What contest allows you to work DXCC in one weekend? The ARRL International DX SSB contest! This weekend I participated in the annual event. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. Seldom do I have an opportunity to sit for very long at the radio. I operate for an hour … then an hour later in the afternoon….and perhaps another before I turn in for the evening.
Because of that, it’s always interesting to see how propagation changes. Stations with strong signals in the morning grow faint at night and vice versa. I overheard some of the “big gun” contesters and DX’ers, including N5DX, W3LPL, and K3LR. After operating a total of 5 leisurely hours, I submitted 274 QSOs. We’ll see how I compare to the class rankings. It was over 100 more QSOs that I submitted last year, but over triple the points due to the increased number of multipliers. That was my goal for this year, just to see some incremental “year over year” improvement.
Here’s an observation. Many contesters (me included) use pre-recorded voice-keyer messages to make the event less tiresome for the operator, particularly when calling “CQ”. However, when there is a lot of QRM, it’s important for the audio of the voice-keyer to sound similar to the live operator on the air. Otherwise, it is extremely difficult to determine who is replying to your call. I overheard a few stations with completely different voices recorded on the voice-keyer.
Last Friday, I received my Triple Play award certificate (#798) in the mail. I’ll slap it up on the wall of the shack with some of my other wallpaper. It wasn’t actually that much work, since I had 132 contacts complete and confirmed via LoTW before I realized I was even within striking distance of the award.
I’m currently working on the 5 Band WAS, but it’ll be a few months before I finish that one. I’ve been plugging along on 80 meter digital, trying to work and confirm some needed states on that band. I also need quite a few states on 10 meters. Hopefully, I’ll put a few of those in the logbook during Field Day and November Sweeps.
Our newly formed radio club (The Noise Blankers) has received the vanity call for our club station: WR5P. We’ll be on the air during a few upcoming contests – particularly Field Day – so be sure to listen for us. More to come on that.
Other Noise Blanker activity includes our “Ham Hijinks” humorous news stories about ham radio and those who enjoy the hobby. One of our goals is to have fun…and show others that we’re having fun! This is one of the ways we do it.
There are a number of people who visit the “Ham Hijinks” site regularly or follow us on twitter. If you’d like to use some of our material in your radio club’s newsletter, we’d be happy to let you! Just drop K5KVN a note (his contact info is on our “HAM HIJINKS” web page) because we are keeping track of where our material is being distributed. Hopefully, it’ll be a regular in YOUR club newsletter!
This Saturday, I’m headed with friends and family to the Green Country Hamfest in Claremore, Oklahoma. This is one of the best regional hamfests in this area and I always have a good time there. There’s a wide variety of new and used equipment, and some interesting seminars, too. I will be looking for an HF amplifier, unless I decide to spend my money on something else. It’s about 1.5 hours drive time from my house, which gives me a chance to sleep off whatever I had for lunch before returning home.
You can go to the hamfest AND still get a nap in!