Category Archives: contestsing

Summer activity

While summer is not the traditional best time for ham radio — noisy bands and too much outside activity — there are a few contests in the summer and that’s been most of my activity as late. Last night I ran the North American QSO party, with a respectable 340 contacts in about six hours of operating. The bands were noisy, but workable, so I had a good time.

A couple weeks ago I operate he IARU contest for a few hours working a nice range of DX, with even a few contacts on 15 meters. Maybe the bands will come back. I had a nice surprise in the mail right after that contest — I got a certificate in the mail that I had placed first place in CW only High Power in Illinois in the 2008 contest. That is kind of a fluke, as the big guns in Illinois all entered as low power and had many more contacts than I, but I’ll still take the first-place finish. It show why to send in a log, even if you think you have no chance of ever winning.

That’s been about the size of my activity. We have a road trip coming up next weekend, so look for me /m on Friday and Monday on 20 CW.


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.