Category Archives: contests

Slow summer

Looking in the log a couple weeks ago, I realized I had nearly been off the air this summer. So I tried to get on the air for some simple cw QSOs a couple weekends ago, and it was nice to hear CW again.

Last weekend I ran the North American QSO party for a few hours. I did a couple hundred contacts, mostly on 40. 80 meters was just too noisy to deal with.
This weekend I messed with the Worked All Europe DX contest on Saturday night on 40. I could hear a few EU stations, between all the US stations calling CQ Test. I managed to squeak out 25 contacts on 40 meters last night, but that’s less than an hour on good band.
As the weather changes, I’ll get more active on the radio and more active on the blog, I promise.

Noisy bands for NA QSO party

This weekend I spent several hours Saturday in the North American QSO party. This is a quick contest — it only lasts 12 hours, and I operated about six of them. I wound up with around 240 contacts, but spent a lot of time battling my high noise levels. I could tell people were calling me, but I couldn’t pull them out of the noise.

Noise has been an intermittent problem at my location, but it’s gotten worse this winter. Hopefully, it will pass and I’ll start hearing things again. If not, maybe I need that cabin in Arkansas with a remote station set up.

Contesting

I consider myself a casual contester. Sometimes I wonder why, but yesterday was a good example why. Saturday morning is often my time to spend a couple hours in the shack playing with the radios. I’d had a couple nice cw QSOs and listened to part of an AM net, but tuning around I heard CQ 7QP. A quick check of the contest calendar at the ARRL web site and I discovered the 7th call district QSO party was on. Bascially, its a combined state QSO party of all the states in the 7th call district. I was hearing Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Idaho on 40 meters, so I set up my logging program for it and dove in.

By the way, for logging I use N1MM software. It’s great for contests, and you can’t beat the price (free.) I ran the contest for a while, and went on with my day. I had some free time in the afternoon and went to 20 meters and dove back into the contest. Meanwhile the New England QSO party started up, so I was soon hearing stations calling CQ from two different contests — one East Coast and one West Coast. Being in Illinois, I could work either. I started a second log for the NE QSO party, and soon I was jumping between the two contests, depending on geography.

Later in the evening I went back downstairs and worked more 40 meters, then jumped to 80 meters for an hour or so. It was all search and pounce (where you tune around looking for stations calling CQ) but it was fun. By the time I shut down around 11, I’d put over 100 QSOs in the log, run into a couple of fellows I know, and had a good time. What more could I ask for?

By the way, I did most of the operating on the Icom 765. Despite it’s age, it’s a great contest radio. I’d used the 756 ProIII as my condtest radio the last few years, but I sold that radio a couple months ago. I didn’t miss it at all.