandmap on my logging program. it creates a whole new world for search and pounce.
But Skimmer isn’t all-knowing. You still have to tune the band. During all this, I worked a fair number of Africans, and I imagine I picked up a couple new countires (for me) in the process.
This afternoon I was tuning across 15 and worked New Zealand and Botswana back to back. That’s cool.
So it was a good radio weekend. I didn’t set the world on fire, but sure had a good time.