2010 September VHF Contest – Yuck!

This is going to be pretty short, because there’s not a whole lot to say. I had a few hours of free time this weekend to work in the ARRL September VHF QSO Party contest. I’m not really sure where the name “QSO Party” comes from, but this was one of the most boring parties that I’ve even been to. (For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is just another contest, hence my question about the name.) Typically band conditions for VHF contests aren’t terrific in September, but usually there are a reasonable number of people to work. This year wasn’t typical.

As with most of my contesting efforts, I participate on a part-time basis. I had a few hours Saturday afternoon and more hours Sunday afternoon. I think that my total operating time was around 6 hours, and for those 6 hours, I managed an average of about 7 1/2 QSOs per hour, for a grand total of 45 contacts. That was just plain awful. I only worked 6 meters, and had a total of 10 grids for the contest. Most of the folks who I spoke with were having similar results.

I generally like the VHF contests, particularly on 6m, because you never know when the band might open up and you’ll suddenly be able to work across the country. This year, the farthest contact that I had was in FM18 in Virginia to the south, and FM43 in Maine to the north. Usually there will be an opening down to the south or southwest, and typically I’ll pick up a few grids in Florida, but not this year.

A lot of that six hours was spent with either the voice or CW keyer sending my CQs while I occupied myself otherwise. (Sharon’s glad, because it gave me a chance to finally upgrade her computer from an ancient version of Eudora to the current version of Thunderbird. But I digress…)

The only consolation that I have is that it seems that the folks in my area were all in the same boat, but I can’t say that this was one of the more fun contests in recent memory.

Here’s my score summary:

        Band  Mode  QSOs    Pts   Grd
          50  CW       3      3     1
          50  USB     42      42    9
       Total  Both    45      45   10

Score: 450

 450 points? Seriously? Ouch. I miss 2006. (Ok, those were earlier in the summer, but they sure were a lot more fun.)

David Kozinn, K2DBK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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